A Week in Solitary; ‘Healing the blows of sound’

I recently returned from a week on silent, solitary retreat, staying in a small hermitage, set in an acre of its own woodland.  The ‘Kuti’ is a small timber frame construction with straw bale infill.  It is basic, but cosy and provides everything you need for a week of living simply.

There is a profound softening whilst spending time in such a way.  All life’s demands fall away, in particular those you set for yourself (or so it was for me).

From day one, I released myself from all need for the schedule, so carefully constructed before my departure for Devon, and simply ‘went with the flow’.

Each day was framed by the arrival and departure of darkness, as there is no electricity in the Kuti.  Between these times, I ate, read, meditated, chanted, practised yoga and sat on the veranda soaking in the surrounding nature.

The Kuti has a perfect meditation space at the back of the hut, complete with mat and cushion and this served well for early morning/late evening sessions whilst enfolded by a blanket of darkness and the surrounding woodland.

However, during daylight hours, I sought nature and took to the woods with my sheepskin rug to sit on.

At the far edge of the boundary fence, I found the perfect spot – a large beech tree provided a huge natural canopy.  Multiple layers of leaves, like a 3D tapestry, stretched above me, providing shelter in all weather.  This became my place of choice for the week.  I sat under those leaves for many an hour, with only an occasional squirrel for company and a solitary robin who enjoyed doing circuits around me, chirruping from every angle.

Modern day life is increasingly hectic, with little let up from the constant onslaught of news, social media and other stimulation.  I read a quote once that said ‘and silence, like a poultice, comes to heal the blows of sound’ (Oliver Wendell Holmes).  On my 2nd retreat day, I misjudged my timing and was just leaving the vegetable garden as all the retreatants from the main house (non-silent, non-solitary) arrived to carry out their morning ‘service’ in the garden.  Making my way quietly through their friendly, happy chatter, I felt a kind of assault on my ears.  It doesn’t take long to grow accustomed to silence and our souls, as well as our ears, crave the healing power of it.

The idea of silence unnerves many, and frightens some.  Yet it is only through silence that we can return to who we really are.  It is only then that true healing can begin.

Knowing Your Limits..

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‘Knowing Your Limits’ – or

Being all ‘Grown Up’ and getting a proper website!

Those of you who know me will be aware that I’m not exactly a computer whizz kid! In fact, I do everything I can to avoid having to spend time in front of any kind of screen – I don’t even have a TV!

I would much rather be out walking in the Somerset countryside, practising Qi Gong, playing my Shakuhachi (Japanese bamboo flute), nose in a book – well, just about anything to be fair!

However, I’m aware that these days, you are expected have a website. People want to check things out first –

They want to get a feel for the therapy;

Imagine themselves at the Laughter Club;

Know what’s expected of them at a Sound Bath.

At this point I can only extol the benefits of knowing someone (in this case, the wonderful Sarah Logan – sound the trumpets!) who is prepared to swap website-designing skills for massage!

Self-employed therapists like myself are notorious for trying to do everything themselves. We know it’s not enough to excel at the therapies we offer in order to make a success of our business – we also need to be PR and Marketing Manager, Book keeper, Office Manager, Secretary, and on and on…

At times, however, I believe there is great value in sticking to what you are good at and utilising the skills of others. This is one such time for me – I am no website designer!

So, here it is folks – please give a big hand

for my brand new website!

Check the site for dates of events such as Sound Baths and for special offers. Even better, sign up to my mailing list to guarantee receiving notifications of all forthcoming offers and events.

I look forward to meeting you in the future.

Wishing you all a peaceful and tranquil festive season

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