It is when we notice the dirt that God is most present in us; it is the very sign of His presence.” ~C.S. Lewis

I’ve run away from home.  My vacation had  officially started last Wednesday, yet weirdly enough my work colleagues and clients didn’t take me seriously when I said I didn’t want to be bothered.   My inbox and voicemail kept exploding with demands, pushing my poor frayed sanity levels well beyond last straw status.

So I decided to take myself off to the mountains and unplug for a bit in a place with spotty cell reception and where getting on line requires effort.  Especially if I forget to turn on my phone, whoops!  No ding, ding, ding notifications on a hiking trail, only crisp, clean air, the crunch of ground beneath my boots and breathtaking scenery accompanied by a symphony of birds songs and squirrels doing whatever it is they do so intently.

It’s a funny thing all the nonsense thoughts I allow to take control of my brain, which only  becomes obvious once I start trying to squash them.   Life holds many details, some of which are important, many of which are not and none of which we are meant to obsessively dwell on.

Work demands, the stupid things politicians do, a perceived irritated tone in a spouse’s voice, a waiter’s snotty attitude; all potential rabbit holes of stress and drama should you choose to let your mind hold on to such things  beyond what they deserve, say 30 seconds.

I call this banging gongs of superciliousness and getting beyond them takes real effort.  Once the noise subsides and the stillness kicks in though, clarity on life and its purpose begins to take focus.  Ironically, it’s only by slowing things down like this that the extraordinary energy of creation comes alive and we begin to see and hear what we are meant to.

A forest can reveal many things, not least of which is the on going process of renewal by pushing out what no longer works to make room for what does.  Shedding off old, dead parts so new growth can occur is a fact of life out there and something to be taken to heart.


Most of us hold on to things that keep us stuck.  Bad relationships, obsessive worrying, addictions, close mindedness, toxic thoughts, searching for value in all the wrong places; these things can lay deep roots in our hearts, and imprison the mind.

The pain of even acknowledging this, let alone cutting out such deadwood can be great, but it is essential to move from a life based on fear and lack to one motivated by love and abundance.

Some events of course are just soul crushing and almost too much to bear; Illness, abuse, the death of a loved one, depression, financial hardship; such things can cause so much emotional trauma that escape seems impossible.  A super human effort is needed here to shift thoughts away from misery and towards the unquestionable love that surrounds us; one that can make the impossible possible.

This type of love burrows deep in to the small cracks of the heart and brings hope, revealing a path of healing and growth.  Think of the tiny seed of a pine tree that lays in the darkness until touched by bits of sun and nutrients seeping through the dirt. Just as that seed will eventually transform in to a new, more extraordinary form of itself, so can a person dealt a crappy hand become a better, more resilient version of themselves.   Still the same, yet different.27011680_unknown

Running away from home to find peace of mind is not usually an option for most of us.  Luckily, it’s not the distance from problems that counts, but how we perceive and choose to react to them that does.  Empty platitudes will never win the game, but (to paraphrase), keeping the mind fixed on what is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely and commendable will keep you connected to what really matters.

“Keep your face in the sun and you will never see the shadows.”~Helen Keller


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23 Responses to Unplugged

  1. Ahhh! Being connected to what really matters is all that really matters. Glad you can get away. Blessings to you for a Merry Christmas and an amazing new year. God is with you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sounds like a little self reflection has begun the “cleansing process”. You’re smart enough to realize this is a needed process to make greater room for BOTH good and bad future endeavors. Life is certainly not easy. I’m not convinced it’s supposed to be. It is, however, a true gift (in my mind) and an opportunity to accomplish so much for the world AND oneself.

    Enjoy the peace and quiet you’ve created during your retreat. It will make returning to the real world consisting of much noise and distractions an easier place to contend with. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tricia says:

      I don’t believe life is meant to be was easy either Jonathan. What a bunch of lazy, shallow people we would be if there were no difficulties to contend with! You are so right, it is a gift, both the good and bad parts.

      Thanks for adding your wisdom to my retreat reflections! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Ahhh, what a lovely post! I’m so glad you’ve run away. It is simply amazing how a change of scene can really change our whole perspective. Even better if you can get out in nature! I’m not sure what makes that so healing, but it’s wonderful.


  4. I’ll join the throng…..ahhhhh..
    .this sounds absolutely lovely Tricia—the escaping and the lesson found for all of us.
    First off….Good for you!!!!
    A wise woman indeed!

    When I was in college I spent my summer as a camp counselor at a girls camp up in the mountains of North Carolina.
    It was there, in those mountains, hiking and backpacking and just being out of the “normal” fray of life that I always felt closest to God.

    When I was back home, living in Atlanta, student teaching…day in and day out commuting along the congested interstate, breathing in deeply the exhaust fumes and listening to the sounds of cars, sirens and city noise, I was miserable.

    My friend whose family ran the camp, living there year round, decided to send me a bit of that solitude in a jar…just so I could set the jar on my desk and have a tangible link back to when my head was clear and my ears tuned to God’s majesty…

    It was a jar filled with mountain steam water and some beautiful rocks and stones….
    My students would always ask why I had a jar of water on my desk full of rocks and I’d reply….’so I can hear God’s voice.’

    I probably couldn’t say that today…but that jar went with me to my permanent teaching post and stayed with me until I retired…

    Keep listening Tricia!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. David says:

    When you are alone, you are actually hanging out with your soul! According to Plato, your soul actually lives in your bone marrow and it is far more important than our physical body. It is the entity that is not constrained by our narrow physical world.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wally Fry says:

    I want to go away!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Canuck Carl says:

    What a tremendous way to use some vacation days Tricia. When we immerse ourselves with the cycles of nature, there does become a lot of self reflection and many times for me a cleansing and healing. Amazing how something as simple as a pine seed whose analogies can teach us profound lessons.
    I am glad you ran away from home Tricia. Something I need to do again sometime! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Al says:

    It’s nice to know it’s never too late to run away from home! Your attitude about life’s vicissitudes is a sign of a well-founded and deep understanding of the fact that only love, both given and received, is the one permanence in our lives. Enjoy your time in nature, it’s where we truly get back to our roots.

    It has been a privilege blogging with you over the years and I wish you and yours the merriest of Christmases and look forward to another great year together in the blogosphere.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tricia says:

      Yes, running away from home is especially essential I would say for adults! Love is indeed what it’s all about Al, thanks for the reminder on that.

      Such a privilege blogging with you too. This WP community really has some great talent and I feel honored by those like yourself that frequent my blog and take the time to comment. Merry Christmas to you and yours Al and here’s to 2018!


  9. Citizen Tom says:


    That’s sounds like what a vacation is supposed to be about. Glad you put away the cell phone. When we make ourselves indispensable, we are not actually doing our job. We are either feeding our ego, protecting our position, or both. To enjoy our work, we have to focus on serving others. Not an easy thing to do.

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Pingback: Running Into 2018 – theoldfellowgoesrunning

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