The very first Soul Retreat Abroad. 14 guests, 1 massage therapist (the amazing Sharon May) and I ventured to the magical mountains of Morocco just outside of Marrakesh for a 7 night yoga retreat. One of our retreat guests, the wonderful and inspiring Pat, wrote on her booking form that she was looking for ‘Full Participation’. These two words stood out to me as different for I have never really considered them in relation to how I live my life. Do I exercise my choice, my right to live each and every day to the fullest with total and complete participation in the present moment regardless of what arises? Or do I drift, float, numb out and indulge in selective participation? I turned to my yoga notebooks and found a quote that I had scribbled down in my very early days of being a student of yoga (aged 16):
“Yoga is about fully embracing the experience at hand, about being completely aware and actively participating in whatever is happening at the present moment.” Peggy Hall
I noted this quote purely as a reminder to myself; never thinking I would be sharing or teaching yoga with others. 14 years later it still resonates with me as an instruction for how I want to live my life. And this is how all 16 of us did live life whilst on retreat in Morocco. Pat’s two words ‘Full Participation’ completely sum up the week we had. With moments of rapturous laughter as we lay on the grass ‘kicking our own backside’ during an energising morning yoga class, of deep peace as we chanted around the fire under a starry night, of heart opening tears as we meditated on loving kindness, of merriment and giggles whilst we shopped the markets in Marrakesh, and of great connection as we came together a group of strangers and left intrinsically linked through our sharings and offerings alike.
Many moments from this first retreat will remain in my memory, to share just a few:
Hiking up the Atlas Mountains we met an unexpected stream and traversed on by straddling the banks of the stream. Good job we had done our morning yoga as we were virtually in the splits.
Of guests, Mark and Kamilla stepping up to bake bread Berber style by placing their hands into the hot fire pit. All tourists who have visited the Berber Village before to see the bread making just watch but not Mark and Kamilla who got stuck in. The joy and delight this brought to the locals was amazing who found it just the funniest site.
Discovering the one and only injury occurred during the retreat: Aga’s bruised hand after some very enthusiastic drumming around the fire on the final night and Sharon so eager to join in the drumming that she beat out her rhythm using a spoon and colander from the kitchen!
Each and every day we live represents one less day we have on earth, so go and participate fully in life. “Live the life you love and love the life you live” Bob Marley.
I am eternally grateful to every person who attended this first retreat and made it so very very special. You made my dream come true. I can’t wait to welcome guests to future Soul Retreats. Glamping in August is Sold Out, but I strongly urge and invite you to embrace full participation and come join me for our True Taste of Tuscany Retreat from Sept 12-19th. More details here.