At the end of the world’s longest running play, Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap, the cast swears the audience to silence on who done it. They keep their promise because they had a ball and want other people to experience the same thrill.
There’s no such request at the Spirit of Women retreat, but participants keep the secret anyway, not just of the incredible finale, but the journey to it. You’ll know why if you decide to be in the story.
It was not something I would have chosen to do. Who needs a 1960‘s throwback, and anyway, there’s bound to be stuff I wouldn’t be caught dead doing. But my new sister-in-law Dawn is co-host of the retreat and she said it would be good for me and asked me nicely and I said yes.
When 20 women from all over – Darwin, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and locals from the Sunshine Coast – arrived at the Kin Kin main hall, I thought this cannot work. Everyone so different – ages, personal styles, lifestyles, wealth, work, family types. Most like me – wary. When we asked each other why were we here we realised all bar one had the same reply – a friend or relative said it would be good for us. A must do. And none of them would give any detail. Their vibe was the advertisement. Some of us were unhappy – relationship bust ups, a cancer scare, heavy caring loads. All of us needed a recharge.
Five days later, as we sat in a circle writing I looked around and marveled at these relaxed, powerful, confident women. I knew them all better and I liked every single one of them. I noticed that they looked, well, transformed. Younger. More beautiful. And that was before the best party I’ve ever been too.
I can explain this mostly by the presence of Dawn, the retreat’s leader Mette, and their assistants. They are all great entertainers as well as teachers, and they all participate in the program rather than stand apart. The detox helps too – delectable vegetarian food, fresh, fresh air, pool and sauna. You’re not pampered as such – you work hard sometimes – but you are explored – by yourself and by others.
By the end I felt we’d all been in a play, rediscovering our joy in living and in meeting other women. It’s magic.
Yes, I’ve recommended the retreat to friends. And no, I won’t tell you anything more about it. It works because you don’t know and you’re prepared to enter the unknown. But I will tell you one thing about how the retreat changed me.
I never sing because I can’t. My voice sticks in my throat and is horribly off key. On the last night I sang solo, big and deep and easy on the ear. And I was happy.