Table of Contents
- Finding Yourself in Unlikely Places
- Sometimes it Takes Leaving to Really Come Home
- Why Retreat?
- Top 8 Little-Known Self-Discovery Retreats and Workshops
- How to Choose the Best Self-discovery Retreat
- Making the Most of Your Experience
Finding Yourself in Unlikely Places
Have you ever felt like you don’t know who you really are? As if there is a “false” self masking your true self? Perhaps you feel stuck in your “pseudo” self; simply acting in a costume of your regular life without feeling free to be your soulful self. Maybe because you don’t even know who you are or what you want.
Don’t worry, this feeling is a normal part of the self-discovery process.
As you excavate emotional scars and personal discoveries, you start to realize that you are more than just your job, your social roles, or any other title you’ve identified with. Your daily life may become dull or uninspiring. You start to think, “there must be something more out there for me”.
Sometimes it Takes Leaving to Really Come Home
Self-discovery is really about building a new concept around who you are. By distancing yourself from the context in which you usually view your life, you can gain more clarity about who you are.
A self-discovery retreat helps you tune out the usual distractions of work, family, friends, and daily stressors. You can focus solely on YOU. And I don’t mean the “you” who feels small, unfulfilled, uncertain, or without clear purpose.
This is about the version of yourself who is completely at home in your body and mind; the version of “you” who unapologetically loves and accepts yourself for who you are; the “you” who feels motivated and excited by pursuing your dreams.
The most transformative part of a self-discovery workshop or retreat is the feeling of “coming home” to your true self. Sometimes leaving is the best way to find that path back to your internal home, which is a place in your mind where you feel completely comfortable, confident, empowered, and fulfilled by your state of being.
Retreats are unique opportunities far different from a mere vacation or work trip. You are diving into a structured path toward learning more about yourself. The best thing about retreats is that you have teachers, speakers, and programming to guide the process so you don’t feel completely lost.
Your familiar habits and routines are out of the picture. You can look more objectively at your life and discover what you want to change about it. Like a fly on the wall, you can observe your habits and patterns from an external point of view. Without judgement or criticism, expert personal development and spiritual teachers guide you into productive reflections and explorations of self.
These reflections can literally catapult you into a new state of being. Trust me, I’ve experienced it before. A retreat can be the bridge between your old self and your new self. It is a catalyst for internal change.
Short on Time?
Weekend or one-day workshops are the best opportunity for ultra busy people who, for whatever reason, cannot attend a longer retreat. These experiences can honestly be just as transformative, depending on how you approach them. More preparation and time for reflection may be key to getting the most out of a shorter workshop.
I’ve included some workshop options in the Top 8 list below. Keep in mind that many retreat programs also offer short-term workshop opportunities, so be sure to check out their websites and inquire about workshops.
Top 8 Little-Known Self-Discovery Retreats and Workshops
1 – Best for Discovering Your Purpose
If you’re feeling stuck or lost, Cassandra Washington’s Discovering Your Purpose Workshop is a 12 week long online program with weekly check-ins, clarity calls, and online group support.
This is one of the most in-depth and dedicated self-discovery workshops out there with built in accountability and support every step of the way. Previous students have called it a “pivotal point in their transformation” and a guide away from a “drab, gray existence” to “a way of living purposefully” and in tune with their inner wisdom.
2 – Best for Boosting Self Confidence
American Confidence Institute offers fun and engaging in-person workshops for building game-changing confidence in individuals, teams, or companies. They take a practical approach using brain science and coaching to identify confidence issues and craft functional solutions.
With a medley of inspiring keynote speakers and specific workshops, ACI’s confidence workshops are only a half-day long, yet packed with information and motivation.
3 – Best Wilderness Retreat
The Walking in Spirit nature retreat is centered around the simple idea that “time spent in nature reminds us who we really are”. This life-changing walking retreat weaves through forests, mountains, and historical sites of the exquisitely beautiful Somiedo National Park in the Astorias region of Spain.
It is a 7 day retreat that includes accommodations, transportation, and mindfulness training from therapist Frankie Sikes. Ranked one of the top 10 meditation retreats in the UK, participants have said that this wild mindfulness therapy was absolutely transformative for their self-discovery process.
4 – Best Budget Option
The Self-Discovery Life Mastery Introduction Workshop is a free event designed to help people gain more perspective about their consciousness, beliefs, and experiences.
Teacher and author Rob James guides you through how to cultivate more self awareness and remove unconscious limiting beliefs so that you can tap into your greatest potential for growth and abundance.
UPDATE: this free introductory workshop is no longer being offered.
5 – Best Spiritual Retreat
The Sedona-Based Western Spirit Ranch Workshop Retreat is a spiritual program without any links to specific religious or faith backgrounds. It is a small group setting with a focus on self-discovery, healing, forgiveness, and a connection with universal spiritual principles.
The week-long retreat is located among the breathtaking landscapes of Sedona and the Grand Canyon.
They combine outdoor adventures and creative activities with your selections of 6-8 workshops led by intuitive healer Marian Carol or a diversity of spiritual teachers. The non-profit organization charges just under $2,000 for the week-long personal spiritual retreat, including lodging, workshops, outdoor adventure, a meeting with a Native healer, daily guided meditations, and a spa massage.
6 – Best Women’s Retreat
The River Women Alaska Wellness Retreat is an empowering female-centric experience designed to rejuvenate, heal, and connect. The 4-day, 3-night retreat includes unwinding with a tribe of like minded women in a beautiful mansion in stunning rural Alaska.
Organic meals, yoga, movement, spa & massage, painting workshops, and daily inspirational classes weave together an opportunity for relaxation, learning, and reflection in a luxurious atmosphere.
7 – Best Men’s Retreat
Modern men face unique struggles with vulnerability, masculinity, emotion, and mindfulness in our often twisted society. Coach Craig White’s Men Without Masks Retreat offers a safe, non-judgemental space to uncover empowerment, leadership, understanding of your life, removal of limiting beliefs, and a sense of brotherhood.
The 5 day UK-based retreat includes guided self inquiry, explorations of manhood, meditation, men’s circles, shadow work, music, and more.
8 – Best Meditation Retreat
Vipassana is an intense and transformative technique of silent meditation practice with a history dating back over 2,000 years. The Intermountain Vipassana Center in Lava Hot Springs, Idaho offers a 10-day vipassana meditation retreat amongst beautiful remote southeastern Idaho.
This is a profound opportunity to really delve into self-awareness, mental acuity, discipline, healing, and dissolving of the ego. Many have described it as a completely life-changing experience that recalibrates the compass of their personal goals and ambitions.
How to Choose the Best Self-discovery Retreat
The best self-discovery retreats and workshops are formulated around your core values and desire for change. Go for a niche experience. Don’t force something that doesn’t feel right.
What I mean by this is, you obviously shouldn’t attend a yoga retreat if you don’t feel physically or spiritually aligned with yoga. Similarly, if you deeply value experiences in nature, you should definitely seek a retreat that is centered around wild places, rather than one in an urban or resort setting.
“Well that’s obvious!” you might be thinking, but you’d be surprised how many people force themselves into workshops they don’t necessarily feel called to just because they think it’s the more “spiritual” or “promising” route to take.
That’s bullshit! Get your money’s worth and ONLY take a retreat that you feel soulfully connected to or curious about. Thoroughly research the instructors and speakers to make sure they align with your unique style of personal development.
Also, make sure you feel comfortable with the mode of delivery (ie. online or in-person, individual or group). This is an investment in yourself and the methods won’t work if you don’t genuinely enjoy the process.
Making the Most of Your Experience
To really maximize your retreat or workshop experience, make sure you do a few things to prepare.
- Clear your schedule: Don’t let any distractions or obligations get in the way of your self improvement journey. Block off plenty of time for the workshop, as well as a day before and after to prepare or debrief.
- Ditch electronics: Turn off your phone and leave your laptop at home. The best way to delve deep into your soul is to avoid electronics as much as possible.
- Get in the right headspace: Use the days leading up to your workshop as an opportunity to get into the mindset of self improvement, spirituality, and relaxation. You can try nature walks, workouts, meditations, and journal prompts to help transition into a motivational and inspiring headspace.
- Gift yourself a new journal: A nice blank journal is a wonderful way to signify a new beginning in your personal discovery journey. Brain dump your thoughts and experiences onto the page every day of your retreat, being sure not to judge or edit what you write. This will be super helpful to look back on once you return to your regular life after the self-discovery experience.
- Set a few goals beforehand: It’s nice to go into these sort of things with a clear intention. Jot down a few goals that you want to focus on (for example, “I want to work on my self confidence” or “I want to make peace with my past”). This can act as your guiding star for this transformational experience. Don’t worry if these goals change throughout the workshop or retreat, but revisit them at the end to see if you have any new personal growth goals in mind.
I hope you find a self-discovery retreat that helps you explore and discover your core self. Remember, personal growth is a lifelong journey, not a specific destination.
Have compassion for the process and recognize that a workshop or retreat may be the catalyst for change, but you will have to continue that introspection and self-work in order to see real transformations in your life. Best of luck!