A month before I turned 47, a good friend came over and we spent a lovely afternoon in my garden, basking in the sun on the first warm weekend of spring. We got to talking and started planning a weekend escape together to celebrate my birthday. Neither of us has been to Chicago yet, so we started looking at the possibility of taking off for a weekend to see that legendary city… but as I rolled up my sleeves and kicked off my research, I started having second thoughts. Was I really up to spending a weekend taking in the sights of a big, noisy city, traipsing from museum to museum in a somewhat manic dash to take it all in over the course of a weekend? I was tired, run down and more than anything, I needed a break. I had to be honest with myself – it’s not what I needed. I had a chat with my friend and told her that what I’d really enjoy is a weekend away at a retreat of some kind… yoga, meditation, peace, quiet…
I launched into a search online and found a few options, however the market for spa retreats in the Toronto area is quite under served, and even if you have a ton of cash to spend (which we don’t), unless you’ve planned your life out at least three months in advance, you’re basically S.O.L. But, I persisted, and I found an interesting place close to Campbelford: the Nonpareil Natural Health and Healing Retreat.
We reserved a shared room and waited for the date to come. I did a little research on the retreat and let my curiosity build. There would be yoga, massage, juice fasting and more. The weekend would be spent relaxing, meditating, and getting healthy!
This was something totally new for me – most of my weekends are spent in a frenzy of taking care of things that didn’t get done during the week. My friend is an old pro at fasting. My experience with fasting consisted of daily breakfast, so I was a little concerned – I detest being hungry… but, I was willing to give it a shot.
Time flew by and finally our respite was upon us – time to jump in the car and head east to our weekend of sanctuary. Of course, GTA traffic was against us, but we finally made it to our destination.
We drove up to the charming red brick house and found the host waiting for us at the front door. David Gouveia opened the door for us and ushered us into a shabby but well-loved room, where we were greeted by his partner, Mano McNabb, who hugged us as we arrived and greeted us warmly. Within minutes we were introduced to another sanctuary-seeker who was spending the weekend here, and served delicious power smoothies to replenish us after our long ride.
We were shown to our room, then invited back downstairs to get to know our hosts and find out what surprises were in store for us this weekend… As we sat and listened, we discovered that we were in for much more than we had bargained for. In a nutshell, David and Mano are healers, each with a different focus. David is a yogi who does Reiki, energy work and different modalities of massage. Mano also does Reiki and specializes in juice fasting and nutrition. She takes care of guests’ nutritional needs while they’re at the retreat and sends them home with a plan to maintain their new healthy habits at home.
We spent the weekend sipping rich organic juices that were custom-blended for us. I wasn’t hungry once (we actually skipped a few servings.) We did yoga with David in the mornings and strolled in the countryside, taking in the sweet smell of springtime grass, spotting birds and breathing fresh air. We hiked out to David’s gazebo on the far end of the property and absorbed the goodness of clean nature. We talked, a lot, and learned about energy, cleared our auras and spent quite a bit of quiet time reading, laughing, thinking and reflecting.
All too soon, it was time to head home… and I was left wanting more. I would love to go back again and stay longer next time! I highly recommend this to anyone who desperately needs to get away from their lives and take a breather.
I have a confession to make: This was the last post I have worked on in months (we went to Nonpareil in May 2016 and it is now March 2017). Coming back to my blog now, I realize that I have been drifting on my journey, while gladly moving in the right direction. I’ve since started a new job in a new company and have already moved on to a new position within that same company, and I’ve lost 16 pounds too!
To finish off my post, I must add that the highlight of my weekend was a remarkable session with David, working on mind-body integration. It was revelatory, and many months later, I’m still unraveling the outcomes of the hour I spent with him… not easy stuff, but a necessary resetting of my internal compass.
And, the journey continues… perhaps I’ll be fortunate enough to return to visit David and Mano again!