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January 8, 2009 / alunatunes

January 08-Reflection and Retreat


“I feel very strongly that I am under the influence of things or questions which were left incomplete and unanswered by my parents and grandparents and more distant ancestors. ” – Carl Jung

As a retreat from the world, the brilliant psychoanalyst Carl Jung built himself a sparse stone dwelling. It had no running water or electricity. Jung pumped water from a well and lit oil lanterns at night for light. He relished the simplicity of this life and wrote of simplicity in this corner of his world.

The weather, in this part of the country at least, is cold, dour and inhospitable. The rain is constant and the freeze chills my bones. It becomes necessary for me this time of year, to provide myself with a mental retreat. I recently ordered a travel guide from Tahiti and it’s brought me such joy. Such a very simple thing, a travel brochure, but using it as a mental distraction can carry us through the winter. I also order seed catalogs and peruse them on cold winter nights, planning my spring sprouts and summer vegetables and herbs. I ordered a rose catalog from an outlet in England. All of these catalogs were free and all are gorgeous distractions.

Our retreat from the world may have to be more frugal and logical than an actual escape. It is indeed possible to travel from an armchair- if we only allow our imaginations to soar and soothe us. Although all of us need a more serious retreat of release from work and duty that vacations hold, a great travel catalog or video serves us well if we only allow it.  An occasional physical retreat is truly in order from time to time, but it’s comforting to know the chill of winter can be brushed away, at least for awhile, with a warm cup of tea and a catalog of English Roses.

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