I would like to introduce you to Jenny.
You may know her already.
Do you recognise her?
Jenny desperately needs to get away – even if just for a short break, but preferably for a week or two. Her boss is driving her nuts. Due to the ever-increasing pressure at work and the constant threat of redundancy, the stress is becoming unbearable. She can’t remember when she last had time to prepare or eat a healthy, nourishing meal. She never has time to do any exercise, her annual gym membership expires in 2 months and she has only ever been once. In a moment of weakness, at the end of a particularly hectic and demanding day, she has started smoking again and she knows she is drinking far too much.
Jenny dreams of sitting quietly next to a placid lake, contently thinking of absolutely nothing, far away from never-ending demands and impossible-to-keep dead-lines. She can just about feel the life-giving warmth of the late afternoon sun on her face, she can hear the gentle cooing of a couple of courting doves in an ancient oak tree and smell the heady perfume of roses, sweet peas and lilies drifting over the lake towards her. As the late afternoon fades into early evening, she imagines hundreds of candles floating on the lake, their flickering light gradually eclipsing the breathtakingly beautiful sunset colours reflected on the smooth surface of the lake: soft pink, deep ruby and dark reds.
Suddenly, urgently, her mobile phone screeches at her. Guiltily she switches it off.
If only she can get away from the pollution, the heavy traffic on the streets, the mind-numbing commute, the depressing evening news, the frustration at work, the difficult relationships at home…if only she can escape for a few days, find somewhere to recharge her batteries, eat healthily, drink pure water, get some exercise, breathe fresh air. She wishes she can find time to work out who she is again and decide what it is she really wants, at this point of her life, to figure out how to get it and to heal from the disappointments life seems to throw at her with unrelenting regularity.
Most unlikely, of course, that she could ever find the time. Or could she?
Jenny’s boss, Suzie Stressjunky, has just been on a short break in the south of France. Just imagine, the sun-blessed south of France! What was it again? Oh yes, an equine guided meditation retreat. Suzie talked about this equine guided growth holiday incessantly for three weeks afterwards until Jenny was thoroughly sick of hearing about this miraculous place. Admittedly, Suzie did come back looking fabulous: relaxed, healthy, suntanned and happy, purring like the cat that got the cream. According to Suzie, who has been on loads of retreats (lucky Suzie), this one was one of the best she has ever attended and quite different from the rest.
What made it so special? A question that Suzie was eager to answer often, at length and in detail whenever asked. Apparently, the setting was « exquisite and exceptional »: A 200-year-old half-timbered French farmhouse, ancient and authentic, set on several of its own acres in the midst of fertile vineyards, mysterious woods, rolling meadows, quaint little villages dating from the 12th century and majestic chateaux and cathedral towns. And it was « incredibly easy » to get to: Suzie managed to get a « ridiculously cheap » ticket for one of the budget airlines that flies to an airport close by. Bordeaux, or Toulouse, Jenny can’t remember which. And of course there was a huge lake, as well as 6 natural springs for mountain-fresh drinking water – here Suzie usually interrupts herself to as if she has mentioned the impressive, snow-capped Pyrenées mountains range, visible from each hilltop – loads of sparkling fresh air, home-grown and home-made food, no traffic, no pollution, no stress…
At this point, Jenny is just about ready to slip back into her daydream, when an unexpected word brings her back to the present with a bang. Suzie is now talking about horses. HORSES? Jenny does not trust horses. Way too big. Way too unpredictable. Way too intimidating. Jenny would agree that they are beautiful creatures, but she prefers to admire them from afar. Very far. Now Suzie comes to the part that Jenny finds quite unbelievable. According to Suzie, this is an equine-guided growth retreat, based on equine-facilitated meditation and personal development.
Apart from lazing around on a sunbed, Suzie spent a fair amount of time with the retreat’s black Friesian horses ; either meditating while watching the horses graze peacefully in a fragrant meadow or by participating in simple exercises with the horses aimed to help build confidence, improve communication skills, defuse conflict, develop more satisfying relationships and handle stress. Jenny is quite relieved to hear that even though it is an equine guided growth workshop, no riding is required.
In fact, no knowledge of horses is needed at all.
One of the workshop leaders even said that people who are afraid or even scared witless of horses benefit most from the presence of the horses as it offers them the opportunity to learn how to challenge their fears in a safe environment.
It is quite clear to Jenny that something has happened to Suzie, something that has definitely made Jenny’s life easier. Suzie is more attentive and easier to talk to – she now actually LISTENS to people. So Jenny has been wondering about this retreat…where was it called again? Saintly or Sacred something of the sort – Esprit Meraki, that is it! named after the springs on the property. Maybe it is worth doing a quick Google search to find out more…yep, here is the link:
Have you recognised Jenny yet?
CLICK HERE to find out who she is.