A Gemmotherapy Immersion Retreat in the Pyrenees

July 11, 2018

french retreat

As I entered the gated entrance to La Maison du Cedre, I sensed an unfamiliar apprehension. While I normally embrace new teaching experiences, this would be my first time teaching in France. Questions swirled within me of what and who might lie ahead. Before these seeds of doubt could take their grip I came across a small gathering of women. I soon realized that these were some of the very women who would be forming our retreat community for the next 6 days. The warmth and kindness generated by the open hearts I encountered touched me deeply. At that moment, any anticipatory anxiety about the days ahead melted away, leaving no room left for fear.

Entering the hallway of the wooden shuttered building, I was greeted individually by each woman. However, it didn’t take long to spot the one brave male participant who failed at appearing inconspicuous in this all female crowd. Inviting them into our meeting room they each found a place in seats that had been carefully arranged into an intimate circle.

As I gazed into the expectant faces I knew I was exactly where I belonged at that moment in time. It was clear to me that the learning to take place would expand well beyond any lessons I had prepared. While each had signed up for a professional growth opportunity we together would take a journey leading us to deepen both spiritually and emotionally.

It was a year ago last July that Stephane Boistard and I cautiously approached an idea of collaboration. We sat on my sundrenched terrace in Ilhat, just 10 minutes up the road from our current location. The idea was a bold one as we had only just met in person and our approach was vastly different. Yet, there was something there that we both spotted, an opportunity to blend our styles to deliver a unique experience.

As lives will do, each of ours took interesting turns in the months that followed. It was February before we could make a final commitment for a summer retreat. But here we were and the reality of it all set in as introductions began. I soon discovered just who those generous warm souls who greeted me belonged to. To save all of us in this dual language setting was my translator for the week, a Japanese acupuncturist and herbalist from Brittany, joining her was a naturopath from Toulouse, a dietician and herbalist from Belgium, a singer and choral conductor from central France, a psychologist from the Basque region, an energy healer and bud harvester from the southwest coast, a professor of chemical engineering and bud harvester from Lille, a midwife from Brittany and another naturopath and a student of naturopathy from central France. Each of these courageous beings said yes to a deeper dive into the study of Gemmotherapy and to discover a holistic approach to restoring immunity.

I was sure to present materials that would bump up against their belief systems as well as ideas that resonated deeply with their own truth. Their feedback and sharing would do the same for me, giving us all exactly the blend of experiences that would push us to grow.

Each and every day held important lessons for me. I find it so humbling to witness the boundaries of what I believed to be my own limitations crumble. Each and every retreat I lead is just another reminder to step out of the way of Divine order. I may hold the responsibility for setting the agenda, but the way it plays out is precisely what was meant to be. At no time have I seen this so well defined as this week.

When we began to find we were too much in our heads, Stephane was readily available, creating opportunities for us to connect with nature. Whether we spent short breaks with the trees in the garden of La Maison du Cedre, searched for the ancient stone meditation huts in Roquefixade, or waded in the crystal clear pools above the cascades at Montseguer it was always exactly what was needed. The blending of his unschooled approach, my experiential offerings, and wholesome plant based meals together in the garden produced a harmony we could not have planned.

Now we have bid our farewells, yet the chords we have formed run deep. I am forever grateful for this opportunity and sense that this is not the end but the beginning of something beautiful to come.

image_pdfimage_print

Immunity matters!
Learn to support your health naturally with weekly tips
delivered straight to your inbox.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

You may also be interested in:

Spinach and Leek Tart

By Lauren | April 16, 2021

Here’s a recipe that tics just so many boxes for me.  It’s delicious, goes together with ease and in advance (a big win), is gluten-free, vegan, and my favorite is that it can be customized to the handful of veggies hanging out in your fridge. I was gifted with a Texas sized leek upon my…

Socca Bread

By Lauren | April 9, 2021

This simple rustic flatbread holds a special place in my heart and I am sure it will in yours as well.  Socca bread has the ability to make a simple soup and salad meal complete. I like to use my cast iron skillet but feel free to use your choice of an oven-safe pan. Ingredients…

Lemon Roasted Brussels Sprouts

By Lauren | April 3, 2021

You know there is always room for one more roasted sprout recipe in your repertoire. This one takes this winter veg right into spring with the bright taste of lemon and the sweetness of caramelized shallots.  Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees 1 large or 2 small Meyer lemon, if available, otherwise 2 small unwaxed…

Vegan Moussaka

By Lauren | March 24, 2021

I really haven’t thought about Moussaka in years, actually decades. The last time I had it in fact was at a pub in Oxford for heaven’s sake. I do remember it being an amazing comfort food and that was exactly what I was searching to serve at last meal for months with Foix friends. Once…

Spiced Butternut Soup

By Lauren | March 19, 2021

The weather has turned cold here in Foix these final days of winter with a mix of snow and rain each day.  This delightful and colorful soup brightened the dreary day and was delicious! Ingredients 2 leeks, chopped fine 2 large kohlrabi peeled and cut into chunks 3 large potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks…

Spicy Cauliflower Snacks

By Lauren | March 11, 2021

I will admit I have a problem with these cauliflower snacks.  I honestly can not stop myself from eating these and can easily consume an entire head of cauliflower in this fashion, on my own. I’m not saying I am proud of this fact, just sharing in case you have the same problem yourself.  I…

Apple Pear Crumble with Ginger

By Lauren | March 3, 2021

With a nod to my Foix friend Sanna Phinney, I share with you this super simple dessert. It’s was Sanna’s delicious recipe that she prepared for our welcome meal that served as an inspiration.   Ingredients 4 apples, cored and cut into chunks 4 pears, cored and cut into chunks 1 T Fresh Ginger – finely…

Explorations of Polyvagal Theory: All About Blended States Recap

By Lauren | March 2, 2021

You’ve learned Polyvagal basics, the states of protection, the state of connection but did you realize there are blended states?  In today’s final recap Maegan, Cameron and Lauren discuss the nuances of blended states which are more common than you might realize.  And then just to take it up a notch we play a bit…

A Warming Spiced Chia Porridge

By Lauren | February 24, 2021

When last week, during the fierce winter storms in Texas,  all I wanted to do was to warm my children and give them comfort there was an ocean between us. And as often my go-to, when I am distressed, I look for relief in the kitchen. In search of  something warming but not grain-heavy like…

Explorations of Polyvagal Theory: Reviewing the State of Connection

By Lauren | February 24, 2021

In addition to your two states of survival, your nervous autonomic nervous system has one state for connection. That state is the ventral vagal state.  It is where you not only feel a connection with yourself but also desire connection with others.  In today’s third recap session you will hear more about this state and…

Spiced Walnut Lentil Patties

By Lauren | February 17, 2021

These patties.  They are just the best. Plate them up with some roasted veg and a salad or pack them along as I did on your next hike.  Consider precooking the lentils and rice to cut down on the last minute prep or prepare the full mixture and allow to sit overnight in the fridge.…

Explorations of Polyvagal Theory: Reviewing the States of Survival

By Lauren | February 17, 2021

Your nervous system comes well equipped with two states of survival. One of those is the sympathetic state that provides you with the energy to fight or flee and the other state allows you to disconnect and is called the dorsal vagal state.  Knowing the terms is one thing but learning what they feel like…

Posted in

6 Comments

  1. Caroline on July 11, 2018 at 11:56 am

    Thanks a lot for this wonderful week Lauren, such great time shared together. With love,

    • Lauren on July 11, 2018 at 2:04 pm

      It was so lovely to meet you. Looking forward to working together in the future.

  2. Lauren on July 16, 2018 at 8:03 pm

    Love hearing about your journeys abroad and living vicariously through your words!

    • Lauren on July 17, 2018 at 10:18 am

      Thanks Lauren!

  3. Gaëlle on July 17, 2018 at 4:26 am

    Thank you so much Lauren for sharing with us.

    • Lauren on July 17, 2018 at 10:18 am

      You are so welcome Gaelle. I hope we meet again soon.

Leave a Comment





This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.