Updated: Jul 18, 2019
First day. First gathering. No-one knows each other yet. Feels like i know all of you tho. Know where you find inspiration, what are your current goals and the top things that would make you feel completely alive. We introduce ourselves saying what this retreat means to us, get to know each other, raise glasses. Excited. It’s warm. It’s not only the sun. It’s how people look at one another, it comes from the smiles and takes over like a wave with laughter. I’m crying of joy inside.
Morning yoga? Yes please. It’s incredible how intentional breathing, moving and feeling your body can prepare your mind to face the day from a more grateful place. The warmth again. This time it’s coming from the gentle but powerful words of Rim. She teaches us a Vinyassa yoga class and then magic happens. An intense peppermint scent. How can it be so relaxing? She goes and gives everyone a massage. Namaste. She’s magic.
We go back to Selina. So glad we have this oasis to gather. We form a circle on pillows. Deck of cards in the middle. Questions. Everyone gets one. The card game. Here it goes. “Do you feel influenced by your parents expectations?” “A memory that always makes you smile.” “What’s the best thing you have done for someone else?” Everyone pays attention, 12 people, 12 realities - extremely different.. exactly the same. This happens every time with the card game. It’s insane how questions that target our deeper human experience can surface very profound emotions. And it’s not only about emotions. It’s how we deal with them. What we have been through. How we process and understand the world. How we understand ourselves. Insane. Sharing. Relating. Questioning. Connecting.
Taking a break.
Gathering back for “releasing emotions” workshop. Rim asks us to recall a recent strong emotion and reliving it as detailed as possible. It threw me back watching a movie that touched me a lot. “Lion.” A small kid getting torn apart from his family at such a young age being so incredibly vulnerable and completely unable to find his way back to the people he so fiercely loves. Getting lost in the world. Alone. Growing up and always feeling a huge part of him missing. The part that didn’t let him feel like he belonged. I felt pain. Muscle memory of being scared, frustrated. Did i release it? How do i even know? We talked about what we recalled. Observing emotions and talking about them has meant releasing for me but releasing them through the physical body? Awesome.
Laying down, relaxing. Time to process.
“See you tomorrow!”
Rim is great in teaching and guiding through meditation. Meditation! Yes! So relaxing i could easily fall asleep. Fly away.
We take a break to get some work done as most of us are not on a vacation.
Gathering for a creative photography workshop by Karin van Mierlo. “Have you ever found yourself holding back from expressing your creativity?”, “When do you feel the most creative?” Discussing in pairs. Then on to taking photos. Experimenting. Finding different perspectives of one single item. Shadows. Angles. Colors. Awesome!
Let’s rise excitement levels? Yes! We take a ride to an empty plot by the riverside. Meet Valeriya and Johnny. They are always smiling. Calm. But freaking fierce. What they do on a longboard seems so easy, so freeing, so enjoyable. Let’s learn. For most of us it’s the first time trying to ride on a longboard. Goal? Longboard dancing! Cruising with music. Man this is so genius. I need to this more, we should do it more. It’s fascinating what you can learn in an hour! What you can feel in an hour! What a completely different experience of your own body and how it’s moving. Levels up!
Sunset time. Pizza and a movie! We order in, get cosy with blankets and watch “Impact theory - Lisa Nichols” The episode of the interview series that has blown my mind several times. Here we go. Such a powerful, humble, intense story on taking responsibility in life, resilience and willpower - on transformation. “Mostly, the world sees you the way you see yourself.” I love this message so much. I could talk about this for forever. And we did.
It was a long day. “See you tomorrow!!”
Yoga! Every morning Rim teaches us something new. Did i say she’s magic? I honestly adore yin yoga as it’s so slow. You can so intensely feel every breathe, every vibration in your body. There’s a bubble around us. Everything is in a movement around us. We are still.
To Selina. Co-working area? Rooftop! Sun in blasting. Planning to get some work done. Diving into a conversations instead. Well, it happens. Embracing the moment. Talking about healing and relationships which i guess is the theme of the day because what’s next? Woman and men circle session by Rim. We dive into “What is my self-love routine?” and “What do I think a healthy relationship should provide me?” Incredibly meaningful conversations. This is such a right timing. Could just sit here and talk, listen and process for hours but there’s celebration around us! It’s Santos!! The greatest, most joyful holiday of the year in Portugal! How do we celebrate? Dancing!! And everybody is celebrating. And i mean everybody. Streets are packed with people. We keep close to each other. Not to lose anyone in the endless crowd. Every street is decorated. There’s music everywhere. The adorable streets of Alfama are full of life. We make our way to a spot between the buildings. It’s not as warm as usual. There are two guys playing a cumbia set! I freaking love cumbia! There isn’t anything that’s sounds happier than cumbia. Seriously love it! I only see smiling faces.
There’s something powerful in this joined celebration.
No yoga. Definitely no yoga in the morning.
We gather for late lunch. The city is still on a complete celebration mode. Concerts. Street food. Smiles. An old man dancing alone on the street. Such a happy old man completely immersed in his own joy! This guy is definitely my role model.
Such a slow day. Everyone’s still resting from the late night dancing.
We gather to have dinner picnic outside. We took a guitar. The guitar was a magnet for completely random people to express their celebration mode. Very expressively. We forgot for a while that the guitar was ours. “Excuse us, sir. That’s awesome, but we’d loove to go for a dinner.”
Attending the weekly Lisbon nomads meet-up. A few occasional “Where are you from?” and “Why Lisbon?” but overall really interesting conversations on different ways of travelling. Camping! Talking about wild camping! How a place changes from sunrise to sunset. How close you are to it while sleeping outside. I have such a strong and recent memory of that that it’s so easy to tap into that topic. Appreciation.
Yoga is back! Rim is planning to give regular yoga sessions in Lisbon after the retreat! Yay! For relaxation we gather tucked on a blanket listening to such a zen track. This time i’m gonna fly for sure.
Co-working and then.. lunch! Fresh and homemade piadinas. Jesus christ this is tasty. And ice-cream! Salted caramel and passion fruit. Damn.
Selina! Forming that familiar circle of pillows to tap into a workshop on work purpose, passion and fulfilment. Such an intense brainstorming from the first minutes. Everyone felt instantly free to share. Sharing our perspectives from different life experiences, conditionings and cultures. Super interesting. Are our motivations the same? From impact theory to impact practise. And then! Back to the basics! “Write down all the things that used to make you happy as a child” Boom! Instantly tapping into a mind space of playfulness, creativeness and dreams. “If everything would be possible” Whoa, this is not that easy. It takes time to free yourself to dream. To quiet down. To listen to that part of the intuition that only wants to create joy. Let’s make a promise to do it more. Dream more. Act more on those dreams. “To leap over the edge”
Mastermind! Problem solving on a whole other level! To one raised professional challenge we could brainstorm on solutions from so many different perspectives as a group. Everyone gives advice. Everyone gets advice. Win-win.
Dinner at Vegan Junkies. Will definetely come back here soon. It’s Michelle’s birthday!! We recorded a video for her. Went horribly wrong. Best video of the retreat.
Good night, see you tomorrow!!
Discovery time!! Early morning road trippin from Lisbon to a coastal town Peniche. Roundabouts. Window framed landscapes. There’s an intense scent of the ocean in Peniche. Breeze. We are walking through the small city to the seaside to take a boat to the island in the middle of the ocean. “A boat leaves in ten minutes!” Aalright, let’s go! First thing after sitting down we are handed plastic bags. Oh no. Waves. Waves. Waves. All good tho. After 30 minutes an incredible view opens as the island gets closer and closer to us. We had no idea 15th of June is their most important holiday there. Decorated speed boats. An altar. A huge community lunch. Rituals. Celebration. After swimming and sitting on the beach we are off to some discovering. It absolutely mind blowing how diverse an island can be. How many different perspectives. From open wilderness to narrow paths. Seagulls, lizards, the old fortress, spots for camping over the beach! That must be an incredible morning view! Back to Peniche. Back to Lisbon! Back to having dinner in our sweet spot O Botanista.
Such a special day. It’s Marta’s birthday! She celebrates it by sharing her biggest passion with us in the most creative, enjoyable and joyful way. An outdoor workshop on body flow and movement. We can all feel her sense of freedom from how she moves and guides us to move. Gently but bravely. Holding our own space but letting go of any mental blocks that hold us back. Closing our eyes and feeling even the tiniest pits of the body. There’s nothing better than running around in a park like a kid feeling so connected with the people who surround you. Hugs. Jumps. Joy. So much joy.
Fresh orange juice, coffee and pastry in the park.
An introduction to breathwork from Daniel.
We head to the nearby tropical garden. Ducks. Swans. Turtles. So many different plants and flowers. A reading corner! This is definitely one of the best spots to spend a Sunday. Still like kids, wandering around surrounded by this tropical environment. In awe. It’s a microclimate in the middle of Lisbon. A place to get lost.
Outjazz! Going to a beautiful park with blankets to listen to some impro music in the sun. Yes please!
Gathering for dinner to end the program of the first retreat. That was it. These are the people. Taking in the moment. Trying to freeze the time. Feels like a month has passed by.
“Thank you for being part of this” Thank you. Two tiny words expressing endless gratitude. Thank you Samanta, Oliver, Rim, Margarita, Nissa, Lena, Ed, Michelle, Asia, Daniel, Lucy, Arvind, Ashley and Wesley! This meant the world to me.