When Marcus dreamt of escaping his burdens, thought of the beach or the mountains or time in his library with beloved books, he reminded himself that he didn’t need a vacation to recover. He didn’t need to travel to relax. “For nowhere can you find a more peaceful and less busy retreat than in your own soul,” he wrote. “Treat yourself often to this retreat and be renewed.”
~Lives of the Stoics, Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman
The need to get away is very real. So often in life, we are overwhelmed, overworked, and just plain over it. It is in such times that we need to take a break. But what does that look like? How do we get away to reset and recharge?
A lot of the answer to that is the type of person you are. Perhaps you feel the need to get away to the beach or the mountains. Some place that feels tranquil. Some place that brings you peace of mind.
Perhaps you need a weekend away with your friends or family. Just leave behind the responsibilities of work and home, and relax with those closest to you.
Of course, scheduling, planning and paying for these kinds of retreats and getaways can often be almost as stressful as the work we are trying to get away from in the first place. Have you ever felt like you needed a recovery day from your vacation, especially if you’ve been traveling?
But Marcus Aurelius tells us that we don’t need to get so caught up in going away. In fact, the perfect retreat for each one of us is closer than anything else. It is right within us, in our own mind and soul.
Now, I realize that it does take a particular type of person to enjoy this. Perhaps you’re one who is trying to get away from what’s going on in your own head in the first place. Inner peace is not something that comes easy to everybody. However, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t explore that option from time to time. Because, as we all know, we can’t always get away when we want. Sometimes, we’re stuck where we are — and not just physically, but emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually as well.
Maybe you think that you’ll never be able to retreat into your own soul. And, as long as you think that, you’ll be right. It’s not something that comes easy to everybody, but that doesn’t mean it’s not available to everybody.
So, let me encourage you to explore this personal retreat space. It’s a place only you can go, and the more you go there, the more easily you’ll be able to find it.