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This retreat-workshop brings together mindful awareness, personal growth through meditation, and therapeutic development through relationship. If you are someone who understands how important it is to know yourself in order to achieve balance in the modern world, then this is for you. If you are someone who knows the importance of relationship - with ourselves, with each other, with our planet - then this is the place to be inspired.
The center has a library and ample public spaces indoors and outdoors to allow for community or privacy as participants choose. All participants have individual rooms or a double room if coming as a couple. All rooms have bathrobes, hanging space, drawers, hair-dryer, sitting space, tea and coffee facilities, and a private bathroom (or shared with no more than one other person). All bathrooms have a shower, wash basin, toiletries, tissues. All bed linen and towels are provided.
Living is about knowing who we are and connecting with each other. Therapists talk about mindfulness and the “here and now”. Philosophers are concerned with what it means to be alive. And we all know what it feels like when someone is interested in us and how we feel. Being awake and aware, being able to be empathic, knowing the liberation of being accepted - these are the core themes of this retreat.
Nothing is set in stone at Le Sentier Tranquille and Simon as the facilitator will adjust times and content according to the background and disposition of the group.
As a guide, the days will be allocated along these lines:
Each day will start with an early morning (about 07.30) silent meditation - not obligatory but encouraged. Breakfast will be available after this and the morning will session will be a combination of teaching, discussion, and a meditation exercise. Lunch is followed by a short period of own-time and then a walk or activity using the morning’s theme. Evening meal follows an apéritif around 19.00 and the day is often rounded off with a themed meditation.
During the retreat, you will learn or develop your mindfulness and be introduced to the meditation approach of the Clear Space Path. You will exchange with other participants in a group (and individually with Simon if you wish) in the summer house, the group room, the gardens, as well as in talks, in your free time, over meals together, and on walks in the surrounding forests, hills, and mountains.
Towards the end of the retreat there will be a half-day group walk in the mountains or foothills of the Pyrenees. Simon has many routes and will select what is suitable for each group in order to offer appropriate space for reflection and the deepening of the retreat experience within each member's capabilities.
Best-selling author Simon Cole ('Stillness in Mind', 'Along the Way', 'Pathways') is a senior-accredited counsellor and for over 30 years has been offering therapy and training in different settings in UK, France and online. Accepting of all faiths and all approaches, his philosophy and teaching spans mindfulness, meditation, being in relation and counselling in the humanistic tradition. He draws on the work of leading western thinkers and the insights of Martin Buber into presence in relationships.
Jocelyne began in music under the direction of Michel Piquemal in Paris and later trained in the voice technique of the American Arlène Thiel at the Centre Polyphonique in Paris. Over the years, she has broadened her approach to find a synthesis of expression through speaking voice, singing voice, gesture, and listening. Today, she is involved in theater, storytelling, and voice training for all ages and all backgrounds. And when she has a moment she writes as well!
This retreat will take place at Le Sentier Tranquille in Dun, France. It is a small retreat center in the foothills of the Pyrenees alongside the ancient forests of the Ariège.
You will be served good food throughout the retreat. All ingredients are sourced locally, and as far as is possible, only what is in season is used. Dishes prepared are representative of this part of France. Anyone who has traveled in France will know that it is quite a lot more difficult eating as a vegetarian there than in most other parts of Europe. We will provide vegetarian options when requested, but individual diets are unavailable unless there is a medical need. We are not able to cater for vegan, nut allergies or coeliac condition.
Retreats follow a program which leaves space for individual reflection and informal discussion. Some group walks will be undertaken, but there is also time to take walks in the hills or forests at different times. In the center, there is a library, and there are also some musical instruments, and art and drawing equipment.
Transfer available for additional US$40 per person
Transfer available for additional US$40 per person
Please book your flight to arrive at Toulouse-Blagnac Airport (TLS) or Carcassonne Airport (CCF). Transfer between the airports is provided by Le Sentier Tranquille and payable locally.
Coming by train, you can take the Eurostar Paris connection. TGV trains from Paris to Toulouse come via Bordeux. If you come via Paris, you must change trains and stations in Paris, for which you should allow 90 minutes. If you change trains at Lille (on the way to Paris), it is only a platform change, which is a lot easier, but the fare is a bit more expensive. In Toulouse, you change onto the train which comes to Pamiers and goes on to Foix, Ax-les-Thermes and then to the border with Andorra. From many parts of England and Wales, it is possible to do the complete journey in a day if you are prepared to start early. For options, visit European Rail or seat61.
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