Mama Retreat Day
Yesterday was a really wonderful, much needed day just for me. I left the kids with their Daddy and headed off with a great friend to Tofte Manor for a Mama Retreat Day. The hour long journey gave us time to actually talk as adults without being interrupted which was the perfect start to the day!
It had been snowing the night before and there were still hints of snow left on the ground. There was definitely a chill in the air but what followed was to warm both our bodies and our souls. We were met with warm hugs by the wonderful Cathy from Chilled Mama who was facilitating the day, and were led to a cosy cottage style room where we were based. The central table was laden with healthy, homemade goodies and the kettle was already boiling making us feel immediately welcome. As the last few people arrived, we sat down at the table and after a short meditation together we began introductions. There were around 13 of us in all, some with their young babies, the rest of us taking the well earned opportunity of a day to ourselves! Bliss!
It was instantly apparent that we were in great company and everyone appeared at ease in the new surroundings.
We took a short, mindful walk across the courtyard to the yoga room, stopping to take notice of all the beauty around us, then stepped inside the yoga room with a gorgeous heated floor, to warm up. We ate chocolate mindfully, something I sincerely recommend you try. Choosing the best quality chocolate you can find, break off a chunk and spend time looking at it, smelling it and eventually letting it sit on your tongue, allowing all your senses to engage in the enjoyment of its texture and flavours. It was incredible how much more enjoyable it was, than the usual scoffing of chocolate that takes place!
Afterwards, we lay down on the warm floor for a full body relaxation, before heading out to walk the labyrinth!
The labyrinth at Tofte is a direct replica of the labyrinth at Chartres Cathedral in France, which was used during the time of the Crusades as a prayer tool for those that were unable to make the pilgrimage to the Holy Land. It incorporates all the 4 elements in its design. Earth and Air surround it, Fire is represented by 5 mirrored tetrahedrons surrounding the site, and Water runs in pipes underneath the labyrinth in the same pattern as the paths above. We were given the history and facts of the labyrinth before taking our shoes off, braving the cold and walking the path to the central point barefoot. Cathy read a beautiful poem to each of us before we made our journey.
The ground was frozen, making it painful on the feet, however it did become meditative, trying hard to block out the pain and focus on our path. It sounds like torture, but it was infact very liberating and energising. It definitely made me appreciate my warm socks and trainers at the end! Maybe next time I’ll do it in the summer!
After our walk, we headed back for some lunch, delicious soup, rolls and healthy snacks. There was then some free time to wander around the grounds or sit in the warm and chat.
I chose to walk and take photos of the many incredible sculptures and crystals dotted around the grounds. With the place to ourselves it was very peaceful.
After lunch, we went back to the yoga room for the ‘closing the bones ceremony’. Cathy gave us an explanation on what we were doing beforehand, but none of us were really prepared for how we would feel during the ceremony.
Closing the bones is a Mexican postpartum healing ceremony in celebration of becoming a mother. It honours the journey to motherhood, through the ‘opening’ experience of carrying and delivering a child, and then welcoming that child into your life, giving yourself to it fully. The ceremony signifies bringing the bones back into alignment after the birth and creating a sacred place in which to nurture your child.
We each took it in turns to lie on 5 scarves on the floor whilst the other women, tightly wrapped them around us. First around our forehead, then our chest, hips, legs and finally our feet.
Each process was done with love and care, whilst peaceful music played. At the end of the wrapping, warm hands were placed on our bodies whilst we relaxed and a poem was read. It was such a powerful feeling, safe and complete. The energy and love from the other women in the room was so strong. Women, other mothers who didn’t know each other, but who were linked through our connection as mothers. It was a powerful, emotional experience and tears were shed. I found it beautiful and extremely healing.
So many of us take on so much when becoming a mother. We feel that we need to be all giving, often forgetting about our own needs. What I have come to realise recently is that my needs do matter, I also need time for myself to heal and grow.
I wrote a post earlier this year on my word for 2017, and have made a real effort to make time for me, yes me! It has transformed my life, I have more energy, I’m calmer and ultimately our family is happier. It’s not selfish to want time of you, it’s essential.
The whole day was incredible, and I wholeheartedly recommend it to any mother out there. Cathy has a wealth of knowledge and experience and delivers it in a gentle, informative way. Check out her upcoming courses here, you won’t regret it! Go on, take some time for you, you are amazing!