Turn a Negative Experience into an Opportunity for Growth

There is a philosophy that states every experience in our lives is an opportunity to learn and grow.

Whether you believe this or not, it certainly allows us to look within and decide how we choose to perceive these events, even if they feel overwhelmingly negative.

I recently spent five days at the Eden Health Retreat in the Currumbin Valley, Queensland. Prior to going, I expected that I would leave the retreat feeling rejuvenated, with a clear mind and healthier body.

Instead, I felt exhausted, in pain, with my brain in a fog.

Why did I feel that way?

There are many reasons the retreat did not meet my expectations. (And, unfortunately, I wasn’t alone in that experience).

But rather than dwell on the disappointment, I made a choice to identify the great things that happened.

And, find the positives in the negatives such as..

  • I connected with amazing men and women – and I know we’ll stay in touch in the future.
  • The valley and nature walks were breathtaking. To simply sit, breathe, and take in the view was awe-inspiring.
  • We were lucky to have great weather. The sun shone for the first time in weeks!
  • Putting aside other important factors that were missing, my three spa treatments were relaxing.

Although I will not return to this retreat, I choose to release my disappointment and value what I did gain from the experience.

What I learned from this experience

When we choose to spend time, and money, on a retreat such as this, it’s vital to be aware of our expectations and do all the necessary research into exactly what is on offer.

Twenty years ago, I visited this retreat and totally enjoyed the experience. It was exhilarating from the moment I walked in! From the individual consultation, to activities well supported by professionals, and interesting lectures and workshops for personal development and well-being.

But the retreat has changed, I have changed, and we simply weren’t the right fit.

Preparation is vital

From my experience, the Eden Health Retreat is a wonderful place for people who do not have any injuries. If your main aim is to work on your health through participating in gym and fitness activities in a beautiful environment, then this may be the right place for you.

But my physical health issues of lower disc bulges made it very difficult, firstly, to walk to my accommodation which was up a very steep hill. A no-go zone for my type of condition.

Secondly, all meals and most activities took place down the hill, which meant several trips back and forth.

And, thirdly, there was no personal consultation with an expert to discuss my health and goals. However, I did find out later you could book an appointment for a fee!

To be honest, if you live with any physical ailments, it is challenging to move around the property.

Should you have specific requirements, I advise you to put any accommodation requests in writing and ask to receive detailed information regarding your accommodation and all facilities.

Although, in this case, I did explain my restrictions and access needs, I felt the necessary consideration wasn’t given, which was unacceptable for a health retreat.

Be aware of your expectations

Always ask to receive a complete program about the activities you will participate in to ensure they are suitable from a physical aspect and align with your desires. In this case, macrame and pottery, (rolls of clay, no kiln nor wheel), were not my idea of learning about health and well-being.

Also, we only received our program for the day at dinner the night before. So, if a spa treatment clashed with an activity you were keen to attend, it was unlikely or difficult to change it.

When you spend a significant amount of money on a retreat, plus interstate flights, the time away from work, and any other expenses incurred, it is probably worth a phone call to clarify your expectations and make sure they match the activities on offer.

Most importantly, you need to know you will come away with further knowledge to support your physical, mental, and spiritual health and well-being.

Why am I sharing this story?

I want to offer comfort and understanding to anyone going through a time of disappointment, disillusionment, or feeling let down.

When our expectations have not been met, we can choose to find something of value in our experience. This will shed light on those darker thoughts and feelings that lower our vibration and keep our minds ruminating on the bad stuff.

Focussing on the negative will keep us stuck in that loop but, if we search for and acknowledge the positive take aways, we will rise to a place of gratitude that feeds our souls and gives us strength.

You, my friend, have an awesome mind and inner light. So please don’t let the external dim yours.

We can all choose to learn from our experiences and, in doing so, become wiser and more mindful for the next.

With love, Maria x

By Maria Lacey

An award-winning author of One Path, Many Lights, a spiritual and personal memoir. Maria writes about life, the adversity, learnings, musings and triumphs. A therapist, healer, performance artist and speaker Maria humorously states, “I am my greatest case study.” For more information about Maria and her work visit her website at www.marialacey.com.au.


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