When I hear the word retreat, I go immediately to the noun. it conjures up peaceful thoughts for me. I have had many wonderful experiences with different groups with which I have served going on retreats where we have had the opportunity to re-affirm our commitment to the work we were doing, sometimes refocus, and find our way forward toward meeting our goals. For me, retreat means I get to recharge my batteries to find the energy to move forward while building deeper relationships with those with whom I serve.
Alternately, if I think about the word retreat as a verb, it doesn’t give me the same warm fuzzy feeling. It is more negative. It signals failure to me, and failure, on first glance, is not something that I instinctively embrace. But, perhaps the noun and the verb are not really that different. Retreating, due to failure, plus reflection and refocusing can all lead to positive forward motion.