Creative Healing- A Retreat
I once watched this movie called About Time. It is a lovely romance (well atleast in my opinion) with a quirky twist: the main male character had the ability to travel in time- it was a gift that each male member of his family had. When he was first told by his father about this gift he asked what he did with it. His father said he read all the books that he could...and he read them several times. The other gem his father shared was that he relived life’s more challenging moment with a less tense approach knowing that in the end things usually worked out. You know those times where we are so wrapped up in what is happening that we forget that you have a choice in how you experience that time...this is what the father was talking about.
|Art by Brianna Mc Carthy|
For me, as a mom (my go to example as we all know), there are lots of times where I feel I need to brace myself for challenges. There is the daily challenge of getting out of the house and being punctual- something usually goes awry- especially when attempting to potty train a toddler. Always those cleanups that rob you of those few moments you need to be out of the house at a reasonable time. I can wake up anticipating all of this and feel a stifling plastic tarp of tension envelope me. Any small snag in the morning will make me feel more and more claustrophobic and impatient until we leave the house...at least one of us in tears.
Alternatively, and a more attractive proposition, is to decide ahead of time that you will be more playful with all that life throws at you...and it will throw some crazy
things shit at you. A few weeks ago I attended a retreat organised by fellow Soul Adventurers Malaika Brook- Smith-Lowe (yoga therapist, creative and doula in training), Stacey Byer (Artist and Illustrator) and Melissa Riddelle (Massage Therapist and Juice cleanse expert). It was the fourth installment of their Maroon Retreat with a focus on Creative Healing through yoga, meditation, mudras, mandala rock painting, detox juicing and intentional listening.
|Image by Spice Harmony Yoga Studio|
I know that is a mouth full so I will break it down. But! before I go into the substance of all that we did on that glorious day at Petite Anse let us talk about the goodie bags!!
After a long drive (which became longer because of the mountainous detour we had to take due to construction on the main road) we arrived in Petite Anse Boutique Hotel in the northernmost parish of St. Patrick with an all consuming view of the dramatic and powerful Atlantic Ocean. We were greeted with fresh seasonal fruits, warm embraces and goodie bags. The goodie bags contained a little lavender bundle, yogi detox tea, an orange carnelian crystal*, a mini journal, a hand painted card of the map of Grenada and sample sized Whipped Cocoa Butter by yours truly. Everyone loves a goodie bag and I was over the moon to be included as a contributor.
So back to the activities! We started the day with a beautiful yoga and meditation practice lead by Malaika. She introduced us to a mudras or intentional hand gesture to activate and focus on our sacral chakra- the seat of our creativity, fertility and sexuality. Before we began our practice she asked us which areas of our life we felt we needed to add more playfulness. What a question...weeks later I am still marinating on it.
|Image by Spice Harmony Yoga Studio|
If you have been following me on the gram you know that I have been traveling with N through Hamburg and London. Travelling with a toddler adds a new element to the madness that traveling can be. There are diaper changes, outfit changes, tantrums on trains, running away in huge terminals, food spills, taking off shoes and socks...it’s madness I tell you! But also really nice...you know...playgrounds, nature walk and seeing your little one marvel at this beautiful and dynamic world...and making friends on planes, busses, trams and trains. I could navigate those scenarios with intentional playfulness or I could be dragged through them clutching onto the the idea of what travel looked like before I became a mom. You know that quote from G. K Chesterton ““An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered.”...well if you didn’t now you do...you may thank me later. It rings quite true, life can be filled with inconveniences but it is your gift of free will to pick up the pieces of the shattered imagined perfect image and redesign something uniquely unexpected yet magical.
After a break for journaling and reflection Melissa taught us all about making green smoothies and how we can incorporate them into our daily diets to remove built up toxins from our bodies. Many of us had lots of questions- the idea of replacing a meal with a smoothie is a bit daunting. Luckily Melissa gave us a game plan patterned on her personal experiences of green smoothie detoxing and transition into the vegan lifestyle.
A Grenadian Style Sunday Lunch was served on the patio- fresh local juice, good conversation and a view of the ocean and islands just off our northern coast accompanied the delicious meal.
We then sat down to paint mandalas onto rocks. Admittedly this was the part of the retreat I looked forward to the most as I never make the time to paint anymore. Creating with my hands has been neglected in this mish mash of being a online marketing professional and blogger. Stacey guided us to practice our mandala designs in isolation first and then to sketch out a draft of what we wanted to paint onto our rocks. We painted our rocks white and then began to add coloured designs, eventually outlining our colours with a black sharpie and adding white dots. I loved the process of the rock attaining more and more personality through my efforts and the inspiration oozed out of me. It was so much fun! Making beautiful things with your hands in a playful and non judgmental way (being open to however it may turn out) gives you mental space. It almost felt like those days in art and craft class in kindergarden. Art and craft was my favourite subject.
The retreat closed with drinking bush tea, noshing homemade baked goods a yoga practice and an intentional listening exercise. Now listen (intentionally) that exercise was such a beautiful experience. We sat in clusters of 3 and recounted our experiences throughout the day and what we learned. Each person had 3 minutes to speak while the others had to listen in silence or give affirming gestures and sounds (but not interrupting the speaker). How many times do we interupt someone to clarify something they say or to interject without our own thoughts on what was just said? This space to listen and to speak exclusively really created an awareness in me that these interruptions (although well intentioned and seemingly urgent) are not always needed. Sometimes an intention must be set to simply listen.
If you are in Grenada or are planning to visit and want to immerse yourself into our wellness and creative scene definitely check out Malaika and Stacey. Malaika teaches weekly yoga classes at her Family owned and run yoga studio- Spice Harmony Yoga and around the island and Stacey hosts fun creative workshops like vision board making.
|Malaika- Image by Spice Harmony Yoga Studio|
|Melissa - Image by Spice Harmony Yoga Studio|
Melissa is a Grenadian woman based in the UK running a business called Chiq Haven that focuses on a three dymensional lifestyle in addition to eco-friendly products and services. She aims to offer and share inspirational, healthy , stylish yet luxurious natural way of life.
*Carnelian is the life of the party. Creative and confient, the energy of a Carnelian stone motivates a rush of vibrancy within the sacred chakra to bring forth your inner star. Tapping into its properties will lend a sense of power that can prove especially beneficial for anyone needing to break through creativity blocks or those embarking on new projects and ambitions.