26 February, 2024

Coming to Your Senses - A Sensory Journey of Connecting to the Soul

The Art of Noticing Tiny Beautiful Things

Coming to Your Senses - A Sensory Journey of Connecting to the Soul

It has taken me over a week to gather my thoughts & integrate the experience of hosting a retreat & immersing myself in the beauty of Waitata Bay, Pelorus Sound. The intensity of this time of year for my business and the buildup of being semi off-grid for nearly 11 days can create a mountain of to-dos to come home to. And so it was, blissed out and feeling like a new woman I arrived back to my office in Dunedin with a serious sense of urgency behind my workload and assimilated into position. Knocking out the to do list, catching up on emails/admin, editing collections of photo sessions, meeting with clients, creating content for the final touches of a new website (coming soon... eeeeep!), prepping for this week's Rewild Women's Retreat in The Catlins, and managing to create tiny pockets of space for time with myself & my loved ones.

On the edge of burnout but resourcing from my tool kit of practices and new found creative prompts, I now find myself in Curio Bay immersing myself in yet another body of water and frolicking with Hectors dolphins and my other spirit animal, Shaye Simpson. 🤣 🐬 This morning's swim with these magical creatures has reinvigorated my mindset and taken me back to the state of being I held for myself in Waitata Bay a couple of weeks ago for the 3 day creative retreat I hosted with Jane Pike called Coming To Your Senses. I feel compelled to speak to this experience as not only a facilitator but also a participant.

Let me start with the element of water. The majority of the makeup of our body consists of water and the energy that water harnesses is something that we still do not completely understand. Brilliant minds the likes of Viktor Schauberger (Living Energies of Water)have spent their lifetime dedicated to this specific research and without that sort of mind for it, I know in the marrow of my bones that water is a source of life & a key to my own transformation and healing. This is why I have followed the oceans, lakes, rivers, and streams in all of my travels and why I choose to share this healing energy with many of my clients, friends and family. I speak the language of water and understand its messages. I feel sometimes like a conduit between others and their reclamation of their innate connection with this ethereal element.

Our pilgrimage to the Pelorus Sound was one that unexpectedly moved me in ways I've never felt before. I believe there were a myriad of reasons for this... The collective unknown creativity, shared stories and beliefs that resided within our group of wanderers, mystics, powerful wāhine, and inspiring souls. The messages we received from our ancestors, from nature, from each other and from the embrace of the beautiful hues of blue from sky to sea. Creative writing prompts that stirred the soul into a stream of consciousness not tapped into for years, maybe lifetimes... The steady vibrational orchestra of the cicadas all around us, and the purity of the moments of silence just before dawn as we conversed with Venus & the moon before the sun made its presence known.

As women, we have traditionally been the storytellers of our culture, society, & communities. It is in our human nature to pass down traditions orally and to express ourselves through the written word & through language. To feel a disconnect from this way of being can feel isolating and I believe we begin to lose touch with the magic of being alive, of being present & still enough to receive the messages that are meant for us. This retreat was a culmination of practices to revive this part of us, to reconnect with the storyteller within. And that we did, oh so beautifully. We each shared stories of heartbreak, of turmoil, of joy, of laughter, of love, of struggle and our own tales of radical liberation & freedom. We redefined our place in this world and our relationship within it on our own terms. We arrived at a sense of perspective that shook the narrative we arrived with and questioned the beliefs that felt true. We were so present in the moment we were able to slow the hands of time, savouring each delicious moment as if there was no other place to be in this world but right here and right now. A chance to create space to dedicate to the art of the story, to weave this through our everyday.

When I speak of the present, my mind settles into the soil of the forest floor. I smell the earthy goodness of the wildness around me and I admire the beauty of the tall pungas, noticing the light dappled through the textures of the fern fronds. The water is not the only one who speaks to us. The constant composting of life that once was and the rebirth of what will be is a cycle ever present as you walk along the tracks above Waitata Bay. Peaking through the trees, you see the clouds caressing the mountains across the Sound and you think of the stories this land carries in its rich history. I feel small & insignificant yet completely connected to this wild & untamed place. To live here is to know that you are at the mercy of the elements of nature. This is the contract you sign when you commit to this adventure. As my friend Jane quoted from a book she had recently read on this trip, "The wild does not owe you cosy." We spend so much of our lives in search of convenience, comfort and security. But nature is not always this. And that is okay. So it is. So are we.

I'll finish this journal entry with a vulnerable but true share of the Stories I Arrived with. This was one of the many creative writing prompts that we worked on as a group and shared with each other. Each of our writings I think surprised us in a way, words flowing from a place deep within.

"The stories that course through my veins and emerge from the cells of my body are tales of a lost art. The artist that was never recognised for fear of shame. The explorer that became lost in the abyss of a fog of uncertainty, doubt, and degradation. A tale of loves unrequited and souls betrothed to darkness.
But it is not as morbid as it seems because these stories have a thread of light that has been traveling through the depths unseen. Threads of gold that piece together the brokenness of time lost and voices never heard. The story now is bursting at the seams and cannot be contained even if I tried. The veil of oppression and the remembrance of the stars lives within me. It is the balance of many worlds that forms the grit of my bones. The wildness calls to me and I can no longer let guilt stand in my way. The messages are clear as I stumble on the words to tell these stories that flow through me.
I come from worlds created for me. Boxes that were meant to contain & assimilate. I now am ready to build the foundations of the world I can be free in, a world where you can be free too. And what is free? Beauty in the smallest of moments and tendrils of hope. A longing to capture the sun as it rises over the water or to liaise with the stars as they fade away into the dusty blue skies of the dawn...."

That freedom that we seek, it is within us. The art of stillness, of noticing, of creating space for tiny beautiful things is our journey to get there. If this moved you, if these words resonate... Maybe just maybe, it might be time for you to join us. We'll be back in Waitata Bay February 2025. See you there, I truly can't wait.

With love,

See the full article & photos HERE.

Photography by

Co-Host, Writer & Poet

Coming To Your Senses 2025


pelorus swimming
peaceful waters
group photo waitata
creative writing
woman at tree
waitata bay lodge