Monday, August 13, 2018

Mindfulness & Meditation Retreat - Retreat in the Pines

My daughters and I spent the weekend at a beautiful retreat center in East Texas: Retreat in the Pines.

We ate delicious, healthy, locally grown food, enjoyed meditation and yoga practices in a variety of settings, learned new ways to slow down and unplug and met new Soul Companions.

Our drive from the Dallas/Fort Worth area was about two hours. As we drove further and further, the landscape became greener and greener, with tall pines, sycamores and live oaks reaching to the sky. We treated ourselves by stopping at the Dairy Palace in Canton and I had the BEST peach ice cream I’ve ever eaten!

Along side Blue Bell, the Dairy Palace also offered Henry’s Homemade Ice cream and every bit of my peach ice cream included little bits of fresh peaches. Yummy!
A few miles further, we were directed off of the main road and saw the sign for The Waldo Way Dairy Farm. We passed beautiful, fawn and white colored Guernsey cows, gently grazing on both sides of the road. This farm boasts yogurt, milk and butter. Maybe the next time we visit East Texas, we can stop in! Here is their website for more info:

Theresa Polley has created the perfect retreat center, with everything that today’s woman needs to relax, recharge and re-energize her life. The modern cedar Main House has a full kitchen, community room, three bedrooms and 2 full baths. My daughters and I shared a bedroom with 3 twin beds, which was perfect for us. A large closet, night stands, lots of electrical plugs and nice bedding were available. Theresa even provided ear plugs! The bathroom offered nice towels, body wash and other niceties for our visit. Two bathrooms meant there was rarely a time when you couldn’t get into one! If it happened, there was a bathroom in the Dining Hall, one in the Yoga Studio and another one in the Guest Quarters.

The kitchen in the Main House was stocked with coffee, an assortment of teas and everything we needed to serve ourselves. A large refrigerator meant we could keep our waters, wine and other beverages cold.

The Dining Hall featured long wooden tables, put together in a U-shape that fostered lots of conversation and sharing. All meals were served buffet-style on a counter near the Staff Kitchen door.

A sweet woman named Sandy prepared all of our meals from scratch: nothing canned, microwaved or pre-prepared at Retreat in the Pines! Great veggies, homemade hummus, delicious fruit trays, fresh baked breads and whole grain chips and crackers. The food was truly amazing. Lots of dried fruits and nuts for snacks and delicious high-quality chocolates, also.

And wine! Did I mention that their slogan is “Yoga, Wine and Laughter”? Theresa puts out several nice white and red wines each evening. Guests are also encouraged to bring their own favorite wines. And, if you forgot to BYOB, there are several nice wineries within driving distance of the retreat grounds. In fact, there are 19 wineries on the Piney Woods Wine Trail that covers the area all around the Retreat center.

For all meals and snack occasions, nice glassware is used, in keeping with Theresa’s eco-friendly philosophy. In fact, we ate on nice plateware, had cloth napkins, glass drinking glasses and glass coffee mugs. Everything that isn’t recycled is added to the compost pile, with only a small amount of trash left over each day.
Theresa grows herbs on site and sources the chicken, vegetables and fruit locally, as much as possible. Someone on her staff bakes all of the breads they serve. There are quite a few gluten free options, also.

I have been enjoying a modified vegetarian-style eating plan and I found a lot of options at every meal. The Sunday Gratitude Brunch was my favorite meal. Lots of creamy eggs, with cheese and guacamole to add. Fresh fruits, homemade coffeecake and two pots of coffee were never empty!

And massage! We scheduled massages with Jan Hauk of Galveston, who drives up for the weekend retreats. She was WONDERFUL!!! My daughter also enjoyed her massage with another practitioner.

We chose the Mindfulness & Meditation Retreat with Michelle Brazell, who has been practicing yoga since 2008 and teaching since 2011. Michelle has the most soothing voice and led us on some amazing meditation journeys. The Lovingkindness Meditation was my favorite. My daughter really enjoyed the combination Restorative Yoga with Letting Go Guided Meditation.

I really enjoyed the free time to wander all over the property, go on long walks and journal on the screened in porch or front porch swing. One of my daughters and I walked the tiny road that led to the gate and main road, seeing lots of beautiful vegetation, a campfire ring and lots and lots of the tallest trees I’ve ever seen. We had rain several times, but most was gentle sprinkles or light rain that we didn’t mind walking through. Very peaceful and calming.

We also had a chance to make some DIY aromatherapy sprays with their collection of essential oils and great recipes. Some of the ladies colored mandalas or affirmation papers and enjoyed a little break or some conversation with other retreat attendees. Afterwards, we enjoyed driving into the small town that was nearby to do a little shopping.

My favorite part of the weekend was getting to spend time with my daughters. We laughed and told stories on the two hour drive. We did card readings in the evenings and encouraged each other in the yoga practice sessions. We shared 5 meals together, took walks, stood on one leg in “tree pose,” shared our gratitude statements at the group dinner. It was truly amazing.

Thank you Theresa, Michelle and Sandy for a remarkable experience. We are already planning our next retreat with you at Retreat in the Pines. PJ Spur

1 comment:

  1. PJ, wonderful recap our of our amazing weekend! You have a gift for writing. :)