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Self Retreat Defined

True quiet means keeping still when the time has come to keep still, and going forward when the time has come to go forward.
-I Ching

We self retreat when we enact our need for quiet, for contemplation, for peace and balance and letting go and time alone with ourselves. Self retreat is time out. It is solo. It is intentional. It can be like dreaming while we are awake – letting all the images, noise, conversations, junk, beauty, and other effusions of this life experience settle like leaves on the ground of our minds so that we aren’t so caught up and unhinged by it all. When we are quiet for a period of time we can naturally come into balance.

I’m broadly defining a “retreat” as a period of loosely 3-4 hours or more of intentionally withdrawing into privacy and contemplation.

We can retreat at home (yes, even if we live with others), or elsewhere. It can last for a few hours or for several days or more.

It can involve formal meditation, or not.

I’ve set up this website to help people self retreat. In particular I share suggestions on how to create a retreat “container.” I draw on years of experience as a retreat manager, and as one who has played with many forms of self retreat at home.

I started playing with this site in late March 2020 as a support for those who need to shelter in place during the COVID-19 pandemic, but of course it’s relevant in all kinds of contexts.

I am part of a community of people who immediately recognized the possibility of this time  of sheltering in place as an opportunity for purposely retreating; we can take the reins of being asked or told to stay home, and turn it into a very fruitful experience of intimacy with ourselves.

I offer this for those who are less familiar with retreating and retreat practice, and I hope you find this site helpful.

Self Retreat: sequester yourself, deliberately shelter in place, set aside quiet alone time, set up a situation where you toggle between meditation and other activities for a period of time, get away from family and friends, put out the do not disturb sign, inner journey, 2 or more periods of meditation in a row, assert your right to private time and the act on that right, time alone in silence doing whatever you want, time for contemplation, prayer, any private activity undertaken to help you quiet your mind, ground, find greater balance and ease for a period of time more than one meditation sit. Nearly always you are not communicating with others, are not consuming media. You might simply space out for a period of time; that could work. You might take a long walk even, where again, there’s an intention to be silent and to let your thoughts just be. The absence of trying to control others or your own life. Inner exploration.