Insights from Jen Louden- retreat notes #3

posted in: happiness, Life | 4
carolyn at Lake Erie State Park (David Kieber photo)

Wide Whacky Happy Relaxation

~Try to expand your idea of what relaxation is – get beyond what relaxation is – get beyond what you think should be doing.

~Bring that sense of your self back into your body that precious body you have – let the twinges become a portal to your body

~Ask yourself: Am I now? – not needing to know – because the mind is not always the way to know…use the mindful questions in mini-relax sessions…Where Am I?

~Get out of your “comfort” rut – Be open to new ways of achieving relaxation e.g. read poetry instead of the newspaper or a novel

~Sometimes you need ACTIVE Relaxation like the KAlI face: Sound “ahhh” and cactus arms & stomp around to get the energy moving. You need to meet yourself where you’re at and move it to a place where you have more choice

If it’s uncomfortable/edgy, etc. – look beyond the story or specifics of the discomfort and come back to the mood behind it. Be with that feeling – just SIT with it.  Don’t focus on WHY – focus on the FEELING.

The concept and practice of RETREAT goes back to the primate females separating form the tribe when they had menses, because the bleeding would attract other animals. Some say that’s when thinking began to bifurcate.

Nate relaxing in Guadalupe Mountains (Mark Knight photo)


Pema Chodron: “Things are always in transition.”

~Notice the transitions….What did my body ( my breath, mind, feelings) do when I am in a moment of change?

~This is often when the Shadowmonster . …the Time Monster takes over

~We forget that we have the right to CREATE OUR LIVES

~Pay attention to the small moment to moment transitions so we can prepare for the big ones (divorce, death, diagnosis)…WE continually practice paying attention to the small stuff. We practice LISTENING then.

~On retreat there is no pressure, so we can lean into the baby transitions and open ourselves to the invitation

~You can practice this uncertainty and apply it to other areas of your life

~Another way is to ask yourself mindful questions. Just spend a minute asking yourself…Replace the negative questions with POSITIVE ones. “Practice HONORING the right to choose your life.”  What do I want. Be friendly about whatever comes up.

~Use the body and heart brain when you ask yourself mindful questions

~Just reminding yourself that you have a body is pretty monumental. The way IN is through the body. It can be simple, like massaging the ears. Then recall a positive emotion, a memory – maybe even look at beloved pics. & recall the feeling and the sensations of the time and breathe a little into those feelings. Then, from that space, you can drop the question, WHAT DO I WANT TO DO NEXT- just the next thing. What does my instinct, my feelings, my desire want to do next?

*Get audio at the life

About deepening the retreat: the retreat usually brings up deep patterns! So it’s a time to welcome dark feelings. Write about them, draw them, observe them because you are in  a safe place during retreat.


This being human is a guest house.

Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,

some momentary awareness comes

as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!

Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,

who violently sweep your house

empty of its furniture,

still, treat each guest honorably.

He may be clearing you out

for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,

meet them at the door laughing,

and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,

because each guest has been sent

as a guide from beyond.


~Ask the uncomfortable feeling: Who are you?

What do you want?

What do you want me to do?

~Free Write about this and your answers….musings….machinations….

Then answer from your adult self: I am in charge here.

Ask yourself the intention question you began with as a way to deepen your retreat.

Garden Buddha (Studio Panterra -Westfield NY)


~Don’t wait for resistance to go away. It is a part of life. When you feel secure and safe, it recedes …When you feel uncomfortable or scared, Resistance rears up!

SO just notice resistance. Don’t beat yourself up over it.


Resistance does not have to tell us What to do!!!! We don’t have to give it permission.  Acknowledge that perhaps you don’t trust COMFORT.




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4 Responses

  1. It is meaningful how you encourage readers to visualize feelings and sensations. People are often conditioned to think certain senses are meant solely for specific purposes. You invite human beings to stpe outside their comfprt zone and learn they can apply thier senses in ways that help them to grow. As you imply, “to get beyond what you think you should be doing,” enables you to reconnect with beliefs. They keep people resisting or complacent on some level where they are. Awareness invites positive change.

    Liara Covert’s last blog post..How do you discern your lessons?

  2. that is quite the smorgasbord of wonderfulness!

    isabella mori’s last blog post..haiku in haiku

  3. meaningful and informative makes your blog interesting.. gud work.. thanx for droppin by my blog.. do keep in touch.. cheers!!!

  4. Hello…
    You certainly do paint a very relaxe, happy and well centered person through your photos and your thoughts!

    It is nice to read positive and uplifting thoughts these days.
    Have a wonderful day!

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