Running Toward Retreat

running toward retreat yoga liver transplant
Marleen’s retreat

Long before Eat Pray Love was published, women were going on retreats. I’m not sure what makes up a retreat, although I talked a bit about cancer retreats here. I encourage you ALL to look into taking any amount of time for whatever you call a retreat. There are certain things I’ve looked for in the past when my heart felt the hankering to be alone in a place of rest. You may think it’s somewhat like a runaway? Nah. Not like that. More like running toward something:


Silence         Rest        Focus         Growth          Instruction     

My early retreats consisted of hiding under the sheets on the clothes line. No one could call me to sweep the floor or babysit my sisters. Well, they could call, but on “retreat” I didn’t answer. My poor mother.

Alone seems to be a central theme… alone with God. My first silent retreat was several days at Notre Dame in a teeny dorm room with a door that locked. I was hooked.

A journal has always been imperative, along with a really nice pen. All the meditating, praying, reading, and listening lends itself to writing. The only sound is the scratch of the ink and myself growing.

I’ve led workshops and retreats both large and small. I have caravanned with groups to attend Christian women conferences where we sang, and danced, and got tips on how to overcome ourselves.

I’ve spent time in a yurt with a musician playing a didgeridoo and guitar music. We all lay on the floor with our eyes closed. There were gongs and yoga moves going on too.

Mostly in retreat, I pull back from life, into myself, and grow in the mental, spiritual, and physical realms.

It’s that time again… and this one will require some effort. I’m attending yoga school and will emerge as a certified instructor. Cover your ears, I’m letting out a whoop! Do whooping and yoga go together? The focus is on restorative healing. I’m going with the beginners approach which is a good thing since I’m walking with a cane. Slight injury and healing quickly. Every day in every way I’m getting stronger. organ donor running toward retreat
Gavin Chase Pryor Forever My Hero

 An Important Aside: Gavin’s mom and I just exchanged texts for the first time. I’ll soon meet her and the family. He’s my liver organ donor. My hero. My lifesaving gift. She’s a sweetheart of a mom and I’m going to hold her heart so gentle and strong. Retreats are also a time to process big stuff. Life changing stuff…. I’m writing about Gavin, but couldn’t wait to introduce you to him, with mom’s whole hearted blessing. He is my Facebook friend now. I’ve been on there for hours and hours reading about my hero. Gosh I love that kid. I’ll fill you in on details as we go. 

We are all so busy. Your quiet retreat may be 30 minutes alone on a yoga mat. Take what you can get. After cancer and a transplant, you get to take a little extra time to heal up right and proper. I’ll be eating Ayurvedic and totally immersed in the experience. I’ll poke my head in now and then. Mostly, I’ll be studying and posing….. and soaking up good vibes.

Namaste, xo Karen

P.S. There’s a long story about Gavin and I doing yoga. I’ll tell it sometime.

About Karen Hoyt

Karen Hoyt offers a no nonsense approach to living with Cirrhosis. A Hepatitis C treatment survivor, she created a liver loving diet and lifestyle that allows her to create awareness and advocate for her Best Friends at

5 thoughts on “Running Toward Retreat

  1. Karen,

    I always enjoy your posts. Retreats keep me going, even if they are just short quiet times alone in the back yard. Funny, though, when I was so sick after liver failure and was home in a quiet house a-l-l- the time the last thing I wanted was more rest and quiet. Enjoy your yoga time. 🙂

    1. I’m glad you enjoy them and appreciate you taking the time to comment. It pleases me to no end knowing that others have their need for space too. I love people, but like you, really enjoy the quiet times in the back yard.
      Sitting still is not so easy these days. Is it leftover from the steroids? I’m a wiggler. This yoga time will be a good exercise in relaxation. Do you think 30 days is enough time to learn that? lol hmmmm. xo Karen

    2. Hey there! I can understand the feeling. I think we always want what we aren’t getting in the real world. I can’t work so now of course I wish I was working. Money is so tight I keep thinking I have to work but when one can’t walk, one can’t work LOL
      Be well, Dee

  2. I am so happy for you. I k ow how much this means to you. You have such a wonderful sweet soul and your always thinking of others. I pray your retreat will be e everything you want it to be. I’ve never been to a retreat and would truely love to but it’s so hard for me with being a single mom. My parents have a cabin in the mountains it’s only 30 min away but it’s peaceful. My only hold up is that my phone service is really bad there and I’m on the list now and I don’t need to be without my phone. I do wish you all the best and I pray for your donors family also. Love you sweetie! ENJOY your time!

    1. That listing process seemed so long for you! Now, here you are with a climbing MELD score, and yes, tethered to a circle of land surrounding your transplant hospital. Do you have your bag packed and in the car? I kept everything but toiletries in my hatchback for months.

      Maybe if your bag is packed, you can get away. I know when my daughter was young, and then again with little grandkids, even some adult only time was good – even in my own house. Treasure those moments when you can get them.

      I believe that love is a powerful healing force. If love heals, then you are truly living a miracle. I believe my transplant was part of my miracle healing. This is where we trust God. I love you so much dear one. xo Karen

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