Create Your Own Pet Loss Meditation Retreat (2024)

Create your own pet loss meditation retreat this year. Take time to reconnect and heal outdoors as a pet memorial. Tips on planning your retreat and affirmations.

Katie Abendroth

4/22/20245 min read

What is a pet loss nature retreat?

Recently, I took a day to reflect on pet loss. I created my own pet loss meditation retreat, spent outdoors. My only agenda was to reflect and reconnect with nature. In my opinion, a pet loss meditation retreat has the following characteristics:

  1. Outdoor Space

  2. No activity agenda

  3. Time to reflect and heal

  4. Minimal distractions

If you have the time, or live near California (U.S.), I highly recommend taking a day trip to visit Nevada City, CA. About 20 miles from this charming town is a hermitage that features thousands of blooming tulips in April and numerous meditation or reflection spots.

The loss of animal companions can be the loss of a best friend. It is a deep grief to process and impacts every daily routine your shared. A pet loss meditation retreat is like the Japanese concept of forest bathing, or shinrin-yoku.

This practice encourages a healthy lifestyle and reduces technology burnout by reconnecting to nature.

Here you unplug and absorb the energy of nature in an outdoor setting that speaks to you. People process grief in different ways, but you don't need fancy wellness centers to create your own pet loss meditation retreat experience.

Keep reading to find out more about this specific location, tips on planning your own retreat, and ideas for reflection or meditation.

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Crystal Gardens Hermitage

Open in April just outside of Nevada City, CA, this hermitage is well worth the drive if you live nearby.

Crystal Hermitage features thousands of tulips in full bloom in April. This garden is located on a vast property run by the Ananda Janaka Foundation. I have no affiliation in this organization, but they own the property.

This location also features organized and overnight retreats described here.

Things to Know Before You Go:

  1. You need a vehicle to drive here. It is about 20 minutes outside of Nevada City, CA.

  2. Entrance for day is $20 (cash or credit card accepted). You can buy tickets in advance online.

  3. PETS ARE NOT ALLOWED, so this is an ideal place to reflect on the loss of a pet.

  4. I had NO internet service on this property.

  5. Hours: April 10:00am-5:00pm

  6. The gardens require walking and steps. This is not handicap accessible.

  7. There is a bus shuttle from parking lots to entrance of gardens.

Plan a pet loss nature retreat
Plan a pet loss nature retreat

Planning your own retreat

If you are looking to unplug and recharge during a season of pet loss or grief, you don't have to go far. It does not cost any money or need to be an organized grief support group. You can create a pet loss meditation retreat on your own.

I recommend the following tips to maximize your chance for reflection, wellness, and self-care.

  1. Take your time

The first step is take your time. During times of intense grief, your body and brain are using a lot of energy (called "cognitive energy") just to get through the day. This is why grief often makes you feel like your energy levels are at an all time low.

So devote 2-3 hours if possible, for a healing retreat experience. As animal lovers at heart, you may enjoy pausing to notice wildlife in your space.

  1. Go beyond your backyard

Finding peace after the death of a pet comes from reflection and processing your grief. A pet loss meditation retreat is best done in solitude or with a family member who understands the grief over your furry friend.

  1. Seek solitude

Finding peace after the death of a pet comes from reflection and processing your grief. A pet loss nature retreat is best done in solitude or with a family member who understands the grief over your furry friend.

This experience should be quiet, soothing, and gentle to your mind. While it is a good idea to be still and practice breathing exercises to lower blood pressure, some people prefer activity. You can also find solitude through outdoor activities like walking through lush gardens, drawing or painting outdoors, or practicing tai chi.

  1. Unplug

One thing I liked most about the Crystal Gardens experience was that I had no cell phone service. We all spend so much time plugged in online, that our brains can relax fully when we are not tethered to our device.

For this quality time of 2-3 hours, put your phone away and seek to unplug from technology so that you can plug into nature's healing energy.

  1. Affirm

Whether you pray, meditate, or reflect on affirmations, focus on sending positive energy towards your pet and your time together.

In the next section, find 5 positive affirmations that you can use to reflect, pray, or meditate.

All of these mantras or positive affirmations keep your focus on the joy of your relationship with your beloved pet. Event though you are experiencing pet bereavement, positive affirmations strengthens neural pathways that boost your outlook.

Plan a pet loss nature retreat
Plan a pet loss nature retreat

Pet Loss Guided Meditation Topics

I remember the love most of all

Close your eyes, or soften your gaze. Breathe in and out slowly 10 times. As you breathe in, focus on the fresh air traveling in your nose, through your airway, and filling your lungs. As you exhale, repeat or reflect on one of the following phrases.

The repetition and simplicity of this exercise will help you feel calm, reducing anxiety, and help you feel centered, with a fresh outlook.

I hold my grief gently

Thank you for choosing me

I remember you with joy

I love myself as you loved me

Save these tips for later:

As you work through the stages of grief, continue to focus on the joy you had with a beloved friend. This strengthens neural pathways associated with positive feelings.

Acknowledge the loss of your animal companion, but you can also plan for future tributes to them. This can take the form of a special project or memorial service if you have not had one.

As you work through the difficult time of pet loss grief, continue to focus on the good times that made your journey together beautiful.