Updated: Apr 3
While checking out our website, many people like what they see. Beautiful art, a magnificent ceremonial space, nature, big trees, flowers. Everything you need for your retreat. But this retreat centre is more than that, it is off-the-grid. We can imagine this needs some explenation. Let us introduce our off-the-grid life-style and why we think it is contributing so much more to your retreat-experience than you would have imagined in the first place. We even believe that is is more beneficial than attending the same experience at a luxury resort.
What does off-the-grid mean?
Let's start with the definition, because nowadays there are many different opinions about what exactly is off the grid. It is life without regular systems for sewage, water, electricity and gas, in other words the utilities. There are more extreme ideas that it would also mean that you no longer have anything to do with what society has to offer. The people who support this opinion think that you cannot use the internet and that you have to be completely self-sufficient to call your place off the grid. We have been living and working here off the grid since 2001 at the Earth Awareness centre in the Netherlands, of which certainly the first 15 years off the grid simply meant that you were not connected to the regular facilities, so we stick to that definition for now.
Why is the Earth Awareness centre off-the-grid?
The site where we stay is simply not connected to the above facilities. This made it all the more interesting all those years ago to settle here. Because things had to change, the way we life our lives and use our recources had to change, we were convinced of that. This opinion has become quite popular in recent years, but that was really different 20 years ago. The internet was just emerging, it would be years before you could expand your Mc Guyver skills on YouTube. The camping shop was actually the only place where you could go for your alternative solutions, very expensive, that is..
So it had to go different, that was clear. But how? Here began a long road of trial and error, of experimentation and discovery. In the process you could improve your own inventions, stimulated by a necessary creativity to make something out of nothing. Technical insight was indispensable. But also looking at nature, learning how something functions in the natural world was often a source of inspiration.
An off-the-grid versus a luxury resort
There are several reasons why we say it's way more beneficial for most people to join at an off-the-grid retreat centre. Let's name a few:
It gets you out of your comfort zone, out of your normal box, your normal state of mind.
It needs you to practice mindfulness all day long. Because practicals go different than you are used to, you need to think about the small things, the details, like don't wash your hands with drinking water but use rainwater instead. Mindfulness is a quality that you want to cultivate in your life.
It's really nice of course that you want to do some personal devellopment as a human being, but one of the main topics of being a responsable grown-up is taking responsability. So how can you tell yourself that the luxery resort that uses so much energy to keep you comfortable (outside heated swiming pool, baths and showers as much as you please, etc) is helping you to achieve this state of mind? It is not only knowing how things should be, it's also making these choices yourself.
You'll be enjoying the recourses so much more when they are there. This counts for the hot outside shower as much as the sunshine or the trees that give you shade (instead of the airconditioning). The little light in the darkness that guides you the way or even better, the moonlight, will be so much more appriciated than when all lights are always burning. It makes you more attentive to the little things that make life better. We may realize ourselves how spoiled we often are. The gratitude for comfort is often far gone.
Without the laptop, smartwatch or other devices that keep you distracted from what really matters (how am I doing? why a I here?) you'll be confronted with yourself. People who are quite adicted to being online often fear the 'silence' and get slightly uncomfortable without checking their socials every 10 minutes. But is that not a big part of the reason why many people are a bit stuck in life or out of touch with themselves? At our long retreats (5 days) you are welcome to charge your mobile phone once. Not once a dmay, but once. This means you need to be mindful about your digital use. We have no wifi (there is no wifi in the forrest but the connection is way better!). Laptops and other electric devices are better left at home. Only in rare cases, for example when a wife is about to give birth, we make an exeption. The funny thing is, many participants give the feedback that this was really helpful to make them focus on the topics they really came for.
The feedback from our participants
All in all, it makes you more human, ... instandly. And that what people tell us afterward many times. That the off-the-grid situation was not as difficult as they thought in the beginning and that it was actually beneficial for their personal experience. Yes, even the IT guys, CEO and the super neat house wife's come to this conclusion. Get out of your normal setting, see things from a different angle, get out of your comfort zone,.. it is all so good to do sometimes. Check our reviews if you still are doubting.
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