Why I Retreat


Once a year, I like to go on a solo retreat.

By a solo retreat, I mean time in seclusion where I spend three or four days totally alone without anything to distract me from myself.

No computer, no TV, no phone, and no contact with people.

In the past, I’ve gone on several retreats where it involved being with many other people, but found it much too distracting for why I went there in the first place…to be silent.

A little over a year ago, I found the perfect retreat spot. It was a Franciscan Hermitage that was tucked away in a secluded area in the county. There were five beautiful little cabins (hermitages) sporadically spaced throughout the woods.

(the photo above was the hermitage I stayed in)

One of the requirements to take the retreat, was that there could only be a single occupancy in each hermitage, so I knew this would be the place for me.

Since I don’t have a car, someone was nice enough to dropped me off and then picked me up four days later.

I took one book, a journal, one music CD to mediate with, and enough food to last me for four days.

All the bed linens and towels were supplied.

It just so happened, that on the weekend I had chosen to take my retreat, no one else was renting a hermitage, so I was completely alone.

It was heaven.

Several people have asked me if being alone and silent for four days was difficult.

Not at all. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Yet coming from a city, the silence was almost deafening.

You see, taking the time to retreat does several things for me….

It allows me to pull away from all the things that distract me from my feelings, because when I’m alone and silent…my feelings have no where to go, except to be felt.

I spent much of the four days just sobbing, and it was for no particular reason, other than I had forgotten what it was like to FEEL myself.

Taking a retreat also allows me to spend quality time reconnecting to nature, which helps to ground me. I’m one of those people who enjoys hugging trees, so I did a lot of tree-hugging.

And I found that within those four days, once I was able to start feeling myself again; along with being within nature, I was able to experience the main reason why I came on the retreat…

…to commune with my spirit.

Through everyday life, I will sometimes loose touch with my spirit, which causes me to loose direction, however, when I’m alone and silent…I have nothing else to do except hear it’s voice.

Taking the time to retreat is by no means a way to escape the world, but rather a means for me to deeply rediscover…

…my purpose in the world.

35 comments

  1. Hi Ron,
    I can understand your motivation behind a retreat.
    Modern life is so hard on each of us with it's demands and also it's distractions.
    It can be hard to get in touch with what you are feeling.

    In Europe, the same type of lodgings are also proposed by some orders for those wanting to just leave the world.

    I'm so glad that you could go and connect with yourself.
    Got room for another hug ?
    ((((((( )))))))

    Bye for now, my friend.

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  2. So when are we leaving???? OH drats and darn, that's right, I can't go... this is all about YOU. Just YOU!
    HOW WONDERFUL!!!!!
    We should all make time for ourselves. Okay, not everyone can get away for a few days, or even completely by themselves, but just to find a little time to reconnect. Living in a big noisey city without much time or ways to escape can really take it's toll on people. That you have found a place to go that you love and a way to get there is really terrific. I know you will come back again this year feeling happy and calm. And when we feel good about ourselves we can be better to others. Not that you really could be more kind or compassionate but you know what I mean. I think sometimes we let our egos talk for us instead of our hearts and the only way to find that honest part of ourselves is to be quiet and be alone.

    Enjoy your retreat!

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  3. You do so well at explaining this--himself never quite understands what that alone time is about for me. I was of the belief that this worked for everyone--but I'd guess that's not true. Somefolks need others to kickstart that connection.
    I, on the other hand--revel in the silent aloneness.

    Gosh, I'm excited for you--when's the retreat?!

    (love the setting and the cabin, btw)

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  4. Oh, man. I would love a retreat like that. I don't know that it's for everyone, but I would have no trouble being alone. Oh, wait. I bet they don't have wireless. Nevermind.

    (I'm glad it did your mind and body good!)

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  5. Having time alone is one of the things I yearn for the most.

    The place you went to look and sounds wonderful.

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  6. Bonjour Barbara!

    For as much as I enjoy living in a city, I find that because of all the sensory-overload (noise, sights, smells...etc) it sometimes can be numbing.

    I'm SOOOOO grateful that Philly has many beautiful parks (green), but sometimes even that isn't enough.

    I found this retreat spot from the place where I volunteered. It was EXACTLY what I needed.

    YEPEEEE!

    Thanks for stopping by Barb!

    And MUCHO thanks for the hug!

    Here's one back at ya...

    (((((((BARB))))))))

    Enjoy your Wednesday!

    X

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  7. Good Morning Crystal Chick!

    Oh, but you could go too!!!

    We would just have to get separate cabins, that's all.

    And yes, I totally know what you mean, and thank you for sharing that...

    ...And when we feel good about ourselves we can be better to others.

    *and also "giving" to myself, creates more "giving" to others.

    I can sometimes get very cranky and bitchy, because I've temporarily lost my connection. And for me, going on a retreat such as this...plugs me back in.

    This retreat spot is very special. You can really feel it's gentle and compassionate energy. It was very healing.

    As always M, I SO enjoy our shares.

    Thank you for that!

    I'm not going on retreat just yet, but perhaps towards the end of the month, right before I go back to work.

    Happy Wednesday!

    X

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  8. Morn'in Dear Mel!

    Like I shared with Crystal Chick, I may be doing this again right before I go back to work, towards the end of the month.

    And yes, like you...I realized that this type of retreat is not something that works for everyone. Each person is totally different in the way they get the most out of a retreat. Some people really enjoy the presence of others (which is great), while others (like you and I), do best in the silence aloneness.

    I honestly don't think I could have done this type of retreat say, 10 years ago, however, now I require this to reconnect.

    Hey, and isn't the cabin just the COOLEST looking thing? You should have seen the INSIDE, it was simplistically beautiful!

    Thanks for stopping by Mel!

    ALWAYS a treat sharing with ya!

    Happy Wednesday!
    X

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  9. I would imagine for the vast majority of people, this would be an incredibly difficult thing to do. We have become such a "plugged-in" society, that to have almost no sensory input other than our own thoughts and emotions, for most part, would be quite an adjustment.

    I know when I used to go backpacking, it would take me a few hours to remember that I didn't have to be in such a hurried pace. After three or four days of hiking and just "being", I was really comfortable though.

    I like to say my skin fit again.

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  10. Howdy Kathy!

    GREAT seeing ya!

    Thanks a bunch for stopping by!

    Yeah, I know this type of retreat is not for everyone, because we all find retreating in our own unique way.

    The retreat is located in Aston, and it's run by an order of the coolest Franciscan nun's.

    And NO you're right...unfortunately NO wireless.

    Tee, hee!

    But I guarantee if you went there, you wouldn't have any desire to be online.

    (I know, doesn't that sound sick??)

    HAHAHAHA!

    Thanks again for dropping by Kath!

    X

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  11. Howdy Nitebyrd!

    ooooh...ooooh....ooooh...you would freaking LOVE this spot!

    It's run by an order of the COOLEST and most WONDERFUL Franciscan nuns. They even had (if you so desired) a massage therapist and reflexologist on staff. And they only took donations for the services they offered.

    They may even have something like this in Florida, who knows?!?

    Anyway, yes....the whole experience was wonderful and I feel so grateful to have found it!!

    ALWAYS VUNDERBAR seeing ya, Sis!

    Thanks for stopping by!

    Hope you're having a great Wednesday!

    X

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  12. Hola Senior' Jeff!

    Yes, it's just as you shared about your hiking experience...

    ...it was a MAJOR adjustment for me too!!

    I think that's why I was bawling everyday.

    Little by little the numbing of the all the sensory input began to wear off, so I felt RAW.

    (but in relieving sense)

    My eyes even saw things clearer.

    I know this type of retreat is not for everyone, but for me...I seem to receive the most, when I'm silent and alone.

    Hey...and I bet you've got some awesome retreat spots in the beautiful state that you live in! I think if I was there...I'd be running around the mountains like Julie Andrews singing...

    ...."The hills are alive...with sound of muuuuusic!"

    (oh no, that's right...I HATE that musical)

    HAHAHAHAHAAHAHA!

    Thanks for stopping by, buddy!

    Have a GRANDE' Wednesday!

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  13. Ron, darling, even if we had separate cabins I seriously doubt we'd get much meditating done. My GAWD, you'de be knocking on my door with lotions and potions for my reflexology sessions and I'd be running right over to your cabin with astrology babble. We'd talktalktalktalktalk about every.freaking.thing under the sun for those few days. There would be wine, there would be old movies, reminiscing about life.....

    Yup, I'm convinced, we cannot RETREAT together unless we have laryngitis or alot of duct tape. hehe

    Isn't it cold today??? OOOHAHHH

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  14. Hello again Crystal Chick!

    OMG...your comment made me SHIT!!!!

    That was HYSTERICAL!

    And you know WHY???

    Because you're absolute RIGHT!!

    No...

    ..I think for US, it would have to like a pajama party retreat, with clay face masks and eyebrow tweezing!

    HAHAHAHAHA!

    Thank for stopping back with your BRILLIANT comment!

    That was GREAT!

    X

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  15. P.S. Crystal Chick...YES it's wonderfully COLD!!!!!!

    It's about time!!

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  16. Maybe it's because I'm an only child (well, except for you dear) but I cherish having no people around.

    Imagine it... "Anndi Unplugged". Clapton eat your heart out!

    Oh wait, this is about you... ;)

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  17. It sound wonderful for you Ron. Personally I hate being alone. If I'm home alone I have to have the tv or radio on for company. MWM is happy in his own company, in total quiet, so he would probably love a retreat.

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  18. Hiya Anndi!

    OMG...you KILLED me with your Clapton comment!!!

    BRAVA!

    Hey, that's right...I forgot you were an only child!?!? I've heard several people say that that would bother them, but like YOU (but of course), I honestly wouldn't mind it at all. I mean, I have three other siblings and I choose to be in contact with only one of them.

    I'm sure you understand this, being a Libra...

    ...I go through periods of really enjoying being around people, and then other times I really enjoy being alone. My job requires that I be closely surrounded by people all day, so I look forward to silence when I come home at night.

    Thanks for stopping by my dear TWIN!

    (kindred spirit)

    Hope you had a MARVI Wednesday!

    X

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  19. Good Evening Akelamalu!

    Helloooooo!

    I know that we are all uniquely different in our feelings about being alone, so I understand.

    And also too, some people don't require retreat time.

    With my personality, however, (high energy) it seems to be something that balances me. I will also sometimes just take a retreat at home, and do the same thing if I can't get away.

    I've never been one who minds spending time alone. I can be both social and also reclusive.

    Like Greta Garbo use to say....

    ..."I VANT to be alone"

    HAHAHAHA!

    Thanks for stopping by and sharing on this post, dear lady!

    It's ALWAYS enjoyed!

    X

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  20. Hi ronnie. I tried that once...but that voice (mine) I kept hearing in my head was so loud. And it played music till late at night. I had to call the cops on myslef.

    I'm just playing.

    I did that once but coming from a big family I found that silence was too loud for me. I mean the first 5 minutes alone...drove me crazy.

    The sound of voices is natural to me. Really. though I love nature...I like to share it with others. I tend whisper in empty noiseless rooms and the loneliness is too much.

    My sons are loud...just like their dad and my girl and I wouldn't have it any other way.

    I do know peoplem that do that...they come back so refreshed.

    Ciao sweetie...

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  21. oh this, and you, are so lovely

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  22. OMG...DIANNE...I JUST this moment finished leaving a comment on your blog!!!

    You and I are in SYNC!!!

    Thanks for stopping by dearest lady!

    XOXOX

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  23. Dear Miss Jones...

    OMG...YOU KILL ME!!!

    OH..you make me laugh so wonderfully!

    Yes...I totally understand that retreating in silence and aloneness is definately not for everyone.

    And it's funny, because living in a city with all the MASSIVE noise going on all day, the silence was deafening to me too. For the first day, it actually felt like I had cotton balls stuck in my ears!!

    And I kept thinking...

    ..."Where the hell have all the SIRENS gone??"

    HAHAHHAHA!

    Thanks for dropping by this evening, dearest Miss Jones!

    ALWAYS a joy!

    ciao bella

    X

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  24. Ron~
    I think that is great that you can go and do that. To be alone with yourself and reflect. I would be afraid to be alone in that setting.

    A sabbatical of sorts for me is a Mai tai on the veranda amongst the chatter but far enough away where I can drink in peace. LOL!

    Seriously I would be afraid to be alone. I couldn't imagine being the only one around for four days.

    I would drive myself insane, I would need another break just to get away from myself.

    p.s. MS, she is my fav as well. Great taste.....

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  25. Good Morning Domestic Diva!

    OMG...your comment made me HOWL!!!

    I truly LOVE your idea of a sabbatical! I would actually enjoy that too, with the only different, sipping some red wine!!

    It's funny, but when I told my mother and brother that I was going to do this retreat, the first thing out of their mouths was...

    ...."OMG...aren't you afraid you're going to MURDERED by some lunatic with a rifle??"

    HHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    ooooh...and isn't Meryl Streep the BOMB? Brilliant actress!

    Thanks so much for stopping by Diva!

    Have a wonderful day!!

    X

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  26. Can I come join you? Gosh!!!

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  27. oh ron, I am so far behind, I will never catch up....I am sorry to be so missing in action...

    what a lovely post...I have done retreat and adored the silence...I do live far away from a city so am used to the silence of nature but the silence of silence is another matter and tears do come easily....I am thrilled you take care of you this way, that you give yourself the care you need for your Spirit to thrive and grow under the demands of life....the silence must be heavenly, as this place looks and sounds...

    I am moved you posted about your experience...much love to you, dear man...

    XX

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  28. Greetings Leon~

    Welcome!...

    ...thanks for dropping by and taking the time to comment...nice meeting you.

    This was coolest retreat I had ever taken. I know that it's not everyone, but I found it extrememly theraputic.

    Stop by anytime. You're always welcome!

    Enjoy your evening.

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  29. Hellooooo Linda!

    It's wonderful to see you anytime!!

    Oh boy...just from the photos you've shared, I know where you live, would probably feel like a 24hour a day retreat to me, having come from the city!

    Tis' true...the silence of silence is whole a different experience, and it's in THAT silence, where I seem to discover the most.

    Thanks SOOOOOO much for stopping by this evening, Linda!

    And much love to YOU, dear lady!

    XO

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  30. Smiling here....what a treat that reTREAT sounds like!

    Ron...I remember weekends when I was in my 20s. I'd leave work on Friday...and wouldn't speak a word to another soul until Monday morning when I was back at work. It was intentional, too! LOL Even now, tho I don't live all alone, I can get that same feeling when I get up in the early morning...with my coffee, my journal, maybe some inspirational book - and the sunrise.

    Staying and remaining connected to ourselves may be THE most important thing we can do. Because when we lose ourselves, what do we have to offer another???

    This was a fantastic post....filled me with a longing to run away to the woods, it did! :)

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  31. Hellooooo Miss Grace!

    Oh boy...I just KNOW that YOU know how I feel about the importance of time spent retreating.

    Like you shared so perfectly....

    "Because when we lose ourselves, what do we have to offer another???"

    That's my feelings exactly!

    And I'm just like you, sometimes on the weekends I will not have contact with anyone until it's time for me to go back to work.

    Ain't it GRAND???

    tee, hee!

    Thanks a bunch for stopping by Grace!

    ALWAYS a pleasure seeing you here!

    Have a wonderful weekend!

    X

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  32. That retreat sounds like heaven to me for those time I'm in my hermit mode.

    No people in a beautiful secluded place, music, book, bottle of wine...well, ok a box of wine, I'm being frugal these days.

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  33. Hi David!

    Oh man, let me tell ya...this place is INCREDIBLE for when you get in the hermit mode. It truly was a wonderful experience.

    You really made me HOWL with your BOXED WINE comment, because a good friend of mine ONLY drinks wine out of a box.

    I honestly don't think he would know how to pour it, if it didn't come with a twist nozzle.

    I enjoy wine myself, but for some psychotic reason, I have to pour it from a bottle.

    ..but a CHEAP bottle.

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  34. Hey Ron,

    My best friend and I have seriously contemplated planning a similar retreat. We want to escape the outside world. We'd take bottles of wine and a stack of New Yorkers. Just a couple of days of vino, great writing, and relaxation.

    - R

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  35. Howdy Roberto!

    Hey listen...go for it!

    I think you would really enjoy it!

    Living in a city, I need to sometimes remove myself from all the sensory overload. I'm very sensitive to energy and sometimes the energy of a city can get to me, so I find retreats a great way to rebalance myself.

    I LOVE being within nature...

    ...it really reconnects me to my spirit.

    Thanks for stopping by, bud!

    P.S. and isn't VINO the BEST????

    Cheers!

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