To Retreat

 

To retreat is an act or process of withdrawing

I am recently back from guiding a woman’s retreat in the mountains. On my first day home, I easily fell into a slower pace with a pronounced reluctance to jump back into what I routinely do. Instead, I felt called to not only slowing down, but to using that space to clear and organize my outer environment. This happened quite naturally, with no planning on my part. It all felt like something within me needed a gesture in the outer world to reflect back to me what was happening within me.

That being, to clear out the old. To honor the new and what it is that wants to come in. In a phrase, to withdraw from what has been in order to open to something more.

To retreat is an act of personal empowerment. It is a visionary choice that says,“It is time I withdraw from what I always do in the service of regrouping.” To even do this though requires having the courage to recognize that your way of being may not be serving you, or the world. It is a choice to get a scheduled tune-up to get your life realigned. It is a head-clearing vision that says, there is so much more.

To step out of our lives is an act of sanity. It is to recognize that we may be off track without even knowing how or where or why. It is an intentional pause, and the long over- due sigh that allows for the release of what needs to go. It is the breath long held that finally, finally, gets a chance to release in order to allow the next breath in. And always, and in all ways, it is a homecoming.

The world is in need of taking a step back. Personally and collectively. A kind of stepping back and away from where we are charging head first into the abyss of silo-thinking, fear, rushed choices, and an ignoring of perspectives that would include all of the costs and collateral damage that come from making decisions at warp speed. But that would take not only courage, but humility, an open mind, and the wisdom to back off until a fuller picture could reveal itself.

Where in your Life are you pushing too hard to make something happen? Trying to get to a resolve prematurely. And how would retreat be the bravest, sanest, and most life-affirming thing you could do? You don’t have to go far. Your own back yard will do. A commitment to be with yourself for even a few minutes quietly will do. And a dedication to understanding what drives your Life will always do. For you. And for the rest of us.

In Whose Hands?

 

I have been thinking about health for more than thirty years. Reflecting on questions like, What is health? What supports it? What undermines it? In whose hands does it belong? It has been a wondrous journey. A frustrating one. An illuminating, maddening, and empowering one. One that even on my worst days I would not trade for it has brought me health, and it has brought me into contact with that which still needs healing. Both personally and collectively.

But more than anything else it has brought me to me. Creating and shoring up a kind of sovereignty that I did not even know existed. Or needed. One that emanates from the inside out, and transcends the lobbying, the marketing, the hidden agendas, the outdated and narrow-minded science, and most of all, the fears and conditioning of my past.

But it has been arduous. Requiring that I come up against the places where I have abdicated my responsibility to another person. Or system. Or limiting belief. Mine or others. Or…fill in the blank. For to explore and claim total responsibility for your own health and well-being is an intensely deep, nuanced, and all-encompassing endeavor. As in, no stone left unturned.

So, let’s turn over one of the heaviest and most difficult of all stones to turn over. Playing the victim card. This is the part of you that says someone else is to blame, and therefore is ultimately responsible for, what happens to me. This is the voice that says I have no power here. I cannot possibly stand up for myself, fight back, or choose another way. Most especially, whenever I feel threatened and am up against that which I perceive to be bigger and more powerful than me, because I am too weak to hold the line and keep myself from being violated, accepting what does not feel right to me, I hand my power over to another.

Caroline Myss writes, “The core issue of the victim is whether it’s worth giving up your sense of empowerment to avoid taking responsibility for your independence.” Health is a central and guiding aspect of your independence. Where are you abdicating your power in this regard?  This one won’t be easy to get to as we live in a world that embraces, encourages, and justifies victim mentality. Meaning that, because so many around us have given over their power, we have come to believe that this is normal. The way it is. We even go so far as to bond with others around how we are being F’d with.

So if you want something else, you will need to look more deeply. Much more deeply.

 

Sacred Contracts: Awakening Your Divine Potential by Caroline Myss