Rejoining Yourself: sensations felt after my first meditation retreat

Ana Briard
5 min readDec 12, 2018

To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world – Freya Stark

Conquering my fears, was not easy. Proving to myself that I can, was challenging. Stopping to listen to the people telling me that it is too dangerous for a woman, was more difficult than I thought. And not to mention the numbers of eyebrows raised and questions that were thrown related to religion and my ‘possible’ change at the hearing of the boogie-“meditation retreat”!

Maybe it is funny for you to read that. Maybe in your society, a woman traveling alone is already a normal thing. Or maybe, it just runs in your family, and it is not such a big deal. For me, and for the place, I am coming from, oh well…things can get a little bit more complicated.


Sensations …

The benefits outnumbered all explanations I had to give, and the lack of confidence that I was shown.

I’ve tried to understand beforehand how I would feel after coming back, how significant the transformation will be, or if there will be any transformation at all.

Recalling now the discussions I had with my good friends and family members that saw this decision as a logical and ordinary path in one’s development, I am here to give you a glimpse into that sensation.

And maybe convince you to take the leap, and go.

1. Increasing your self-confidence

Don’t believe me? Ok, then try for a week to take EVERY SINGLE DECISION in your life without asking anyone’s opinion and take full responsibility for whatever the result might be. Starting to get me now? 🙂

2. Developing an inner peace, a strength of your mind, an equilibrium between your body and your soul

I must admit that it was the first time in my life when I felt so peaceful, so contented, so…me.

I think it must have been the result of the mix between traveling and meditation. It felt so good as if I was one with life itself. As if my mind was in a dimension, in which all that had importance was me. As if there were solutions for any problem, and I was there ready to face them all.

It is a hard feeling to describe but for sure one that I will never forget and strive to keep it.

3. Accepting no more nonsense

Do you remember those times when you were ignoring those that made you feel bad? That you thought it might not be worth the struggle?

After being out there, alone, by yourself, with no one to ‘protect’ you from all the nasty words and behaviors and nowhere else to run, you will want to fight back that rudeness.

And the best part of it? Because of your inner peace, you won’t even care about what grimaces the person will do, or if they get upset or hurt. You will be so much stronger now. You are ready to take up an argument in a straightforward, calm and carefree, thus polite way. The other will be surprised. Maybe angry. But you can stand up for your beliefs now.

4. Accepting no more compromises

You wanted to go left, but you went right because everyone went in that direction? That’s a thing of the past!

The experience of having to sort out things by yourself will make you get used to being provided the best reasons and motives before to take a decision. You will be asking yourself many times why this and not that. Why left and not right. Why blue and not red.

Remember, we know by now that we are entirely responsible for 99% of the results in our life. (there are exceptions which we all wish they never happen to anyone!)

Will you still be ready to do things you don’t want to? I thought so.

5. Sharpening your self-analyzing power

That’s exactly how I got to write this article 🙂

Being away for some time, all by yourself, pushes you to think more about yourself and less about the others.

How do you feel? Was your decision right? Should you have taken that path? Or maybe another? Do you have a stomach ache? Why did you eat that much? Why did you go to eat at that restaurant? Was it a wise decision? Why yes? Why not? Should you have taken a break and rest? Why is that? Should you have answered in another manner to that person? Do you feel ok with that? Do you feel ashamed? Do you feel proud? Should you have spoken with that person? Or maybe better you haven’t? And the list can continue.

The idea is that you start concentrating on your actions and that’s when you learn what it is right for you, and it is not. What you like and what you don’t. What you want and what you don’t.

6. Becoming more tolerant, understanding and compassioned

I’m not saying here that you will transform in a philanthropist overnight.

But for sure, seeing different cultures, habits, ways of life and thinking, being put into the position of taking fast and maybe wrong decisions, perhaps hurting people with your words without any intention, being misunderstood because you were not speaking the language, will all have an impact on you next time you rush to judge someone.

Who knows? Maybe you’ll stop judging others. We all have an untold story that dictates our behaviors, right?

7. Acting toward your goals

After you’ve self-analyzed and felt the boost of confidence in YOUR OWN powers, you’ll be more ready to start acting towards YOUR OWN goals.


Because you won’t allow anyone’s mean words to affect you. Because you won’t compromise and put other’s plans before yours unless it is meaningful for you. Because you will push forward knowing that you love what you do. Because you will understand and be tolerant towards others in this process. But also, because you will not allow anyone to stand against your ideas.

Consider all this just a small part of your adventure. Whatever you will feel, it will be your own personal story to tell. What it is sure is that travel, with all its ups and downs, is a unique experience. It transforms your life in tremendously different ways, making it so much richer.

🌺 How did you feel after your first solo travel? After your first meditation experience? 🌺


Following my ikigai

Originally published at on December 12, 2018.



Ana Briard

Founder of @avoteca, writer, travel wonderer, freelance lawyer for freelancers