On enduring love. Thirty years ago today I met my love. I am in my forties. He calls me ‘Cosi’, although only occasionally now. It was a childhood name. Reserved for grandparents and parents and my love. It’s very affectionate. Everyone else calls me Nicole, this is the way I prefer it, I don’t like nicknames.
I don’t have strong memories of meeting him. I met many people that day. I recall he was shy and had beautiful eyes. At some point I became curious. And so there was the slow revelation of truths over the coming months. There was no internet at that time. Things were different. A stalker was someone who hid in a tree in your garden not a person at home hunting on their computer for pieces of information that would disqualify or promote someone’s worthiness. How different the genesis of love can be today.
As the months passed I would recall my Grandmothers words ‘ Patience is a virtue. Possess it if you can. Found often in a woman and seldom in a man’. We lived in a narrative of binary beliefs with a total lack of awareness. Everything was uncomplicated. Slowly we migrated from friendship to love. There was never a moments doubt for me. I’ve always known what I want. Such burning desire.
First ten years and then twenty. I was engulphed by breathless adoration. Should all loves be so lucky to have twenty years like this. Life was easy and we knew it. We didn’t sweat the small stuff. We never have. The affection and devotion upon which I regarded my love was intoxicating to those around us. I fielded constant inquiry as to what the secret is. I thought I knew. With unrivalled arrogance I would tell others the secret is ‘not to let the sun go down on an argument’. The ability to forgive. A lesson I learnt from my loves Grandmother. She was married for more than fifty years to a man with a similar temperament and the same moniker as my love.
And so we slid confidently into our third decade. The enduring love. Me, my love and our four children. I can hear the children’s laughter, it fills my heart with joy. The days pass with a satisfying exhaustion that comes from giving everything. The bedtime stories. The silence of them sleeping. The time for us. The closed doors, the fire, the heat, the dry skin, the moistness. I remember everything, like it was yesterday. Time and space recorded in little dioramas for my thoughts to browse.
Do you remember my love? The beginning, we had nothing and everything. Materiality was meaningless. I was a well that could not be emptied. I was young. I don’t want to be patient anymore. I feel a sense of urgency, like time is moving too fast. The world has changed. I have changed. There is only one thing I am certain of, the passion I have for you my love. Tomorrow we begin our fourth decade.
Touch me and you will know what it is to be loved… Just touch me, my love.
Gwinganna… I Love you. Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat is nestled into the Gold Coast Hinterlands. A wellness destination for both the body and mind. I attended a four night program. Whilst there I felt immersed in the experience that is Gwinganna. A few months on and when I think of Gwinganna I feel nourished. So, what makes Gwinganna amazing.
Before attending Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat I read several reviews; many of them focused on contraband and the rules. This is understandable as our days are consumed by the need for technology and the unfortunate crutch of coffee and alcohol. I too wondered about how I would manage without coffee and technology. But my journey to Gwinganna was not about how I would manage to do without. It was about new experiences and friendship.
I didn’t know what to expect as I had never been to a Health Retreat before. I imagined I may be surrounded by women who are extremely slim and fit and this made me a little nervous as I am a normal weight and of average fitness. I travelled with a friend and upon arrival was relieved to note that there were women of all shapes and sizes. The women ranged in age from 25-83 years; this made the group interesting. Most course participants did not wear make-up and this was quite liberating. An idea I appreciated at 5.30 in the morning when we were woken up. It would only take a few minutes to be dressed and outside for Qi Gong. This took place on a hillside overlooking the ocean. Being woken up at Gwinganna is a joy, no loud alarms; just a little singsong at my door “Good Morning Nicole”. If only I could wake up like this every day.
The food at Gwinganna lifestyle retreat is organic; it is also gluten and dairy free. Most importantly the food is delicious with every meal a gourmet affair. The meals were presented beautifully, lots of vegetables, delicious curries, steak, fish and yummy sweet snacks during the day. The tahini balls are on regular rotation at home now; thanks to the Gwinganna cook book.
Days at Gwinganna were filled with activities. You choose how active or quiet you would like your stay to be. You choose what time you want to rise in the morning. The activities are designed to represent both Yin and Yang. In Chinese philosophy Yin and Yang describe how two opposite forces are complimentary and interdependent in the natural world. We were encouraged to listen to our bodies and what they needed. When I did this I naturally fell into a rhythm of doing both Yin and Yang activities. I enjoyed the challenging bush walk before breakfast and then relished the long Yoga class mid-morning.
The afternoons were for Dreamtime. This was a good time to use the two wet edge pools, have a steam or treatment. The spa is beautiful and welcoming. My favourite treatment was the Lomi Lomi. The staff at the Day Spa were very generous; no clock watching here. They just give you what you need. Wow. The people…where to begin. You could remove any one person from Gwinganna and it would still be the same as they are all so giving, kind and free of judgement. I felt indulged and rejuvenated.
Staying at Gwinganna lifestyle retreat gives you the opportunity to try new things. It was so enjoyable to be introduced to Qi Gong and to try different types of Yoga. Having the time to learn about organic food and gardening was a pleasure. The programs at Gwinganna are quite structured with fantastic exercise options, seminars and relaxation activities but this is not what makes Gwinganna unique. It is not the simply divine organic food, the luxurious accommodation or the eco-tourism awards.
It is the secrets. It is the quiet times whilst taking a walk in the bush when an exquisite little feather settles on your sleeve that you are reminded Gwinganna is more than self. It is a chance to rebalance and focus on oneself but it is also a time for reflection and appreciation. A time to be thankful. Gwinganna is a magical place. Thank you.
In the spirit of transparency I wish to inform you my stay was sponsored.