Today i’ve created my own retreat, in my own home, by choosing to go slow, to light the fire, to be conscious of my breath and to observe my mind and heart.
In the past (probably once every 1-2 years) i spent a well-day (a mental health day) IN BED. In silence, in stillness, with me.
It’s curious to me, as during a most profound workshop Tao of Clown with Giovanni Fusetti, we each discovered our unique Clown, which is the closest thing i have encountered to embodying the shadow. The ancient European clown (rather than a Warner Bros Circus Clown with child-terrifying white-caked facepaint, balding head until the frizzy orange curls, and overstretched red lips) invites us to enjoy failing, taking risks, being with the unexpected. It was during this heart-warming 3 day workshop that i discovered my Clown is similar to Winnie-the-Pooh. One of my Clown’s favourite hobbies was to hide under a feather duvet and drink cold milk milos in a tall glass with a long dessert spoon, stirring and eating, the still dry, turning to soggy milo from the top. My Clown was not particularly verbal, as was another’s in the class, was happy to go very very gently and slowly and do…not very much, thank you very much.
You see, this is the antithesis of who i charge around being a larger percentage of the time than i care for.
I am (too often perhaps) a talker, a connector, a sharer, a helper, a sometimes-activist, a people-person and often regrettably and trying to be a recovering people-pleaser and a woman who was recently nominated as someone who ‘gets shit done’.
Yet, whilst attending a Inner Child workshop with Alyse Young at Kawai Purapura i met my 6 year old. I listened to her. It has been one of the most tearful and also helpful visualisations or pilgrimages i have done. Kia ora Alyse Young. I heartily recommend her work and anticipate participating in a Shamanic Journey with her. But my little girl, wanted more silence, more stillness and more walking alone in the long sand-coloured meadows you may have seen in the Margaret Mahy’s The Lion in the Meadow, than she got in those early years. It’s my promise to give it to her, now.
Today, I’m retreating from fast, from in-authentic, from guilt, from obligation, from my many-layered-to-do-lists.
I was propelled to write this right now as a friend has just got out of jail. I was the first person out of jail he has spoken with. Hearing the joy within the words and sounds welled me up. He sounded euphoric. I don’t believe it was because of ‘being released’ i believe and he’s believes, it was due to being ‘limited’ put into solitary confinement. The silence, the stillness, the emptiness, the minimalism, the slow-life-movement, the presence he found, the space he gave himSELF. Hearing him speak reminded me of the nuns and monks who climb sides of mountains and refrain from much food and survive with little sleep, who meet themselves. I was reminded of some friends and family who have bravely sat in Vipassana (silent retreats) for 10 days, and met the edge of who they are, what this is, all of it.
My retreat at the kitchen table, in front of the fire, under the cherry tree has been helped along cos the young ones are at Playcentre and then Kindy, another is at School and i’ve got the call out for a babysitter so i can share this day and evening more with me.
The twist too is compiling this has indeed reminded me of retreating from my own expectations and perhaps expectations of others also.
If you’re like me and you need to retreat within without having to ‘go anywhere’, what are the spaces, places, activities you like to do to aid this process?
My top ten take a load off tools today:
1) Move my body e.g Kundalini Yoga class. There are classes for free online via Gaia, or go visit your ‘go-to-teacher’, which in my case is Mari Hall with Mount/Tauranga Kundalini Yoga Community
2) Practice Mindfulness. Be aware of the breath. Have a curiosity about ‘everything’. Approach today with C O A L. Curiosity. Open-ness. Acceptance. Love.
3) Sleep a bit.
4) Go outside, stay there for a while.
5) Un-plug from technology (i promise i’ll do this when i’ve finished, yikes how addicted am i!)
6) Do something i love (e.g. write)
7) Drink warm water (with a squeeze of lemon or lime or a capful of apple cider vinegar)
8) Be kind and empathetic to myself – Treat myself as i would someone i love.
9) Go slowly.
10) Be in silence – wear a badge if that helps.
11) Experience the elements * Light a fire * Soak my body * Rug-up under the stars * Walk barefoot * Be outside
I’ve wanted to do this for an age now, create a Directory for people seeking silence.
This plans to be a mix of book-a-bach places that are in quiet serene spots, that are affordable to many, and that have an outlook of N A T U R E, and some of the retreat centres which offer ‘havens’.
I will go do more research another non-retreating day, but for now this is a wee taster for what people have shared with me:
Directory for quiet spaces in surrounded by Nature to stop, silence and still
1) Falls Retreat
$150 per night
25 WAITAWHETA ROAD, WAIHI,
Phone 07 863 8770
2) Katikati Bird Gardens Cottage
263 Walker Road East, Aongatete, Tauranga
Phone 07 549 0912
3) Vipassana Meditation Centre Auckland
Vipassana Meditation Centre, Dhamma Medini
153 Burnside Rd, RD3 Kaukapakapa, New Zealand 0873
Tel: +64 09 420 5319
4) Tauhara Centre
Retreatants: Self-contained single: $90 Self-contained double: $105
60 Acacia Heights Drive, RD 5, Taupo 3385, New Zealand
Phone: (07) 378 7507
An array of accomodation from Eco Baches to Caboose to Garden Belle Tents $250-$80 per night. I’ve stayed in silence at the Ivy Cottage overlooking the ocean from a great height.
611 Wainui Road, Raglan 3297
Phone: +64 (7) 825 8268
6) Dharma Gaia
Dharma Gaia Garden, 608 Manaia Road RD1, Coromandel 3581
Phone: +64 (0)7 866 7995
7) Ohui Retreat (with Ashram Yoga)
$175/night in double bed private room (maximum 2 persons)
$175/night in double bed private caravan (maximum 2 persons)
$110/night in single caravan
NB: During July and August we offer a $20 discount per person per night for inside accommodation.
758 Ohui Road, Opoutere , Coromandel Peninsula
Phone: +64 (0)7 865 8451
8) Mana Retreat
Whilst Mana doesn’t offer accomodation outside of their programmed events, one can always go to a ‘Relax’ weekend, which consists of Yoga, Meditation, Catered Vegetarian Food. We suggest you ask for one of their ‘I am in silence’ badges. At these events, they also have a silent table, a table one can sit at, if one wishes to dine without talking.
608 Manaia Road, RD1, Coromandel, 3581
Phone: +64 (07) 866 8972
I’d love to add two or more book-a-bach places for $200 per night or less, within 3 hours drive from Bay of Plenty, which are secluded (without immediate view of other dwellings), preferably some which are surrounded by Nature, the bush, sand, sea, mountains…
Are you willing to share your favourite tucked away spot with us?
This is what i’ve dug up so far searching for holiday homes:
1) Ohiwa Echo Retreat
Timber Cabin with surrounding bush, sea & harbour views overlooking Whale Island & White Island. Perfect sunrises, amazing sunsets over the lights of Ohope. Completely off the grid, powered by solar & gas. Simply has that Wow factor.
Perfect spot to completely unwind, but still close the huge amount of activities offered by the Eastern Bay of Plenty.
Large dogs welcome but outside only.
GUESTS MUST HAVE 4WD or AWD (all wheel drive vehicle).
$115 per night, minimum 2 night stay
2) Blue Gum Cottage
This charming cottage is filled with character, cosy, luxurious and very private. Nestled amongst the trees, with polished wooden floors, bay windows, and you own private spa pool in a bush clad courtyard. Sit back and enjoy the tranquil setting of Blue Gum Cottage. Enjoy a B.B.Q. on the covered deck as you listen to the surrounding birdsong.
A special place to spend a romantic restful weekend away. Indulge and relax in the outdoor spa surrounded by nature.
Bethlehem, Bay of Plenty.
Two nights minimum stay at $195.00/night total $390.00
3) Ohiwa’s Best Bach
Self contained, Stand alone, Classic Kiwi Bach with a rustic timber finish.Open plan (studio),internal shower & toilet.Bach
Sleeps up to 5 & sleep out sleeps 3 max. Also room for tents or parking your boat outside.
Enjoy total privacy, excellant fishing, abundant birdlife and the most romantic peacefull setting in the Ohiwa harbour.
Cosy Pot belly fire for those cooler winter nights. Spotless presentation, No traffic noise, No street lights
$85 per night.
4) Tranquil Trees Comfy Farm Cottage
Fully renovated modern and comfortable two bedroom cottage sleeping up to 6. Separate kitchen/dining, separate lounge/living area, large modern bathroom and two bedrooms with rural views. Covered porch. Outdoor furniture, barbecue and fully fenced section on 150 acre farm. Tranquil, private retreat, handy town and tourist activities, magical farm picnic spots.
$100 per night.
5) Lake Haven – Lake Edge
Lake Edge, just ten steps to the water and your jetty in full view from your lounge and bedroom. Prepare to relax on the lake edge with a beautiful view and complimentary linen, bottle of NZ wine, free WiFi, Kayaks and an outdoor fire place.
$250 per night (weekdays)
$290 per night (weekends)
6) Hillside Cottage with Stunning Sunset View
This charming cottage is set just four minutes drive outside of Raglan, close to town, the beach, and amenities but still possessing that tranquil countryside feeling.
$131 per night