In Praise of Retreat
Finding Sanctuary in the Modern World
For readers of Walden, Wild, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, A Book of Silence, A Gift from the Sea and other celebrations of the inner adventure.
An utterly engaging dive into our modern ways of retreat — where we go, why we’re drawn, and how it’s urgent
From pilgrim paths to forest cabins, and from rented hermitages to arts temples and quiet havens for yoga and meditation, In Praise of Retreat explores the pleasures and powers of this ancient practice for modern people. Kirsteen MacLeod draws on the history of retreat and personal experiences to reveal the many ways readers can step back from society to reconnect with their deepest selves — and to their loftiest aspirations in life.
In the 21st century, disengaging, even briefly, is seen by many as self-indulgent, unproductive, and antisocial. Yet to retreat is as basic a human need as being social, and everyone can benefit, whether it’s for a weekend, a month, or a lifetime. Retreat is an uncertain adventure with as many peaks and valleys as any mountain expedition, except we head inward, to recharge and find fresh energy and brave new ideas to bring back into our everyday lives.
Kirsteen MacLeod is a writer and yoga teacher. Her debut collection of short stories, The Animal Game, was published in 2016. Her fiction, poetry, and creative non-fiction have appeared in prominent literary journals, including The New Quarterly and The Malahat Review; scores of her articles have been featured in leading Canadian magazines; and her work has been a finalist for the CBC Literary Award in creative non-fiction, among other awards. She divides her time between Kingston, Ontario, and a riverside cabin in the woods near Bancroft.