What to expect from a private retreat with Almine? Well, as always, better not to expect anything, for the experience can be very different from one of these retreats to the other. In my case, I had a private retreat back to back with the second shamanic men’s retreat, which was certainly a very interesting experience.
I noticed a sharp contrast between the two weeks, in several ways. First contrast: I was totally surrounded with men (except for lady A.) the first week, and with women the second week; one has to reconcile the poles, right?
Second contrast: the house was jam packed the first week; which was the way I had always experienced Almine’s home so far. Whereas we were only four to share it during the private retreat, which gives a very different feeling. I was even able to luxuriate all on my own in the house for a few hours in between the two retreats. And it felt, oh sooo peaceful; such a deep, deep silence in that magical place … And, no kidding: I could literally spend days there just enjoying the opulent profusion of exquisite details and the delicate harmony of the decorative arrangements that has been composed with such meticulous care. You’re able to appreciate the decor much more when it is less crowded.
And, the two weeks had a completely different feeling attached to them. The men’s retreat felt very peaceful, light and effortless to me. The private retreat was more like … work. I wouldn’t say hard work, but definitely efforts. Digging deep, piercing through layers, looking for insights, solving age old riddles together. The contrast was manifested in a rather funny way in the weather conditions, with a completely sunny period of seven days starting on Monday’s men’s retreat, followed by five days of gray, overcast weather. Interestingly, these static, stubborn clouds were completely lifted on the morning immediately following the private retreat. Isn’t that interesting? I say: well done! Pat on the back.
On the other hand, as far as themes are concerned, I would say that the private retreat was a continuation of the men’s retreat; Almine picked the threads right where they had been left at the end of the shamanic event, and entrained us in a quest of further elaborating on these. So, whether you are in a public or private retreat, make no mistake: you are going to work on cosmic issues. Of course, you will have more time to ask Almine about your private stuff. She brought us out daily for nature outings, and one of us was always lucky enough to have his/her turn sitting on the passenger seat in her car, having the opportunity to ask any kind of personal question; does that not sound like the ultimate treat? So, going to a private retreat is certainly a different way to enjoy Almine’s presence: much more intimate, in a cosy, uncrowded context.
Last but not least, we all enjoyed 20 minutes of hands on healing by Almine. And enjoyed visiting her new home across the street, which has Almine’s regal touch in the exquisitely creative and balanced decoration, but with much more daylight, unencumbered space and bright colors. Again, the two houses are like two poles, the masculine and the feminine; it was just a delight to discover this new space.