Sunday, 14 April 2019

The life changing magic of actually giving a f***

Hi everyone.  Long time no speak.  Sorry it was me not you.

Have you ever had one of those "is this it?" times in your life? Where you feel like a hamster on the wheel, the drudge of adulting, the daily grind and you feel like you just need to get away/run away, just for a few days? Well that was me, I mean is often me and so I decided to challenge myself again to a solo trip somewhere. I couldn't really be faffed with going abroad and had started vaguely looking at spa breaks, yoga retreats, walking holidays in the UK. Problem was none of the retreats I found spoke to me, I either felt they were too serious for me (I am a beginner at yoga) or just seemed too aimed at groups. But then after Christmas I was having my hourly scroll through Instagram and in to my feed popped a post from @LifeRocks. And here it was, what I had been looking for - a yoga and mindfulness retreat in Anglesey, North Wales. What appealed to me was that the 3 day retreats only cater for small groups of likeminded women, so I already felt fairly confident that I wouldn't be the only solo traveler in amongst a hen party! So that was me sold and booked up for a midweek retreat in April.

The Life Rocks retreat is based in a beautiful, large home overlooking the stunning Trearddur Bay Beaches in Anglesey. The house is large but so homely, welcoming and comfortable and I was invited to treat it like my own home by the lovely Phillippa, who runs the retreats. (The title photo is the view from one of windows in my huge bedroom).
On the retreat were myself, 4 other wonderful ladies, Phillippa and Rose (our yoga teacher). The retreats can easily cater for a few more and we had all opted for our own rooms. I did have to share a bathroom but it was really no bother at all and I never had to wait to use it.

Day 1 (arrival)
We all arrived from 3.00pm onwards and were warmly welcomed by Phillippa and Rose with tea and carrot cake. And on that I have to say that the food on the retreat was some of the best I have ever had. We had Andy, a local chef, who provided us with delicious breakfasts, lunches and dinners - all vegetarian and all amazing. I am still dreaming about his bircher muesli!
We then joined Rose in the conservatory for some gentle evening yoga. Yoga sessions took place first thing in the morning (8.00am) and early evening, with a wonderful backdrop of the wide open expanse of sea and beach.
After dinner, we all gathered on the comfy sofas by a roaring fire and did the first group session, which was getting to know each other a little better and talking about why we had come on the retreat and what we had hoped to get out it. It was really pleasant but it didn't really click with me. I wondered if maybe this wasn't going to be the thing that would be able to tell me exactly what I should be doing in my career..

Day 2
The weather for the whole 3 days was glorious, with clear blue skies and sunshine. Which was great as I had driven through thick cloud and heavy rain to get there. We kept silence before breakfast every morning, so I took myself down to the beach to take some photos and get some fresh air before the morning yoga session.
At this yoga session we did some chanting. I've never chanted before, so I kept quiet. It didn't really click with me.
After breakfast, we all took ourselves off for a walk along the beaches and it was on this walk that I fell into a natural but quite deep conversation with a couple of the ladies. Somehow and from somewhere I spoke about my relationship with my daughter and the worries that I'm sure most Mums have and for me, my wonder and awe that my daughter is so loving and good at showing affection when I feel unable to do this. And it was then that one of these wonderful women, who had been a stranger to me before that day, turned to me and said "It's you. You've shown her. Your daughter's love and ability to show it, is from you". Something switched on in me in that moment.

After lunch we had free time and I was booked in for a 50 minute massage. I even let the lovely Elaine massage my feet. No one, not even me, has ever been able to touch my feet. She said my feet were wonderful, strong and healthy. The light in me increased.

After a post massage nap, evening yoga and another delicious dinner (during which we all tried to take photos of the stunning sunset), we gathered again by the fire for a session. And this was the moment for me that everything clicked, switched on, illuminated. One word, one name and the realisation that it was never about how I can make myself happier in my job, there's nothing wrong with my job and whilst I really like my life, my family, my friends, that one word was the light bulb moment that I was blocked, and had been for a long time. I told this wonderful small group of ladies that I needed a ..
plunger. To unblock all the build up. And that was it. Whilst on the surface everything can look fine and dandy, there is so much pressure on everyone to keep our sh** together, soldier on, be strong. And I want to continue to be like this but sometimes you need to acknowledge that if someone made you feel rubbish or a situation you are going through/have been through is horrible, we all need to allow ourselves the time to process it. Or else we will become blocked and that will just stop all the other feelings flowing through!

Day 3 (departure)
And so at the morning yoga session, I wholeheartedly chanted until out of nowhere tears were running down my face. I got it.

Our final group session was an interesting and revealing look at crystals and their properties and I was drawn to Rose Quartz - the crystal for unconditional love, compassion and forgiveness. Which says it all really.

Going on this retreat I didn't really have any expectations but what I got was being in a safe, warm and loving environment which enabled me to open up to not just this small group of truly amazing women, but I suppose more importantly, myself. I actually do give a f***.



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