Here is a photo from the French practitioner retreat here at La Source, which finished a week ago today. This was our morning movement practice. I love running retreats. We can go so much deeper into everything, and the quality of shiatsu is precious to experience. It is also a chance to go deeper into our own relationship with ourselves. The theme of this retreat was ” Extraordinary support for life’s transitions”. We were exploring how the Extraordinary Vessels support us during all phases of our lives.
My next course here, the English version of this retreat will run from 23 to 27 August, and there are still a few places left. However it is only open for people who have already studied with me or another Wellmother teacher.
This is the first retreat I have run here at La Source. I ran my first course here last June (2022), for French shiatsu practitioners, as a 2 day course on the Extraordinary Vessels and the menopause, but it ran from 9h30 to 17h30. This year I ran a 3 day course for French shiatsu practitioners and a course for midwives as well as this retreat. I’d love to hear what courses you would like me to run here, and when, especially if you are coming from outside France. The courses will run between May to September, because I want to be able to use outside spaces as much as possible.
Running the retreat where I live, means I am more connected with the space and can guide people to connect more deeply. We began walking around my land after having done some movements with the Stepping Vessels (Qiao). These Vessels enable us to make transitions, and so to arrive and to be fully present. Then I began with a sharing of where we are at in our life cycles. I had asked each person to bring an object with them which represents that. These we placed in a circle I created which represents the cycles of life. This stayed present in the centre of the teaching space to give our days together a focus.
On a retreat we spend most of the time from the morning till we go to sleep, doing some kind of activity. However some of the activities are group activities and others are on our own and can involve resting. Usually in the morning we start with a meditation. The weather was gorgeous and so we were able to sit outside for this each day. Then we do a movement practice which is slightly different each day, depending on the theme of the day. One day we were under the linden trees. It was drizzling so after our meditation everyone was feeling a little damp and we did a more energising practice. After breakfast we have a daily meditative practice, on our own. This is a chance to work in the outside spaces, interacting with them and tending to them. This is done mostly in silence so we can observe ourselves interacting with our environment and how we approach our task. It could be weeding, or pruning or digging the soil and planting. Each day something changes, internally or externally. It’s an interesting practice.
This is the first time I have included this on retreats, partly because I wasn’t in my own space. It is inspired by my time studying with Sonia Moriceau, in Herefordshire and in Wales, in the 1980’s.
For more info read my blog on Sonia
Then we have our morning and afternoon sessions based on the theme of the retreat – like on a “normal” course. In the evening there is often a sharing and meditation. On the last day, we had a fire ceremony which included a passage through the linden tree avenue as a symbol of our rebirth through all the work we had done during the week. I had at first thought of guiding it more, but then decided to let each person decide how they wanted to walk down the avenue, and what kind of support the others could give them. It was all very creative and touching and included various movements and sounds and lots of hugging and joy.
I look forward to running many more retreats here.