Back to the Roots:
A Mindful Outdoor Retreat for Men
What an interesting couple of years we've had! Even prior to the pandemic, our society began to notice the increased demands, both externally and internally, as well as the significant impact of stress from these demands. We needed a stronger and more sustainable connection to self and the outdoors before, but we need it, now, more than ever. We're offering you the opportunity to slow down, decrease the noise, and just BE. Research is showing us that immersion in forested areas has a dynamic and lasting effect on our well-being, including increased immune functioning; decreased stress, anxiety, and depressive symptoms; improvements in physiological health; etc. You're invited to join us in the Chattahoochee National Forest of the North Georgia Mountains for a mindful retreat where we'll get back to our roots of a symbiotic relationship to the natural world, learn approachable and effective skills for navigating stress, connect with other guys, and experience your life at a more intentional and present pace. Below are some highlights of what you'll experience:
Feel alive and awake in the present as we hike through varying terrain, including forest, waterside, mountain summit, and more. Engage, and perhaps challenge, mind, body, and spirit while taking in majestic mountain views. We'll practice setting a destination/intention, while focusing on the present-moment journey.
Learn what all the medical and wellness buzz is about. Whether learning to meditate, or expanding your existing practice into a new setting, you'll have opportunities to experience the many benefits of meditation, specifically mindfulness and nature meditation. No previous experience, nor yoga pants required.
Connect with nature and your more primitive roots while sleeping and eating among the trees. Breathe air that's been recycled on this planet for billions of years. Remember a simpler time with open space and fresh air, rather than notifications and obligations. Eat mindfully , and better understand your relationship to food.
Walking with Awareness
Awakening the Senses
You may be surprised to learn just how distracted you are in your everyday life. While in the forest, surrounded by trees and other life, you'll be guided in awakening your senses to the present moment. Perhaps, you'll even notice something about your senses you haven't before.
You officially have permission to unplug and unwind. There are no demands nor expectations, here, just invitations. You'll have plenty of unplanned time to explore, take a dip or paddle in the lake, or rest among the trees, as well as opportunities to learn and experience the many ways practicing mindfulness can de-stress and unclutter your life.
At the root of human existence, is healthy connection. Through the sacred practice of Council, communal dining, and sharing experiences in the wilderness together, you'll have the opportunity to connect with other guys, nature, and reconnect with self. You can even sharpen those social skills that may have gotten rusty over the past 2 years of pandemic protocols.
WHO and WHY
By the time you leave these forested mountains, you'll notice a sense of calm and contentment, which is all yours to take with you and recreate whenever you like. Everything you will learn and experience, here, is approachable and can be sustained on your own.
greater sense of comfort and confidence camping and hiking within the natural world,
a strong foundation or more fine-tuned mindfulness practice,
confirmation of that deep knowing of self and your connection to the outdoors that's always been there, but needed some nourishment.
better understanding of, and deeper connection with, the food we eat and ways we eat.
Even if you've been camping and hiking before, even if you already have a healthy mindfulness or meditation practice, even if you already have a healthy relationship to food, you may be amazed at the new depths you'll be able to reach, here, when you have an uninterrupted safe space to press pause on the speed and chatter of the your busy life, and let yourself feel nature's restorative properties in this way.
In addition to relaxing and exploring outdoors, this retreat is for men who are interested in having a judgment-free place to explore who they are, how they connect with others, and how they want to more purposefully and intentionally participate in their lives. Masculinity has evolved since we've had a word to identify it. Some are rigidly attached to it, some wish to disown it due to unhealthy modeling, some are confused about what masculinity means for them, and some are curious about ways to re-define it for themselves. One thing we can all agree on, is men carry many obligations, burdens, expectations, and sometimes buried pain. So do women, by the way; however, women have more avenues and "permission" to explore emotion, identity, and relationships, compared to men. Our conditioning and social identities tell us to avoid exploring these concepts at risk of ridicule or exile from the man-club for "allowing" or expressing vulnerability in some way. The truth is vulnerability exists, whether we invite it or not. Decades of research and lived experiences have taught us that burying and avoiding these vulnerabilities only causes us more harm.
The good news is that trees don't judge; neither do we. While soaking in all the benefits of being immersed in nature, you'll also have the opportunity to be YOU, without judgment, expectation, obligation, or risk of exile. What better place to "show up" as yourself than the natural world, where plants and animals are simply who and what they are?
Though this experience is cathartic and deeply soul-enriching, it is neither therapy, nor a religious/faith-based retreat. We welcome all religions, spiritual affiliations (or no affiliation), cultures, races, ethnicities, sexual orientations, and classes. This retreat is for those identifying as male. Other retreats will be available for folks identifying as other genders or non-binary.
We will be sleeping, eating, and exploring outdoors. Be mindful of the weather and climate typical to north Georgia in spring. We will not be engaging in rigorous hikes nor extreme limits, though walking in this terrain with elevation gain can be taxing on the body if you've never hiked in the mountains before. This trip is more about being present in the journey than hustling to a destination. With that said, understand any physical limitations you may have before engaging in an event like this. Everything you will experience are invitations, not requirements. Although, in order to gain the most from this experience, we encourage you to participate in everything you can.
Questions? Click here to read answers to common questions about our retreats.
For a small taste of what you'll experience on this trip, you're invited to listen to the nature meditation below.