The Daily Stoic for March 21st. “The best retreat is in here, not out there”
“People seek retreats for themselves in the country, by the sea, or in the mountains. You are very much in the habit of yearning for those same things. But this is entirely the trait of a base person, when you can, at any moment, find such a retreat in yourself. For nowhere can you find a more peaceful and less busy retreat than in your own soul—especially if on close inspection it is filled with ease, which I say is nothing more than being well-ordered. Treat yourself often to this retreat and be renewed.”
—MARCUS AURELIUS, MEDITATIONS, 4.3.1
Next week, my partner and I will be visiting Spain. After coming back from Budapest, we got a virus and were ill for several weeks. It was an exhausting experience and, after that, we had to catch up with our customers. As a result, we’ve spent a terrible month between sickness and work.
When we recovered, my partner got some tickets to Spain for us. He needs some rest: sun, paella, the ocean… who can blame him?
However, I don’t think I need those things. Of course, a week in Spain, the sun, beach and amazing food sounds amazing, but I don’t really “need” it. Just the fact that I am no longer feeling sick is enough for me. We tend to forget how lucky we are when we are feeling great.
I was actually wondering these days if there’s something wrong with that way of thinking. Shouldn’t I be begging for some kind of retreat too? Did I became a soul-less workaholic robot?
Then, after reading today’s stoic passage, I felt relieved. Maybe I’m not the weirdo I thought I was (or am I?)
The Best Retreat Is In Here, Not Out There
I am doing a lot of meditation lately. It really helps me sleep better at night, and also serves me as a way to review my day. Just closing my eyes and breathing deeply for a couple of minutes helps me relieve some tension from the day.
That kind of clarity has helped me avoid the trap of “when I…”: “when I have some free days”, “when I am on vacations”… You can just leave your gadgets away from you, turn off notifications, dim the lights, and retreat to your personal space.
Actually, in his amazing TED talk, Pico Iyer, a famous travel writer and blogger, talks about how his favorite place to go is actually… nowhere. Just sitting still, closing his eyes and relaxing. His personal retreat.
Today’s Daily Stoic, “The Best Retreat Is In Here, Not Out There”, talks about the need of resorting to our inner private space as a way of finding a peaceful retreat. Instead of waiting for an ideal holiday trip to a tropical paradise, we need to be aware that the ability to find shelter from stress, troubles and woes is within our own minds.