Some Thoughts on Our Autumn Day Retreat

I think that it’s usually a pretty good sign when a friend feels relaxed enough to fall asleep in your home. 

We were delighted to host a Reflective Practice Day Retreat on a late September Saturday, at the Embrace Retreat Centre in Killinchy. After it had rained heavily all the day before, we were delighted by the blue skies and bright sunshine, which allowed for beautiful reflective walks with views of the Mournes and in the presence of trees. 

The day was paced to allow time for questions, reflection, creating and sharing of words and food. Participants sat and wrote in their new journals, and used art making to reflect on their personal questions. Participants said “Guided exercises very good”, “Loved the one layer at a time…”, “Fantastic questions and materials to explore them” and  “I hoped for a chance to reflect and was supported in reflecting creatively, safely and kindly.”

“I got more than I had hoped for from the day. It was a warm welcoming space created by Jayne and Colin and each member of the group. The space allowed for a calm reflection and time for oneself with the gentle presence of others. Thank-you.”

The creative process allows for the unexpected. Sometimes this is very immersed in art making, and sometimes it happens more ‘side-ways’, in quiet or even slight discomfort.  In responding to the question of whether they had got what they hoped for from the day, one participant responded “Yes & more…Still trying to work out how that happened!”

During the afternoon personal time, there were walks taken, art created, sun sat in, and eyes closed – that moment of gentle delight, when reflection leads to rest. 

A space to take care of self. 

A space to pause!

Inner Outings Reflective Practice Day Retreat 18th of September

September 18, 2021 @ 10:00 am4:30 pm
Holistic Retreat Centre Embrace,
60 Thornyhill Rd
BT23 6SQ
United Kingdom + Google Map
£50 – £85

Inner Outings offers space to pause.

This one day retreat will offer you a place to reflect on your work and practice – a space to re-focus and

Space to take care of yourself, so you can continue to care for others.

Taking Time To Notice

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Getting out into the beautiful countryside around where I am fortunate enough to live, formed the central part of surviving the early stages of lockdown. Our household calendar, hanging on the kitchen wall, has a daily record of where we went on our walk, run or ride. But now, 21 weeks in, I am managing an injury and we don’t get out every single day. I am in the phase of changing patterns so I can make these new habits sustainable for the longer haul; while maintaining daily activity (even if it’s a little walk around the village), stretching and physio prescribed exercises!

I am someone who likes lists and I enjoy our calendar records. I am also proud of being able to cycle up hills I could not have done at the start of March. However it has been how we have done these activities where my biggest learning has come. It is not just about completing the activity, going faster, ticking it off the list (though I also take my endorphin hit as I mark that tick!). Rather it is in the how. And my partner is an expert in the BEing outdoors, not just the DOing outdoors. Go more slowly; look at the scenery; nap on the grass or in the mountains; stop for another picnic and just appreciate the view; play in the stream; notice the rocks, lambs, flowers, the dead branches in the Ash trees, the diggers in the quarry, and the life cycle of a dandelion.

For me this is a lesson worth translating to the rest of life – especially at this time. This simple noticing can happen anywhere and can enrich our lives – the warmth of the water while doing the dishes, the bird outside the window, shapes in the clouds, a flash of colour, the sound of a laugh, the smell of toast. Drawing our attention to these things we notice, especially those that bring us pleasant sensations, can help to bring balance and regulation to our nervous system and enhance our wellbeing.

Using our senses to BE and notice our BEing.

April 18th 2020 One Day Reflective Practice Retreat

Inner Outings offers space to pause.

This one day retreat will offer you a place to reflect on your work and practice – a space to re-focus and

Space to take care of yourself, so you can continue to care for others.


This event is open to anyone who is interested in having a space to reflect on their work or their work-life balance;  who need some space to think / reflect / pause / re-charge…

For those who work with people but do not get much space / support in their day-to-day work to consider specific situations / relationships…

Teachers; Social Workers; Ministers; Youth Workers; Counsellors; Therapists; Health Professionals; Self-Employed; Community Artists; really anyone…

You may be interested or you may have a friend / colleague who you think could benefit from this one day reflective practice retreat. Please feel free to share this information.


Cost is: £85 / £60 (student)

Or £75 / £50 early bird rate for bookings made before 14th Feb 2020.

Special Feb Offer – ‘2 places for £100’ (limited to two, on a first come basis).

You will receive an email once you have booked, please check your spam or junk mail in case  your confirmation/ information email has gone there.

Please get in touch for more information / to book – on this website or by emailing us on

Apr 2020 Inner Outings Retreat Flyer

Booking ended

Growing New Habits


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We often describe ourselves, humans, as ‘creatures of habit’. I think we can find a comfort and stability in our routines and habits, especially in times of busyness or turmoil. But what about when we want to add to / shift / or even radically change these habits? How do we build new ways of being and doing into our daily lives? How do we create new patterns in our thinking and new ‘go to’ things we do.

I have read that it takes 10,000 repetitions to master a skill and develop the associated neural pathways; or that on average it takes a person more than 2 months before a new habit/behaviour becomes automatic (depending on the person / behaviour / circumstances…). The advice is usually to start small. Give yourself achievable goals. Celebrate success. Manage expectations. Keep going, and try again.

At the start of this year I decided that I wanted to build in some new good habits. My caseload at work has been heavy and in order to take care of myself and be able to keep doing my job as well as possible, I knew I needed to find a way of helping myself do all those things I knew were good for me and I wanted to do, but was finding it hard to do on anything like a regular basis. So while everyone needs to find what works for them, I am a lover of lists, and so one satisfying list later (daily and weekly goals for a month in a lovely table printed out and stuck on the kitchen wall) I started. Everything is achievable, nothing is unpleasant, and I get a mini endorphin hit every time I tick off an item on that list. Getting to add a tick even motivates me to do something later on in my day.

I am now at the end of the second month. The second sheet may not be quite as fully ticked as the first month, but there are a lot of ticks and I can see which activities I am going to have to work harder at incorporating into my life. I can also say with a sense of achievement, as well as one of increased wellbeing, that overall I am feeling better about having more stretching and breathing and journaling and art-making and card-writing (to name a few) in my life. I am happy to be a creature settling into these habits.