Burn out? Looking to embrace a change? This Spiritual Awakening Retreat in the French Alps empowered me to embrace a new chapter, here’s what I learnt
Are you heading for burn out, feeling overwhelmed, or simply at a crossroads in your life?
We live in a world where life passes us at lightening speed. We run off our subconscious programmes, with no time or space for reflection and the continuous opinions of others seem to cloud our reality of the greater good.
In a busy city, along with our ever growing competitive nature we have become disconnected from ourselves and those around us, even though we live in the most interconnected world, we are set apart and cut off from our spirituality and from nature.
If we could only stop for a moment, press pause and see through life’s noisy, circus parade and the illusions it places upon us.
We run off our subconscious programmes, with no time or space for reflection
I have heard the term ‘spiritual awakening’ before, but never truly understood what it meant – until now.
How did I come to learn its meaning I hear you ask? On visiting a spiritual awakening retreat I can honestly say how essential it can be for anyone who needs a detox from their busy lives.
A retreat to help you escape the bubble and create time for reflection, peace and that essential space to consider the present moment and looking to the future.
If you’re looking to find your balance and elevate yourself into the next chapter in life in a non spiritual jargon or speaking in riddles kind of way, then keep reading to learn all about the Alikats Mountain Holiday Retreat…
The Luxurious Chalet Experience
AliKats Mountain Holiday Retreat is no standard wellness retreat but a true spiritual rehab for the mind, body and soul.
Lead by its incredible founders, staff and facilitators, along with some of the most amazing guests, the retreat runs like clock-work; right place, right time, right people. A collection of diverse minds all coming together for a deeply spiritual shared experience.
AliKats is a holistic mountain retreat, based in the stunning valleys of Morzine, France. An award-winning luxurious catered chalet, that is immersive, cosy and picturesque. It tunes the noise out and tunes the nature in.
With daily yoga, meditation, qigong, hikes, breath-taking visualisations, reflections, fire camp talks, guided walks, forest bathing and nourishing seasonal delicious gourmet food, you feel a sense of true care and relaxation.
A cosy roaring log fire, an outside jacuzzi and an inside sauna
Ferme à Jules is a low-carbon mountain chalet, originally built in 1808, it is a beautifully converted farmhouse, surrounding itself with balconies and some of the most idyllic views stretching down the valleys.
A cosy roaring log fire, an outside jacuzzi and an inside sauna, along with all of its super cosy corners of comforts and luxuries, I was immersed in relaxation during a 4 night experience in a luxury ensuite room.
I had a cooked breakfast everyday that caters to every dietary requirement, daily afternoon tea, picnic packed lunches and four course evening meals that were prepared to impress even the most discerning gourmand.
The food was made entirely from scratch, locally sourced and foraged from their own permaculture garden in the meadows, always free range and seasonal.
Learning to let go
Upon entering the chalet I was warmly greeted by the founder Kat herself, and also our incredible facilitator Caitlin and the other guests.
Caitlin Cockerton, a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach, guided us with genuine care on our spiritual awakening journey, allowing us to experience that eye-opening moment within an idealistic, magical surrounding that provides you with a whole new perspective.
The journey with Caitlin begins before your retreat with a pre in-depth coaching session, for an introduction and an exploration of your motivations for the retreat and its desired outcomes. Exploring your sense of your vision, hopes for the future, your core values, the things that give you a sense of purpose or meaning.
After a tour, a delicious lunch awaited, followed by a practice of Qigong, to release any tension and allow for letting go and grounding. This enabled us to step into the present moment.
we wrote down all the things that we wanted to let go of and threw it in the fire
This was followed by a walk to the river, across the forest and the mountains, with the most incredible views and waterfalls. We did an exercise along the way, that involved us paying attention to everything around us, using all our senses, for a deeper restorative and immersive experience.
We then sat down by the lake (Lac Montriod) talking as a group and created our intention circle – planning what it was we wanted to let go, work on and get out of our retreat experience.
After a delicious evening dinner, made to perfection by their in incredible in-house chef, Rachelle, we closed off the day with a fire ritual, where on paper we wrote down all the things that we wanted to let go of and threw it in the fire.
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Embracing a new perspective
Waking up to the sound of birds and flowing water felt like being in a new dimension, the inner peace and a sense of calm was deeply restorative, the hustle and bustle of daily life seemed so far away. Nature truly is the soul’s medicine.
Morning breakfast consisted of locally sourced vegan and veggie food, and the coffee was from the Alikats very own roastery.
We took a silent walk whilst we hiked up our first mountain – Mont Caly & Mont Cheri – taking in the sights and the moment. We then paired off, to discuss our intentions for this trip and where we were at in life.
the coffee was from the Alikats very own roastery
We then reached a stunning open space that over looked the mountains, where we practiced Qigong with the enchanting Ursula Tereba, our yoga teacher. We practiced heart opening and purging. Then we lay down on the grass and allowed the sun to bless us with its rays, taking in the moment and our practice.
We kept a journal throughout the experience, where we would make notes that we can reflect upon, along with visualisation drawings of the future.
As we walked back we discussed the positive forces in our lives in human form and the gratitude towards them. At the top of the mountain we continued the open discussion on the people who celebrate us and as we walked down we closed off with our core values – the single most important aspect to help us stay on track and reach that new level of our evolution that we desired and were ready for.
The evening consisted of non-alcoholic cocktails, another four course dinner and a yoga practice before bed to close off the day.
Day three was the biggy, the hike of all hikes – over 500 metres of climbing Cole de Cou at the French/Swiss border. Boy was it liberating, slipping and sliding over snow drifts and jumping over river crossings.
Whilst hiking we practiced an exercise called inquiry and discussion, where we took turns with our partners to listen, then give feed back with regards to our intentions moving forward and vice-versa. Sharing what’s important and bringing focus to the things we need to change and put into action.
slipping and sliding over snow drifts and jumping over river crossings
At the French/Swiss boarder we sat down and had lunch, discussing boundaries and tools to support our endeavours, and how to generate that essential space between stimulus and response in order to choose the intentions and actions that feel most right for us.
This was followed by a visualisation, inner life meditation to help solidify what we learnt, so we could fully commit to doing what we can to meet our inner needs.
Visualising the future
Day four involved yet another energising hike, this time up La Chaux to the cross. The hike took us through an enchanting forest, discussing what spring awakening emanates for us in our lives and the steps we were going to take towards living a happier, more fulfilling existence.
At the top of the mountain, we sat down and had lunch, taking in the magical and breathtaking views. Whilst I sat there and took it all in I realised, how we are not often exposed to such worldly wonders when living in the hustle and bustle of the city, and how we often forget the mystical beauty of our planet.
the grandiose finale, a six course dinner with local wine and champagne
We drew pictures of our ‘life’s garden’, visualising the future and discussed the seeds we want to plant there, how we will make it abundant and how it will help to serve others as we cultivating it.
On the way back we stopped over at Al’s and Kat’s home – the owners and founders of AliKats, where they showed us to their meadow, where they forage their food. This was where we sourced our wild ingredients to make our delicious salsa verde for that evenings meal.
We closed off the day with a Cacao ceremony and an ecstatic dance, letting go, releasing and freeing ourselves and our spirits, followed by a the grandiose finale, a six course dinner with local wine and champagne that could literally outshine any of the Michelin star restaurants I have tried before.
Our spiritual awakening
On the last day we took a silent walk back to Lac Montriond, where it all started. Connecting and discussing natures elements and what they mean for us.
We sat down for our final time of reflection over the last five days and what we have seen in each other. This truly was such a touching moment for us all, where some had shed a tear or two. Its was beautiful, pure, honest, authentic, loving and ever so supportive.
We finished off with writing a letter to ourselves
Strangers coming together and elevating one another – like a destined pilgrimage that came at a critical moment for us all.
We finished off with writing a letter to ourselves. As reminder of the trip and everything we learnt, so we may continue on this new path of our lives.
Closing circle was our last goodbye, completing our journey, its learnings and its takeaways. We discussed our reflections and what we have done so far that supports the new chapter of our lives that we build and cultivated. We practiced a small meditation to seal this new found energy and voyage with the below intentions;
- connecting to your heart (love & set compassion live there)
- your gut (intuition & power live there)
- our strong spine (your authorship & what mark you leave on the world lives there)
Time for reflection is essential to human growth, we are all worth the self investment.
The road to happiness is never easy, even for the most privileged souls who walk this earth and you soon realise that we are all fighting a battle, filled with our aches and pains, trying to figure out what are we really here for?
The road to happiness is never easy, even for the most privileged souls who walk this earth
From time to time one must unplug themselves from their matrix web and busy life and go on their soul searching quest. It is the single most liberating and evolving mindfulness practice your consciousness can undergo, to evolve towards its greater purpose, fulfilment and joy.
May we all find what we seek upon this global stage of life.
Here are some important lessons I learnt during my Spiritual Awakening:
1. I learned that the spirit is limitless and boundless and the things we stall in fear are just illusive boundaries that we can break through at any time, we just need that extra bit of guidance and strength to take the leap.
2. I learned to no longer compromise my values and integrity and enable myself to reconnect to the real authenticity that lives within me, even if this had meant letting go of people who no longer fulfil a positive impact in my life.
3. I learned to be stronger within my boundaries, so that are respected and came to the understanding that its okay not to be able to please all. That opinions and impacts of others have nothing to do with my true self.
4. I learned to place my intentions into real life actions that will change my physical reality for the better.
5. I learned to connect to my true inner strength with no compromise – that will elevate me towards my ‘Independence Day’.
6. I learned to preserve and protect my mental clarity and have my space and silence be respected.
The above are of course a work in progress as learning to find that inner peace, stillness, wisdom and strength is a life long journey, but the sooner you step onto that path, the easier it gets.