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.