In Greek mythology, Asclepius, son of Apollo, is the God of healing and medicine with his daughters, Hygiea and Panacea, as cohorts. The remains of his largest healing sanctuary is at Epidaurus in the Peloponnese and there’s another accessible site on the island of Kos.
In ancient Greece when a person had lost their way and their health was out of sorts, friends and family packed them off to one of these sacred Ascelpion sites. Exhausted, bored, grieving, discouraged... whatever their symptoms the underlying motivation was always the same: take time-out or burnout.
By night, resting in the innermost temple of Asclepius, the seeker would await the transformational dream that would change their life. Non-venomous snakes also shared this sacred space with them and that's how the two entwined serpents has become our symbol for medicine.
I like to think there are similarities between the Asclepion experience and my Soul Alive Retreat which also gives people space to regroup and re-balance. I use creativity, mindfulness and somatic arts to awaken the active dream state and we don’t wait until nightfall to receive messages from the gods. Oh, and I leave out the snakes!
Why enter this dream state anyway? Because this is where we gain new perspectives, innovative answers to insoluble problems, and can dislodge habitual behaviours. By accessing this right side of the brain we avoid our over-dependence on the rational mind, which keeps churning out the same-old ideas ad infinitum hoping this time around they'll provide the answer.
I've secured the exclusive use of a beautiful villa near the sea for next year's Soul Alive. It's situated on the southernmost tip of the Iberian peninsula, where the Mediterranean sea meets the Atlantic, in the lovely Andalusian fishing village of Tarifa.
Take a look at the Tarifa slide show and I hope you'll be as enthused as I am. Besides the fully-facilitated retreat, the facilities include both indoor and outdoor studios and both indoor and outdoor swimming pools. Get your body moving, what! But if rest is what you need most then there's plenty of time and space for that too.
The 6-day retreat starts Sunday 6 May 2018 in the morning and finishes Saturday 12th May 2018. The weather should be perfect then for both inner and outer exploration and the hillsides covered with wild flowers while the beaches will be empty.
I like to host small group retreats to ensure everyone receives plenty of personal attention to help bring about the necessary shifts this time-out together can deliver. Here's one woman's experience of Soul Alive this year:
"I had no idea how deeply exhausted I was when I went on Mary’s retreat. At the beginning of the 6 days I actually felt stressed-out at the thought of being away for so long, it was hard to let go. By the end of the week I was feeling very different."
"I really enjoyed the combination of self-awareness work and having trips out to the surrounding beautiful areas, somewhere different every day. The fact that all the tours, the workshop facilitation, accommodation, food and transfers were included in the price made it feel like great value."
"Mary had a light touch in all this and spending part of each day out and about meant it never got intense. Nevertheless all of us did go deep; like me the others led busy lives and never gave ourselves time to take stock and reflect. Mary’s experience and training in dealing with the strong but helpful emotions that sometimes came up meant we all felt safe. It was a very supportive group, with a lot of wisdom and solidarity."
What you get for your money:
* A beautiful en-suite private room or shared en-suite room - your choice
* All meals including some dining out in Spanish restaurants
* Airport transfers to and from Gibraltar airport
* 5 movement sessions before breakfast (optional)
* 5 mornings of somatic arts workshops with group/peer coaching
* 5 afternoon excursions to explore the natural beauty of the area and absorb the Moorish/Andalusian culture (optional)
* On-site massage available as an extra
* Dolphin/whale watching is an optional extra.
* Pre- and post-retreat coaching check-ins to prepare for and integrate the retreat.
The retreat package is £1,700 (private room) or £1,500 (shared room). Flights, UK transfers, and travel insurance are on top.
If you're feeling adventurous you might tag on some extra days to visit wonderful nearby towns like Seville, Cadiz, Jerez, Malaga, Granada - or hop on a 30-minute ferry to Tangiers.
I’m taking reservations for Soul Alive already so please indicate if you might be interested. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or text/call me on 0782 7017188.
Hasta la vista…. Mary