No More Exotic Retreats
During the pandemic I prayed every day that we could use these times to find a different way of relating to the earth. That we would return to love the local, the immediate, and bring our care and attention to that.
Yet as we begin to emerge from restrictions here in the UK I’m deeply concerned to see a growing number of social media posts glorifying overseas travel. And what troubles me most is these are not posts from mainstream people but posts from spiritual teachers, workshops leaders, and practitioners offering their retreats in exotic locations across the globe.
Right now Costa Rica seems to be the preferred location, probably because it’s currently allowing in non-vaxed people and has an abundance of glorious tropical locations to entice seekers from across the globe.
But my question is why are these spiritual teachers, leaders and practitioners offering events in locations which means nearly all the participants will need to fly to reach them?
What happened during lockdown that made us forget that flying is not and will NEVER be sustainable?
How can spiritual and personal development offerings be so devoid from reverence for the earth?
What makes us think that our work can’t be done locally, connecting to the nature that is around us? Why can’t we unlearn that the far way and exotic is more powerful to our work and instead remember the power of the local land that we know and reside upon?
Why are we still operating from an extractive mindset where taking what we want from the earth is still somehow acceptable in the name of spirituality/ personal development?
What prevents us from saying enough is enough, and to stop prostituting the earth as way to increase sales?
When are we going to stop acting with an alarming sense of entitlement to the earth’s resources?
When are we going to think beyond today and actually centre the needs of the next 7 generations into our decisions about creating events where nearly everyone needs to fly thousands of miles to reach them?
Let me say it again flying 20 plus people to your exotic location to share your work is NOT sustainable – it NEVER was and NEVER will be.
Offering to plant trees to offset your carbon is not the solution either – (although tree planting is essential) we need a deeper change to come from within. To recognise that the earth’s resources are not yours to be used as you wish – you are merely their custodian for future generations.
If your business is dependent upon retreats in exotic locations then your business model is NOT sustainable. You need to get creative – find a different way of sharing your work so that ALL of life gets to regenerate from it.
We need to bring our gifts that have been so generously bestowed upon us into the communities around us. Yes that might not be glamorous. We might not feel like rock stars anymore, we may no longer have sun kissed skin all year around, but instead maybe if we remember we are enough in our ordinariness – then we will no longer need the trappings of the colonist to feel good about ourselves.
I pray for us to become people our ancestors will be forever grateful to for choosing a different way – not tomorrow but today.
Let’s not be the culture that chose not to look up.