I’ve been thinking about retreating lately. I’m not talking about waving the white flag of surrender. I mean getting away - taking time to relax, refresh and reset. I believe there are times when the deepest part of our being craves a haven, a respite, a retreat from our everyday lives.
Almost every week my husband Houston and I meet people who are retreating to our farm. They usually live in a city or outlying suburb. They're seeking an escape, sometimes even a sanctuary, a place where they feel a sense of relative seclusion.
There are enormous benefits to breaking away from our routines with this purpose in mind. Outcomes can include coming up with a new direction or strategy; insight into a challenging situation or relationship; or even inspiration for creativity.
When we bought our property it was with the intent of creating a retreat for ourselves and for others. So when our guests refer to Purdon Groves as a retreat, it’s like hearing someone praise one of my children. It warms my heart and is such a great reminder of the difference the property is making in people’s lives.
But what does “retreat” look like for me? As much as I love our farm, it’s not the getaway for me that it is for others. When there are so many projects and chores to be done, I find it difficult to relax. It’s rare to be able to go away for a weekend, so I’m looking for alternatives.
I’ve thought of creating a labyrinth at our farm. A labyrinth is a maze of sorts, with concentric circles (sometimes with hedges as borders and sometimes with stones or tiles defining the border) that a person walks through. It’s a great way to practice meditation. I had my first experience with a labyrinth several years ago while visiting our son who is chef at a retreat center on Lake Tahoe. Each morning of my stay I had the privilege of walking through the labyrinth during the first minutes of daylight. I’m thinking this would be a great addition to our property - a place for me to spend some quiet time each morning, as well as a mental and spiritual tool for our guests to use.
How do you retreat? If you’re able to get away by yourself for a day or overnight, great! But what if you can’t? You can get some of the same benefits without going to a physical place. If you’ve ever been in a yoga class or had someone lead you through a meditation exercise, you know what I mean. The most important thing - and I’m talking to myself here - is recognizing when we need a break and taking it. Whether that’s a weekend away or fifteen minutes during the lunch hour, let’s make time for what our souls crave.
This piece first appeared in Sherry’s column, Finding Myself in a Small Town, in the July 22, 2023 edition of the Corsicana Daily Sun.