If we take our cue from nature, we realize that all living things must go into retreat. Frogs sink beneath the mud and go into a state of dormancy, slowing their heartbeat and taking in oxygen from the water through their skin. Garter snakes gather beneath the rocks in coils huddled together for warmth. Snails retreat into the perfect spirals of their shells growing a chalky skin over the opening until the rains return and coax them out again. Our beloved Colorado bears curl up into their own bodies and go into the dark recesses of earth for a long rest. Trees release their beautiful leaves and go into a deep winter sleep so that they can conserve the energy they need to bear fruit. We humans are not separate from the nature. We are of the earth and we too need retreat, to rest, reset and regather the energy we need to bear our fruits. We all have our own unique yields of creativity and talents to offer in the world but to be able to do so, we too need to turn within, to become quiet, to slow our breathing and our thought. It is an adaptation that helps living things survive the trying conditions of life.

In modern life, a great deal of our life energy is directed outwards. From the moment we wake up, there are pings and buzzes requiring our attention and attendance. Advertisements and calls to action vie for our attention. In these conditions, it becomes hard to hear the quiet inner voice. The one that tells us who we truly are and what we truly need.

In retreat, we get the chance to turn the world and turn our life energy inward. This is a magical practice. We rest and breathe. Slow our pace as the nature does. We get the chance to realign ourselves with the rhythms of earth. Slowly our true nature begins to emerge. When we give the gift of retreat to ourselves, our self gives back to us. We get our creativity back, our ability to heal ourselves. Even our cells begin to heal and repair themselves. In retreat, we remember who we are.

Increasingly, studies are emerging that consistently that time in nature gives us the resets our minds and our bodies back to a state of harmony. Here in Colorado we are lucky to have an abundance of beautiful places. We do not have to go far to restore our sense of connection with self and earth.

To me, retreat is an essential part of a balanced and satisfying life. The earth depends on fallow times of regathering and stillness to achieve its full greatness- and so do we. Each one of us is worthy and deserving of this great gift- simply because we are alive. Retreat is a birthright. It is time to clear space in the modern world and reclaim it.

Sarah Hope

Is a teacher, spiritual-coach, and priestess.