I have yet to take a weeklong silent yoga and meditation retreat, but it’s on my list. Still, I try to find shorter retreats closer to home to train for the marathon retreat I’ll do someday. Recently I participated in a daylong retreat given by Lisa at Mindful Fitness at Keys Creek Lavender Farm, just outside of Escondido in Southern California.

I’d never been to the farm (which was waaay down a dirt road. We got lost several times), and found out why later. Keys Creek used to be open to the public, but the staff didn’t like the fact that people would come at all hours, tramp through the lavender, and effectively kill it with the poisons they tracked on their shoes. The farm is organic, so the plants are more delicate. Still, now that I know they host events like high tea and other retreats, I’ll be back soon.

I went with a good friend, Aly, and am so happy to have shared this experience with her.

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The Theme of Mindfulness

Mindfulness as a concept isn’t foreign to me, though it’s a challenging one at times. Lisa launched the day by talking about having mindfulness in everything we do: walking, eating, yoga practice. I kept that in mind as we toured the lavender fields and property. There’s definitely an air of calm and healing there. Apparently that wasn’t always the case. The team worked hard to change the energy on the land to one more healing than it was when they arrived there.

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After the tour, we visited the labyrinth. Labyrinths are ancient, and fascinate me. This one was full of comforting power that we soaked up as we slowly followed one another through the path lined with crystals.

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Next came meditation. (As I quickly typed that sentence, I accidentally typed “medication.” Maybe not so accidental. Meditation has plenty of health benefits.) We spent maybe 10 minutes meditating, something I’ve been focused on lately. We talked about manifesting, and I shared my own desire to manifest a travel writing career that will support me while traveling around the world when my son graduates in (count ’em) 7 years.

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As the son became golden over the dry Southern California hills, we moved toward the pool for yoga. Typically, I do yoga inside, and tend to keep my eyes closed throughout practice so I can focus inward, but when I opened my eyes, I was amazed at how great it felt to practice under the clear blue sky. I want to move my yoga mat at home outside as a result!

Breaking Bread with Newfound Friends

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I think if the retreat had been overnight, I and the other participants would have had more time to bond. As it was, we tended to keep to ourselves, reflecting, throughout the day. But dinner provided a great opportunity to bond. We enjoyed wine, salad, and vegetarian curry (from People’s in OB, no less) as the sun set. I kept saying how the scene looked like something out of a magazine: long table set with the mismatched plates we brought from home, under the twinkling white fairy lights strung from tree to tree.

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I found a new place that feels like home, and fortunately, it’s close to my home!