Not far from the North American east coast, in the depths of the state of Maine, there is a small region named Denmark. Here, where country roads curve between pine trees and big wooden houses, a spring retreat was held a couple of weeks ago at Nurture Through Nature Retreat Center. Our little family went there in the middle of three intense weeks of travel in the US, rooted ourselves and found a home for the heart to dwell and be silent in.
Here we are. In the North.
Arrival. At first, the sight is met by a sign with the logo of the place. A turtle. Here the retreat begins.
Next, we find ourselves embedded in wood. Trees, wood cabins, wood surface under feet, over head, smell of fresh wood, of dry wood, of wood everywhere.
Our cabin is next to the big one. It has a name. Harmony. And a porch.
There is sun.
There is snow.
We turn off our cell phones. Aahhhh. Why do I not turn that thing off more often?
We eat (organic vegetarian delicious stuff). We gather. Ten bodies in a studio space (with wooden floor). We stretch.
We fall into place.
There is an encouragement to be silent from evening to breakfast. We accept, let go of words and become Beings. I think, how can I be silent with a baby to take care of?
It turns out just fine. She sounds. We, the parents, listen. She goes to sleep and we listen to other things. The night. The super clear sky. Stars. Forest floor. Forest.
In the early morning, before breakfast, we all do a silent walk together. The land is breathing, the air is crisp.
Time to observe, feel, reflect.
Time to sit and read, or lie down and play.
Time to (re)open all senses, walk with bare feet, share a spontaneous, intimate experience with a another free spirit.
Time for a ceremonial sauna! And a dip in the brook.
Or just a walk by the brook. Connecting to what is flowing outside and inside.
Listening to the water. (Next time you come across anything worth listening to, try sharpening your hearing like this:)
Time for scaping the land and saying thanks.
Time for nurturing family togetherness by dwelling. Together in the woods. Another silent walk, just the three of us. Baby Iris laughing, me laughing along, daddy smiling. Playfulness needs no words, naturally.
Time for (re)connecting with something basic. Taking a shit in nature (or, actually just on a really nice compost toilet, but still…). Walking slowly, slowly in the pit dark night with no lights. Waking up in the cold morning, cursing over the ice cold air outside the sleeping bag. Sweating in the steamy hot sauna, afterwards dipping in the stream, blood rushing from head to toe. Element-brush-up. Internet-break-free.
And perhaps most important of all: Being honest to oneself. Taking what there is for what it is. Not pretending. Not even thinking of pretending. Just being.
If you should come across Denmark, Maine, do yourself a favour and visit the place. It offers both all-inclusive retreats and accommodation for self-organized retreats. And Jen, the facilitator, is wonderful.
From Denmark to Denmark, cheers! For unexpected blessings, baby lessons and spring sprouts.