In advance of our retreat to Chile, we wanted to shine a spotlight on the experts that will be attending and leading us through our own self-discovery process! First up, Susan Piver, a New York Times best selling author and renowned meditation expert. We highlighted her Ted Talk on meditation here, but wanted to ask her a few questions about what excites her about this upcoming retreat, and how one can prepare for it!
For someone who has never tried meditation, what are some of the first benefits someone might experience from giving it a go?
I think the biggest benefit for a new meditator (or, come to think of it, for an old meditator too) is an increased sense of gentleness and love toward one’s self. I don’t know about you, but there is someone in my head who is UNBELIEVABLY JUDGMENTAL. There is a steady stream of demeaning critique: you could have done that better…you’re too old/young/fat/skinny/awful…who do you think you are…etc, etc. It’s hard to overstate the deleterious impact of this voice. In meditation, you don’t banish this voice particularly, at least not right away. Rather, you soften toward this part of yourself that is so insecure, fragile, and wounded that s/he has to criticize your every move. From this softening, kindness and courage emerge. But only for most of the people over the past 2500 years who have meditated consistently. :-)
What excites you the most about hosting the retreat in the Atacama Desert?
It is SO HARD TO CHOOSE. The magic, beauty, and power of the Desert immediately come to mind. What better place could there be for self-discovery than this? Of course, I’m super thrilled to work with Garance and the wonderful mystic, Tashi Santos, to create the circumstances for joyful transformation. And I really look forward to meeting all the extraordinary women who are gathering together for this once-in-a-lifetime event.
What do you hope people take away from this retreat?
I hope people will leave this retreat knowing that the space of true love and life-changing inspiration is always with them—and that all they have to do to access it is relax.
How should people prepare for the retreat? Can they come as they are? Or is a previous knowledge necessary?
No previous knowledge (or meditation experience) is necessary. In fact, the less, the better! One of the beautiful things about retreat is that, no matter how much or little meditation/spiritual experience you have, we all begin from the beginning, together.