I go on “retreat” about four times a year. A retreat can be in my workroom—with no appointments, no phone, no interruptions—for three days, one day, a half of a day, or it can be in another location such as the guest house cottage in Tyler, Texas or the guest house cottage in northern Wisconsin. Often, retreats are combined with a vacation, yet sometimes they are simply retreats for my spirit or writing retreats for my soul.
There are enormous benefits to going on retreat:
1. You carve out time for you—time where you don’t need to pay attention to other people’s needs. You focus on yourself and your inner world.
2. Time stands still, becomes irrelevant or is luxurious. Time is, however, simply a word and concept we apply to where we are or where we’ve been or are going. I love it when I lose track of time and don’t need to pay attention to a clock or someone’s watch. (I quit wearing a watch long ago.) I get in “soul time” or “spirit time” and it’s so wonderful that I don’t want to come out of it. It’s very nourishing.
3. I learn new things when sitting quietly with my inner-most self, when reading others’ writing, or when writing a new article or book myself. (I’ve written 4 books while in Wisconsin; they’re on my website under “products” if you’re curious about them.) It is a chance to grow in important ways.
4. It is delicious! I feel like I give myself something I truly need and want—far more important than some of the material items I latch onto in the “wanting” or “fetching” departments. I find inspiration, new knowledge, new awareness, and quantum movement. It is delicious!
5. I am more fun to be around after I emerge from a retreat. Taking care of myself always results in me having more capacity to be more caring, more fun, more interesting or peaceful when with others.
If I find myself getting crabby, one of the first things I need to ask myself is this: “How long has it been since you’re had a retreat?” So, I plan one or go on retreat right away.
O.K. Five is my favorite number, so I’ll stop here.
I hope you’ll consider going on “retreat.” Think of the thing that draws you—something that is healthy and nourishing. Perhaps it would be to go into nature and go fly fishing. Maybe you’re an artist and you love to paint or draw; retreat and do it! Or maybe you’re a poet and you love to have uninterrupted time to write. Or perhaps you love, love, love to swim. So you rent a cabin on a lake, and swim twice a day. Maybe you read and nap the rest of the time.
The point of a retreat is to honor your deepest self, spend time with him or her, and nourish what s/he loves most.
Maybe you want quiet and alone time to meditate. So maybe you’ll make a place in your home (or go to a hotel with room service) where you can be alone and uninterrupted. You spend time in contemplation and meditation. And then you eat when your stomach says its hungry—not when a clock announces meal time.
Whatever is your soul’s passion—make time in your life to go on retreat with it. You’ll be very glad you did.