The Power of Retreat

"Nowhere can man find a quieter or more untroubled retreat than in his own soul".  
Marcus Aurelius  
Earlier this summer I wrote a piece about planting alfalfa, taking the time to replenish ourselves, body, mind and spirit. I took my own advice and retreated for six weeks, removing myself physically from all the distractions home and office offer.
Retreating provides the opportunity to "be with" yourself, especially when the retreat center is not a spa environment, where you can distract yourself with pedicures, electronic communications, massages or work outs. The kind of retreating about which I am speaking offers the basic necessities of shelter, food, great instructions, with the added benefit of nature, and silence.
Retreating with little or no distractions supports us to begin noticing how tightly wound we are, while offering the potential to untie the many knots that hold us in place, preventing us from experiencing true happiness.
Years of habituated actions and reactions do not easily loosen. We are very committed to our point(s) of view, even when our thinking is damaging. It took courage and faith to sit day after day, hour after hour, following the instructions provided by my teacher, Michael Gregory (
When we think of retreating many of us experience a a sense of loss, a feeling that somehow we've failed to achieve some goal, or we think that by retreating we're  giving up our power to something or someone. We don't like feeling vulnerable. Even when we do see the value of retreating, we fight, using arguments of the overall cost in terms of lost resources (time, money, people) required. We fight what is best for us because we're afraid that in retreating we may uncover or discover what truly matters to us right now. And all we have is right now!
What truly matters to us, heart and soul, has little to do with being right, or with winning. That insight when juxtaposed with how you live currently will be the rub you wish to avoid. So turn up the volume on the television. Pour another drink. Pretend that everything in your world is fine. Stand your ground!
By turning away you may be losing what truly matters to you. A simple "retreat" strategy could be just what the doctor ordered.

Posted on August 13, 2013 and filed under August 2013.