A retreat can either be a time of solitude or a community experience; a period of individual or group withdrawal for prayer, meditation, study, or instruction.
At different points in our lives, we need to take some time to stop, reflect, rejuvenate and regroup. A retreat, be it alone or with a community of like-minded souls, can be a wonderful way to clear the cobwebs in our heads and redirect our steps on things that matter most to us. I’ve always loved the solitude and the quiet time for reflection that comes from being in nature; seeking retreat locations that are as close to rural life and nature as possible is imperative. I look for ones that are quiet, have a small community, and are surrounded by nature.
Recently, I took a quiet retreat into a lovely area in New Jersey and spent the weekend in quiet reflection, healing and resting, and taking long walks as needed. It was a difficult time to be away as Hurricane Irene raged around us, and lives and roads were swept away in many parts in the USA. In the rural solitude of my retreat setting, the trees shrieked and bowed, shedding branches and leaves. The skies poured forth a deluge of endless rain, and the earth, soggy with the remnants of the hurricane, opened her bowels and sucked in the debris. We were safe where we were and there was no damage to the sprawling landscape. Inside, we prayed for those in the path of danger and thanked the Creator for those that weren’t.
“That perfect tranquility of life, which is nowhere to be found but in retreat, a faithful friend and a good library.” Aphra Behn
I took long daily walks, and in between the quiet times of doing other body, mind and soul work; readings, sharing with others, learning new ideas about healthful living, eating all organic home grown and cooked meals, and even enjoying a relaxing evening fire by the fireplace ( around a soul refreshing mini bonfire), I rested. I also took my camera and snapped shots of my surroundings… I took pictures of the owners cats, the tree decorations; capturing memories that expressed my time away. I have shared some here and more below