Monday, 21 April 2014

Retreating

One of the definitions of retreat in the Oxford Dictionary is to withdraw to a quiet or secluded place. In order to write, I believe that we need to retreat on a regular basis, to find that stillness within where we can access our thoughts and express ourselves. I also think that being in this stillness also enables us to refresh and renew and face the noise and constant activity of the everyday world. This might not be true for everyone of course, but it is for me. I very much enjoy my own company and search out opportunities to retreat and listen.

Accessing this space can be difficult, especially if family and work claims your time and it can feel highly selfish to make demands for this type of space in the hecticness of life. If you believe that to retreat fully you have to be completely alone and in complete silence it is going to be virtually impossible unless you book yourself into a silent monastery for a week or two, but there are ways and means of finding this solitude without taking such drastic measures. The humble set of headphones linked to a phone in a coffee shop or park will give others the message that you are not available. It's up to you whether you're actually listening to anything! Perhaps, it's a favourite piece of music that washes over you as you write or perhaps the headphones are a foil to give you the solitude you seek. Or what about a walk in your local area? Is there somewhere you can walk close to nature and in peace? I am close to a canal and find that walking there first thing in the morning can be a tranquil experience apart from sharing a few good mornings with local dog walkers. There are also some benches along the pathway on which you can sit and jot down a few thoughts as they come and with technology advancing all the time, you can also dictate into your smart phone and then replay your thoughts when you're back in front of the laptop should you choose to do so. I think it's about looking around you and searching out opportunities to retreat, even when they don't necessarily seem readily available.

I've also read about writing retreats that sound idyllic to me. They always seem to be in a beautiful peaceful location, with some tutoring, feedback and the opportunity to be with other writers, but also with plenty of time to be away from others to focus on your work. I'd better start saving my pennies so that one day I can attend one of these. What bliss!

If you can't afford the writing retreat and are finding it hard to find a space in which to retreat, here's one simple website that might help - Meditation Oasis.  The meditations on here are lovely and Mary Maddox's voice is very soothing, so if you want a tiny bit of space in an otherwise demanding day, check it out.

Have you found a way to retreat from the everyday challenges? Do you have a certain space that encourages you to be creative? Where do you retreat to? Please share. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

7 comments:

  1. Angela,
    I am amazed that my "R" so closely relates to your "R." I was broaching the subject of meditation. I am leary of the guided meditations that I see online because I am a Christian, and it seems many of them are from a "New Age" basis. I don't know what you think about this. I may just be ignorant of the subject from that perspective, but I would love a Christian meditation that would take me into deep relaxation and I would know that I was entering in some "strange space." What are your thoughts on this? I really enjoyed your writing. Sharon at http://idaretobehappy.com/2014/04/22/30-days-to-happiness-r-is-for-relax/

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    1. Hi Sharon, many thanks for visiting and commenting. I took a look at your site and your thoughts on relaxation and like you I like to be able to turn off the mind as well as physically relax the body. Sadly I don't think I'm able to give you any thoughts in relation to Christian meditations. I am only able to share my own experiences and don't have experience of this, and I certainly wouldn't want to lead you down any inappropriate pathways. Good luck in finding something suitable to your needs.

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  2. I meant to say I would know that I was NOT entering into some "strange space." Thanks.

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  3. I rarely, if ever, retreat. I write while at work, while dozens of people chatter around me. I read at home, while my hubby watches TV and my daughter makes all sorts of playing noises. And I plot and work on story ideas while grocery shopping, doing the dishes or other chores, or sometimes while talking to someone. Needless to say, people don't find it funny if I seem to space out and just nod mindlessly at whatever they say, while destinies unfold in my head and entire civilizations rise and fall. :D

    But I totally get it that some people need the quiet to be creative. I wish I had more of it sometimes too, but I can function very well without it. I must.

    Good luck with the A to Z challenge!

    - Vero

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    1. Wow Veronica - I'm impressed. I don't think I could work in the way that you do and wish in many ways I could. It would certainly help with my productivity. Thanks for sharing that it is very possible to write under all sorts of conditions. Perhaps I should give it a try and see how I fare or alternatively perhpas we could do a swap and I'll let you have a little quiet time while you share your talents on how you manage to work like you do :-)

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  4. Very true! Thanks.

    Beth
    www.BethLapinsAtoZblog.wordpress.com

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  5. Thanks for dropping by and commenting Beth. Nice to have you here.

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