So you’ve made it. You’ve got the job, the house, the car. It’s all looking good. You have done well.
And now you’re thinking maybe there’s more. Maybe there are ways to be a more authentic leader. To be more open-minded. More inspiring. To go beyond the logical and explore your intuition, your unique story, your greatest value. To grow from who you already are to who you can be.
Spend 4 days with us. We will use the power of the wind to get back to your core and deepest wisdom. Your GPS. Using a combination of creativity, reflection and cultural challenge we will work together, a small high level group open to going beyond.
We’re not saying ditch your career and spend the rest of your life kite-surfing (though Essaouira is a great place for that too!). But we do invite you to take a rigorous look at yourself and see how you can be more aligned – enhancing your well-doing and well-being. Increase your power by standing strong.
2020 dates for Wind Power Retreat
Note that this retreat can also be run on demand for your team
What to expect
This 4 day retreat will take place in the Winds of Change retreat centre in Essaouira, Morocco. Where even in winter there is an average of 6-7 hours of sunshine a day. In the protected space of the centre we will have privacy and calm to explore our deepest hopes and fears. I will guide you through a series of activities, with plenty of time for reflection, resting and sharing. We will begin and end each day with 30-40 minutes of reflective breathing, meditation and gentle yoga poses (no prior experience required).
What is included
accommodation in shared room (single supplement £475)
activities 9am – 5pm Wednesday to Saturday (early finish Saturday for 6pm flight) including a hike along the wild beaches and ancient argan tree forests south of Essaouira
vegetarian breakfast and lunch
water, tea, coffee on demand
dinner on Tuesday and Friday evenings
transfer to and from Essaouira airport
What is not included
travel to Essaouira, Morocco
transfer from other airports (though we can arrange this for you and you pay the driver)
evening meals on Wednesday and Thursday
Wind Power Retreat
A 4 day deep dive retreat for senior executives who are ready to go beyond all the success they have had so far to discover their deeper sources of power.
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In Western society, we have developed a strange attitude to death. You may be one of the people questioning it. In a world where natural ageing is seen as a kind of weakness, to die can be treated like the ultimate failure. As this research shows, most of us don’t like to talk about death and only a handful have thought about how they would choose their own death to be. In London for example, more than half of people die in hospital even though most of us say we would prefer a home death (only achieved by about 15% of those dying at age 85 or more).
Those who dare to explore the idea of death – yes even their own – discover rich rewards. From my own experience, I know that the thought journeys I have taken as part of my death doula training (with pioneering organisation Living Well Dying Well) have been a significant factor in life choices I am now making. By understanding and accepting our mortality we tap into an appetite for life that can lead us to review our priorities and make some fundamental changes.
I am lucky enough not to be suffering from an illness. I am fit and healthy from a family of long living women. I fully expect my own death to be some way off, though of course none of us knows for sure. Maybe you are the same, or maybe you have reasons for more cautious predictions. Maybe you are caring for an elderly relative or dying friend. Or grieving for somebody you have lost.
Whether your motivation is living your own life the way you want to, or coming to terms with death, I hope you will enjoy me on our 4 day journey into the wonderful world of death and life. It will be a joyous one, a touching one and may just change your life as much as it changed mine.
What to expect
This 4 day retreat will take place at our Winds of Discovery retreat centre in Essaouira, Morocco. Where even in winter there is an average of 6-7 hours of sunshine a day. In the protected space of the centre we will have privacy and calm to explore our deepest hopes and fears. I will guide you through a series of activities, with plenty of time for reflection, resting and sharing. We will begin and end each day with 30 minutes of reflective breathing, meditation and gentle yoga poses (no prior experience required).
What is included
activities 9am – 5pm each day including an outing to the wild beaches and ancient argan tree forests south of Essaouira and a visit to the local hammam (optional)
vegetarian breakfast and lunch
welcome dinner on first evening
water, tea, coffee
What is not included
overnight accommodation (there is plenty of great accommodation available on airbnb, plus hotels. I recommend choosing somewhere in the medina so it is easy for you to walk back and forth)
travel to Essaouira
2020 Dates for Inspire Expire Retreat
The cost for the first evening plus 4 days is £750 per person
Book below! Only 8 spaces per retreat.
Inspire Expire Retreat
A 4 night retreat in Essaouira, Morocco using an honest look at our death to enhance our life
Queuing. Patience. The art of just sitting. Africans can do it. Middle East and North Africa can do it. We not only are t very good at it. We also rail against it. Cramping at the bit. Twitching and stressing.
Probing further, I realise we take it as failure. If we had done something differently (arrived earlier? Been better prepared? Chosen that other queue? Not changed queues? ) maybe we could have avoided this. What was the flaw in our strategy? Our actions? Should we have been more charming or more insistent with the first person in the process?
In another frame of mind we might rage against the machine. These petty bureaucrats with their pointless procedures. This damn country! This stupid town! (Whichever country or town we happen to be in at the time).
I notice too that it is recent. I remember my grandmother had this skill. To sit patiently in a hard bAcked chair. Hands on her lap. Not reading the paper or looking around. No phone to distract her as I have now, writing this as I queue. She had that ability to wait patiently. To trust all will be well. Sooner or later.
The very last thing we seem to do – I seem to do – nowadays is accept the situation. It is what it is. Some things take more time than we allow for. No!!! I have do much to do. Every second is precious.
What if we take that wisdom. Treat the waiting seconds as precious. I have been told that the existentialists stand in pointless queues just so they experience that heightened awareness of the seconds passing. This is part of our life this second. And the next. So maybe instead of feeling tension as we waste our time we sometimes embrace it as a gift of time. I’m going to try!
You inhale. Often unconsciously, but for now let’s pay closer attention. The wind moves through your nose or mouth. It is usually a different temperature to your body. Notice the coolness as it brushes over the tiny hairs in your nostrils. Or the damp surface of your tongue.
By the time it reaches your windpipe it is already close to your body temperature and harder to detect.
With next to no guidance from us, this wind finds its way to our lungs, filling them with fresh supplies of life giving oxygen. Our body knows what it needs. It sorts through the gases, oxygenating our blood and sending it on our way. We have breathed in the wind.. Inspiration. Ours for the taking, over and over. At least 20,000 times a day for the typical adult. Half a billion breaths in the average life span. More if you exercise. At least half a billion opportunities to fill our lungs with life.
And wind moves through the world. If it blows in a window in your house it must blow out somewhere else. So with our breath. Expiration. Removing waste products, cleaning our bodies, sweeping out unwanted gases and vapors.
So each of those half a billion breaths is a chance for change. Each is a change as our body actions dozens of processes according to the inhaling and exhaling, inspiring and expiring.
Essaouira (formerly Mogador) in its current format, was one of the world’s first intentional towns.
This swamp / archipelego / port already had a long history – from occupation in Paleolithic times through to when its Purpurae islands provided the purple dye that coloured Senators’ robes in the Roman Empire (an industry set up in the 1st century BC by King Juba II of Mauritania) .
It also has a centuries’ long habit of cohabiting – Jews with Muslims, Christians with Berbers, artists with craftspeople, fisherman with merchants. The trade winds that bluster through the old medina from April to October have always brought a whirl of cultural and educational references.
In 1764, the Sultan Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdellah decided to take advantage of the strategic position of the fort & port (built the century before by the Portuguese and of interest to French and Spanish) and combine the Saharan trade with the external world in one place. Using French architect Cornut he designed the medina much as it is today, combining French city planning with Arabic tradition. The labour was carried out by local tribal peoples and French prisonerss.
The canny Sultan then populated the town with highly skilled craftspeople from Marrakech plus others from Europe. He deliberately combined Muslims, Berbers, Jews and Christians to create a diverse community vital to a flourishing hub of innovation and skilled workmanship.
I have been on my own journey to arrive at this point where I decided to set up the Winds of Change centre.
That journey has taken me from a closing steel town in the North of England, via a maths degree and 18 years in the corporate world (oil and gas) to the last 16 years of independent project work. during that time I have travelled to over 80 countries and am fascinated by the differences and similarities across cultures.
I have been going to yoga classes for decades and trained as a massage therapist 25 years ago. I have always loved discovering new things, and have been attending courses and retreats myself for nearly 30 years. More formally I have trained as a Feminine Power Transformational leader, studied colour psychology (and written a book about it) and am now on Level 3 of my End of Life Doula training with Living Well Dying Well.
Every one of these courses, along with travelling, parenting, volunteering in my local community and pretty much everything else that ever happened to me, has played a part in creating the woman I now am. Developing the courage to understand myself and others, supporting the idea of radical honesty in relationships and loving to connect ideas from different fields, cross-pollinating to create new combinations of thinking and being.
I am excited about meeting all of you who come to be part of the Winds of Change community, welcoming your unique gifts and insights as we expand each other’s humanity and possibility.
After many visits to Marrakech, I visited Essaouira for the first time in April 2018. I was curious about the art in the new airport… Antoine de St.Exupery (The Little Prince), Orson Welles and Jimi Hendrix. An unlikely trio. Yet they speak to the slightly off-Broadway feel of the place. Of Morocco yet also of itself. Part Arab, part Berber, part Nomad, part European.
It has a clarity that hits you in the eye as soon as you walk out into the daylight. Searingly bright. Swept clean by the near constant winds off the Atlantic.
In half an hour you can go from the ancient medina sheltered by the city walls, to new apartments and surfer scene, to ancient argan forests and meadows of wildflowers. All of the passion and colour of North Africa garnished with a more relaxed, almost bohemian culture mix.
What a place to think. To feel. To be open to new ideas. Every conversation drenched in philosophy, cultural encounters on every corner. Things can happen here it feels. Ideas can be born that might not emerge anywhere else. Come and join the adventure!
There is no missing the wind in Essaouira. Small wonder the 2018 World Surfing Championships were held just a few miles up the coast. And those puddles you see are not from rain, but from gusts of wind sweeping water out from the sea, far below and on the other side of the ramparts.
Originally known as the winds of discovery, the winds that blow here from April to November changed the world.
They allowed sailing ships to travel so much further and find out what lay beyond the horizon. Later when those discoveries allowed extensive trade of silks, spices and the riches of the tropics to northern countries they became known as the trade winds.
As they say, it’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good. Do you feel like blowing away some cobwebs? Generating some wind power for your ideas? Maybe just opening the door and see the wind what blows in.? Come and join us
I first visited Morocco in my early twenties. I was alone and afraid. Challenged by the unrecognisable culture. Fearful of the unknown.
On the train from Tangiers to Marrakech I took out my bottle of water. As I put the top back on I saw that all the other people in the carriage were looking at my in horror. What had I done wrong?
Scraping some rusty French from the back of my mind I asked one of the passengers. “Water is life,” he explained. “We all want life. So they don’t understand why you would have water and not share it.”
What a clear lesson for me. And there were others on that train. Stopping by some fields and the workers coming to the train to hand (not sell) grapes to the passengers. Those on the train passing out maybe a chunk of bread or a newspaper. The way that as the train emptied, instead of spreading out as we do in the west, the passengers moved to be closer together. By the time we arrived at Marrakech, many carriages were empty. And where there were people, they were sharing food, comforting each other’s babies, telling jokes, listening kindly. With strangers.
Mutuality mattered more than individuality.
What better context for understanding and exploring self and connectivity?