Time Out

Retreat. Go inward before you go forward. It is good advice that we can’t always take.

We may need some supportive conditions to help this develop. A time to practice backing away from something that we are close to. A big Time Out, let’s say. Kind of like when you behaved badly as a kid and were made to go sit alone in a corner, and you found this not a punishment, but a gift. No one bothered you, you could think about what you wanted, and you didn’t have to make nice when you didn’t feel like it.

Retreating is a loss of time with your dearest friends or family, loss of a well-deserved vacation, or the freedom of unscheduled time. What comes instead? 

A chance to be away from your habitual world, and not have to conform to cultural norms so quickly or strictly. A relatively safe way to get to know yourself, alone in a group of people practicing quietude. You will rub up against other points of view on a retreat, and the characters that tell these perspectives. A chance to filter and sort them at your own pace.

Remember the wishful phrase “What happens in Las Vegas, stays in Las Vegas”? Well, the opposite is true with retreats. What happens on retreat becomes your meditation practice and informs your life when you return home.

–Linda Modaro