Sunday, January 19, 2014

Maybe in the stillness....

I love winter. The wind, the rain, the cold that drives us inside. Still stacks to do outside to get ready for spring, but when the weather howls, the fires get lit to roaring and we retreat inwards to the warmth of the hearth and stove; metaphorically and physically. Probably meta-physically too in some way. That's why I love it so. Every winter we've spent here since 2008, I've relished the time to read, to reflect, to plan, to ponder, to dream. To retreat.

Vonnie favours the sunshine of the summer, for she, after all, is a tropical island girl and genetically designed for a daily shower of free vitamin supplements that never cease to rain from the ever shining Barbados sun.  I suspect our future winters might be spent in other warmer climes, bless, but for this one, we're here, in Portugal, in the mountains, on our own, and it’s raining. Inside we remain. ;)

In this reflective season, something dawned on me. Over the course of 2013 an unexpected pattern had begun to emerge, on Facebook no less. Every week it seemed I was seeing another new profile or cover photo emerge on our guests FB pages (as they commented and shared each others holiday snaps), shots taken here on their stay at Vale de Moses. 

It was flattering to think people would choose our place as a beautiful setting to display their virtual identity on the cloud. Face after face of happy, bright souls with dreamy sunsets and misty valley vistas. All looking like they were feeling pretty lovely about life, bordering on content.

I realised it's on places like retreats and healthy holidays we often feel quite lovely. About everything. Relaxed, nourished, minds clear, bodies given an MOT and service, all far from the maddening crowds. The least worried. The most meditative. The most still. Even though every day our bodies are paradoxically more active than normal, practicing yoga, walking in forests, swimming in rivers, surfing, whatever. We feel the most active and yet the most still.

Maybe in that stillness of retreat, we get to know ourselves a bit better. 

And perhaps we actually like ourselves a little better than the stressed out version of ourselves we left back at home.

One thing is certain to me, everyone definitely shines after a week on retreat. “You’re positively glowing, darling”. So maybe it's only natural that photos taken at those moments are the ones we choose to share with the FB universe. Because we feel more like ourselves. And to make our friends jealous too no doubt!

Thanks to our guests who have let me share their selfies and Vale de Moses photos with you today. Each one of these photos today on the blog are from their FB covers or profiles and aren't they all beautiful! 

That's it really. To say it’s winter. Which you knew. And that Facebook is revealing patterns in our own human social behaviour and projection of virtual self image. Again, you knew. And that going on a retreat is really really good for you. If you've not gone on one before, and you are able to do so this year, then

"Retreat, retreat, retreat!"

Choose any one of hundreds of wonderful retreat spaces all over the world. Any one of them. Just go. Especially if you're not feeling particularly like the best you have ever felt. Book a retreat as soon as you can. If it's with us, we very much look forward to meeting you and showing you around this stunning part of Portugal.

Also in this last week we've had an enormous response to our Karma Volunteer recruitment, so successful in fact that looks like we're fully staffed already! If you'd like to be contacted in case anyone of our volunteers have to cancel, and at the same time be considered first for our 2015 teams, please still do apply for our Reserve team this year

Finally, finally, you might like to read the interview Vonnie had last week with the delightful Tameera Kemp who runs Light Stays Retreats in Australia. Great site.

Wishing you lots of warmth and cosyness wherever you maybe be wintering.


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