On the weekend of the 23rd to the 25th of June 2023, we visited Eden Rise with a group of our level 4 students for a weekend of transpersonal exploration, connection and fun (and food, lots of food!). The residential weekend is an integral part of the Level 4 Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling and has been greatly anticipated by this group, and as we all met at the retreat centre on Friday evening, we shared our hopes for what we wanted to get out of the weekend.
Eden Rise is a beautiful location, comprising of two connected converted barns offering comfortable sleeping accommodation and a calm, soulful group room, the Albion Room, where many of the weekend’s activities took place. The hub of the retreat centre is the well-equipped kitchen, where all were well nourished throughout the weekend by delicious, nutritious shared meals, with plenty of fruits, juices, teas and, of course, cakes! In between the barns is a peaceful courtyard, rich with vines, herbs, and flowers, and inhabited by nesting birds that were a delight to watch.
We were blessed with warm, sunny weather for the whole weekend, which meant that the courtyard became a central meeting place where we enjoyed toast and fresh coffee in the morning sunshine, watched the nesting house sparrows and blackbirds and gathered around the fire in the evenings to watch the stunning sunset, followed by the emerging stars.
The countryside and well-tended gardens surrounding the retreat centre were the perfect settings for some Shinrin Yoku (Forest Bathing) and shadow work that made up a part of the work that we did over the weekend. There was also ample opportunity to find secluded places to rest, reflect, draw, paint, or just be. Students learnt about the benefits of nature first hand as they headed off into the countryside, gaining healing and inspiration from the trees and creatures that they encountered. This included making friends with some local, friendly chickens!
One of the highlights of the weekend was a deeply grounding sound bath facilitated by James. We came together in the Albion room and enjoyed over an hour of deeply relaxing healing sounds as the pleasantly warm sunshine and the caressing breeze enhanced our profound sense of tranquillity and rejuvenation.
It was really heartening to see the students connect with each other and offer support throughout the weekend as they processed the various transpersonal-related exercises offered to them. In a weekend where we experienced heartfelt tears, deep belly laughter, profound realisations, and intense connections, we also met each other on a level and in a place that we will always remember.