The word retreat can conjure up various images depending on our backgrounds and lifestyles. To some, the phrase “beating a hasty retreat” may be reminiscent of something none of us usually depicts as a positive action. Picture if you will, Napoleon Bonaparte’s invasion of Russia in the summer of 1812 where he led an army of more than 500,000 individuals. He went in strong and sure of victory only to retreat, unable to withstand the guerilla-style tactics of the inhabitants and the harsh winter weather. Napoleon’s army suffered a devastating loss of more than 400,000 men that winter. It sounds like he had a bummer year and most of the rest of his life proceeded pretty much on that same slippery, downward slope.
Those of you who have read THE SURVIVALIST series can envision the Rourke clan hanging out in the great room at their Retreat, watching old movies and nuking popcorn, the waterfall in the back of the room making pleasant background noises. John Rourke, in my scenario, is apologizing once again for having vinyl instead of leather furniture due to the length of time in use as he explains that leather, by this time in their lengthy stay, would have cracked and rotted. Their retreat into the depths of the Retreat was done out of necessity, the only path left open for long term survival. This was in no way a cowardly decision but a decision to remain alive against certain death plus, Jerry and I were not ready to end the series thanks to the massive response we received from readers all over the world.
A retreat doesn’t need to be a complete turnaround; a forward motion now going in the opposite direction to avoid conflict nor does a retreat necessitate having a mighty fortress ready to shroud and protect you from harm.
I agree with this quote from Albert Camus. “In order to understand the world, one has to turn away from it on occasion." Most of us can relate to biting off a bit more than we can handle and retreating to a safe spot to regroup and once again move forward with our plans. Sometimes, a stop along the way is the only option. This can be as straightforward as taking one step back and trying to reorganize, maybe think through a situation or just recharge your inner battery to make things clearer and less stressful. A retreat can be as simple as a long soak in the tub with the bathroom door locked or listening to your favorite tunes through a good set of headphones while the rest of your family is engrossed in watching the game or a movie on the Hallmark channel. A good entertaining book can take you anywhere instead of where you are; it can take you where you want to be or surprise you with an undreamed of location. A two hour action flick might be all that stands in the way of you doing bodily harm to someone and regretting it later or saying something that may not be what you really want to be remembered for.
Just remember that if you must retreat make sure you don’t end up retrogressing, because I don’t think it has any other meaning except to put you in a worse place than you are.