January: Designing a Healing Retreat

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Have you gone on retreat? Would you like to go again? What are the list of reasons why you haven’t (yet)? What if you could set those reasons aside, design the retreat of your dreams, and GO!

On day 1, I’ve received an invitation to go on retreat for 6 weeks. All responsibilities are being taken care of in my absence. Nothing is in the way of me going. Bonus: I get to design this retreat. Here’s what I came up with. What would yours be? I invite you to comment below on what elements you would add to your perfect retreat.

See the prompt at: http://writingandhealing.org/creating-a-healing-place for full details and list of questions.

Where would you like the retreat to take place?
Esalen at Big Sur, California. I previously created one from scratch, but after going to Esalen, it’s hard for me to think of anything better,

What weather do you like?
Mostly mild with a mix of warm clear skies and overcast skies. Not cold or hot in either case.

What kind of light?
Indoors would have natural light and dimmer switches for the evening. Candles are available as well. Lots of candles.

What resources would you like available close by?
Within the retreat is a small and affordable general store with basic necessities like toothpaste and socks.

Walking trails?
Yes, several that lead to the ocean, into the hills and mountains, across the fields. They are safe and accessible.

A swimming pool?
There are hot tubs and pools. They are very clean and well taken care of.

What kind of accommodations do you prefer?
The perfect bed and bedding that is supportive yet comfortable. The bathroom is large with a big jet tub. There is a kitchenette in my room and it has fresh fruits and snacks. There is also a plush recliner and fireplace and a table for creating art.

Will the place have a porch?
Yes, the porch gets enough sunlight to stay warm and is spacious enough to have people over to socialize.

A window?
Yes, several large windows that have an ocean view.

Would you like to be alone in this place?
Yes. I am on retreat right? So I am flying solo. But I also meet people there and socialize as I feel comfortable. However at the end, I would like at least 3 people I know who I think would love it, to be there and experience a full day and nigh of this retreat.

Do you prefer quiet?
Yes. Quiet days and nights, with some evenings open for celebrations.

What sounds do you imagine in this place?
The ocean pounding against the cliffs and whales breaching the ocean. Some birds. Light wind through the trees.

What about smells?
The ocean, and greenery that surrounds the premises. Mild natural smells.

What will you eat?
Fresh organic vegan food is supplied daily. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are provided, with snacks, coffee, and tea available at all times.

How will the refrigerator be stocked?
My refrigerator is stocked as needed by the on-site food service. All vegan, and organic.

Who will prepare your food?
Food is prepared on site by chefs who specialize in vegan cuisine,

What would you like to do on the first day?
First day is unpacking, then taking a stroll on the premises. Taking the next yoga and meditation class, then going to the hot tubs. After a shower I go to dinner then nestle in for some reading by the fireplace before going to bed.

On a typical day?
Early morning going to the hot tubs, showering, going for a brief walk, breakfast, meditation, sit outside and read or write, go for a walk, go to yoga class, lunch, nap, create art, sit outdoors to read or write again, have dinner, listen to live music, dance, hot tub, shower, light a fire and go to bed.

Is there anything else that’s important to the design of this retreat?
Everything is as natural and organic as possible. There are no children, and only a few people are in attendance. The offer classes all day for free. It’s away from the city and towns noise. It’s on the cliffside of the ocean with forests and fields surrounding the premises. It’s got rolling hills and is lunch with greenery and plenty of places to sit. There is designated time for wi-fi use. It is overall a safe place to be. It’s basically Esalen.