Retreat

IMG_5711

Imagine a place far from home.

Say that it’s spacious…an old stone Georgian manor with French floor to ceiling window casements. Built in the mid 1800s, and still standing stoically in the damp, often foggy English countryside.

 

Imagine acres of gardens and farmland, livestock grazing, stone paths with a large latched gate and not a few concrete goddesses.  A magical place of mystical worship.

Outside, a garden of fresh herbs, vegetables, and orchards of nourishing, delectable fruit.

Inside, an intriguing interior with a magnificent staircase central to all activity.  A kitchen that has a life of its own—the place of early morning greetings, musings, ready smiles and spontaneous laughter…endless cups of tea, and plates of homemade cake so varied and reliable that you simply cannot continue to say no.

Imagine a joyous embracing—being gloriously welcomed, then toasted by candlelight on a crisp autumn evening with bubbly flutes of Prosecco. The excitement of it all–adventure, friendship, spirit, wonder.

Add to this setting a chef with trained cooks waiting to serve your every meal from a country kitchen set just off the stately dining room—a place of elegant evening meals with its large, expansive table that, in addition to the kitchen table, becomes as central to community as the hearths that warm the two rooms beyond.

Imagine one room, lightly touched with delicate incense, distinctive, yet barely perceptible.  Imagine sage, cedar and juniper bound together in a wand, used in a smudging ceremony to prepare this room, to prepare the energy of the room to receive you and send you yonder.

Imagine with this no need to plan, no need to shop, no need to decide anything really. Just come to the table and state your pleasure: vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free. It’s all there, prepared and waiting to nourish and satisfy a hunger you didn’t even know you had.

Imagine at this table, candlelit and clothed, raising one’s glass in unison–toasting, clinking, belonging. Moonlight lifting through the windows. A yurt waiting outside with more magic than you can hope for. Change.  Epiphanies.  Tears.  Wonder.  A fire glowing in the cold air.

Imagine conversation at every meal. Caring. Hearing. Feeling fed, feeling full. Being seen, nourished. Imagine a space of your own. Company. Time to be quiet. Time to be raucous. A universe beyond.

Here you will enjoy a library of books. Wood fires crackling–first in the parlor, then in the salon. Darkly painted plum-colored walls, deep as your memories. Bouquets of flowers, varied as your dreams. A velvet Buddah. Your heart’s delight in every room.

 

 

Imagine a circle. A sisterhood of support, loving your soul to fullness. Imagine change, breakthroughs, release. Tears that have waited an unbelievably long time. A new meaning for yes.

 

 

Imagine all of this framed in exploration—a hike in the wind, a breathless climb, a Shamanic reading near a Chalice Well.  Finally, a deep tissue massage in a converted stable that once was a cow shed.

Rain falling hard.

Imagine a woman. You.  A woman weary from the journey there.

Imagine women. Fifteen women. Six groups of two and always one group of three, where you are never sure where you will end up—but where you will always feel you belong.  A family you never expected.

A family of women also present at the inevitable sendoff.  Yet this sendoff, like their welcoming, is one that reaches beyond your wildest dreams. A veritable scene from a movie, with you playing the lead role.  After Letting Go, a celebration of Can’t-Let-Gos–revelatory, with so much love, so much knowing.  Their wisdom and your own, whirling all around and through you.  A newfound confidence.

Just imagine. Imagine having company all hours of the day, with nothing to do but connect, look within, reach beyond, process, dream.


Imagine this space for yourself, quiet, silence.

A surprising room of your own of safety and freedom.

This is bliss.  Clean sheets and a fluffy duvet.  Your own bubble bath with no interruptions. Stars on your door, circling your name.

 

 

 

 © Debra A. Valentino, all rights reserved

4 thoughts on “Retreat

  1. I see you also do have the gift of Photography! This is a nice addition to your wonderful writing! Reading your blog and imagining, while viewing the photos is a delightful experience; enriching my life! Thank you for using and sharing the gifts God has given you!

  2. The photo at the beginning of your blog was gorgeous! If you took this photo, you also have the gift of photography! Flowers are a part of God’s creation, I find exquisite!

    While reading your description of the wonderful environment; the word yurt was unfamiliar to me. A quick read in “Webster’s Dictionary” gave me the meaning. It’s our goal to learn at least one new thing each day; thank you for adding to my goal today!

    You had me enjoying this comfortable place with you! It was delightful. Your descriptions were superb. As I read, I could feel my body relax. I am grateful I was able to have my mind on the enjoyment of imagination; which was truly a welcome respite in my day! I appreciate your writing and having this blog, available for me to enjoy!

    • Thank you for these kind remarks, Faithful Reader. I did take the photos myself, including the lead photo and the background photo. I love photographing flowers in different parts of the world. I’m so happy you returned to read this post and that you found it delightful to read. I’m hoping it will be a kind of Christmas card to the women I shared this space with. It was an incredible experience that I found rather difficult to write about because it was so full and so rich in every way.

Please share your thoughts.