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Greetings dear reader & welcome to my world again this week. In my last article I spoke on My Soul. In developing the topic further today, I am only really beginning to appreciate more than ever, it is imperative for leaders to take time away for thinking & reflection about where we are & where we are headed. Times of solitude & meditation I am really beginning to enjoy & find beneficial.

Even though intuitively we know this to be good for us personally & beneficial, these times alone rarely make it onto our calendars. I would suggest, in order to maintain some semblance of emotional health, you have to make time for personal retreat.

If you have ever ever watched the Indy 500, or other such motor sport event, you know no one wins the race without making pit stops. Pit stops allow the tyres to be changed, adjustments to be made, & the tank to be refuelled. In our business environment today, we have to learn how to take personal pit stops so we can consider where we are headed & what mid-race adjustments need to be made.

Ruth Haley Barton[1], in an article on personal retreat, says:
“One of the most important rhythms for the life of a leader is a constant back & forth motion between times when we are engaged in the battle ~ giving our best energy to take the next hill, & times of retreat when are not ‘on’ & we do not have to be any particular way for anyone".

There are times when we are focused on the mission, vision; taking on & preparing for the next challenge. But you cannot stay on the front lines forever. Taking time to rest & regroup. In fact, the more fierce & intense the battle, the more often you have to retreat.

For me, times of personal retreat have had two powerful benefits. When I am on a retreat, something happens inside me which is hard to explain. When I first started practicing this, very much like my meditation I started last year, being alone & being quiet was not enjoyable. Even though my body was on retreat, my mind was full throttle. All I could think about was what I needed to do. But over time I have learned to slow my spirit, & I now realize the world can get along just fine without me, for a little while.

As I ponder, my outlook shifts by reminding me of what is really important. Reminding myself about getting so worked up over things just are not eternally important. On retreat, or meditating, I have removed most of the noise from my world, & I can be quiet enough to just be still.

The goal of solitude is not so much to unplug from my crazy world as it is to change frequencies so I can hear myself think.  Richard Foster [2] has said “Solitude does not give us the power to win the rat race, but to ignore it altogether.”

And Andrew Bonar has wisely said “In order to grow, we must be alone.  It is not in society the soul grows most vigorously.  In one single quiet hour it will often make more progress than in days of company with others.  It is in the desert the dew falls freshest & the air is purest.” 

So, how about it dear reader?  Pull up your calendar right now & schedule a regular twenty-four-hour personal retreat. I promise, it will not kill you, the world will manage without you, & you will be healthier for it.

I hope my comments each week are helpful dear readers; & again, provide just an opinion, from my world. Thank you for taking the time to be with me, I hope my journey may encourage you also. This is Kenn Butler in Paradise, Nelson. With my best wishes for another week… I look forward to being with you all again soon.

[1] Ruth Haley Barton ~ a prophetic voice bringing healing & hope leaders desperate to find rest.  She speaks from a deep & authentic well because she has done her own work
[2] Richard J. Foster is founder, past president & current team member of Renovaré. Foster has taught worldwide on spiritual formation. Author of dozens of articles and six books, including Celebration of Discipline, Richard continues to write on the spiritual life. 
[3] Inspiration from Lance Witt, the author of the book Replenish, which is dedicated to helping leaders live & lead from a healthy soul.  

Kenn Butler
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