Link to Song Page with more about my song  RETREAT


Retreat is where I go when I am sad

All my tears let me know

I long for you and miss you so


Retreat is my escape from the world

I withdraw and suddenly

I feel you surround me


At those times, I’d wish you were near

and then, you’d appear

But you were only in my mind,

only in my mind, you were only in my mind


Retreat is when a song soothes my soul

A melody fills my heart

reminding me we’re not apart


Retreat is where I find peacefulness

My music has begun

to be my true companion


At those times, I’d wish you were near

and then, you’d appear

but you were only in my mind

only in my mind,

you were only in my mind

only in my mind

This image is a way for me to depict “Melody.” She represents my musical inspiration.

This image is a way for me to depict “Melody.” She represents my musical inspiration.


verb: withdrawal, flight, give way, fall, recede, ebb, wane, retire

noun: haven, escape, sanctuary, isolation, solitude, hideaway, refuge

The word “retreat” is very profound for me. As a verb, I see negative meanings. As a noun, I see positive meanings. The “black and white” implications of those definitions relate well to my own personal struggle with extreme thinking.

I wrote my song “Retreat” when I was nineteen. But I can truly relate to my song at this time in my life. When I developed dry eye problems in 2012, social situations became tough for me. It’s been three years that I’ve lived with dry eye disease.

I see retreating as a way to escape from pain. I basically have surrendered to my condition. Stress causes my eyes to worsen, so I strive to keep my environment comfortable. Inner peace allows me to function, so every day my goal is to maintain serenity.

Recently, I tried a few new remedies for my eyes, but found it discouraging when every single one caused my eyes to worsen.

I get depressed when I long for the eyes I had in the past. Acceptance and appreciation for what I’m able to do despite this is where I’ve put my focus. It is not easy, but familiar – it reminds me of how I coped with grief. I have a strong belief that healing is possible. I tell myself on bad days that things will get better. I never want to give up hope.

This is my song sheet from 1980 that helped me remember my song. I did not remember the melody for the verses and composed new chords for them 31 years later.

This is my song sheet from 1980 that helped me remember my song. I did not remember the melody for the verses and composed new chords for them 31 years later.

Retreat is one of three songs of mine that have different rhythms between the verse and chorus (the other two are “You Were There” and “How We Don’t Care.”

My first arrangement of Retreat in 2011 didn’t fulfill my vision for my song. It was a challenging song to sing. I hoped one day I could revisit it and do my song justice.

A year later, I revised the lyrics further and my arranger George created a second version. This past month, I sang another new vocal for it. It is not for an album release because I plan to revise the arrangement again someday to improve the rhythm transitions.

But for now, I’m glad I didn’t abandon this song because it gave me a lot of insight!

Guitar Stream

To hide and withdraw seems negative; it represents surrendering and giving up. Yet, finding serenity within that escape is truly a beautiful concept.

When I wrote my song as a young girl, I was definitely discouraged. Yet when I retreated, I found inner peace through my music. That happened again for me because of music later in my life.

The chorus was originally written with words expressing disappointment. It went:

“At those times I’d wish you were there, but you never were – you were only in my mind.”

In 2012, I changed the chorus words ever so slightly – I wanted a more positive feeling for my song. The chorus change was also an improvement because I liked the perfect rhymes. My new words were:

At those times I’d wish you were near and then you’d appearbut you were only in my mind.”

I don’t see the lyric line of “only in my mind” as being negative. I believe thoughts are powerful; they lead to how I feel and can become my reality. What is in my mind often leads to a beautiful song and that helps heal me.

This old watercolor of mine is a good image for my song; lots of cascading turmoil often leads me to a beautiful place.

This old watercolor of mine is a good image for my song; lots of cascading turmoil often leads me to a beautiful place.

I see the concept of being surrounded (as in my song “Beside Me Always”) as a very spiritual one.

Even though I wrote Retreat at 19, when I revised it 30 years later I thought it was a prophecy (like many other of my early songs.) I wanted to envision my deceased son, Jason appearing to me. When that didn’t happen, I imagined it might be my mother. She always comforted me when I was sad and died a year after I revised my lyrics.

But the truth was that every time I sang Retreat, I didn’t picture anyone appearing. That made it very hard for me to connect to my song. So who was near to me in my mind?

Then last week when I sang a new vocal, I found my answer. My own lyrics unlocked the mystery for me with the words below:

Retreat, is when a song can soothe my soul. A melody fills my heart, reminding me we’re not apart.”

It was “Melody!”

When I wrote the revised lyrics to Retreat in 2012, my subconscious was acknowledging that I had a guardian angel/fairy named “Melody.” Melody could also be synonymous with God. Her presence kept me safe; she offered me a blanket of musical comfort and protection from the world outside.

Melody is a shining star in my life and whispers in my ear to heal.

Melody is a shining star in my life and whispers in my ear to heal.

With my eye condition, I feel safest when I am at home. Even though that can be isolating, I seldom feel lonely. I only need to open my heart to find “Melody” if I am discouraged.

Last week, I was at my computer working on a new vocal line for Retreat. My eyes were bothering me so I stopped what I was doing and picked up my guitar to play.

It had been several months since I’d composed a new song. It felt unlikely – I did not have any new ideas or a burning desire to write anything. But as I played, I discovered a few sweet chords and felt soothed by their progression.

A week later, I shared those chords with my arranger, George. He wrote them out quickly and played them on his piano; it sounded beautiful!  He asked me if I had any more chords. Surprisingly I did – but I didn’t think they were any good. George said, “Jude, you underestimate your abilities – your chords will work fine!”

Within two sessions an arrangement was completed and I was in awe that I had a new song so quickly. But my new song didn’t have any words or vocal melody!

George asked me what to name it and I said, “In The Past.”

That statement was such a beautiful one I had made at my last hypnotherapy session. Just thinking about overcoming dreadful things in my past inspired me.

I went to work and quickly wrote lyrics that would once again help me cope with any stress and sadness in my life.

Wings to fly

The last line of the chorus announced that I found my wings. They were the ones that allowed me to escape from pain. Ironically, I had just finished another song a few months ago named “You Are My Wings.” For that song, I also allowed Melody to be my wings. 

I could easily write another story about all the things in my life that I have cried over. And most of those things that happened to me are the reason I am flying now. Instead of retreating from pain or being imprisoned by it, I took off.

I wanted to see what I had already written about “Retreat” and it was an amazing coincidence when I saw some lyrics in progress attached to my story named “Retreat-Part 2.” They carried the same theme that my new song did. Retreat was a prophecy for “In The Past.”

It was even more moving for me because of what I was living with when I wrote that older story.

I know I'll get by

Link to Part 2 of this story:

Story about Retreat – Part 2

Three years ago, I was completely despondent. I was miserable in my marriage and couldn’t share my feelings with anyone. I was depressed watching my parents suffer and decline.

On “Retreat-Part 2,” I shared a picture of my father. In that same picture, my mother can be seen asleep at the table. She could barely communicate because of her dementia and oh, how I missed her. And that was the last picture I took of my father, because he died two weeks later.

It was one month after my father died, that I found the courage to tell my husband I wanted a divorce.

On that story, I wrote how I had heart palpitations from stress. And my eye problems were beginning; I wrote how I had gone to urgent care with strange symptoms and visual disturbances.

I almost gave up

During that awful time, I lived inside my mind. My haven and refuge was with my beloved “Melody.” She took care of me and I created many soothing songs because of her. Those melodies guided me through.

Hopeless and so alone

Now three years later, all of the stress I was living with in Part 2 is in the past.

That was why I was able to compose my new uplifting song, which helps me heal.

Thank you, “Melody.”My journey

Click the blue link to hear a rough recording of my new song. It is still very new but progressing nicely. I love it! 

IN THE PAST Arrangement– Copyright 2015 by J Unger


Melody in the clouds

© Judy Unger and 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Judy Unger with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

About Judy

I'm an illustrator by profession. At this juncture in my life, I am pursuing my dream of writing and composing music. Every day of my life is precious!
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3 Responses to RETREAT – PART 3

  1. jmgoyder says:

    You always inspire me and I love listening to your music and reading your wisdom. I’m not well atm so sorry for the short comment!


  2. how beautiful both visually and emotionally! i am so warmed by your story and how your muse, melody, has been such a comfort and inspiration.


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