August 2021

The serenity of a retreat

Alice leaning up against a tree in woodland

There is something tangible and almost ethereal that hangs in the air when you hear a friend has booked themselves a retreat. It’s a bold move to address what we all know to be true, but never really discuss, that for whatever reason this friend has admitted wanting to escape, to remove themselves from the everyday, to somewhere new; to find themselves in a remote setting where busy schedules are replaced by endless days with no distractions or diary entries.

Path leading up to the top of a Northumbrian hill

It hits you. You know well enough that this fortunate friend will exit the experience with the serenity of a reclining yogi and now you can’t deny desperately needing a bit of that for yourself. It’s a modern day term to think of a peaceful holiday as a retreat.

The dictionary defines the word mainly in military terms but there is a reference to a quiet or secluded place in which one can rest and relax. A retreat from the real world, the digital world and now, a new post-covid world. We often talk about an artist’s retreat or a writer’s retreat, somewhere where creativity can be explored in a different way and with good reason. It’s transformative to retreat.

Corinne standing on a style looking over the view of the Northumbrian Hills

Woodland view through the trees to the river

We vacate our own busy lives into someone else’s. Who is this new, relaxed person retreating from white noise and schedules? It’s a life we hardly recognise because we have digitally detoxed ourselves into such a state of calm we could well have added years onto our lives simply from the sheer bliss of it. We immerse ourselves in nature, sinking like a stone into our chosen corner to sleep more, eat delicious food, walk along meandering paths and woodland trails, perhaps taking a swim in a natural pool along the way whilst we reconnect with ourselves and others.

Golden Labrodore sitting with it's back to us looking over the Northumberland hills

In reaching for the elixir of a more peaceful life in this post-pandemic world of the staycation, we are offered a chance to view our forever-altered selves from a new perspective and this can be game changing and decisions taken during those times of complete and utter tranquility, are transformative, impactful and future-forming.

It’s the stuff of dreams to be granted the serenity of a retreat, so when that friend of yours is booking theirs and something tells you to book your own there’s always a chance that you might not come back the same person you were when you left.

Clare Cockburn @ The Style Theatre