Back in September I had this premonition that I would want to be alone for a few days as soon as school let out for the winter break. I made a reservation at a retreat center and timed it perfectly so I could leave directly from school on December 16th, get on a train, and head straight to the countryside for a weekend of alone time.
The retreat center is called Witherdens Hall and is located about 20 minutes from Canterbury near a small village called Wingham. I started out the day with a reflexology appointment, that I was able to have right at the retreat center! (Staying in pajamas until noon anyone?) I’ve never had a reflexology appointment, but it was so amazing and one of the most relaxing experiences ever. After that, I spent the sunny day walking from village to village, bird watching, and avoiding the shots from the pheasant hunters. I wrote and read a ton and did about four hours of yoga over the course of the weekend. I made my own meals in the fully equipped kitchen and completely unplugged.
I have to admit, it was a bit scary. I think we all think to ourselves that having all of that time alone would be nice, but it is quite tempting with the first ping of loneliness to turn on the TV, text someone, or check Facebook. What’s really amazing is if you don’t answer that loneliness right away, great creativity can emerge.
I highly recommend a winter retreat for everyone. You can even do it from your own home (which is what I usually do). You can read a suggestion for a winter retreat, as well as retreats for other seasons in Sara Avant Stover’s The Way of the Happy Woman. I personally used some of the suggestions, but tried not to set a schedule and just go with the flow.