Setting the scene…
I drove through the night, miles and miles of unlit dual carriageway. As the road and lunar like landscape became the beauty of the Dordogne the sun came up. Incandescent pink orange and red in a sublime blue sky. Mist sitting in the valleys glowing pink creeping into all the nuances of the countryside. The leaves in the trees and vines seemed to be honouring the sun and the region with their popping reds and burgundy, the palette of all the delicious wines.
Gratitude is all I could feel, all nerves and awkwardness displaced by the beauty and peace. A growing sense of expansion in my breath and relaxation. I dropped a whole level of tension in moments. How long had I been carrying that, integrated into my normal posture and gait?
Two things are really here. Peace and light. An energy that encourages release and inspiration. The perfect environment for retreat.
First find beauty…..awaken the senses and relax.
In your free time plan nothing and just experience what inspires you in the moment. This allows experiences to be authentic, not contrived and this in turn allows the first tentative steps of true wellbeing. A discovery of what really wants to be experienced by your being.
What have I done since getting here?
Image: Chataeux Lacanaurd, Twitter
I’ve been thirsty to explore and submerge myself in all the natural beauty. To plant myself here not just pass through only skimming the surface, experiencing only the froth and not the substance all this land has to offer.
Exploring the countryside is so beautiful by bike. I have discovered glorious routes with places to picnic, churches and chateaus to admire. All diluted with miles and miles of vineyards, fields and rivers, the natural landscape speckled with traditional farmhouses.
I’ve waved to many a person tending their gardens whilst listening to classical music, someone hidden behind the scenes in the kitchen, activity here revealed by unbelievably delicious aromas wafting to the lanes. Each family beautifully isolated in the expansiveness of this region.
I’ve walked, canoed and driven miles. Explore this region in whatever way inspires you!
I’ve been helped by generous locals to find the most atmospheric and delicious eateries and sumptuous places to stay. All dressed beautifully and so thoughtfully, each nestled in the finest views.
November in the Dordogne
The Night market
What are our retreats about..?
All we have to do is understand our eternal journey, observe our emotional responses that drive us all blindly into ‘dis-ease’, so we can master them little by little and become free again to really live. Answer only to this authority, wellbeing, and self-determine your own life. This is what our retreats are all about. Delving into the complexity of conditioning to see how we sap our energy, our love for life.
Can you give yourself permission to really observe yourself? We contrive to survive in our own minds. Determine a persona that fits the demands of society and individuals we are emotionally linked to fulfil our ambitions and desires. We copy to fill the gaps, say the right thing and be seen to be impressive or successful in our own minds.
These retreats offer you the ability to change you from being a player in emotional drama to an observer of what every emotional response within you does to you. To reveal your genuine aspirations. This capacity will bring you to your greatest potential, that you have not yet imagined or experienced. And it and only it will bring you true wellbeing.
This week’s recipe from Saveur
Important: Debbie is selecting recipes with combinations of ingredients to inspire your cooking regimes, but while they are healthier choices in general, they will not address individual issues. You MUST make sure that all ingredients you use are compatible with your own individual medical conditions, medications, allergies and goals.
1⁄2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. dried herbes de Provence
6 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
2 large yellow onions, quartered
1 bay leaf
2 medium zucchini (about 1 1⁄4 lbs.), cut into 2″ pieces
1 medium eggplant (about 14 oz.), cut into 2″ pieces
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and quartered
1 yellow bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and quartered
10 whole peeled tomatoes from the can, drained
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 tbsp. chopped fresh basil leaves
1 tbsp. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Heat oven to 400˚. Heat oil in a 6-qt. Dutch oven over medium heat. Add herbes de Provence, garlic, onions, and bay leaf; cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and fragrant, about 10 minutes.
Increase heat to high; stir in the zucchini, eggplant, peppers, and tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Uncover pot, transfer to the oven, and bake, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender and lightly browned, about 1 1⁄2 hours.
Stir in basil and parsley, transfer ratatouille to a serving bowl, and serve warm or at room temperature.