Follow your enthusiasm
Over the last couple of years my growth as a human has centred around the acceptance of my own creativity, in all of its imperfect glory!
This year it’s been about trusting my intuition, allowing myself to go wherever or towards whatever I am drawn to, with a curious, amplified, magnetic force.
At the beginning of 2019, idlily leafing through the Saturday Guardian Travel supplement featuring retreats, from the comfort of my own bed, I came upon Write it Down! classed as a “Life Changing Retreat”
I wasn’t really looking for my life to be changed (or was I?!) but I love the sound of
Rediscover your unique creativity with fun and empowering writing holidays
And so, after a couple of failed attempts to get dates to line up, and discovering the very inspirational Elaine Kingett, of Write it Down!, had once lived on the road, on which I now live (surely a sign of serendipity?) I was all booked for the end of August.
I have a massive value for Freedom. It’s something that I find brings me challenges in mother hood. And I share my life with someone who understands my need for it, he has a big need for it too, so he gets it!
There is something very delicious about choosing my own place to stay in Seville, in travelling and exploring alone. And I love that I am now able to fully, unapologetically and confidently, embrace this.
In the one afternoon and evening I had in Seville, before being collected for the Write it Down! retreat, I followed my enthusiasm! Casually wandering wherever I was drawn to!
A vibrant jaunt along the river. Those narrow, shaded, rich yellow, green and pink, colourful streets appealing to my unknowing, curious, wandering!
Taking me to the oldest Tapas bar in Seville where I communicated through mime, pigeon Spanish and pointing at what others were eating!
It was a heady abundance of flavours, colours, smells, sounds, laughter, small talk with strangers and utter freedom of where and when I went next!
The Beginning of A New Book
Much like when you pick up a new book and wonder, who will the characters be? what will be the location? the setting? what is this story about? The reality hit me on the morning of this actual (lifechanging?) retreat.
Oh good god, I am about to spend a week with a bunch of strangers….I did not think this one through!!
So carried away was I, with thoughts of creativity and freedom, I hadn’t quite focused on the fact that I’d be with the same people, every day, on this retreat……
And then, just like that here we all are at the meeting point for collection.
Are these my people? I thought to myself.
At first you reject it….and them.
And then you take a deep breath and remember that you pretty much LOVE all people, even the ones who vote differently!!
Slowly, patiently, you let this experience and these people unfold.
You’ll get to know them all individually and you’ll start to see the system, the dynamic, that gets created between all of you.
And of course, you get to meet the “Leader”
I was pretty much already in awe of the wonderful woman, Elaine Kingett, who would hold this experience for us.
Because, of course we make judgements about people instantly, from their appearance, their clothes, hair, voice, their writing, their social media content who we imagine them to be and how we might relate to each other.
And so, the stage was set!
Of course I’d seen pictures of Finca Buenvino when I was booking the retreat.
It was more magical and heavenly than I could ever have imagined.
Generous, spacious, bohemian, a joy on all the senses, an abundance of colour and the most delicious food and wine!
All of us welcomed as a full blown dweller for the week, into this beautiful home designed and built by Sam and Jeannie Chesterton and shared with their two sons and two dogs.
Who’s afraid of the big, bad, dark?!
After a beautiful meal, easy, still polite, chatter. Off I went to my lovely room, all ready for an easy slumber.
It’s quite astonishing to me, in my life now, the power of Fear.
But Fear was to be my unwelcome enemy on the first night of this retreat.
At first, mild annoyance that I wasn’t getting to sleep easily. A new bed, a first night somewhere new, to be expected I guess.
And then, BANG, a realisation. I cannot breathe. I am terrified.
I feel completely alone. I am going to have to turn the light on, stand in front of the fan to try and gulp some air. Where has all the air gone?!
What the Fuuuuuck was I thinking, I’ve left my family, what if something happens to them, or to me?
I start to cry, all rationality leaves me. I turn the light off again. I am sobbing in the pitch black, alone.
I’ve been here before. Oh yes, I’ve been here before. I have felt real fear for my life before.
And, strangely, this brings me some comfort.
Although shaken from this suffocating collision with fear, it’s not about now, it’s about then.
Our mornings start with a meditation by the pool.
It takes a while to walk to the pool from the house. I am accompanied on my first walk by a beautiful fellow retreater. I find myself confessing the terror that came to me in the night and how discombulated I was by it.
And then I get to escape into a soothing, calming meditation. A gentle way to connect with my soul, in quiet and stillness.
I don’t want to give too much away about this experience, it should retain the magic it deserves, for others, who will experience it for themselves.
It was all I wanted it to be, and so much more than I could have ever anticipated
It turned up the dial on trusting my intuition and amplified claiming my creativity.
Our writing was experimental, vulnerable, playful, honest. It was a privilege to witness the vulnerability and growth in others. I loved ALL of their writing, their stories, their own unique and individual styles.
We were encouraged to explore ourselves and our lives honestly. Our hopes, our dreams, and our judgements in the most creatively playful way possible.
I noticed how far I’ve come.
I am a natural hider…. When the going gets tough, I am the first to find the most convenient exit route!
I was able to be with all of these wonderful people. To be with, and not take on, their energy, their discomfort, their story’s.
And I was able to really show myself to others, in all my love, pain, energy and glory!
I think all of us, in our own way, healed as a result of this experience.
It’s only natural, of course I’ve changed darling……. I’ve grown!
These are words shared by one of our retreaters who shared the BEST poetry!
And, it sums up what I got from this, yes I’ll say it, life changing retreat!
Spending time with beautiful, courageous women, ignited my compassion and courage to explore all that’s possible.
Wandering in the most beautiful, peaceful nature. Eating fruit from the trees as we gently explored and learned about the nature around us.
Experiencing generous hospitality in a beautiful home, that is a delight on all the senses.
With my love of people, nature, creative play and adventure this was a retreat that has enriched me creatively.
And, of course, I’ve changed….. I’ve grown!