What is an inspiration & how can it help to fuel your retreat?

At the Edge, a successful retreat program starts in the planning phase of the retreat and can be attributed to the retreat’s inspiration. An inspiration is a positive focus statement of what we hope to experience at a gathering. When organizing a retreat, we encourage all retreat planners to mindfully craft an inspiration for their retreat, which can become a guiding force to delivering an exceptional retreat program.

So what exactly is an inspiration?

An inspiration guides us from inner to outer action. Following Latin roots we see that the word “inspire” stems from “spirare” which means ‘to breathe or blow into’. It is a living storyline that weaves together our gifts and abilities to manifest our dreams and fulfill the needs of the group. Put simply, it is an opportunity to share the intention, theme, objective or storyline of the retreat.

“The word “inspire” stems from “spirare” which means ‘to breathe or blow into.'”

Why create an inspiration for your retreat?

Inspirations can be personal or for the collective. A personal inspiration can offer focus and guidance in one’s daily life, like a personal affirmation statement or a living prayer.

A group inspiration is woven from the shared dreams of the guests, and offers collective focus and guidance to the retreat. When shared at regular intervals during the gathering, inspiration statements act as a guiding compass reminding us of the original purpose for coming together. As a result of setting the tone of the retreat and offering a glimpse into the flow, inspirations provide flexible expectations of the retreat.

In practice:

It takes patience, trust and deep listening from one’s heart to weave together an inspiration. Even though the logical mind may want to forge ahead and dismiss the value and importance of creating an inspiration, it is through inspiration that the greatest needs are most efficiently met with ease, joy, flexibility and grace.

Weaving an inspiration into your retreat:

Set aside some time when you can focus on crafting the inspiration before your retreat. It is often helpful to collaborate with anyone else who may be involved in planning or facilitating your retreat, in order to ensure a well-rounded approach.

  • Start by noticing what common “threads” such as insights or questions are surfacing and being repeated within you and your guests. These threads identify the greatest present need(s). The Edge will help to gather these threads through questions on the guest registration form.
  • Write an inspiration into a simple sentence or two, worded in the present tense, that identifies the need in affirmative language.
    After the inspiration has been created, trust that all will come and manifest in the right time.
  • During your retreat, you may want to start off by sharing the inspiration with everyone, setting the space, tone and focus.
  • Throughout the course of your retreat it is helpful to check in with the inspiration often. Where is the group in its storyline? Do parts of it need to evolve?
  • Pay attention to the guidance of what actions, activities, relationships, or situations align with where the group is in the storyline of the inspiration.
  • If any confusion, doubt, heaviness, or overwhelm arises, return to the focus and guidance of the inspiration.
  • You may want to finish the retreat by sharing the inspiration to close the space and ensure it all feels complete.

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