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Inspiration: On A Retreat…

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“Nowhere can man find a quieter or more untroubled retreat than in his own soul.” Marcus Aurelius

Inspiration: On A Retreat... May Peace prevail on Earth...

Inspiration: On A Retreat... Tree ornaments added color to all the green...

Inspiration: On A Retreat... Part of the landscape...

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.

Inspiration: On A Retreat...several of the owners cats... followed me on my walks.

Inspiration: On A Retreat... the owners magic cat...

Inspiration: On A Retreat... several of the owners cats... followed me on my walks.

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

Inspiration: On A Retreat... drop your burdens into the cleansing fires...

Inspiration: On A Retreat... tree ornaments added color to the lush green surroundings

Inspiration: On A Retreat... More tree decorations...

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

“My home…It is my retreat and resting place from wars, I try to keep this corner as a haven against the tempest outside, as I do another corner in my soul.” Michel de Montaigne

Inspiration: On A Retreat... There were real butterflies too... and flowers to boot.

Inspiration: On A Retreat... The view from my window...

Inspiration: On A Retreat... a walking path to peace and rest...

Overall, it was a magical time away and it helped set the tone for the rest of the month and the many changes we are all experiencing in our households and in the world. One thing I always take away from any retreat  I make/take is a shift in my perspective around time, and the need to be a bit more deliberate and reflective in my decision making. We often charge ahead in a rush to complete tasks and that might not always be the best, well thought out approach.

I find that retreats help me shape my decisions with a crystal clarity and balance that make my actions stick;  they become firmly rooted in the ground, clear and strong.  I invite you to journey into one when you can; alone, or with others, at home or away… Try it.  What are your thoughts? How do you create alone time for yourself? Do you ever take yourself on a retreat? Do you have any favorite haunts? Do share! Thank you. 😉

This post was inspired by a prompt from MamaKat’s Writer’s Workshop: Tell us about your trip! and from WP Daily Post: Describe The Perfect Sunday.

Positive Motivation Tip: Whenever possible, find some alone time to regroup and rejuvenate the soul.

PHOTO CREDITS/ATTRIBUTIONS: All Photos from my personal collection…

Until Next Time…
Ask. Believe. Receive. ©
Elizabeth Obih-Frank
Mirth and Motivation
Positive Kismet

48 Comments leave one →
  1. 02/09/2011 1:06 am

    I love the view from your window. I wouldn’t want to move.
    Retreats are wonderfully healing course corrections.

  2. 02/09/2011 1:13 am

    The retreat was very healing and the view was sweet. It got very cold at night and we needed to bundle up a bit… Overall a blessed retreat. TY! 🙂

  3. 02/09/2011 1:44 am

    It looks so peaceful there, a very calming environment to collect one’s thoughts – something we all need to do from time to time.
    Glad you enjoyed your time there Eliz.

    • 02/09/2011 3:49 am

      TY Barb, it was a very healing experience and restful for me…
      I’ve been battling pneumonia and it was just what the doctored ordered…
      I was grateful for the rest and quiet. 🙂

  4. 02/09/2011 1:45 am

    I love going on retreats. They can be so re-energizing and peaceful!

    • 02/09/2011 3:50 am

      Yes, I love them too and have been to many over the years as well… Hope you are all unpacked. Stacey? TY! 🙂

  5. 02/09/2011 1:47 am

    A retreat during a hurricane…it must have been like being in the eye of a storm…peace within while all outside is raging. 🙂
    Thank you for sharing the beautiful photos…I will refer to them over the next few days…they will provide me with a retreat of sorts.

    • 02/09/2011 3:51 am

      TY Viv! It was planned before the hurricane came but timely nonetheless… I am still in retreat mode… so the blessing an healing continues as I recover from that nasty pneumonia I had… All is well. 🙂

  6. 02/09/2011 2:23 am

    Retreat – an important topic for philosophers – and cats.
    Cats already practice, what philosophers are searching for …

    • 02/09/2011 3:53 am

      All this cryptic-ness Frizztext! You are funny… 🙂

  7. 02/09/2011 2:31 am

    I loved the cats! Your blog made me want to go on a retreat!

    Lorraine 🙂

    • 02/09/2011 3:54 am

      TY! Those cats were full of wisdom. They followed me on my walks, would pause when I paused, and posed for the camera when I turned the lens on them…
      Very smart! 🙂

  8. 02/09/2011 2:37 am

    Oooh, just what I’ve been longing for this past week.

    solitude, quiet, rest, sleep

    very nice

    • 02/09/2011 3:55 am

      Same here Hakea and I would gladly use the rest and recovery time… 🙂

  9. 02/09/2011 3:28 am

    Its good to take some “time-out” and reflect and put “things” that are troubling us into perspective.

    • 02/09/2011 3:57 am

      Yes, it’s a great thing… TY!
      Everyone deserves to have some “me” time to rekindle the flame within our hearts and refresh our minds… I concur. 🙂

  10. 02/09/2011 3:58 am

    It is always a good idea to retreat..even if you cannot actually go anywhere.To sit in peace and quiet, eyes closed, relaxed, and just let all the worries and cares disappear. Just one hour per day makes such a difference

    • 02/09/2011 4:00 am

      That is true… Sometimes, the quiet time we spend on our terrace/balcony looking out on the street and resting is equally fruitful. TY Pat! 🙂

  11. 02/09/2011 3:38 am

    you inspired me to upload a photo about a house, a cannonball and feeling safe …

  12. 02/09/2011 6:39 am

    Love the butterflies.

  13. 02/09/2011 7:09 am

    In my youth I used to go on Retreats and I find them very restful and contemplative. It is a pity that as we get busier we have less time for this kind of thing. I love the photographs

    • 03/09/2011 11:40 am

      TY and retreats are a favorite of mine too… I used to go on church and creative ones and they have always nourished me… I love the time for quiet reflection too. 🙂

  14. 02/09/2011 7:16 am

    Just reading this post somehow calmed me. Some day I will treat myself with a retreat.

    • 03/09/2011 11:41 am

      TY Terri,
      It was a very calming weekend and the time spent helped me regroup… I still feel the calm in my space too and I am grateful for the time… 🙂

  15. 02/09/2011 8:21 am

    Calm descended on me while reading your beautiful post. What a wonderful notion, to retreat from all that disturbs and the busyness that interrupts, to recenter, evaluate, recognize who and where we are. I could use a retreat right now, especially after the chaos of moving. My quarter ends in two weeks at which time I will seriously find some way to “retreat” and regroup. Have a wonderful day.

    • 03/09/2011 11:43 am

      Hope you are adjusting to the new place well… It has been quite hectic for you i can imagine… A retreat will be in order when you complete you studies… well deserved too. 🙂

  16. 02/09/2011 8:53 am

    I would dearly like to take some “time out”. It has been a hectic couple of years. Hopefully in the near future my husband and I can find some quiet time away from the hassle and hustle.

    I love the view from your window!

    • 03/09/2011 11:45 am

      TY Robyn,
      It was a lovely view and one day a bear walked by but I was not camera ready… Thankfully, not a grizzly… All went well… Simple and sweet. 🙂
      I know you will find the time in the coming months to just chill a little and catch your breath… I’m rooting for you too. 🙂

  17. 02/09/2011 10:09 am

    How lovely! Thank you for sharing!

    • 03/09/2011 11:46 am

      TY for your feedback Grace… I appreciate to comment too. 🙂

  18. 02/09/2011 12:02 pm

    I’ve always wanted to indulge in a spa retreat and be totally pampered. I will some day, but in the meantime the fleeting moments I can reflect and meditate in any fashion helps.
    Glad you were able to enjoy your retreat and not be in Irene’s way!

    • 03/09/2011 11:51 am

      TY Barb and to think we could have been truly devastated…
      The journey home took longer because some roads on the way were closed or washed away… I was at peace with it…
      My 2 1/2 hour ride home became a 6 hour journey to get home with multiple detours… I was fine with it… Now, if only one can maintain such equilibrium in all things; life would be viewed through the lens of seeing perfection in all things… just as they are… 🙂

  19. Bree permalink
    02/09/2011 12:32 pm

    What a soothing post. I can still feel the peace and quiet emanating from your time away.
    It sounds like a wonderful, rural place of deep soul work.
    The pictures are lovely and the first one set the tone of peace.
    Love those companion cats and your retreat has now become mine.

    • 03/09/2011 11:54 am

      TY too… it was a peaceful setting and the pole with the peace message was near the entrance to the place… I loved the journey and I’m glad the calm has carried over to the post… TY for sharing that with me… as I noticed others picked up on it too. 🙂

  20. 02/09/2011 1:51 pm

    When I read something like what you wrote mentally I go to be with Thoreau at Walden Pond… Just looking at your photos relaxed and energized me. Thanks.
    James –

    • 03/09/2011 11:55 am

      TY James… and it was a truly lovely space… One day, I hope to make the trip to Walden Pond and enjoy it… 🙂

  21. 02/09/2011 8:05 pm

    The pictures you posted are beautiful. How often are you able to take advantage of a retreat? I can’t remember the last time I had one. Maybe after graduation in December (heavy sigh). Thanks for the great post. Miriam

    • 03/09/2011 11:58 am

      Hi Miriam,
      I don’t really have a set schedule for them as I go as needed and based on what my needs are… I get invited to some by different groups I’m involved in, and so it does vary… TY for stopping in and after graduation would a great time for you… A weekend is great! 🙂

  22. 02/09/2011 11:26 pm

    When I meditate, it’s a mini retreat. Sometimes with nature. Sometimes with Mozart. Sometimes with silence.

    Aah . . . that’s better.

    • 03/09/2011 11:59 am

      Great combo; Mozart and Meditation… add to it a touch of nature, silence, and we have bliss… TY Nancy! 🙂

  23. 02/09/2011 11:50 pm

    I yet have to get to a retreat place. I have often wanted to attend some in my past. Being outdoors is my favorite thing to do in the summer and fall here in Illinois. Your photo’s are always a display of beauty.

    • 03/09/2011 12:01 pm

      TY Jackie, the outdoors can be our retreat too… so we can us the space we have for the retreat we need. I find that taking long quiet walks in my neighborhood feels like a mini retreat sometimes… TY for your kind comment! 🙂

  24. 03/09/2011 12:36 pm

    It looks like such a wonderful place. I love the tree decorations. 🙂

    I take the occasional at-home retreat, but have never gone away for one. I’ve often thought about it.

    • 04/09/2011 8:40 pm

      Yes Robin, It was/is a serene place… and an at-home retreat can be just as rewarding if we plan ahead and make our surroundings quiet…
      The calm is important and I have done well at home with contemplative music, meditation, candles, incense and lots of quiet time. Any time away can be an excellent alternate to being home… TY! 🙂


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