Location – Luxury yurt deep in the Sussex countryside
Client – Alex, a senior banker from London
Brief – To pull him back from the brink of burnout
Lynn’s account –
Twenty years of organising retreats and events has taught me to expect the unexpected, but this one really took the wind out of my sails!
Alex, a busy banking executive, told me that his work was all-consuming and that he was becoming a stressed-out automaton with no zest for life. He said he couldn’t feel – physically or emotionally – or even taste his food. He knew he had to take drastic action, but that he had no spare time, and thus he’d need me to create a retreat for him comprising just one night and two days.
This felt like too tight a timescale, and I almost declined… but then, a little voice inside me said, ‘Trust the magic.’
Nevertheless, I knew it would demand a perfect alchemical mix, and my solution was to weave together some rugged, natural luxury with sensual, feel-good undertones and just enough energy work and ritual to shake him up and get him slightly outside his comfort zone to anchor the magic.
I transformed a very ordinary yurt into a little tented paradise fit for a king – silky smooth Egyptian cotton bedding, fur throw, fresh flowers, candles, a brand new fluffy white robe – and I was very gratified by the ‘Wow’ that escaped Alex’s lips upon arrival.
But from there, it could be said that things went a tad downhill…
The refrigerated hamper of fresh, organic produce, speciality teas, quality filter coffee, small bottle of champagne and some lush strawberries I’d personally hand-dipped in the finest raw chocolate was never opened.
The smart pamper kit I provided – containing glamping essentials such as a silken eye mask, lavender essential oil, Molton Brown body wash, natural sun screen and mozzie spray – sat undiscovered on the bedside table.
Not a single candle was lit. Ditto for the indoor wood burning stove and the outdoor fire pit.
And the twinkling fairy lights I’d spent hours arranging in the surrounding trees and foliage were never seen…
Well… after an afternoon in the spa, which he said was ‘bliss’, Alex found himself bored by his own company and so he dined in the local hotel and watched the televised football over a couple of beers with some locals.
Upon returning to his Bedouin sanctuary, he laid his head upon the pillow and awoke TEN hours later!
After a lazy morning spent sunbathing in the warm summer sunshine, he dozed through most of the afternoon’s healing and meditation session, and I began to wonder if this had all been a really stupid idea. What was I thinking…? Two days…?!
Nevertheless, upon departure, Alex said he felt at peace, and graciously added that he’d spent two days in ‘The Garden of Eden’, which was music to my ears.
But as I packed up, I was uneasy. I thought about the unendurable levels of stress that so many people live with, and how far this man had travelled – and how far outside of his lifestyle comfort-zone he’d come – in order to work with me.
And I was also aware of a nagging concern : had it been enough?
A week later, at our post-retreat catch-up, Alex’s first words were, “I don’t know what you’ve done to me…!”
He went on to speak incredulously about how he was finding himself delighting in the simple joys of life and feeling so positive about everything.
Asked whether he was deploying any particular strategies to maintain this new-found optimism, he said, “No; I just find I’m getting out of bed every day with a different mindset”.
He recounted having felt something ‘depart’ his body during the healing, and added that he’d found our fire ceremony “deeply therapeutic and very powerful”, but he’s nevertheless very surprised and intrigued by the inner – and outer – shifts he continues to experience.
During the retreat, he’d spoken of the difficult relationship he had with his boss. In fact, he confessed to being frightened of her and her power over him.
But all this changed a couple of days later, during a potential altercation in which he calmly stood his ground.
He described a strange feeling of watching and hearing his evaluation of the situation as if he were witnessing it from outside his body. If he was inwardly surprised by what was unfolding, he said his boss was visibly “spooked” by it, but after a very tense few seconds, she gathered herself and agreed that his solution made more sense.
Alex was absolutely amazed that there was no drama, and moreover, that this new dynamic continues to breathe new life into their formerly strained relationship.
Similarly, his latest overseas business trip was not only easy but enjoyable. He described how his host country’s way of doing things usually makes him feel alienated. but that, by contrast, this trip had been different and he’d felt relaxed and completely ‘at home’ there.
In Alex’s own words : “Conversations and scenarios that I’d have once dreaded now don’t faze me because I’m on a different wavelength. I don’t have a preference for how something turns out; I just know it will be okay.”
And it’s stuck. Six months later, he says that he continues to, “Cope with anything life can throw” at him.
From burnout to brilliant in two days.