Retreat? We don't know the meaning of the word retreat!
September 7, 2015 11:55 AM   Subscribe

Or more accurately, we don't have an agenda for a retreat. A Woman's Retreat. Have you been to a wonderful one? Have you always you wished you could go to a wonderful one and do ...what?

There is talk of a woman's retreat. We could....watch a movie? ...have a drumming circle? ...have a talent show? There must be more interesting and energizing things we could do.

Parameters: organized through a Unity church, but doesn't necessarily need a religious dimension. More about "individual growth and community building." (puts you right to sleep, eh?) Probably two days and one night. White, middle class, mostly middle-aged women. Between 15-40 participants. Can't afford individual massages, but doesn't have to be on the cheap.

I'm new to this group, and I'd love to be able to suggest some activities that might result in a truly memorable retreat. Thanks, hive mind!
posted by kestralwing to Grab Bag (9 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
 
You can have people within the group who have specific skills lead different activities: hiking, some kind of craft, singing, meditation, yoga.

It's been a long time since I was on a retreat, but generally they seemed to allow both structured and unstructured time, and rely on the location for some of the activities. For example, if you are all staying in a cabin near a river, you might go canoeing. If you are near a corn maze, walk the maze. If everyone is into it, mani/pedis can be a bonding experience and a chance to talk casually. Preparing and eating group meals together is often part of the retreat experience.

I googled [UU women's retreat] and got this (pdf), so googling similar terms might give you some more ideas. Good luck!
posted by bunderful at 12:16 PM on September 7, 2015


Once, I visited a monastery, to study the architecture, and while I stayed, there was a retreat with the theme of breaking bread - as an everyday spiritual gesture. So they actually baked delicious loaves, and shared them, and drank wine, while they discussed a multitude of meanings of the sabbat, and other spiritual gatherings and narratives which involve food. It was fascinating, and I was a little jealous. They also went for walks and maybe they foraged, too.

My daughter attends a Catholic school, where they have an annual retreat, which all the kids love - it's fascinating that they can get kids from 14-19 to love meditating, discussing existential themes, hiking, and generally be away from their phones, but there you are! Each retreat has an overall theme, which is divided into smaller modules. One year, the theme was "choice", another "friendship".
posted by mumimor at 12:23 PM on September 7, 2015 [7 favorites]


I participated in a number of retreats with a common theme - silence. A few were in the North Cascades, for three full days, at the North Cascades Institute. We spent the weekend writing, walking, doing qi-gong and meditating. I remember driving home feeling so peaceful.

And the other was a week-long silent retreat in Alaska in 2011 where each day began with meditation, yoga, silent breakfast and then a long kayaking day from 5 to 15 miles in length. We only had one hour of talking, in the evening. I spent my days admiring the Tongass National forest, writing my journal, enjoying life and the wonderful meals at the lodge.
posted by seawallrunner at 3:07 PM on September 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


One of my favorite activities from a retreat is walking a labyrinth. They can be temporary, inside or out, and are great for encouraging meditative thought. Once I walked one at night outside, lit by candles and it was a beautiful experience.
posted by ceramicblue at 3:27 PM on September 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


The Woman's Comfort Book has loads of suggestions that would probably work for a retreat, from ranging the cool through the creative to the maybe-a-bit-corny, depending on your taste
posted by penguin pie at 4:02 PM on September 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


If you have crafty people who are willing to do some organisation and planning, you could do something like make pads for Days for Girls.

I think it would be fascinating to learn more about the daily lives of women in other countries and time periods.

A discussion session about emotional labour and/or love languages.
posted by kjs4 at 6:32 PM on September 7, 2015


I was invited to a Unity retreat, and I remember mostly wanting to go because it was at this cool monastery. One thing they did was have a couple interesting speakers (i.e. local writer) and then part of the time was used to do a writing workshop. Oh, and seconding yoga. Always good.
posted by intrepid_simpleton at 8:53 PM on September 7, 2015


I went to a women's retreat put on by my uni's women's centre nearly 20 years ago and I still remember it fondly.

A group of about 12 of us stayed at a rustic but nice cabin at a small local ski hill. By rustic I mean there was an outdoor toilet, but it was a really nice one!

Two specific things I remember:

1) We had all been asked to bring an object with special meaning and our intro activity was to explain to the group why the object was meaningful to us. It was a good low key activity for someone like me who hates frantic, mandatory-fun type icebreakers, and it helped us get to know the people we didn't know that well.

2) We were all given post it notes and another person's name and we were supposed to write encouraging anonymous notes to the person and leave them where they'd find them. The person who had my name was a real sweetie and wrote lovely notes--I never did find out who it was. It brightened my mood to randomly come across these notes to me all weekend!
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 10:44 PM on September 7, 2015


I have been to some awesome women's retreats. The best ones were ones that offered scheduled time for small group sharing.
posted by corb at 9:01 AM on September 8, 2015


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