Wellspring Retreat – A Cleanse and Renewal

26/9/2013

You know that feeling you get when you take a huuuge deep belly breath in, and let it all go with a massive audible sigh? One that maybe even the neighbours can hear? Well I feel like that at the moment. But times one hundred.

Over the spring equinox weekend I spent two and a half glorious days cleansing and renewing myself in the very capable hands of Kaya Slater, Stace Callaghan and Paulie Harrold at their Wellspring Retreat, held at Gunnebah Retreat Centre in the lusciously beautiful Byron Hinterland.

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It was my first ever wellness retreat, and delightfully my bestie was keen to join in the fun, flying up from Sydney to come along.

I keep myself regularly topped up with daily meditation, frequent energy sessions and time out in nature, but taking the time to switch off completely – no television, computer, phone, or anything resembling responsibility – is a huge rarity for me. Combine this with delicious body, mind and soul pampering and diving deep within to cleanse, renew and recalibrate my entire being – well, I’d never done that before. But I will definitely be doing it again, and regularly.

The program was kept largely a secret, which worked really well at keeping us all really focused on whatever was happening in front of us, completely present, and not thinking to what fun lay ahead (hello, life lesson in releasing control and embracing the now).

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Our time was filled with beautiful body awakening yoga, (a combination of hatha, kundalini and yin yoga), Zen Thai shiatsu bodywork/massage (heavenly), peaceful group meditations, play and laughter, dance, reflective time in nature, group kinesiology, releasing emotional patterns which no longer served us – and welcoming in grace, peace, wonder, trust, and acceptance. A blissful combination of activities if I ever saw one.

In addition, we were lovingly fed delicious vegan food all weekend by the utterly amazing Leanne from Sustainably Nourishing, who is not only an awesome chef but also a well-knowledged nutritionist. Leanne encouraged us all to eat mindfully, chewing up to thirty times per mouthful (this was a mega challenge for me. I love food SO much but I just seem to wolf it down). Leanne combines a variety of textures and taste sensations in every meal, so there literally is a party in your mouth with each bite.

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There was so much wisdom and knowledge imparted over the weekend, I’m absolutely sure it hasn’t all integrated in to my psyche as yet, but I thought I’d reflect on some of the most poignant ‘aha’ moments I had over the weekend:

My three biggest takeaways from Wellspring

The impermanence of emotions: One of the activities we completed towards the end of our retreat was about completely expressing emotions and being witnessed in doing so. Pretty confronting but oh-so-satisfying and validating. We had to dance our way through five emotions: Fear, Anger, Joy, Love and Compassion. I’ve done Five Rhythms dance before (which is amazingly fun, I encourage everyone to give it a go) so I thought it’d be a cinch, I’d just dance my way through each of them and that would be that. But oh noes. Dancing my way through each REALLY pushed my buttons, especially those first two pesky ones!

I truly felt fear, expressed anger, embodied joy, celebrated love, and emanated compassion. Some super strong and deep seated emotions pulsated and moved in waves through me, up and out. It was SO cathartic, uplifting and also completely and utterly exhausting. But crucially, I observed and felt each and every one – and also saw their impermanence as they moved through me. Emotions aren’t ours to keep and identify with. It’s not MY fear or MY joy – it’s just E-nergy in MOTION. I let each move through me and back out in to the ether again.

You don’t need to pick through your rubbish to throw it out. Stace made a wonderful point during one of our discussions, outlining the importance of just doing a wholesale release of our emotions, upset, anger, frustrations without needing to name them, analyse them and pick through every piece of garbage that we have. In order to get rid of the rubbish from our homes, we pick up the rubbish bag, and throw it in to a larger bin for collection. No need to sift through it, touch it, smell it, examine it. Just chuck it.

It’s only when there’s some kind of persistent smell or a piece of rubbish that’s accidentally become lodged in our receptacle that it’s necessary to take a closer look and really coax it out. This would be those patterns we keep seeing repeat themselves in our lives – they won’t go away until we learn and fully integrate these lessons in to our being.

Tend to your garden. You can be the most aware, tuned in, conscious human being on this earth and you will still need to do the work of maintaining that awareness, higher vibrational frequency, and consciousness. Unconsciousness, ego and fear constantly swirl about us and vigilance is required to meet it all with our whole beings and transform them all. Everyday dingin’ day, peeps. We don’t just do it once and all is well and good forever-and-ever-amen. Weeds are still able to grow in the most fertile, lush, beautiful and well tended gardens. Watch out for them.

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I was so absorbed in the present during the whole weekend, engaged with every activity and connecting with amazing souls, I hardly took any photos, resulting in a few madly rushed shots taken on Sunday afternoon before we left (including a few speedy yoga postures in the bush, check out Kaya’s crow pose awesomeness) just to capture a tiny snapshot of this beautiful weekend.

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Driving away from the retreat, with the sun’s golden rays glimmering over stunningly verdant hinterland hills, I felt my entire being abuzz with light, love and a deep abiding peace. From the top of my head to the tips of my toes, I was positively thrumming with joy and gratitude to have been blessed with a weekend so illuminating and nourishing. Yum, yum, yum.

Have you been on a wellness retreat? Or maybe planning to do so one day? I highly recommend it! Share your thoughts below xx

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