Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Concept of Retreat

I was perusing some book reviews recently and ran across an interesting concept, definition really, of retreat - not the cut & run kind of retreat we Americans are so often hearing discussed these days, but the sort of retreat where one takes a break from the world to focus on a particular subject. The book in question happens to be a religious one, The God of Second Chances by Erik Kolbell, but this matter of retreat as highlighted in the review* resonates with the artist in me.

" In [the chapter] 'Retreat,' Kobell reminds us of the importance of making time and space in our lives, not so much for removal from our everyday activities but for making retreat a habit of the heart...

It's almost too late to rest after we discover we are spiritually exhausted...We need to 'anticipate our needs before they are upon us' and to 'reach for that [deep] breath before we are winded." (Emphasis is mine)

It may be too late to take that deep breath in preparation for the often wild and exhausting holiday season, yet maybe we should try anyway, especially if artistic expression is in jeopardy. How many of you have experienced that deepest of exhaustion that robs you not only of the energy but the desire or ability to do your creative work?

We make many excuses for not taking breaks to rejuvenate. We often let others make us feel guilty when we do. This last quotation from the author should give you heart:

"We do not retreat to avoid our responsibility to creation but to better assume it."

Retreat is NOT a dirty word. It is NOT a luxury. Go RETREAT!

*This review is by Lois Sibley as printed in the November 2008 issue of Episcopal Life Monthly


kaden said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


The Idaho Beauty said...

Thanks Kaden. Are you in healthcare? So many nurses end up interested in textiles - working with one's hands with needle and thread seems to be very calming to people in high stress occupations.


I'd love to go on a retreat. Just imagine being somewhere away from everything - preferably in some beautiful countryside - with meals/snacks laid on and coffee on tap - and hours and hours to indulge a creative passion. With recuperating breaks of course; gentle walks in the countryside, a spot of music, and plenty of sitting about in the sunshine. Bliss.

The Idaho Beauty said...

Oh stop Anabelle! We got our first real snow yesterday and the winds are howling and the temps island paradise like you are conjuring up in my mind is a bit of torture to think about since I can't escape to one right now! lol

Sometimes I need to get away from creating, since it is something I indulge in nearly every day. So I can retreat from that by allowing myself time OUT of the studio and away from people without actually stepping outside the door (good thing today...) I dream of endless hours to read - books, magazines, what have you, preferably in a comfy chair by the fire - as a restorative retreat.