Given the current COVID lock down situation being experienced across New South Wales I am recalling the beautiful places I have visited over my years of wonderful travel. One trip I have reflected on was a visit to the health retreat Gwinganna in Queensland.
I made the visit to Gwinganna approx. 7 years ago for a weekend of health and wellness, it was a lovely gift from my husband, presented to me not long after having our third child. In addition to the yearning for much missed travel and holidays I am recalling this trip because after experiencing a crippling migraine a few days ago I am reminded yet again how very important it is to ensure we look after ourselves. Self care is so often thought of as indulgent and yet in the fast paced, stressful world we live in, looking after ourselves is essential to our mental and physical existence. No matter your age, stage of life or status, you need to take care of YOU other wise life becomes very unbalanced and frankly, quite miserable.
I loved my weekend so much that at the time I wrote about it but did nothing with it. I share it with you now. Enjoy & remember to self-care when you can! Living a balanced life ensures happiness and who doesn’t strive for that.
Gwinganna – Heaven on earth
Being a spiritual person, I have often wondered what heaven would be like. I always seem to envisage a very white, light space full of white robed people but apart from that my vision is vague. Do you eat, who are you with (I worry many of my friends may be somewhere south???) do you sleep? do you watch reruns of biblical movies on TV? So many thoughts.
I feel I experienced what heaven would be like (or at least what I hope heaven is like) here on earth. You see I just attended a 2-night week-end retreat at Gwinganna in Queensland. Gwinganna is designed “to help you create resilience in your health & well being with the potential to transform your life, mind, body and spirit” Sounds powerful, doesn’t it? Well it is!
Attending my “Health & wellness” week-end I really did not know what to expect and in all honesty I was a tad apprehensive. While I didn’t expect anything I came away feeling very rested, not just physically, not just mentally but spiritually and the reasons were simple….
For 2 days and 2 nights I was with a group of people who no doubt were attending the weekend for a range of different reasons but with a common thread of the need for rejuvenation & “time out”. The process for rejuvenation was established from the onset with our orientation. Our amazing Duty Manager explained there was the need for people’s privacy and by that we were instructed that the week-end wasn’t a team building, networking function, but instead a week-end for people to “just be” with no pressure to do or act in any way. It was also established that all mobile devices, computers etc. were to be placed in rooms and out of sight of guests. It was amazing how these two simple points alone made a difference & why when I finished the 2 days, I felt I had experienced something very special. In addition to the lack of digital distractions and the need to explain to people who we are I found several other reasons for this being so heavenly.
Everyone was present: while we had a schedule, it wasn’t so scheduled that we didn’t enjoy the “here and the now”. We had time to enjoy our meals, we had time to talk and listen, we had time to “just be”. There was no busyness, no distraction. There was no photographing of meals and posting online, there were no selfies, with filters being applied to post on Instagram, there was no capturing of the moment in a physical sense which meant it was captured by our hearts, minds and souls. “It was real”.
No judgement: There was no need for discussion around who you were in terms of what your profession was, where you lived, how you lived, there was no judging, no competing just complete acceptance, because you didn’t have to be anything to anyone. To “just be” in a world with so many demands and expectations was to feel free.
No need to be vain: With a mix of activities and spa treatments guests were either in active gear or bath robes. There was no concern for how you looked, whether your hair was perfect and your make up on. There was absolute delight in seeing someone float back from a spa treatment, dazed, oily hair, blotching skin, with looks of extreme serenity. For me personally there was a real sense of happiness in not having to worry about whether my frizzy hair was done. If you saw my mop of curls, you would understand. There was also “natural” beauty & glow from the team of Gwinganna, not one bit of botox or filler in sight just beauty as the result of nourishing one’s body in the most organic way possible. We all nearly fell off our chair when Dr O gave a lecture on health and wellness and let it slip he was 52. I would have said 35 tops!
There was positivity and so much care: the Gwinganna staff were incredible; caring, gentle, positive, inspirational, yet professional souls. All focused on nurturing each guest and you could see there was a genuine care not only for guests but for each other. Wonderful living examples of how wonderful our bodies can be physically and mentally be when we look after them.
No media: No TVs, no newspapers, no social media feeds meant there was no news (had my husband been there he would have been climbing the fence in search of a pub, desperate for football scores). Having a break from the reminder of the lows of the world in the form of terrorism, child abuse, general violence and hate was AMAZING. Without the saturation of news and social media streams it is how I would imagine a world at peace and it was truly peaceful to have a break from so much sadness which streams into our world every day..
Dream time: Dream time is the spa area where Gwinganna beauty health and healing treatments take place. Not juts pampering to regenerate those tired eyes and skin but to apply ritualistic, dream time inspired techniques all designed to be restorative …. Being treated at Gwinganna with one of their very talented therapists is akin to being touched by God himself.
Surroundings: Gwinganna is set in the Gold Coast Queensland Hinterland, aesthetically beautiful, it rained during my visit but a bout of sunshine during a morning bush walk was enough to showcase the natural surroundings which served as a reminder as to what a beautiful world we live in. We were told to not wear perfume so we could inhale our surroundings, and breath in nature. (I came back with a bit of sinus, so I think I breathed in a bit too much of nature).
Many of the people on my weekend were returning guests and at the start of the week-end many couldn’t really articulate why they kept coming back – the common response “it just makes you feel good” which I couldn’t quite get my head around. I mean I feel good after a spin class or a piece of chocolate cake, how was this different? Now I have had the experience, I can see what kind of “feel good” it is. It’s physical, mental, spiritual rejuvenation and any place that can do that is the closest thing to heaven on earth. I will return…
If you are finding life as a leader is very unbalanced then please get in contact to see where we can help
Photo by Jon Flobrant on Unsplash