Who we are looking for is who is looking ~St. Francis of Assisi
A little light bulb moment invited me to develop a new programme, a personal retreat with Mindfulness and Reflective Practice as key. It would be on a one to one basis. Ignoring it at first as you do, it started tapping quietly on my brain and finally loudly until I let it out to play.
The idea was to give people some time to practice being and to:
- Create space in life
- Rest in a warm and safe environment
- To be nurtured body and soul
- Clear the mind
- Consider options
- Re-member them Selves
It was not to be a ‘pamper day or marching over hill and dale all of which are relevant but something different yet fed from ancient practices where retreat is considered essential for the development of the soul. I wanted to give a taste of this wonderful experience in a secular way. Then I realised that is exactly what A Quiet Place does….silly me. Also aware that people may feel a little anticipatory concern of imagined inner religious undertones or personal secrets to be let out so I needed to be able to allay any fears and discuss the menu of options on offer to build this bespoke day just for them.
Very much aware that this kind of thinking is not everyone’s cup of tea I wanted it to be adaptable across the board for corporate executives as well as those simply needing a break. It was also an interesting opportunity for me to wander memory paths of my own reflective practice through a variety of gateways that I have explored over the years. And of course I am personally interested in the spiritual path and have had the great good fortune to meet a variety of extraordinary teachers along the way. I don’t mean the popular ones on the internet either but from times pre the modern global self development industry.
- The process: meant finding an appropriate place, having a pre meeting to decide an order of the day…vague as it was and planning a feedback session after about 3 weeks.
- The content: I had fun developing, so many possibilities, I am a teacher after all is said and done! I had an image of a beautiful winding river, gentle today but with some adventures to tell and a few places to rest, have delicious picnics as well as explore with the companion i.e. myself.
Questions for me to consider?
- When do we ever spend 7 hours on our own with another human being except for family?
- Is this all too intense?
- What can we do that would fulfill the bee..ness I had imagined as well as being of practical use to apply in the real world otherwise it might be seen as self indulgent and whilst that may be OK not sure if people would be given time off work for this!
So I prepared a timetable that would start with a holistic well being audit, a series of questions I have devised to look at different issues from physical, emotional and intellectual to spiritual and creativity. This informal conversation produces a complementary agreed prescription with Top Tips as well as providing clues as to what direction the rest of the day might take. Additionally it informs the deep relaxation and guided visualisation I develop uniquely after lunch.
To my delight and pleasure it worked well, venue was extraordinary Thornton Manor http://www.thorntonmanor.co.uk/ Thatched Cottage in the conservatory here is the misty view first thing, my friend. ex chef made wonderful food for lunch and we wandered a little in the grounds. I have played with the idea over 6 separate days, each person unique. The flow of the day worked well and finishing off for coffee and cake at the Little Tea House in Parkgate http://littleteahouseparkgate.com/ to watch the sunset over the Welsh Hills was just right. What else could we ask for and of course we worked very, very, very hard!