Wednesday, 4 September 2013

How to Make New Friends as an Introvert

Three of Cups
Tarot of Quotes
Answer: Go to places, where like-minded folk hang out.

You know it's easier to make conversation and connect with people, who share the same interests and are more or less on the same wavelength as you.

This year, due to circumstances, I had to go on a holiday on my own - eek!

At first I was at a loss and googled "holiday for singles", but I quickly dismissed that idea after realising the options available where pretty lame, and I'd take a risk ending up with bad company.

And then I had the idea to go on a spiritual retreat and found a Buddhist retreat centre in Shropshire. The solution to my problem!

I'm an introvert. I hate noise, party animals, too much booze, flashing lights, shallow conversations...

Having booked myself on the week long women-only retreat, I knew I could let my hair down, forget the make-up and not have to wear a bra.

And I was looking forward to more stimulating conversations, too, without worrying about people's reaction when I disclosed that I was a Tarot Reader.

I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. What have I learned from it?

  • You can go on holiday on your own, but you won't be alone when going on retreat
  • Be open-minded about community living. Sharing a room with three other ladies may seem risky to some, but I had the most loveliest room mates.
  • Nurturing and sustaining spiritual friendships is important to overcome times of isolation and is helping you grow.
  • There never was a moment when I missed TV or the internet. It was so refreshing to be away from it all completely. If World War III had broken out, I wouldn't have known. There was no radio either.
  • Going on retreat doesn't mean you do nothing for a week. I was busy meditating for hours each day, doing Tai Chi and Qigong, going for walks in the surrounding beautiful countryside and helping in the kitchen for an hour every day.
  • Vegan food is delicious! A strict vegan diet for a week made me lose 4 lbs. As soon as I got back home though, I needed to have a ham sandwich with a boiled egg.
  • Buddhism is a gentle and inspirational spiritual path. I learned to practice the Metta Bhavana (loving kindness) in meditation and had an interesting déjà vu when we talked about the Path of Individuality (very similar to the Fool's Journey in Tarot).
  • Silence can be nourishing and promotes mindfulness. Rather than constantly yapping away and being exposed to all kinds of noise, hours and even days of imposed silence created a whole new level of calmness and relaxation. For an introvert like me, there was no need to make conversation. And strangely, we all started to develop a different and more subtle way to communicate. 
  • I'm not really into rituals, but I enjoyed the chanting walking meditations, the "letting-go" fire ritual one evening, and the "planting a new seed" ritual the following day.
  • For the first time I have experienced women as a loving healing collective rather than backstabbing hormonal b*tches. My faith in women-only groups (with the right attitude and in the right setting) has been restored. 
  • It takes a few days to get back to reality once you return home.
  • A retreat is a bit like therapy and it can be a life-changing experience.
  • It's fantastic to stay in touch with the lovely women I've met and hopefully will meet again in the future.
Here I am, back in my world and getting on with work, home, family and social life. But something has changed. It all feels a bit different now. The retreat has been a kind of journey, and I feel all the richer for it. 

Warmest wishes,

Christiane 



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6 comments:

  1. That sounds like a major experience :D

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  2. Thanks for sharing this experience- sounded like it was an eventful journey which has had a positive impact on you and that's always a good thing to hear!

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    Replies
    1. Yes, it's been fab, highly recommended... the beautiful summer weather we had this year also helped ;)

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