People ask me what the Big Retreat Wales is all about. The answer lies in the very spot where the idea for it was born and in the very place where the Big Retreat is happening.
I was on a morning run that took me to the top of a little hill in the village where I live in the heart of the Pembrokeshire National Park.
I had decided to stray from my usual route and go a little further. I jogged up a track through some lovely beech woods. The bluebells were out and the birds were flirting like crazy.
I had not long before celebrated the end of my maternity leave by starting a new business. A lifelong fitness and health instructor, I was now running small bespoke weekend retreats with wellness, healthy eating, outdoor activity and mindfulness at their heart. So there was lots of “new” in my life and with it plenty of stress and many challenges. Running was thinking time.
I jogged out from the shaded treeline and onto an old terrace, the site where a castle had once stood, high above the Cleddau River.
Hands on hips, breathing hard, I came to a stop. Now, if you’re like me there’s quite a lot of internal dialogue when you’re running.. everything from “what am I doing tomorrow?” to - especially on the uphill bits - “what the hell am I doing this for?”
But standing there, on the parapet of the old castle terrace, the voices faded to a distance and the world around me came into focus. I actually heard myself breathe deeply...
The landscape was simply stunning - Pembrokeshire at its best. The moment of the “now” was so strong I felt my diary clear and my nagging worries drain away. I was also struck by inspiration.
This very location, and moments just like this, could be shared, I realised. The ability this very special place has to inspire people who come here and to bring everything to the "now" could work its power on hundreds more like me.
Just as my small, private retreats in a nearby walled garden could leave small groups feeling recharged and re focused, this place could deliver that same sense of wellbeing to many, many more.
The Old Castle Terrace is a big space, purpose-built to share, a great place of communion in exercise and rest, music and mindfulness, fireside chat and celebration of the here and now.
This is where people can retreat, leave their worries behind and set new priorities and goals. They can come to laugh, relax and recover from their day to day stresses.
This place really is very, very special. And the Big Retreat Wales is coming here to celebrate the “here” and the “now”…
And that’s what the Big Retreat Wales is all about…