Retreat means literally to fall back, pull out, give way, give ground to the “enemy” in a war zone.
In retreats, where we gather together outside of our daily activities, we get to back off from the front lines of life, and pause.
I wasn’t so sure, for a long time, about offering a retreat specifically for eating peace, self-inquiry, and the spiritual path known as The Work.
It seemed too daunting.
It took me a long time to find peace with food. I couldn’t promise anything. I could never with any integrity say “guaranteed to heal your compulsions by Monday”.
And yet, people would request this retreat.
I noticed my own joy at attending retreats and workshops. People invited me to come facilitate about eating, thinking, feeling, questioning, body image, compulsive behavior, addiction.
The topic is amazing and wonderful and agonizing and confusing, and worthy of profound exploration. I continue to be curious, endlessly, about peoples’ experiences with food.
So it became a thing.
At first, in 2010, it was a one day event. It wasn’t enough.
It quickly became two days (a whole weekend), and then I added in Friday all day as well. For a few more years it was 3.5 days, and now…..it’s five nights and six days. We start on a Weds evening, and end on Monday morning.
The Eating Peace Retreat is the longest and most focused and guided retreat I do. It’s the one that addresses what almost killed me (my eating behaviors).
It’s the retreat I wished for thirty years ago when I suffered so much with my thinking about food and eating and weight. I went to therapies, tried nutritionists, read about every kind of diet (couldn’t keep on them) and was even hospitalized because of my obsessive eating.
Really, it was my obsessive thinking.
It was my beliefs and ideas about eating, not-eating, dieting, not-dieting, addiction, cravings, compulsions and weight. Most of it was torturous and oppositional and fear-inducing.
Who would you be without your story of “I am abstinent, I am doing it, I have control”? And when the chocolate is eaten, “I did it, I am terrible, I cannot keep promises to myself.” I, I, I. Who would you be without the violence in your mind and heart? ~ Byron Katie
Doing The Work has made all the difference in the world.
It is the kindest, most compassionate way to sit and inquire with thought, and understand the patterns or feelings that build up and create compulsive action in the first place.
I love spending the time to sit and look at every fear, anxiety, disappointment….every grabby pattern, every panic that says “I have to have this!” or “I have to have something else–not this!”
When we gather together on retreat, we sit in a circle and share and do The Work. We uncover our embarrassing, uncomfortable, sad, childlike, innocent thoughts and beliefs and find new ways to be life, and with reality.
What I’ve found as I question my thoughts is a peace beyond belief.
On retreat we rest, relax, get all the physical needs handled so we can be with the busy mind, and unravel what’s there. Using our imagination (which has been so good at the negative) we wonder what it’s like without our thoughts and rules and effort to control everything.
Together, we eat, sleep, share, question.
What a wonderful practice.
If you’d like to come to this year’s retreat, you’d be welcome. We have two spots left. This fee for the Eating Peace retreat is only $585. The two rooms left are $120/night (for a king sized luxurious bed) and $95/night for a queen room on the lower level.
Geneen Roth, who does a beautiful job of inquiry and freedom from compulsive eating, charges $2300 for the same length of time. Byron Katie’s School is over $5000 for 9 days (almost ten times as expensive) and treatment for emotional eating or eating disorders are generally $2000 per day and start with a minimum of two weeks.
This time together is one of the best ways you can practice freedom from frustration, and be without binge-eating, graze-eating, worry, struggle or fear for six days.
Retreat offers you practice to feel true relaxation in your bones, so you can take it home with you and rest in peace.
And even if you never travel to attend retreat, you can have your own “inner” retreat, starting now, with this new moment.