Sometimes the best way to freshen your attitude is by stepping away from your everyday routine.
Posted in , Oct 20, 2017
The author Albert Camus once said, “In order to understand the world, one has to turn away from it on occasion.” In other words, the occasional retreat is good for the spirit.
For the first time in my life, I recently went on a retreat. It was a three-day yoga retreat, and we practiced yoga twice a day. The “time on the mat,” as yoga people love to say, was expansive, strengthening, grounding, and relaxing. But as meaningful and enjoyable as the yoga was, I was renewed just as much by the rest of the trip, which gave me a chance to spend quality time with myself.
The retreat was in a small beach community not far from where I live. In October, the sun shone brilliantly, but most of the tourists and beach-walkers had gone home. I took a bike ride with fellow retreaters, and a long walk with my oldest friend—myself. I wrote and read and thought. I ate an ice cream cone in the sun all alone.
I didn’t have to head to a remote desert or soaring mountaintop to access the sense of peaceful “away-ness.” I doubt I would have agreed to go if the trip had required full retreat from the world. But the freedom I felt having chosen to be somewhere where my sole purpose was to take a genuine respite from my work, home, and family routines was profound. I felt restored and re-energized when I returned home.
I mentioned that the retreat wasn’t far from where I live. I meant that literally—but also metaphorically. The fact is, while full physical retreat is important, a retreat mentality can be found even within your everyday life. For some people, declaring a few hours each day to be away from social media could provide that sense of mini-retreat. An early morning solo walk, preferably in a natural space, could do it. Or a special corner of the house where everyone knows you, your book, and your thoughts are to be left alone.
Where do you turn to find that sense of “retreat?”
In 2001, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I wasn’t a good candidate for chemo. I took tamoxifen instead and gave my trouble to God—just as Dr. Peale suggested in his book, "Thought Conditioners". Since then I’ve remained cancer free. -Guideposts Magazine reader