COLUMN: Definition: Retreat

With the coming of spring, most of us spend time thinking about what the future holds

retreat.

v 1.(of an army) withdraw from attacking enemy forces. 2. move back from a difficult situation.

n 1. An act of retreating. 2. a quiet or secluded place.

With the coming of spring, most of us spend at least a little bit of time thinking about what the future holds.

Some of us will put our good intentions on paper in some form of plan or goal, some will reflect on past challenges and yet others will just plunge forward and see what unfolds.

Different approaches for different folks.

I usually take the reflective process with a bit of goal-setting for good measure.

Sometimes, despite our most clever planning sessions or intentions, life really does just ‘happen’ and you find yourself faced with something totally unexpected.

Inexplicably for some, it seems to happen more frequently than for those who always seem to just sail happily along.

In 2017, we had a long winter then unprecedented floods that pretty much led directly into the worst wildfire season on record. I heard more than a few people ask, “What’s next, a plague of locusts?”

By now you might be wondering what if anything this discussion has to do with the title.

Well, I recently took the opportunity to go on a little retreat. As you know, librarians love words so a retreat usually means a reading break.

I was busy ‘retreating’ and started to think about the word.

Sometimes we can feel like life is attacking us and we want to withdraw or gain some distance from a difficult situation. Who does not dream about escaping to a quiet, secluded place?

The act of retreating can be physically creating distance (ever hear the old saying ‘A change is as good as a rest’?) or simply finding a quiet corner for a few minutes of peace and reflection.

Whatever ‘Retreat’ means for you, it can be just the thing you need.

Sometimes we need to step back in order to see where we want to go. Some great books to get you started can be found at the library: Stillness; daily gifts of solitude, by Richard Mahler; There is no right way to meditate and other lessons, by Yumi Sakugawa and Retreat: the Modern House in Nature by Ron Broadhouse.

Sue Kline is the Community Librarian at the Summerland Branch of the Okanagan Regional Library.

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