On Friday, February 21st, I headed out on a very cold Melbourne morning on the number 74 tram to catch the sky bus to Tullamarine Airport.
I was beyond excited.
In May of 2016 I visited Naya Resort in Bali for another SoulJourn and as I walked into the foyer, there was an array of the most amazing portraits. I had just missed Autumn Skye Morrison’s annual Soul Portraits Retreat and also knew at that moment - I had to attend one for myself.
That time came when early last year an email popped into my inbox saying that the next retreat would be held at Paradise One in Coorabell, Byron Bay - how could I not?
The stars had aligned and I was so excited I believe I was the first one to book.
I’ve had a very interesting relationship with Byron and I keep being drawn there over and over again.
The first time I visited I had a very significant spiritual awakening at The Hoffman Process.
The second, a complete nervous breakdown that started in the middle aisle of Woolies in the main street of Byron (Let’s just say I wasn’t quite ready to leave my beloved Singapore)
The third, for the most amazing 50th birthday party at one of the most amazing properties I had ever visited - another major spiritual event took place (I’ll need another year’s worth of blogging to tell you about that one!!!)
The fourth - A bittersweet holiday - time spent grieving and healing and another HUGE spiritual shift (More on that later)
The fifth - Soul Portraits Retreat.
Autumn Skye is a self-taught artist, who teaches and exhibits worldwide. Painting since she was a child, I don’t think there could have been any other path other than artist for Autumn to follow. Her art speaks to me in so many ways and I am drawn in by the beautiful, spiritual guidance I find in each of her exquisite pieces.
Her style is unique, her passion, palpable and the way spirit flows through her - magical.
It was such a privilege and blessing to spend ten days with this inspiring, gorgeous spirit.
It had been a while since I had painted and I was looking forward to spending ten days reconnecting with that part of me. I was also beside myself to meet Autumn Skye, her team and the rest of the painters. It was ten days I will never forget because what I realised on that very first day was that it was going to be so much more than just a painting retreat.
Once we had settled into our rooms nestled in the beautiful Byron hinterland, we each had a little chat with Autumn to discuss what it was we wanted to paint. Funnily enough, I hadn’t given much thought to this! I had taken the photo of myself which I was to paint but that was about the extent of things. I wanted to incorporate a phoenix as the last few years have been challenging to say the least and it is now time for me to rise.
For me, meeting Autumn was a little bit like meeting my favourite rockstar!
Little and sweet, with a bubbly and vibrant personality - she was grounded, present and so very wise. There is absolutely no doubting Autumns' passion and talent - that is indisputable but her energy was something else.
That’s the only way I can describe it.
And I feel like the luckiest lady alive to have been able to spend ten days learning from this beautiful soul.
We spent that night (and the next ten days) eating the most delicious vegetarian food I’ve ever tasted - special thanks to Frank and his crew and we also had our opening circle.
L-R Una, Marnie, Autumn Skye, Lila and David
(Photo Credit, Bella Retreats)
When I go on my little SoulJourns, I can usually determine how it’s going to pan out by my energy and emotions on the way there.
This was no exception.
I caught the 11.15 am Jetstar flight to Ballina. My emotions started to bubble to the surface very early on in the flight and as a small tiny trickle of a tear left my left eye and rolled down my cheek, I wondered whether it was too early to order a gin and tonic. Luckily there were some much younger girls next to me who were embarking on a two-week bender in Byron so when they ordered a vodka and soda I gave them a wink and then a cheers when my g & t arrived.
There was no doubt this trip was going to be a big one!
We slowly made our way around the circle and met Autumns’ beautiful companions. Marnie, the photographer, gentle Lila, the kundalini dance facilitator (could you believe my luck!!!!) her beautiful and equally as gentle partner David, Una, co-ordinator, yoga teacher, artist and astrologer and Patti and Yao from Paradise One, where the retreat was held.
When it was my turn to speak, my voice wobbled a little and I simply said I was feeling a little fragile and ‘watery’ - so please if I was crying - hugs would be welcome. (Thank goodness we got in just before CoronaVirus)
And to top it all off there was a new moon in Pisces that week and astrologically my moon is in Pisces.
With Pisces being a water sign and the moon ruling emotions, moods and feelings, this was going to be a long and watery ten days.
Left - Autumn Skye (Photo Credit, Bella Retreats), Right - Autumn and Una