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5 Things I Learned From Taking A Personal Retreat & Why You Should Take One!

5 Things I Learned From Taking A Personal Retreat & Why You Should Take One!

The older I get, the more alone time I crave. And maybe it's just because I spent so much of my life around so many people that I became really great at focusing my energy and life force out towards them and now, I'm focusing on me. And now, I'm looking for peace within my own self. Homemade you know what I'm saying. 

The past year I've been on a journey of finding out who I am and who I want to become. It started at a business workshop I attended where I was around alot of people and traveling by myself and this empty feeling came over me that I had no idea who I was and what I even wanted anymore.

To say it was overwhelming is an understatement. It felt like my whole life was turning inside out but the truth was, I felt better because finally, I was facing my true feelings.

Through curiosity and commitment to myself and my happiness, I kept stepping forward into my question of why things were feeling so off with me. I kept going and kept finding new things out about myself. I started to trust myself for the first time in my life because I was reclaiming my life! I trusted my intuition when it told me what my next step was and she told me that I needed to take some time for myself, away from my work. 

It was the next level to face that required me to question why I felt uncomfortable leaving my work. I knew I needed to proceed for this very reason. To question everything and continue following my inuition's guidance. 

This led me to a local wellness retreat that is 7 minutes out our backdoor.

civana resort holding up glass to desert

At first, when I looked up the rates and the time off I was really wanting, I felt worried this was just a pipe dream to think I can actually take this much time off from work, all for me. And that's when I heard the voice from my ego saying I am not worth my money and time and energy. Because that's what it was really saying.

So I proceeded to follow my intuition's guide and booked. I went all in. I decided and I knew that I couldn't go wrong if I was doing what was best and true for me. Believe me, I know how hard it is to take a trip for yourself, to spend time on you, to pour into you knowing that in filling your own cup you're not able to pour into your other cups. And this is what leads me to lesson #1.

spa day ashley with book and water in robe

Lesson 1. You are worth it.

The process of facing your ego's voice that's been in your ear for years allows you the opportunity to challenge that voice. The truth is whatever you decide is your truth after all. Don't forget that. 

You are worth all of your needs. You have to be the one to give them to yourself. No one else is ever going to come to your doorstep with a big Mary Poppin's purse and have everything you could ever need, in all the moments you need it. As someone who is working to unwind this belief I had for so many years that I am not worth my time, money and energy, I know wholeheartedly now that I have always been worth it. So have you. 

You have to challenge your current beliefs and ways of being and choosing yourself by testing the waters and choosing new ways that the future you who believes fiercely in her worth would choose! You are worth the spa treatment. You are worth the time off. You are worth your devoted time you give to your own healing and growth.

Repeat after me: I am worth everything I desire and need and I will always give it to myself. 

Lesson 2. Nothing changes if nothing changes.

If you relate to what I said above about pouring your life force into everyone and everything else but yourself, this is for you. If you continue down the path of doing this, you'll find yourself five years from this very day in the same place. Feeling the same resentments, confusion and missing piece of yourself. 

If you want anything in your life to change, it starts with you. It's an inside job that you must show up for. It won't be easy but it will be worth it. You'll have to decide who you are and who you want to be. Even who you've been. And from this place you start moving in the direction of what you really want, deep down in your heart. This will require you do more of the next lesson...

civana retreat center journaling morning coffee

Lesson 3. Spending time with yourself is how you learn who you are.

This is the only way you'll be able to make these changes stick in your life, is if you spend time with yourself. You can start a journaling practice, meditate for 5 minutes everyday, create a mindfulness practice, do a daily walk in nature just listening to the rocks beneath your feet make the rustle of noise they love to make...or you can take a few days off. 

Start small with one thing you can do with yourself today. I mean completely without any other distractions of your phone, people around you, or being in an environment that needs your attention somehow. 

One of the most powerful things spending time alone has granted me is that I have gotten to know myself. By spending time with myself, I have learned to witness my ego's voice, my heart's voice and even my future self's voice, calling me towards her. A little tough love here: this is the only way forward if you want to work on yourself. I think of it like the bridge from the old you to the new you. It's the way you will finally hear your true voice. Step forward and cross the bridge every single day. Get into the spirit of loving spending time with yourself because she's really cool! 

On my four day retreat, I journaled every morning, I walked to classes with myself, I did walking meditations each day, I sat and read, I had coffee with myself and listened to the sounds of the birds in the palm trees. I found my inner peace. And it was everything I needed. 

So often we think we can only get our needs met by looking outside of us. But I'm a firm believer in being self sustaining. Because I know that no matter where I go in my life and what happens, I will always be the one walking by my side. That is a sure fact that you can't deny. So choosing to be a sure bet for yourself of support, love and encouragement on a daily basis makes the most sense to me. Doesn't that sound good?!

Lesson 4. Give yourself permission to grow.

For a long time I felt myself feeling really uncomfortable in my own skin and my own life. Like I no longer was resonating with the person I was being and the choices I was making. For example, me having my business since 2013 and barely taking time off for just me. That no longer was working for me. And I felt it. 

You know this feeling too don't you? 

I think what is really happening is we're feeling the effects of our spirit telling us it's trying to break free from the shell it lived in, it needs you to release it from its current ways so it can move into a new level of expansion. And if we don't listen because we're too distracted giving our attention to everyone and everything else, we'll miss it. Your spirit will shrink down into its space because you didn't listen to its call for expansion and it will go into the darkness until it comes out again, maybe with more fervor than before. 

But make no mistake about it, it will come back and all the while you'll be continuing to feel the pain of something being off. So answer the call now and give yourself permission to grow and expand! This is life. Growth is life. Choose your expansion.

yoga class studio civana carefree arizona

Lesson 5. You get what you decide you'll get. 

I almost didn't take this retreat for myself because I almost decided I wasn't worth it. And then guess what, I wouldn't be writing this post and I wouldn't feel the way I do today because I took the time for myself. So then I would have continued the cycle of getting what I always decided to get since 2013, which was not much for myself. 

To decide means 'to cut off all other options.' 

Don't even make it an option anymore to not take care of you and your needs. Make it the only option that you choose your well-being, your happiness and your peace. And decide that you are going to be the one to give it to her. 


The retreat center I stayed at is Civana Wellness Center in Carefree, Arizona. I took classes like Meditation, Journaling for Transformation & Chakra Healing Yoga. I visited the Spa and even did a cold plunge.

I woke up to the most beautiful views and walked around the inspiring neighborhood while listening to walking meditations. The staff was wonderful and so accomodating and the guests were there for the same purpose as me, to take time for ourselves.

When my husband picked me up, I took him a shot glass of turmeric juice and we looked out over the resort landscape soaking it up. I was a different me walking out of that four days I took for myself and now, I'm learning to bring these lessons into my day to day life so I can continue being the source for all my truest needs.

This post is not sponsored or in affiliation with Civana, I truly just had the most magical experience there and want to share it with you in case you're looking for a place to experience the same. 

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1 comment

  • Sally Bunning

    Hi Ash. Loved reading this post from you. YES YES YES! So glad you took this time for yourself. I just got back from just a 3-day getaway to the ocean. A person doesn’t realize that they needed the time to themselves until the end of the experience sometimes. So refreshing- we need that often❤️

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