Empowering Healing at Heartland

All imagery within this blog was captured at Heartland Retreat.

Many people who ask me how I am healing and how I cope with PTSD.

My journey started before I was aware that I was in need of it way back in 2010. I was feeling overwhelmed and started looking into meditation and Buddhist Mindfulness.

I stumbled across a website called Heartland Retreat. Curious, I studied the webpage for a few days. I yearned to go along to a five day healing retreat, however at the time I couldn’t afford it.

To start I would like to introduce the man who changed my entire way of thinking. A few moments with Les Dyer.

I signed up to receive the Heartland Newsletter and was inspired and soothed by the healing words contained within.

When I returned from deployment in 2012, I finally had enough money to embark on healing. Leaving my little boy again for five days hurt so much, however I knew the gains would be greater than the cost.

I signed up for the Five Day Healing Renewal and anxiously awaited for a confirmation on the booking. When it arrived I felt relief, and my shoulders felt unburdened a little for the first time in… I couldn’t even recall how long. It was clear I was at a point where I desperately needed the inner nurturing.

Beautiful gardens to relax and reflect in with statues from all faiths

On arrival at Heartland, (near Gympie on the Sunshine Coast, Australia MAP) I was greeted by a big beautiful black dog whom I later discovered was named William. He was so certain and confident within himself that I called him Will-I-Am.

Will-I-Am, a gentle nurturer

I was then greeted by beautiful Trudy, whose soul shines through her eyes and hugs you from within. Trudy and her husband Les Dyer run the Heartland Healing Retreat.

Relaxation oozes out of the ground

Trudy guided me to the cottage I would be homed in for the next four nights and I felt such a peace within me as we strolled through the grounds.

Even the man made objects are blessed with tranquility

The bedside light in my room

Trudy gave me a tour of the grounds so I could get the lay of the land. I feel she kept it brief so that I could enjoy discovering most of the property on my own.

The first point of call was past a lovely rock garden and into the main house. I loved it so much that I decided I may have to do a similar set up in my own garden.

I still have that dream. 🙂

The main house is where the majority of the gatherings occurred during our stay due to the cooler weather.

The fire was even sparked up for one night and the smell of the pine cones was the icing on the cake.

The smell of beautiful food seeped inside my nose as I stepped inside. We had arrived at the food nook.

Every meal at the retreat was a vegetarian buffet of delight!

I didn’t practice vegetarianism prior to the retreat, but I did carry it on for a few months after leaving as the the dishes were incredibly tasty and satiating. In the end it was difficult to do with a son who refused to eat my vegetarian delights.

I’m still hoping one day Les and Trudy will publish a book with their divine vegetarian recipes.

Passing the breakfast nook, we then entered the dining room. At first I was a bit confronted, ‘Oh my gosh, I have to sit and eat with this many people and all that talking!! I’ll pass out.

The dining area came to be my favourite place. The food, the company, the conversations and the friendships made in the area were a blessing.

From there we stepped down into the library. I almost swooned at the sight of the massive comfy couches and the shelves of books! Books! BOOKS! Everywhere! My dream library.

Trudy then led me out to the temple where I was given an audience with Les. I thought it sounded very proper and official. At first I felt a bit uncomfortable as I wasn’t sure which denomination the temple was dedicated to. Was I supposed to stand up and sing Gospel, or kneel down and do the sign of the cross? Should I walk with my hands in prayer? Was Les as scary as he looked in the newsletters? Would I have to call him your lordship? I didn’t know what to expect. Looking back now I have to laugh at those thoughts.

As it turns out, the temple was dedicated to whomever we wanted to dedicate it to. The rules were simple, no shoes and be respectful of people meditating.

I sat with Les and I felt nervous. He asked me why I had come and what I hoped to get out of the week?
I told him my reasons which seemed to tumble out in a flurry of words, tears and a broken voice.

He gave me a sheet of paper with a list of questions on it which I was to do for homework, then when I was finished I was to put my name on the board in the buffet room and that way Les would know I was ready for another one-on-one consultation.

Lunch was soon served and I received my first pleasant surprise of the week, not the last. Vegetarian food is actually quite amazing. I wanted to scamper back to the buffet for more but felt a bit greedy doing so.

During lunch I sat and listened to the conversation going on around me from the other guests who had arrived. I rarely say much when I first meet people, I need to sit back and watch and understand their personalities before I interact.

After lunch I went straight to my room and unpacked my bags, then buried myself in the homework. It was a bit more difficult then I first realised and I soon found myself an emotional mess with the issues and memories the questions were bringing up.

I stopped for a while and took a stroll around the grounds to clear my head.

When I felt refreshed and ready, I returned to my room, finished the homework, wrote my name on the board and then started trawling through the books. I almost drooled at the selection.

I read a very interesting book on how water is affected by moods. It was eye opening.

Just as I was finishing that book, Les approached me to say ‘You know you didn’t have to do that homework straight away. You could have taken a few days to mull over the questions.’ Whoops. The only approach I know is efficiency, and I tried to explain that to him. He laughed and told me ‘you don’t have to be efficient while you’re here.’

I signed up for a Naturopath consultation and an hour talk with Ovidne for an Astrology reading. Those would occur later in the week.

At dinner that night the table was full of people and we had a tasty spread of soup, crackers, cheese and fruit. A light way to end the day.

I’d had an emotional release through the day and the hormones helped to lull me off to sleep.

I awoke very early in the morning and decided to go for a run around the grounds. It was fresh, crisp and peaceful and the energy from the grounds was soothing.

When I returned to the cottage, I saw Les coming down from the house with a triangle (it was either a triangle or a bell, it’s been over a year now). He sang ‘Morning has broken’ for those souls who hadn’t yet awoken. It made me laugh so hard as it reminded me of being a cadet out on a bivouac as a teenager. Our SGT would wake us up as soon as the sun hit the horizon by yelling the same song at the top of his lungs. Les was a lot softer of course.

We started the day with Tai Chi in the temple. The instructor was hilarious and I think I spent more time laughing at him than doing the sequence of events that I was supposed to follow. I guess I could say it was another favourite part of my day for the rest of the week.

Then it was to the dining room for a delicious breakfast spread. My mouth is watering even now as I remember the smells.

After a short rest we gathered in the temple to do mantras. When I first heard that, I’ll be honest a part of my brain said “What?” and I screwed my nose up at the ‘hippiness of it all’ However, I still do mantras now. They are powerful and emotionally clearing.

We then went round in the circle and said things we were grateful for. People said them in their own way. I liked it when one of the men started his thanks with ‘Blessed Mother…’ And it’s one I still do when I am referring to nature or to myself. (Thanks Wayne.)

I was the last to go. I sat with my eyes closed, my hand holding the lady next to me, and legs crossed. I thanked the Blessed Mother for the arms I was given to hold my child and it made me cry because I yearned and ached for him and I had an emotional outpouring of words.

When I opened my eyes every one had tears in their eyes, even the men. A few came up to me afterwards and commented that it was the longest they had heard me speak.

After lunch we met Trudy in the Art Shed. Throughout the week this was how we spent our afternoons. We made a gratitude journal, a cement statue and painted a picture of a beach. All guided by Trudy’s confident and talented hand.

It was interesting to see the little caterpillars (my co-retreaters) who said “I can’t paint, I’m not creative enough” suddenly turn into butterflies and create amazing works of art.

After our art sessions with Trudy we curled up together in the library for afternoon tea and chatted away as we listened to the rain on fall on the ground outside. We were covered in blankets and cushions and discovered more and more about each other.

There were some incredibly interesting people in our group and I was quite drawn to a few of them and I found I was seek them out to just listen to their calming voices or with genuine interest in what they had to say.

During meals, Snatum Kaer wrapped her voice around our ears and had us all hooked. I would float away from every meal.

On one of the mornings we did a Snatum Kaers mantra to Waheguru Waheguru jio. My son Harry loves it and before he slept as well as he does now, I used to play her album through the house and it would help us both drift off to sleep.

The next morning in the temple Les took us through a meditation and then on to a very mind blowing  journey. After we had finished the journey in the temple, we then did the journey with our eyes open and a book to record all of the images we had seen.

I found this an interesting exploration, but the best was yet to come. We then went through the journey again and read out what we saw and that was the most interesting and revealing, though provoking experiment I’m yet to do. If I’d gotten nothing else out of the whole week, it still would have been worth going for that journey which I still have and re-read and revisit during meditations.

For me the healing I received from the purity of the other people who attended the retreat was almost as powerful as the healing from Les through his spoken word and Trudy from her softly spoken wisdom and creative arts.

Before I had attended the retreat, I had imagined it would be like being in an Ashram, scrubbing temple floors and harvesting organic vegetables. It was not like that at all.

I learned some very important lessons from Les about perception, beliefs and reality.

For the next couple of weeks I was surrounded by white light. As I drove it felt like I was flying a massive white flag of purity behind me. I felt connected to the universe.

Staying with Les and Trudy is one of the best experiences I’m yet to have.

I’ve found it difficult to end this post and have been sitting and mulling about it for over two weeks. Now I know why.  

I can’t tell you how you will feel when you leave Heartland. The ending is for you to write.

Article taken from http://amandaherpsasap.blogspot.com.au/2013/10/empowering-healing-at-heartland.html