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Why am I Doing this Solitary Retreat?

Well... erm... I don't know. It seemed a good idea when I booked it and then, well, I'd booked it hadn't I? I couldn't cancel it, that would be rude!

I am afraid that I am not up to this and will want to come home after the first 3 days (which are notoriously difficult to get past). I am afraid that I will be staying somewhere, very remote, that I don't know. I am afraid of the night time, when it'll be dark and there will be noises I don't recognise. I am afraid that all the meditation and solitude will encourage things to emerge in my mind that I will not be able to deal with. I am afraid of coming home and being a different person to my family and friends. I am afraid of being alone.

Fear. The greatest cause of inaction. Maybe that's why I am doing this retreat? These fears, in reality, are not real. I am conjuring them in my mind as a reaction to my fear of change and my fear of what will emerge without distractions to protect me.

Well, enough of that, here are the main reasons I booked the retreat:

1) The Great Turning.
"The Great Turning is a name for the essential adventure of our time: the shift from the industrial growth society to a life-sustaining civilization.

The ecological and social crises we face are inflamed by an economic system dependent on accelerating growth. This self-destructing political economy sets its goals and measures its performance in terms of ever-increasing corporate profits--in other words by how fast materials can be extracted from Earth and turned into consumer products, weapons, and waste.

A revolution is underway because people are realizing that our needs can be met without destroying our world. We have the technical knowledge, the communication tools, and material resources to grow enough food, ensure clean air and water, and meet rational energy needs. Future generations, if there is a livable world for them, will look back at the epochal transition we are making to a life-sustaining society. And they may well call this the time of the Great Turning. It is happening now.

Whether or not it is recognized by corporate-controlled media, the Great Turning is a reality. Although we cannot know yet if it will take hold in time for humans and other complex life forms to survive, we can know that it is under way. And it is gaining momentum, through the actions of countless individuals and groups around the world. To see this as the larger context of our lives clears our vision and summons our courage."
Joanna Macy

I was going to write all that myself, but Joanna Macy has said it all! Since I was in my early teens I have been an activist and aware of the World as it is in the description above. With my teen angst I fought and fought and got angrier and angrier. Nothing changed except there was a bit more anger in the world.

Now I understand that there is an individual responsibility. I can't change people. I can only live my life. So my resposibility is to find out the best way for me to live to benefit the whole. I can't do this easily while I'm being distracted all the time. So I am taking myself away for a bit to have a look and see where I am at and what I can do with that.

2) Meet myself.

On my last solitary retreat I met myself for, what felt like, the first time. Sounds odd doesn't it? Well, the experience of it was odder. I am an actual person made up of a bundle of experiences, atoms and things. I don't plan to work out what that actually means, that would be like meditating on what's beyond the edge of the Universe! It's just an interesting feeling realising that you are a being. A human being. Part of a long line of human beings and only one of infinite beings in the Universe. It's so cool, so liberating and really puts you in your place!

3) Have a nice time.

I plan to have a thoroughly nice time. I enjoyed my company the last time and don't see why this time will be any different!


  1. Looking forward to hearing how you get on with your retreat. Enjoy it.

  2. May you find enrichment and beauty from the earth and your solitude that I'm sure you will let touch our lives too via this lovely blog. Blessings X

  3. I think your apprehension is understandable, lovely, and normal! However, I think you're about to have a wonderful time and you will have some great experiences. I can't wait to hear all about it upon your return!

  4. Sorry I've been away for so long, you doubtless won't read this till you're back.

    Your retreat sounds like a wonderful opportunity. Won't like what you find? Nonsense! We like you and this many of us can't be wrong, can we?

    It is a nice way to get centred and find yourself again, not that I know as I've never done a retreat, though I do spend a great deal of time in quiet solitude (and i love it).

    Can't wait to hear all about it...

  5. I'm looking forward to hearing about this, Hen. I hope you still want to talk to us ;)

    Kim x

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  7. I hope you'll have a lovely retreat. I've been in many of those myself. And loved them, the solitude, the silence...

    And thanks so much for that Folk Radio UK music thing there in your blog. I found lots of lovely and inspiring music there.

    Warm greetings from snowy Finland!


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