INSIGHTS: Retreat, Restore, and Live the Future You Desire
Christine Chen
July 14, 2021
Deborah Eden Tull takes a moment to slow down in nature

Do your actions today reflect your personal vision for the future? If the answer is no, there’s one thing that could be standing in your way: your daily pace. Does each day feel like a race, or is conscious action plentiful and present?

“We restore ourselves by slowing down and paying attention,” says Deborah Eden Tull, author, founder of Mindful Living Revolution, and a Zen meditation teacher. “When we slow down enough to listen to our bodies, we can respond consciously.”

These concepts are critical to women’s health, especially after 16 months of pandemic life. Recent reports and studies confirmed that women suffered more stress, depression, and anxiety disproportionately during the pandemic by absorbing additional duties in caregiving and housework. By some accounts, the responsibility and output was three times as much as men (for a heterosexual relationship). The pandemic impact is present each day, but can also carry forward into the future.

In her upcoming workshop, Tull calls out to women to tackle the challenges of slowing down, carving out personal time, and creating actions that will shape a desired future. 

Her workshop, Relational Mindfulness, Power, and the Deep Feminine: An Experiential and Restorative Retreat for Women, is August 30 - September 3, 2021. Through restorative practices, mindfulness, dance, ritual, and more, she guides a women-centric workshop to create more balance and restore a life that’s less draining and more nourishing.

Tull shared some thoughts on how to notice signs of imbalance, and offered tools for restoration.

Christine Chen: Do you think it is a critical time of transition for us, as a society? 

Deborah Eden Tull: As ripe a time of transition as humanity has ever known. There is a yearning for wholeness beyond the busyness, division, and polarization that humanity has invested in for so long. As we recognize the intersectionality of the social and ecological challenges we face today, people are waking up to the importance of engaging in both the inner and outer work required to heal the myth of separation. And to remember who we actually are. 

CC: Would you describe this time as an opportunity to transform our life, family, and work? How? 

DET: Spiritual traditions across the world recognize “dark times” — periods which appear as the absence of light, as a profound invitation for growth. In times of perceived darkness, our familiar comfort and sense of security become disrupted, and we find ourselves navigating the unknown. While it can feel like there is nothing to hold onto while swimming through the mysterious tides of change, it is because we have nothing familiar to hold onto that we can open our hearts to fresh perception. These moments can become the most potent opportunities for insight, healing, and transformation that we have ever experienced. 

CC: Many people suffer from burnout and fatigue from chronic productivity. How do we restore ourselves? 

DET: Attention is the most subtle form of love there is. Our body is our natural feedback system — for taking care of ourselves, each other, and our planet. Collectively, we must also let go of conditioning, perpetuated through generations, that values speed, productivity and reaching the end goal over attunement, slowing down, and honoring the process of life. 

CC: What are the key signs we are not living in balance and not giving ourselves the opportunity to restore?

DET: It can sound selfish to prioritize restoration, but it is the least selfish act we can engage in. How we treat ourselves and how we treat our world are one and the same. When we let ourselves become depleted, off-centered, stressed, and run down, it impacts how we treat one another and how we treat our planet. The practice of presence allows us to recognize the first signs of depletion in ourselves and make a more conscious choice in that moment. 

We might notice our body quietly nudging us that it is time to pause...slow down...or rest.  We might notice the subconscious motivation to keep going, to ignore our fatigue (mentally or physically) — and push ourselves.  If we are observant, we might notice the initial moment that stress begins to build before we become overwhelmed. We might also notice the moment we shift from feeling present and fluid in our bodies to rigidity or constriction. We can allow our bodies to be our teachers for learning to balance productivity with attunement.

CC: How do we connect these dots to the future we envision for ourselves? 

DET: As our world changes physically and socio-politically, as more and more people feel uprooted by global uncertainty, more people are ready to dream a bigger dream for humanity. We long for greater depth and for knowing ourselves as part of the inter-dependent nexus of nature’s intelligence. We long for an alternative to the hyper-active, hyper-urban consumer lifestyle. We long for a more equitable world. We long for restoration and the sustained quality of presence that affirms our belonging to ourselves, each other, and our planet.

CC: Does a consistent practice open the door for us to flourish? How?

DET: Absolutely. Meditation is a practice for seeing clearly, from the heart. Engaged meditation dissolves our fixed sense of self and the limiting beliefs we have invested in, allowing us to experience a more awake, fluid, responsive, and collaborative relationship with life.

When we stop giving our life force to limiting beliefs, we reclaim a tremendous amount of vitality, resiliency, courage, and compassion. We step beyond the small self and can give ourselves wholeheartedly to both personal and collective transformation.

Learn more about Deborah Eden Tull and register for her workshop here.

Deborah Eden Tull in movement at Joshua Tree National Park


Christine Chen

Christine Chen is the host of Esalen Live! and Senior Content Producer. Christine is a two-time Emmy winning journalist, a best-selling author, California native, and yoga teacher's teacher (ERYT500, ERYT300, YACEP) on Esalen Faculty.