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The Power of Retreat

The Power of Retreat, retreats in middle age, unplugging over 50
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BY DEVON ELLINGTON

One of the most necessary tools for a healthy, invigorating life is taking time in retreat to replenish and refill our creative and inner wells.  We need time away from hectic schedules to take a breath, reflect on the wonders of life, on what doesn’t work, and how to change what isn’t working.  The more pressure on us to be “on” all the time, the more people depend on us, the more we need it.  Most of us caretake, to some extent.  It’s important for the caretakers to be cared for a few times a year.

During your retreat, no internet, often no television, and, most important — NO PHONE.  Have someone else be the emergency contact or have messages left at the desk.  You need to be completely disconnected and removed from your regular life.

Here are some ideas:

Kripalu or Omega.  If you like yoga and wellness retreats, where you can mix doing and being, both Kripalu and Omega have a wide variety of packages and options for your mind and body.  Visit the sites for Kripalu (http://www.kripalu.org/) and Omega (http://www.eomega.org/) for more information.

Artist Colonies.  If you write, paint, draw, dance, perform, play an instrument, do fiber crafts, etc., perhaps a few weeks at an artist colony is the right choice.  You have quiet, uninterrupted time in the studio during the day (usually in a lovely setting where you can sit, walk, swim, etc.) and interact with other artists over dinner and at evening events. Most of these will have an application process several months in advance, but you do not have to be a well-known artist to attend.  Many of these colonies want to support artists at earlier phases of their careers as well as established artists. You can find excellent resources at Alliance of Artists (http://www.artistcommunities.org/) and NYFA (www.nyfa.org).

Monasteries/Convents.  Many traditional spiritual communities offer low-cost rooms. Your room will be small and simple, you can participate in services or not, sometimes help with the work, and have plenty of time for contemplation. (www.retreatfinder.com).

Book into a hotel/resort.  If you go mid-week, it will be cheaper. Book yourself into a nice hotel with lovely views and do exactly what you want to do for a few days. Order room service, sit by the pool, take a walk, have a massage, use the fitness center.

Retreat at home.  Send the family away for three or four days. Turn off the phone. Get in your favorite food and drink, a stack of good books, some yoga videos, and do whatever you want for that time.

Swap time.  Know several people who need a break?  Create a retreat swap.  Each member gets a turn of a few days’ retreat, while other members pick up the responsibilities of the retreating member.  If possible, then schedule a group retreat for all of you together in the future.

Refreshing your spirit is important to good health.  Enjoy!

 

Devon Ellington is a full-time writer, publishing under half a dozen names in fiction and non-fiction, providing writing and editing services to an international client base.  Find her at www.devonellingtonwork.com and http://devonellington.wordpress.com.

 

 

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