Retreating… towards life

My retreat was a deeply moving and intense experience.

Mindfulness and meditation have taken a special place in my life in the last three years. I first encountered them via Compassion Focussed Therapy, a therapeutic practice that was originally developed in Derby by Dr Paul Gilbert.

I have meditated pretty regularly for the last two years and wanted to explore my practice in greater depth.  After doing some research I settled upon the Taraloka Women’s Buddhist Centre on the Shropshire border and booked myself into a mindfulness five-day retreat at the end of August.

it was with some trepidation that I arrived, not knowing what or even who to expect. The setting was amazingly beautiful landscape right on the border with Wales and it is possible to walk across, via field paths.


Without dwelling too much of the physical, the atmosphere was infinitely peaceful. A regular routine settles over you quickly and without the distraction of modern life, each retreatee is able to concentrate on the momentary experience they perceive.

For five days I heard no noises other than the sounds of nature, the voices of women, speaking, singing, praying or chanting. I looked at no screens and had no mirrors to regard myself in other than one the size of a bathroom tile.

I spent several hours a day meditating and at times deviated away from the set schedule to spend time on my own with the various feminine aspects of Buddha that manifested around.

I learned about the sky, and the earth and how I am connected to both, together with all over living beings.

I reflected upon myself and my relationships and cried with joy and with sadness. I shared intimate details about my life and goals with a group of women who will never be together again in the same place.

I discovered with amazement that Buddhism has a system of understanding that explains my sensory difficulties in thirty minutes better than any healthcare professional has been able to in the last five years.

I took so much back with me into my life, wisdom, space, and a renewed interest in meditation that now extends itself into a twenty-minute daily session. It is the first things that I do when I rise now.

I understand my power, my potential and my joy


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