All my adult life I’ve been someone who retreats.
A retreater, if you will.
a (1) : an act or process of withdrawing especially from what is difficult, dangerous, or disagreeable (2) : the process of receding from a position or state attained <the retreat of a glacier> b (1) : the usually forced withdrawal of troops from an enemy or from an advanced position (2) : a signal for retreating c (1) : a signal given by bugle at the beginning of a military flag-lowering ceremony (2) : a military flag-lowering ceremony
2: a place of privacy or safety : refuge
3: a period of group withdrawal for prayer, meditation, study, or instruction
(Erm. I’m talking about #2 and #3, though #1 could apply sometimes.)
Retreating is a way to:
- Recharge my batteries by not having other people around (much as I love my work as a therapist, it can be intense or draining at times)
- Get space to work through personal issues (yes, therapists get them too)
- Fill the creative well
- Enjoy nature
- Tap into the spiritual
- Have time to wander, ponder, and truly experience NOW
- Work on enjoyable projects
How to get the most out of your retreat:
- Have an idea of what you hope to get out of it. Set an intention. The clearer you can be about this the more likely it will be fulfilled.
- Pack special clothes that signal your subconscious mind that this is a special time apart from normal life. (I have a beautiful, butter-yellow flannel shirt I have been wearing on my retreats for years. I don’t wear it otherwise, and just seeing it in my closet makes me feel good)
- Go somewhere special. I am always on the lookout for an inexpensive, beautiful setting to retreat in. Exploring and experiencing different locations is part of the joy of retreating- or use one special place and create memories there.
- Bring comforts. I bring music in the theme I’m hoping to elicit, a scent candle, projects and art supplies, nice lotion for bedtime, good quality food to eat.
- Turn off technology (if you can).
A word about group retreats for yoga, writing, therapy,art, cooking etc. I've been to some great ones, and they can really help break through a stuck spot. I don't really consider them a retreat, though, because usually you are on a schedule and hard at work with whatever the agenda is.
I like making my own agenda, and like fine wine, one's own company improves with age.
Have you ever taken a personal retreat? Would you consider doing it?