Time to grieve, space for a breather

I’ve been making plans for the retreat I’ll be leading in May (visit here for more details)

It is five days in a beautiful location, close to the sea, with a garden, a swimming pool, all meals provided. That makes it a really good opportunity to rest, and I’m working on a plan that balances activities that we’ll do together alongside time to just be.

Being never come easy to me personally. I’m generally happiest when I’m busy with a multitude of projects, irons in the fire so to speak. When we went to India to visit my son’s grave 3 years ago, after going to Bhopal where Pax died, we went to Goa for about a month. We had rented a nice little apartment in a beautiful complex. In the mornings I’d get up early and go for a walk on the beach before it got too hot to do anything – by noon it was like being in an oven – and this  was winter. All you could do in the afternoon was sleep or read by the pool under the shade of trees. Then at around 6 pm the heat was easing, and we’d walk down to the beach to have a drink, watch the sunset, and have dinner. Then back to our room, sleep, and do it all again tomorrow and the next day.


Pina Colada in the sunset in Benaulim, Goa.

Obviously there are no complaints about such a holiday, but after a couple of weeks, it actually started to be a bit boring. I met some Europeans that would rent an apartment and spend 6 months of each year doing just this, and I couldn’t imagine it. A short rest is great, but months on end of this type of inactivity doesn’t appeal to me personally.

One of the difficult things about bereavement is that you more or less have to learn to be, as there is nothing you can do to change what has happened. Bereavement is also quite exhausting. I can remember so many occasions in the past years when I wished I could just stop my mind from thinking. The trouble I found is that while having time to reflect and to relax is important, it can also lead to introspection. Ruminating too much can lead you to some dark places. Sometimes it’s better to pick up a book, turn on the TV, start on a hobby, listen to some music.

In any case, physical rest is always a good thing, if you can get it. Stepping back from your daily life to be a bit pampered with good food in beautiful surroundings is nice if you can manage it. Being with people who are going through similar struggles is strengthening. And those are all major components of the retreat, which I hope and pray will be strengthening for those who attend.

(There are still spaces so please do get in touch with the organisers if you are interested. As mentioned in an earlier post, this retreat is for anyone who wants to get strengthened in their journey through grief, and isn’t designated for those who have suffered a particular type of bereavement. Find out more . It isn’t Goa but Poole in the south of England, which has its own charms.)

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