The importance of retreating
Running my fingers down the hallway in the dim morning light, like braille to guide my steps I consider how we only half see things as they really are. But I know the hallway well so I am on auto-pilot, moving physically through my life without thought. It is not until the sun illuminates my path that I can see more clearly.
We can spend our lives like this half awake, half asleep, not seeing the big picture, getting caught up in a limited binary vision of our life.
Until we step out…..until we take stock and try to see our lives more globally, more holistically, a helicopter vision, seeing the trajectory of our life behind us, in front of us and all around us.
A retreat gives us the time, the focus, the softness to be with ourselves. A chance to assess what is important or understand what is bugging us. To shine a spotlight on our incessant internal dialogues, our values and our goals.
Jon Kabat-Zin’s book title ‘wherever you go, there you are’ reminds us that there is no such thing as escaping ourselves. The temptation is always there to ‘run away’ or ‘start afresh’ or ‘leave everything behind’ especially in testing times or when we have fallen. Physically removing ourselves from our lives can have some short term benefits however in the end we are still ourselves and carry our emotional, mental and personal luggage wherever we go.
We can take refuge by pausing in small daily retreats such as meditation, asana or long slow walks or by creating as special place in your home to just ‘be’.
By Gabrielle Harris
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