Flashback Friday: What I learned from a Weekend Retreat in the Woods

A few weekends ago, I had the privilege to attend a retreat with the Christian group at PhilaU, Cornerstone. I spent Friday to Sunday with about 50 students from PhilaU and St. Joseph's University in freezing cabins at a campsite in the middle of nowhere. We spent our time singing, praying, talking, exploring, and having way too much fun. That weekend, I was overwhelmed by love and peace and I wanted to share some of the lessons I learned, which can be applied to anyone, no matter what your faith.

  1. You are never, ever, EVER alone. In a world of over 7 billion people, it’s a crazy thought to think that no one cares about you, no one understands you, and no one is here for you, but it’s something we’ve all felt. It’s so reassuring to know that there are people who will sit down and listen to you, even if you just met, and maybe offer you advice that was exactly what you needed to hear. Don’t be afraid to open up to people, because you never know where those conversations might lead.

  2. Contentment is waiting for you. It’s such a simple thing to sit down, unwind, and feel content, but it’s something we always put off for other, more important things. The tasks and responsibilities can build up so much that we forget what rest, peace, and contentment feel like. But contentment is just silence from all the noise. It’s important to tune out and let yourself just be. It’s okay to release control. You will find that the peace was never lost, it was just hidden beneath all the other stuff.

  3. Everyone has a purpose. You can find yours by following your gut  and keying into what makes you happy, what you’re passionate about, and how you can bring happiness to others. You are so important in this world because you offer something no one else can. You might think that others can do something you can’t, but if every tool in a tool box did the same thing, you wouldn’t need all of them. The world is the same way, we all bring something to the table and we shouldn’t compare ourselves to each other.

  4. Your feelings are valid. You feel what you feel for a reason. Never feel shame or guilt for something that you think. Never hide who you really are because it’s more convenient for others, and don’t let people tell you what you feel is wrong. Feelings are a gift and we are so lucky to have thoughts and feelings and words to express them with. Express yourself and share everything you feel with the world. You will learn about yourself, about others, and others will learn from you.

  5. You don’t have to do anything to be worthy of love; simply being you is enough. If anyone ever makes you feel like you’re unlovable, they don’t know real love. Love comes in so many forms, from romance to friendships and family, and there’s so much love to go around. Love can do so much and we should share it. You deserve love and you deserve to feel loved in every close relationship you have. Tell people you love them and spread it everywhere you go. Life is so much better this way.