I know most of you will already know that I have decided to run an Art Retreat in Bali in 2019. I fell in love with Bali and her people a few years ago and ever since then a seed has been growing in my heart, inspiring me to create not only an Art Retreat in Bali but also to make it an uplifting holistic “Mind, Body, Soul ” experience as well.
It is amazing how a group of women can bond and support each other through sharing their own life’s journey and obstacles. Empowering each other to let go and tap into their inner creativity.
I have written this Blog to not only explain why I have chosen the actual name of the retreat but also to share with you a little bit of my own story. I know a lot of you will identify with my journey as you too have similar stories.
We went over to Bali in August to do some research on Resorts and activities I have planned for the Retreat. It is very important for me to make sure this is a really special week filled with amazing experiences.
While we were up in Ubud staying at the Resort I have chosen, I wandered around the expansive gardens, immersing myself in the natural beauty and sounds of the jungle. It really is a place where you can feel the true essence of Mother Nature. It is the perfect place to meditate and connect to your higher self.
With this in mind, I started to think about what name I could give to my Retreat. Something that really captures the feelings I want to share with the Ladies who join me. Some different names popped into my mind but nothing seemed quite right.
Slowly as I wandered the gardens it came to me.
So why Gaia?
It means The Earth and Mother Nature. The definition on Google states that in Greek mythology Gaia was the mother goddess who presided over the earth.
I have always had a fascination with Mother Nature. As a child I spent most of my time outside, talking to plants, birds and insects. We spent all our holidays at my Grandparent’s Dairy Farm in Gippsland. I loved going there and just walking around the farm. Talking to the Cows (who all had a name) the dogs and the cats. The beautiful flower garden my Nan grew. I also talked to my imaginary friends who were animals. One is particular was a Horse. Ha! Ha! I was a bit strange ;).
But on that farm I felt very close to Mother Nature and the Veil that shimmers between this world and the next. What is imaginary? What is real? I think my connection to Gaia is why I love painting animals and birds. Really anything that displays the beauty of Mother Nature.
There are quite few Lotus ponds throughout the resort. But that is not why I chose the name. I think there are a lot of people who feel a strong connection to the Lotus. Not only are they beautiful but they symbolise Rebirth and enlightenment and have been used for centuries in Eastern cultures.
Eastern beliefs. The Lotus grows in dark muddy water. It pushes through the muck and grime to finally rise up above the water and shine in all its beauty.
In the centre of the lotus flower lies a circular mass of stigmas holding the seeds. The eastern belief is that it represents the ultimate goal of self-realization: the union of the human soul with the Ultimate Consciousness.
The petals of the lotus are arranged in layers, and when the lotus blooms, each one opens in succession to reveal the ones inside. This gradual opening in stages has been been used as a metaphor to describe how we can attain higher levels of self-realization and consciousness as we evolve spiritually. There is so much symbolism around this beautiful flower.
I personally have felt a strong connection to the Lotus over the last few years of my own life’s journey.
The first half of my life was extremely happy. I married quite young and we had three beautiful children. We lived in a wonderful home that we renovated and extended and I created a lovely cottage garden. The children grew up in an idyllic place and I believe we were truly blessed.
But things don’t always go as we think they will. My husband of 30 years decided that he was not happy and much to my horror our marriage ended. Talk about living in La La land.
My world and my children’s worlds were turned upside down. The house had to be sold and our lives changed forever.
Now, as the years have gone by, I know many women who have been through this exact same experience. But at the time, I felt very alone, abandoned and of course scared. Those were the dark years. I suppose the trying to grow through the mud years.
But what I discovered about myself was amazing. I found a strength I never knew I had, to get back up on my feet and get on with it. To not only survive but to blossom into my true potential. I doubt that I would ever have had the confidence to actually start teaching if this hadn’t happened to me.
So I really feel a similarity to the Lotus Flower. I have grown spiritually and creatively in so many ways over the last 14 years. I love inspiring others to find their own creativity. Especially those who don’t believe they can actually paint something amazing. I am grateful every day for being given the chance and opportunity to help change people’s lives.
I know some of you will be identifying with this story. Some of you will have had different challenges to overcome. Remember to be proud of what you have come through and survived. We are so much stronger and wiser for having gone through the tough times.
So that is why I have called my Art Retreat Gaia Lotus
Two of the most significant symbols in my life. I know that they will resonate with many of you as well.
If spending a magical week relaxing, painting and exploring mindfulness in the spiritual centre of Bali, with like-minded souls sounds like something you would like to do, please feel free to email me for any other details at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more info and to book please Click the Link below.