Moving Beyond Woundology
Most people reach a point in their lives when they begin to reflect upon their life and their choices, recognising…
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Everyone grieves a loved one’s death differently. Emma Whitehair shares her journey to a grief counselling retreat that helped her overcome the death of her alcoholic mother 20 years ago
My mother died more than 20 years ago. Cause of death: alcoholic cirrhosis. I had lost her way before this though. In fact, when I heard she had died, I felt relief. She had been a chronic alcoholic for as long as I can remember. All those years of blocking her out of my heart were finally over. So I stood stony faced at her funeral. Numb.
For the next decade (my 20s) I continued to numb out with the help of, ironically, alcohol. Luckily, unlike my mother, I got sober 11 years ago this month, while still in my early 30s. However, I still continued numbing out in other ways. And, although my compulsions were indicating I still had an insatiable hunger for comfort, I wasn’t actively looking for healing when synchronicity led me to Donna Lancaster, who booked me onto her next Bridge retreat.
We have each written the things we want to leave behind in 2017 on scraps of paper. Two of the adults want to stop shouting, one “unnecessary shouting” and one “shouting at the dog”. Another is getting rid of “enjoying moaning”. I write down that I’m leaving behind “feeling not enough”. The teenager won’t tell hers. “It’s things I’m not proud of,” she says. Fair enough.
We throw our pieces of paper on to the burning logs in the fireplace, to symbolically say goodbye to those things forever.
This year, I’m welcoming in 2018 with an anti-resolution, aka a ritual. It’s been created by Donna Lancaster, a relationship and life coach who uses ritual as part of her emotional-detox residential retreat, The Bridge. She believes resolutions, at root, often come from a negative or harsh view of ourselves. “They’re usually set up in the way that, somehow, we are not enough,” she says, ie they’re based on the fact we need to look different or be better in some way.
Read the full article over on The Pool.
I went to The Bridge hoping to heal the sadness I was feeling after my divorce, but it was only when I got there that I started to understand how emotional my life was still hanging under the big cloud of my mum’s death when I was a child, age 9.
Donna’s attitude is that, if you don’t let go of losses, they won’t let go of you and, in her experience, unexpressed grief is often mistaken for depression, with a knock-on effect that makes any future loss much harder to bear. This certainly rang true for me and I spent much of the week immersed in feelings stemming from my mother’s death. It was tough, but also a huge relief, as a weight lifted.
Read the full article on Queen of Retreats.
A healthy, happy and intimate relationship is not guaranteed without some effort. No matter how deep the love, every relationship requires cultivating and caring for to enable it to grow and be the best that it can be.
This requires us to question and address our own behaviours, remain curious and manage our expectations. Those looking to enhance all aspects of their relating and relationships, whether with family, friends, work colleagues, can heed these few pointers to help them on their path, with specific attention to the most intimate of relationships – that with our partner.
Read the full article on the Spectator Health website.
Can spending a week with strangers in the French countryside heal your past, future-proof your relationships and and rebuild your self-esteem? We sent mother of three Kelly Cowin to find out
I thought I had depression for 20 years,” said Donna Lancaster, accepting me onto the Bridge, a week-long grief retreat she runs, “but then I realised it was unprocessed emotion. Grief, in particular. I haven’t had depression since.”
Since Christmas 2011, I’ve had depression. It destroyed my relationship with the woman I’ve loved most and left me unable to work. Two years ago, aged 39, I boomeranged back to my parents’ home, where I still am. For a year, I’ve had weekly therapy with an amazing counsellor who has helped untangle my emotions enough that I don’t Google suicide methods anymore.
Read the full article over on The Times.
Even if you’re aware of the importance of discussing your emotions and mental health, it is still a big step to actually open up and start talking. Attending a retreat dedicated to help you connect with your underlying emotions, then, is likely to feel like a huge step, but it’s a commitment to improving your mental health that can be life-changing.
Jordan Stephens of hip-hop duo Rizzle Kicks accepted a complimentary place at The Bridge Retreat to help him open up about his emotions and past trauma, something he thinks can be tough for men because of the pressure society places upon them.
Jane Alexander uncovers her depression as unprocessed grief
She opens up to those who’ve hurt her in the past for an emotional detox
She speaks to her abusive grandfather, her parents and ex-husband
The moment I walk into the mellow Somerset farmhouse, it’s clear this is no ordinary retreat. A morning run is out of bounds. Yoga and meditation are forbidden. And there’s homemade cake and chocolate on offer.
I am asked to surrender my phone and laptop. For five days, I will be completely unplugged. There must be no distractions. I won’t even have a book to read.
We’ve all heard of physical detoxing; we’ve swigged back the kale juice and wallowed in Epsom salt baths. But what about emotional detoxing?
I am at The Bridge, an intensive retreat that aims to clear the backlog of unprocessed emotions from our systems.
One of its biggest fans is actress Thandie Newton: ‘It might just be the best time, effort and money you will ever spend,’ she gushes in its promotional blurb.
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