March 23, 2010 at 2:40 am

The concept of retreat was introduced to me as early as grade school when one to two days per year were devoted to building community amongst my classmates, nurturing a spiritual connection, and generally stepping away from daily patterns that interfere with personal growth. Thankfully, I have continued the tradition of devoting time to retreat throughout the years which has been a vital part of sustaining balance and wellness during my work as a naturopath and while living in a world where stresses and challenges also reside. Retreat can be just as much about disconnecting from what drains and depletes our energy as it is about reconnecting with what support and heals us. The true learning occurs while integrating that reconnection back into daily life.

During my recent trip to Belize, Central America, I retreated to a land rich in mystical Mayan culture and full of respect for the diversity of life rustling in the leaves of the jungle and swimming in the depths of the sea. During my stay on the mainland, I toured the famous Ix Chel Medicine Trail founded by Dr. Rosita Arvigo who studied with a native Mayan shaman who lived to be 103 years old. Along the trail I learned about the traditional Mayan uses of native plants such as Allspice berries for toothaches and the bark of the Gumbo-limbo tree as a natural anti-biotic. My adventures to the local Belizean Cayes landed me at a small yoga retreat resort called Ak’bol ( where I waded in the still blue-green waters of the Caribbean Ocean, held steady Warrior poses against the ocean breezes, and dined on omega-3 rich wild caught fish fresh from the morning’s catch. I am grateful to the Belizean people for their hospitable spirits and sincere appreciation for the beauty of Nature that surrounds them.

I arrived back in Baltimore just as Spring was beginning to emerge – perfect timing! The moment-to-moment shifts in Nature that occur this time of year have helped to keep me connected to the same awe and excitement I felt in gazing out at the crystal blue Caribbean water or spotting a toucan hidden in the trees. Now blooming daffodils and budding cherry blossoms help me recall a sense of retreat.

Below are a few spots in the Baltimore area where I have found a sense of retreat:

Sherwood Gardens: Near 4100 block of St. Paul St.; The Tulips are Coming!
Teavolve Cafe
: Harbor East; Enjoy local musicians while you sip your tea!
Visionary Art Museum: Downtown Baltimore, MD
Shambhala Center: Baltimore, MD; Open Meditation Thursday evenings
Bon Secours Spiritual Center: Marriotsville, MD; Walk the Labyrinth

I welcome learning about your stories of retreat or place/experiences that have helped you reconnect to your wellness. Please feel free to e-mail stories to

Entry filed under: Reflections, Seasons, spring.

Homeopathy – Upcoming Learning Opportunities Add Wellness to that Spring in your Step…


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