retreat : rɪˈtriːt/

In the lead up to the very first Seaside Writing retreat, here’s a little musing on the word retreat. By Alex Christopher.

My understanding of the word retreat has changed over the last few years. I used to think that to go on a retreat meant expert,
high-level project management for a week’s escape to an oasis far, far away from home. Lots of prep and hassle that often results in the: too hard basket.

I’ve been on a number of retreats like that and they absolutely delivered on what I was after: a complete diversion from my every day environment, time to breathe and relax, opportunity to move my body, see new
things, be inspired by others and just generally take my body’s rhythm down a few notches.

Retreats can be circuit breakers.

What I’ve come to know is that “to retreat” away from the world for a period of time — that is big enough to break the circuit of your fractiousness — is achieved more readily than I first thought.

A couple of years ago I got sick and the doctors thought I could have
ovarian cancer. I’d been working like a mad-thing for 15 years (I was almost 30) and not looking after myself, so in retrospect I can see why my body gave me this warning signal.

It wasn’t cancer in the end – thankfully. Yet it did herald that I needed to make some changes to slow my life down.

But I struggled with how to do that when I was stuck in a vortex of my own making. Typical creative freelancer, I had too many fingers in too many pies and slowing down seemed so hard! Harder than trying to turn on the tap that your partner has turned it off last. You know?

I had so many projects on the go. My calendar was maxed out and moving one thing meant a domino

With all my fingers in different pies, I simply couldn’t stop and 100% relax.

If I wanted to relax more, I had to work with my options…

Mini-escapes were my only option right then and there.

A yoga class became my retreat. A ten-minute meditation became my
luxury getaway. An afternoon’s walk was a quick and achievable refuge.

A whole weekend, or whole week away just wasn’t possible. And in some
ways just not affordable.

This is part of the reason I’ve created the day retreat to Orpheus Island.

I will admit that it is selfish too as I’ve always wanted to go there!! And currently, back in busy mode, I can’t escape for a full weekend or week.

If you can feel reset by a ten-minute meditation, I am very sure that we are going to feel amazing after a full day together on a luxury tropical island, being fed and wined, and coffee’d.

I learnt recently in a course I did with Robyn James, that in every moment, we can retreat to a version of ourselves that’s grounded, creative and vibrant. We can do that by simply closing our eyes and
sitting quietly, by observing nature, and another way is by writing.

There’s no need necessarily for a massive, clear-your-whole-schedule, kind of getaway if it’s not achievable for you.

Writing, the meditative bob of a vessel on water, traveling, does this for me, lickety-split.

Join us on an achievable, mini-escape to Orpheus Island on Saturday 5 May 2018.

Alex Christopher is the creator of Seaside Writing. She loves all things writing — for pleasure, for business, for fun! And she loves to share her experience with others.