Banquet of Blessings

love presence May 17, 2018

Sitting in the half shade at the top of the Chalice Well Gardens in Glastonbury with a piece of far too sweet raw chocolate cake and an almond latte, I contemplate the 3-day retreat we just completed.

When my husband Neil and I bought our house in 1999, I had a vision of sharing the space one day with others. I think at the time I thought that we could create a beautiful garden where then there was not much more that bramble, bracken, boundary oaks and a small bit of woodland filled with hazel and willow. Perhaps one day the garden would be pretty enough to do open garden days.

And although we’ve been running quite a few one day retreats here in the last few years, this recent Kundalini Yoga and Raw Food Retreat over 3 days was the first one we ran at full capacity. All bedrooms were occupied, and people camped in tents and camper van in the garden. To see our living room transformed into a yoga studio which can accommodate 15 people was inspiring. So much so, that we feel hesitant to put sofas, chairs and table back into their places. The hot-tub, the infrared sauna, the bright conservatory, the fire pit… all adds to the special experience our guests can have here.

On the last day as we sat in the sacred space of the In-Tent, I say a silent blessing and express my gratitude because I know in my heart that this is exactly what this place was intended for. A safe, peaceful retreat, where we can nurture and hold people and share our home and nature with others. The house, which we tentatively called The Coppice Retreat has now truly earned it’s name. The garden, after nearly 20 years is now mature with beautiful trees, shrubs and fruit bushes, the banks are filled with wild flowers. The Coppice Retreat says a gentle welcome when guests enter and it is as if its spirit is clear on its purpose: To be a vessel for miracles to happen. One can heal here. And the blessing is that the healing happens not just for our guests but for us as well. When everybody left, the gratitude was on both sides our guests for having had the opportunity to be here, us for having had the opportunity to share and be of service.

But let’s not forget that running retreats is also a lot of work. Raw food and a commitment to pace ourselves, as well as focus on service, keeps Neil and my energies sustained. But to come here today to the Chalice Well Gardens is an additional way for me to consolidate the weekend, to touch deep into my soul and connect with spirit. I cleanse myself in the sacred waters and enjoy the quiet, peaceful energy here, so I can return home looking forward to hosting our next spiritual raw food retreat at The Coppice. I think I will make visits to the Chalice Well Gardens a regular after running retreats.

And so this Banquet of Blessings which started as a tiny seed of an idea back in November on the island of Tobago, has now matured into an experience, a way to share love and peace with the world. And so the blessings continue to come and expand. 

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