Be Mindful Wherever You Happen to Be + A Mindful Retreat in Italy

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

By Sheryl Kayne

Be mindful whereever you happen to be

Mindfulness: You can only go into the unknown when you have made friends with yourself first. ~ Pema Chödrön

My mind is my personal control tower. The goal is to keep it healthy, thriving, learning, and yearning so that I realize my full potential, manage stress, am most productive, and fully tap into my creativity. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, we must maintain brain activity to increase its vitality and build brain cell reserves and connections.

How? Play brain and memory games, Sudoku or the daily crossword puzzle, learn new skills, and travel, exposing yourself to new and different experiences and situations. What I love most about volunteer and immersion travel is engaging in programs, activities, people, places and opportunities that have the potential to expand my mind, change my path, perspective, attitude, thinking and behavior. We expand our minds by participating in experiences to connect where we are with what we would like to do for ourselves and others, such as:

  • Mindfulness and meditation reduce stress
  • Connecting with community and people wherever you visit
  • Learn new skills
  • Explore interpersonal relationships
  • Self-Help thyself

Toby Israel, Ph.D., author of Some Place Like Home, says “Traveling helps us look at our lives from a distance — both physically and metaphorically. And when you do that, you’re able to see (and understand and relate to) it a lot more clearly.”

Travelers are less fearful, happier, healthier, and more in-tune with who we are, where we are, and what we are doing. My motto is: Prepare thyself for ‘Happy Trails Ahead,’ leading to feeling fully alive, awake and changing my life.

Mindfulness retreat in Italy
Mindfulness retreat in Italy

Mindfulness is being fully in the moment, present and aware of where you are and what you are doing rather than concerned with what is going on around you. When you bring awareness to what you are directly experiencing via your senses, or to your state of mind via your thoughts and emotions, you are being mindful. Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Medical School found that training the brain to be mindful remodels its physical structure. The technique sounds too simple to be effective — learning how to observe the present moment, allowing thoughts to come and go without judgement, and simply returning over and over again to the present moment. Don’t be fooled! With practice it works and is so popular and easy to learn, there are numerous options to receive training from five-star luxury retreats to online courses.

A Mindful Retreat in Assisi, Italy

Mindfullness Retreat in Castello Petrara, Assisi, Italy
Castello Petrata

Mindfulness is simply being mindful (fully aware) and present in the moment. This Mindfulness Travel Retreat combines mindful training with the Elements of Mindful Movement — Qigong, Yoga, Chi Walking and Chi Running— in Castello Petrata, perched high upon a plateau outside of Assisi, Italy. Practitioners learn sitting meditation, body scanning, three step breathing space, compassion meditation, unguided awareness, and examining the ego structure. Days include visiting ancient villages, hiking, and connecting with the local community along with mindful training, spa services, and educational classes that focus on mindfulness movement, self-compassion, and mindfulness skills for your personal health and wellness.
If there’s any place on earth to become more aware of one’s senses, moments and breath, it is Assisi.

For more information: Mind-Body Wellness,, 828-712-8421; Linda Cammarata, Activities Director, 828-398-4680; One week $2450 double occupancy includes classes, breakfast and dinner, accommodations, and local tours. Airfare is not included.


  • Sheryl Kayne

    Sheryl Kayne is a writer, editor, educator, and motivational speaker. She is the author of travel guidebooks. Immersion Travel USA: The Best & Most Meaningful Volunteering, Living & Learning Excursions was awarded The Society of American Travel Writers Foundation’s Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Award for Best Travel Guidebook 2009 and Volunteer Vacations Across America was named on Amazon’s list of best new travel books 2010. Kayne travels extensively and works and volunteers where she visits. She was the writer-in-residence at the Everglades National Park, Homestead, Fla. and a writing fellow at the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation in Taos, N.M. She has appeared on NPR, CNN, CBN, ABC Weekend Evening News, Lifetime Television Network, and MTV, among others. Visit Sheryl at:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.