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The Hermitage

Is soul-care is the new self-care?

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With more and more people seeking a spiritual path away from the dogma of religion there seems to be a greater call for some grounded teachings on something so simple and yet so life changing and profound.

Last week I took myself off to a tiny apartment on the river banks of the mighty Clarence River…alone. The luggage I took was similar to a Nigerian family off on the Hajj to Mecca. I recall watching them at Kano airport and thinking – what on earth do they need all that luggage for – now I know. A bag for all my books, another bag for clothes, another bag for food, another bag for swimmers and wet weather gear, a bike, and my hand basket that just had stuff in.

By the end of day one I had been to the local IGA supermarket four times. I had cycled for two hours to the ocean, the river walks, the pub, passed the school six times and noted that the “Op Shop” (Australian name for a Charity shop) would be open on Wednesday at 9am.

The next day I cycled all the way to the Bluffs and sat at the lookout amazed at the wild seas. I wandered back home through the World Heritage rainforest listening to all the birds and sounds on the forest floor. A full bodied forest bathing session had me drop out of busy ness and back into my centre.

The following few days were just beautiful. Watching the power of the ocean, sun streaming onto the river, men fishing, children paddling, grey nomads singing round camp fires, surfers gathering and discussing waves, discovering secret beaches, all of it was pure magic, all of it filled me up.

By Friday morning I was packed and ready to leave, I could have stayed another few days but I felt rested and whole again. As I walked into our home I felt such gratitude for all that I had created in my life. The paintings that had been bought and hung, the children that filled it, the dogs, the plants…everything that had come out of my sacred union with Simon. A moment of pure reverence and joy.

Soul-care feels different to self-care, this felt very devotional and sacred and I definitely feel much more expansive now I am home. There is more graciousness and understanding in my day, more listening and more surrendering. I feel like I am a kinder and more heart-centred.

If you have taken a Hermitage I would love to hear how you felt afterwards.

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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