There are admittedly moments in our life where we could benefit from guided healing sessions — be it for stress relief, emotional recovery, or simply embracing moments of stillness in our busy lives. For Josephine, the retreat was a timeout for her — “I could focus 100% on myself, which enabled my inner transformation and brought me back to calm state — a sort of baseline after the past year — having had to deal with loss in the family, it had been the toughest year of my life. This was healing in itself.”
When we first conceptualised the idea of hosting An Emergence of Self in early 2020, it was with the intention of creating a safe space for people to shake off the stresses of 2020 and re-emerge anew in 2021. Looking back, Josephine was sure that she wouldn’t have considered anything like this during pre-COVID times. “I’ve never done anything wellness-centric like this, but because of the unique COVID-19 situation, the world was drawn to the idea of wellness, and then so was I. I was looking for getaways where I could focus on myself and to spend a few nights away so this retreat was perfect.”
For one day of the retreat, we practised Mouna, the art of maintaining silence. This was a fairly new concept to Christine, as with most of the retreat participants.
“It was definitely a different experience, unusual, yet somehow nice. Although it was strange not speaking to other participants, I learnt the impact a smile can have. We all have different ways of relating to one another, and it was really great that everyone tried to support one another in their own small/unique ways.”
When we participate in somatic (body) experiences, particularly while holding a space of silence, often insights, reflections and memories will surface — this is all a part of our unfolding. For a more detailed account of the experience of silence and its benefits, read through our journal on Mouna here.
Almost a month on since the retreat, Christine has begun to incorporate meditative and self-healing tools into her daily life. Echoing the practice of Mouna, she finds an amplified sense of calm by making an intentional decision to log off from social media and dedicating time away from her phone. “My mornings have also taken on a more conscious tone – I dedicate half an hour each day rid of the feedback from my phone.”
As a mother of two children, Josephine also finds her moment of inner calm and peace by practicing breathing exercises, at times with her children too. “I particularly loved the concept of expelling energy in order to bring yourself to the present moment — the need to get it out before feeling the calm, and using the body to enter a place of mental stillness.”
With mindful practices comes a renewed sense of clarity, awareness and resilience. Journaling is another intentional practice that Christine has adopted every week. “Journaling about my day to day has been very inspirational and interesting. It makes me aware of my thoughts.”
We also lent a hand to Christine’s pursuit of veganism by introducing specially curated meals made with quality ingredients laden with nature’s goodness at the retreat. Our attempt to induct more people to the joys of plant-based meals was met with fortuitous enthusiasm as we learnt that the vegetarian meals went beyond Josephine’s expectations. “I didn’t miss my meats at all. Every meal was a real treat for the palate. When I had the jackfruit dish (from Grain Traders), I was so certain that I was having meat. Nevertheless, I was pleasantly surprised to find out it wasn’t.”
At Blue Sky Escapes, we strive to build a safe and inviting space for our community. Coming together and finding connection matter now more than ever, especially during these uncertain times. At home, Josephine has been actively inviting her children to join her in practising some of the techniques for wellness together. “I do conscious breathing with my children where we take deep breaths to calm down. If they’re really upset and crying, we practise affirmations. My daughter sometimes gets too scared to go to bed so she asks me to breathe with her. She recites “I’m safe, I’m calm, I’m well.”
“Seeing my children’s joy and wonder, and feeling their love (my husband’s too!) is what I’ve been focusing on.” Josephine shared that when asked what Love means to him, her son shared this with her:
The uplifting support and encouragement Josephine receives extend beyond her family, too. With gratitude, she credits her friend Ana (another fellow participant) for sharing our wellness retreat with her. “Although the programme, particularly meditation, was a convincing factor for my friend to sign up, I was looking to try something new for the New Year.”
We’re heartened to have fostered a safe community where our participants are able to share freely about their experiences and thoughts with one another.
While a destination-specific retreat might’ve been the go-to option for many of us as a means of taking a breather, in the past year, adaptability has made itself known as a must-have, and we’ve been seeking out new ways to take a moment of calm and introspection.
Whether you prefer to take this step inwards solo or with loved ones, we invite you to sign up to our fast-expanding waitlist to be one of the first to receive updates for the next installation of our Blue Sky Escapes Retreats: An Emergence of Self.