The Importance of Retreat for Therapists, Carers & Medical Personel

The Importance of Retreat for Therapists, Carers & Medical Personel

The Importance of Retreat for Therapists, Carers & Medical Personel

In just over a week I will be returning to Poland for the 3rd Module: SHEN in the LifeForce Qigong Training with my brother Simon Calder.

Something that has been sitting with me since our last class in December, was how important it is for me as an individual to have time out, and not just time out, but to fully retreat away from the world, my work, people who I facilitate and support and even family to a degree. 

My reflection on this comes from something that I have been noticing for a while, but have only been articulating for short period of time in relation to myself. That is, that in doing the therapy work that I do, I spend a lot of time listening to the story of people's lives. And more specifically, the trauma and dis-ease of their lives, whether that be physical, emotional, mental, relational or other. I recognise within myself that it takes a toll to listen to those stories, to try and help find ways of improving those stories with those people. I might see clients between 2-10 times over upto a year as we monitor the changes and responses to what we work out to support them. 

There is no doubt to me that this has a physical, mental and emotional toll on me and my body and my state of mind.

When I was on the retreat at the Integral Body Institute in December, the mornings and evenings were dark and we did much more of our practices in low light. I found myself less interested in engaging in the social side of the retreat and more interested in staying warm, enjoying the dark and letting my body and mind have some space and time for themselves.

It occurred to me at this point, that to various degrees, all practitioners in a caring profession, whether that be top medical professionals, therapists, carers, right down to family members who care for children or spouse, that we all need time out from being the carer. We all need time to allow the build up within us to dissipate, preferably with a guided practice that will maximize this for you.

So why not just take a holiday? Taking a break is great and useful, but I'm not sure it really helps us to effectively clear our systems of the physical, emotional, mental and energetic residue that can be there from therapy and care work. To choose a deliberate time to switch off from your work, your social media, any demands that are put on you in your life, and then to go and choose a restorative and nurturing space and practice for yourself, is quite different to a holiday. Which for me, I'm often choosing to adventure when I holiday, which isn't always restful if that makes sense?

All of us who choose to be in caring rolls deserve to have some time and space that is just about self-care and self nurturance. Our capacity for coping is very variable and not necessarily congruent with our care role.

Because our bodies contract physically to anything we mentally or emotionally contract around, we benefit from an integrated practice such as Qigong or well taught yoga (where the relationship to mind and shadow is fully acknowledged and addressed) that allows the release from all levels, because it recognizes all levels, or at least works on an Integral All Quadrant, All Level (AQAL) basis.

These practices require us to notice what is arising from our body as we move in particular ways, or what is going on in the body when our mind is on certain topics. To have a facilitator who is explicitly covering all of these possibilities so that our body/mind/spirit have the best opportunity to respond and change.

This is why I am really looking forward to the LifeForce Qigong: SHEN module, as it is a deeply transformatory set of practices that are mainly around taking the stabilized emotional energies from Module 2: Qi and rasing that energy up to the Upper Dan Tien or 3rd Eye so we can dissolve into pure presence with the Dao. It will be a largely silent module, with the main language coming only from Simon, and the rest of us encouraged to be as silent as we can be for as much of the time. This will really help to allow to the surface all of the stuff we've been hanging onto, weighing ourselves down with, so that it can be processed via the practices and released. Leaving us with more space, lightness and wholeness within ourselves.

I've been looking forward to this for a while now as I know that it help to act as a reset for me and bring me back with renewed vigor and energy for what I do. Often with new insights into places where I felt limited or stalled.

I see the value in giving people the time outs they have with me, sometimes just an hour, sometimes a day or a weekend, but always something that their body feels better for, their mind feel freer for and their spirit feels grateful for.

I encourage you, whether you are someone in a caring role, or you are in a relationship with someone in a caring role, take time out and not just a holiday, but a significant period of time that is just about nurturing and restoring your energy through active release of the accumulation of others energy through your care.

If you'd like to find out more about the LifeForce Qigong Modules you can do so on Simon's site and you can also look at the options for shorter simpler style retreat or time out through my events page with my Shadow Workshops and my 5 Element Qigong days that run in the UK throughout the year.

Please ask if you have any questions or comments



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