After experiencing two of Dr. Joe Dispenza’s week-long meditation retreats, I wanted to share my thoughts and tips on what to expect and how to prepare!
My introduction to Dr. Joe’s work began about two years ago — when one of my favorite transformational speakers, Kyle Cease, shared a video of Dr. Joe talking about why it’s so hard to change our habits. Dr. Joe’s scientific explanation about how the brain works and how our subconscious mind can sabotage our efforts to change our beliefs and habits rang so true for me personally.
For years, I had known that reprogramming my subconscious was the key to changing my unhealthy habits, but this seemed like such an impossible task. I had tried hypnotherapy, meditation, plant medicine, positive affirmations — and while while those things were all beneficial in their own way, I still felt like my conscious mind and my subconscious mind were on two completely different planets.
It wasn’t until I spent a week at one of Dr. Joe Dispenza’s meditation retreats that I really began to understand what was holding me back in my life. I felt such a significant change after my first week-long event in Vancouver, Canada, that I booked a second week-long retreat six months later (which coincided with my 40th birthday!) and convinced Scott and my sister to come with me!
Dr. Joe Dispenza Week-Long Meditation Retreat
What to Expect
Dr. Joe has several events; one-day events, Progressive Workshops, cruises, advanced week-long retreats and Advanced Follow Ups. I personally have done a one-day event and two week-long advanced retreats.
Dr. Joe’s events are constantly evolving and no two events are ever exactly the same, but this will give you a pretty good idea of what to expect if you’re thinking of booking a week-long retreat.
With 800 to 2,500 people at many of his events, this is a big group. A few weeks before each event, I received an email with my team leader’s name and the name of my team. In Vancouver, I was on Team Caribou and in Portland I was on Team Marigold. The names of the teams change at each event.
If you’re traveling to the event with someone you know, they recommend that you allow the quantum field to choose whether or not you’re on the same team. Scott and I did not request to be on the same team, but we ended up on the same team. However, we chose not to sit together every day.
Part of the reason people go to these events is to get outside of their comfort zone in order to change their subconscious programs. We felt like we would get more out of the event and meet more people by choosing not to sit together.
I love that each team feels small enough to get to know each member and that you all sit in a group together every day. You will inevitably form a bond with your group members and team leaders. They also have a team meeting at the end of each day for announcements and questions. This is when people might share an experience they had or ask a question about something they experienced in meditation.
Plan to be surprised! There’s no schedule ahead of time, so if you are a planner, now is the time to let go of your expectations. Some days you’ll be up at 3am and end at 7pm, some days you’ll start at 6am and end at 7pm and some days you might go all night.
There are scheduled breaks — plus a breakfast and lunch break — and the time really does fly by because it’s split between lectures and meditations. You definitely won’t be looking at the clock.
The meditations are always different, but you can usually count on doing several Blessing of the Energy Centers meditations, a couple of Pineal Gland meditations (4+ hours), at least one Kaleidoscope meditation and a couple of walking meditations.
Breakfast and lunch is included on most days of the retreat along with drinks at each break. It’s buffet style and there’s always plenty of healthy and light options. It really makes the cost of the retreat worth it when you only have to pay for dinner.
Each week-long retreat is usually hosted at a hotel and they block out the rooms for the event. However, those rooms book up quick so a good portion of people end up staying nearby. It’s obviously much easier to stay at the host hotel, but also more expensive.
In Vancouver, I booked a room at an Airbnb and in Portland, I found a hotel within a 5-minute walk from the event. Both times, I paid less than half of what it would have cost to stay at the host hotel.
The current week-long retreat cost is $1899. Hotel is not included in this price.
What To Pack
Sleep Mask: I recommend bringing a sleep mask for the meditations. I’ve tried a few and have found this one to be the most comfortable and inexpensive.
Yoga Mat: A lot of people bring yoga mats to lay on during the meditations. The ground doesn’t always feel the cleanest and it’s nice to have a cushion. I love this yoga mat because it comes with a carrying strap and it’s compact for travel.
Blanket: I HIGHLY recommend bringing a soft, warm travel-sized blanket for the meditations — it can get cold in that room!
Comfortable Clothes: Bring anything you will be comfortable in — yoga pants, sweatshirt, and plenty of layers.
One of the things that really sets Dr. Joe’s retreats apart from others I have attended is that he goes above and beyond to create new methods of overcoming your body. It’s incredibly easy to stay centered and focused during a meditation with no distractions, but we all know that when life throws us challenges, that’s when our automatic programs throws the kitchen sink at us.
He’s created a multitude of challenge exercises so event guests can practice staying heart-focused in a challenging situation. He wants people to learn how to do this work with their eyes open — which is something that is incredibly useful when you head home, back to your day-to-day life.
I won’t give away any of the specifics about the challenge exercises he’s done at previous events because part of the fun is not knowing. It’s great practice for stepping into the unknown in your regular life.
Read more: 10 Ways Breathwork Can Change Your Life
My Transformational Experiences
During my first retreat, I spent A LOT of the time learning how to let go, overcoming my body, and releasing emotions that had been stored in my body for decades. When I had mentioned that my conscious mind and my subconscious mind felt like they were on two completely different planets — that is an understatement.
My subconscious mind was so hidden from my conscious mind that I had suppressed 90% of my childhood memories. About six months before this retreat is when I finally had come to the realization that I had been sexually abused as a very young child. This information was still very fresh for me as I went into my first week-long retreat.
Dr. Joe’s work has a way of getting people in touch with their subconscious unlike any other meditation technique I had ever experienced and I spent my first retreat coming up against my biggest fears, the darkest parts of myself, and allowing all of that stuck energy to move through me.
Oftentimes when you release energy that’s been stuck in your body for years — or in my case, decades — you feel that emotion as it leaves. I felt terrified during some of my meditations, but I also felt a level of love that I didn’t even know was possible, which is what gave me the courage to stick with the meditations even when they felt uncomfortable.
After my first retreat, I continued doing my meditations daily and felt a renewed love for life. I went on my second retreat less than six months later and had the most amazing heart-opening experiences.
These events can shift massive amounts of energy and after my second retreat, things began to fall apart in my outer world and I felt extremely exhausted for months. The circumstances at that time in my life were no longer a vibrational match for my energy. Even though I knew this was happening, I went through a grieving process and had to learn to let go of everything familiar to me.
It was not an easy process and I know I made it harder on myself than it had to be, but my past self had such a hard time letting go and trusting the unknown, that it fought to stay in its known reality.
Now, about six months after my second event, I feel like a completely different person. It’s so much easier for me to trust that things are always working out FOR me.
All of these external and internal changes inspired me to make a couple of really big moves — including physically moving somewhere closer to nature and the forest. I now see endless possibilities instead of what might go wrong. I used to wake up and have to force myself to feel happy to be alive and now I’m actually excited to get out of bed. In the past, I looked for things outside of me to make me happy and now I’m able to feel grateful for every moment.
These are huge wins for me. I realized about five years ago that chasing external circumstances would never fulfill me and I’d always want more, but I couldn’t figure out how to change that program that had been playing on repeat since I was a child.
I’m so grateful for Dr. Joe Dispenza’s work. He’s figure out a way to combine science and spirituality in a way that makes sense to the masses and he has created a formula that has helped thousands of people change their lives in infinite ways.
Ongoing Support & Integration
I honestly felt like the ongoing support after a retreat was phenomenal. The team leaders each create a WhatsApp group for everyone to connect or to ask questions. There is also a Facebook group for previous event attendees (which is extremely active and helpful!). Every month, Dr. Joe does a Facebook live for everyone in the group.
I recommend finding a local Dr. Joe group if there is one in your area. We’re so lucky that we found a fairly active group in San Diego and we have met so many people through this group that now feel like family to us.
If you’re thinking of booking a meditation retreat with Dr. Joe Dispenza, you will not be disappointed. There’s a tiny part of me who wants to keep this community all to myself because of how difficult it is to get tickets to his week-long events, but the new me realizes that there’s no such thing as lack and there’s plenty of love to go around!
** For those of you who want to dip your toes into guided meditation, I have created a virtual meditation retreat. Join us if you’re looking to reconnect to your inner wisdom, find clarity, and release what’s been holding you back from finding true inner freedom.
Our online retreat includes guided meditation, breathwork and written exercises to help you change habits at a deep level, release stuck emotions, and become aware of your self-sabotaging subconscious beliefs. You can find out more at The Unfolding Retreat.