Mental Health Retreat Sydney
Venturing Beyond the Bounds of our Comfort Zone
“At times you have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover is yourself.” - Alan Alda
Of all the ironies, is there any greater than the fact that we work (or at least labour) extremely hard to build a comfortable life only to then discover that this comfort atrophies into debilitating states of depression or numbness? It used to only afflict those at midlife, but with the advent of the quarter-life crisis, we are being provoked to get real earlier than ever before.
In stories, we empathise with protagonists such as Frodo. Why on earth would one want to give up the tranquillity of the shire, to enter the dangerous unknown - replete with orcs, wraiths, giant spiders and other deadlies? Sure, Bilbo Baggins may feel alive while he is reading about dragons and glittering treasure but he is not crazy enough to want to encounter them! While we secretly urge these heroes-in-waiting on as they vacillate over whether or not to leave their ordinary worlds behind, we typically do so from the comfort of the cinema or our living rooms.
The fundamental question seems to be whether we merely live vicariously through bold adventurers or use their journeys as an impetus to take our own. After studying mythology Joseph Campbell maintained that “The serpent, the rejected one, is representative of the unconscious deep wherein are hoarded all of the rejected, unadmitted, unrecognized, unknown or undeveloped factors.” Afraid of what our individuating will require, we heartily project our fears until our vision is impaired and all we can see is a dangerous and hostile world.
So perhaps the choice is really no choice at all. Resist doing the extensive excavation work to discover what talents lie dormant within us, or become resigned to the melancholy and lethargy that accompanies denial. That was the picture painted in the opening scene of Elizabeth Gilbert’s memoir, Eat, Pray, Love. I doubt it would have resonated with so many people had her story gone on to show her repressing her wilder intuition and instead, settling down to have a child, fulfil the role others wanted for her and put her crisis moment down to simply being a rough patch.
For a more recent tale of an Australian rewilding her life, take a look at Clare Dunn’s, A Year Without Matches. She encompasses the wisdom of indigenous Australians who took to walkabouts as, “A fast from all things familiar that is designed to break the habitual patterns of the mind and allow a deeper knowledge to arise.” Fortunately, she doesn’t have to brave her quest entirely alone. In addition to her mentors, friends and the other courageous souls who join her, she fortuitously happened to pack the ultimate tome on rewilding, Women Who Run With The Wolves.
Clare perfectly captures the purging one must go through. While difficult to read about, it is even harder to experience. I once knew a very lucid and intelligent woman who likened her purging to that of a wild animal taking over her body. We would much rather opt for the more sanitised approach of casting our gaze toward the grace and beauty of a butterfly in motion, rather than endure seeing a caterpillar dissolve their entire bodies to become something grander.
Carl Jung once said that “only the symbolic life can express the needs of the soul—the daily needs of the soul, mind you! And because people have no such thing, they never step out of this mill—this awful, grinding, banal life, and therefore want sensation.”
Our healing retreat: Rethinking the imprints from our mothers, fathers and culture, is designed to help you work through limiting and damaging beliefs incurred through upbringing, in order to integrate the healthy masculine and feminine. In doing so, you become better positioned to sustain high functioning relationships, find and fulfil your vocation, while aligning with your most deeply held values.
“The Phoenix must burn to emerge.”