The importance of retreat

 Get away from it all to focus on rest, creativity, play and self-care. 

Get away from it all to focus on rest, creativity, play and self-care. 

I’ve been blessed in the past few years with opportunities to get away from it all and focus on my writing. I’ve made it part of my practise to find ways to arrange my life to leave the city to write. Last year I spent a few months living in a tiny house in the rainforest of southern Vancouver Island, revising my novel while I served as writer-in-residence at Lester B. Pearson United World College. I awoke to the sound of the rain on the roof, took long walks in the forest, and sank into the rich luxury of uninterrupted creative time (it helped that my phone had no signal). 

What is it about the retreat that stimulates our senses and aids our creative work?

In part, it’s the practise of letting go of certain roles and identities, of setting aside our responsibilities—as parent, worker, emotional support—simply to get back in touch with that wild, private, hidden part of who we are. It’s that quiet place where so much writing emerges, when we are free from responsibility and distraction. 

Whether it’s a weekend away, a week at the cottage, or the luxury of a longer retreat, stepping out of our daily routines can offer the rewards of seeing our work from a fresh new perspective. In the spirit of retreats, Joshua Lewis and I have put together a late summer, mid-week retreat for those who find it challenging to get away.

Called Savour the End of Summer, it’s set on enchanting Wolfe Island, at the Shanti Retreat Centre, a short ferry ride from downtown Kingston, Ontario. We’ve put the retreat together in such away to allow you to work on your writing in a structured, supportive environment, have the chance to engage in yoga and mindfulness practise, and savour the riches of summer with unlimited use of all of Shanti’s lakeside amenities—kayaks, canoes, walking trails, and more. 

 The Balinese hut at the Shanti Retreat Centre...perfect for sunrise or sunset meditation.

The Balinese hut at the Shanti Retreat Centre...perfect for sunrise or sunset meditation.

Throughout the day, participants have the chance to take a number of writing workshops, workshop a short piece, indulge in private writing time, book a writing consultation, and have the optional opportunity to share new work on the final evening under the stars. 

For those looking for a private retreat, we also offer weekly retreat rentals at The Hideout, our secluded getaway on the south shore of Prince Edward Island. Bordering onto the protected Lord's Pond/Tryon River watershed, this is the perfect option for writers and others looking for a private, quiet place to sink into deep creative practise, free from distraction. 

Get in touch if you'd like more information about either of these options, sign up to receive news about upcoming retreat opportunities, and happy writing!