Dates: 4pm Fri 12 Dec, 2008 to 4pm Sun 14 Dec, 2008
Location: Batemans Bay, South Coast, NSW
Account of the Weekend by Joy Mozzi
When last did any of us take time to go for a walk in the sun, to appreciate the outdoors, spending time with friends and stopping to smell the roses?
Brock espied the beautiful rose bushes and he and Grant raced towards them to touch, to feel, to smell. Heaven knows what the owners of the house thought on a sleepy Sunday morning to see some semi-naked men in raptures over their garden.
The last time I relaxed like this was, hmm, well at the last retreat in September. Looks like I’m a slow learner. And far too trusting too….. Grant said the drive to Bateman’s Bay was 2.5 – 3 hours and I believed him! Picked up Jessica in the pouring rain from the train station, she came running down the pavement with sleeping bag, pillow, giant-size bag, added to the pile in the back. Picked up Lucinda with her sleeping bag, air mattresses, favourite pillow and bags and started the epic journey through rain, hail and snow… well, it is Christmas so a little bit of poetic license is allowed. 5 hours later, arrived in sleepy Bateman’s Bay and found the retreat house kindly lent to us by Jim’s parents.
Grant, Sandy & Jim came barely dressed and soaked through after getting wet (on purpose) enjoying a run in the rain. No Harley I have never experienced lying naked on a boulder in the cooling rain with ants crawling over my feet. It is on my ‘to do’ list though. Looking for suitable secluded boulder.
Grant divided us into teams so that everyone had a turn at choosing what ingredients to use prepare and present at the meal. Keeping in mind the correct food combining to minimise tummy upsets. 16 upset digestive systems in a house with 3 toilets, shared bedrooms, not a good idea. As usual we had MORE than enough fresh organic produce to keep us going all weekend and some to spare.
Harley arrived about 9pm after having ridden his new prototype bamboo bicycle from Canberra to Bateman’s Bay in the pouring rain. He was fully clothed and it only took him 7 hours, all he ate was sultanas, inspirational. No, it’s not going on my ‘to do’ list.
We woke to a brilliant, rain washed sunny morning. Jim was offering one on one consultations for fitness and training so he’d been up since 5am. Oksana led us in a gentle yoga session. Even a gentle session makes all my unused muscles scream - great cobra poses folks, my cobra was still sleeping on the mat. Then it was off to the beach for an invigorating morning swim, all the mad keen ones jumped in. Georgia was holding Bhala and I was holding the camera, phew.
Deliciously juicy watermelon and honeydew for breakfast, raw baby Bhala couldn’t believe her luck. She was surrounded by boxes and boxes of fruit, most of which was help yourself, throw out of box, roll on floor, squish in your mouth type stuff. Giorgia and Bhala had flown down from Brisbane to spend the weekend with us and we all rapidly got used to watching where we put our feet in case we trod on baby. Steve had flown from Melbourne, Jim & Ali from Canberra and the rest of us from the Sydney area. Oksana, who is house & dog-sitting for someone, brought the 2 little dogs that enjoyed the paradise. Harley, being a global traveller belongs everywhere.
Grant gave an informative talk on Natural Hygiene, a question and answer type session which is always popular. Raw retreats are a wonderful opportunity to participate in discussions, browse through books, watch DVD’s and bounce ideas off other people.
After the talk the berry team got lunch ready and served it outside under the trees. All our compost material was being thrown into the nearby bush and next year Jim will let us know if a new forest of fruit trees appears – mangosteen, peach, nectarine, mango, avocado with a carpet of melons.
The sauces on the table were made in the blender with different mixed berries and then spooned onto the lettuce leaves, very messy, very tasty and just the way we were designed to eat - with our hands, outdoors sitting on the grass, in nature at one with the birds in the trees and the wee beasties on the ground around us. A worm crawled out of one of the lettuce leaves and was rescued by Grant and put in a safe area. Baby Bhala sat in a cardboard fruit box, happy, healthy and relaxed with everyone. If I could turn the clock back and raise my children again, how different life would have been. If any of you have read ‘Anastasia’ you would know what I mean.
Time for a walk with all the boundless energy raw food gives the body. We headed over to see the bridge stopping to smell the roses on the way.
A relaxing afternoon was spent listening to Sandy who gave us a talk on raw food nutrition. With her PhD in cell biology, she is more than qualified to discuss the benefits of raw food on the body.
We left the lychee team to organise dinner and some of us went for an evening walk to the mangroves. Watching teeny little green crabs scuttle into their holes, black swans drifting on the current – mental pictures to keep for when one is again stuck in Sydney traffic wondering what life is all about?
How do we put it all into perspective, what are the things to strive for, what do we really want? After just 2 days together, 16 of us ranging in age from 8 months to 50 years old and from diverse occupations; students, teachers, IT professionals, office workers, catastrophe risk scientist, global traveller and more. What we had was already a community, a raw community based on similar ideals and respect for every living thing that breathes on our planet, respect and love for one another. Greg put it in a nutshell when I said there was a dog barking and he replied “it’s not our dogs”. Oksana’s 2 little guests had become ‘our’ dogs. Baby Bhala was ‘our’ baby, everybody was looking out for her and giving her a cuddle. Respecting nature – how does that song go? “All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small…”. Damn, forgot the rest of it. Moving to eating a plant based diet creates a natural progression towards loving the earth. So now it was time to move towards din-dins – yummo.
Yes, I know it looks like we are totally obsessed with our food and this retreat story seems to be going on forever but hey, we don’t want to leave out the special meals and they were ALL special. And I even had more photos but while I still have your attention will try to keep them to a minimum. We had a relaxing evening sitting around chatting, watching a DVD.
Sunday morning, another fabulous sunshiny day and yoga session with Sandy this time outdoors on the grass, lying back watching the clouds moving through the gum trees, listening to kookaburras with bees and mosquitoes buzzing all around us. In between attempting to do double jointed lotus positions, unachievable shoulder stands and bridge poses.
After our refreshing melon breakfast, Harley sat and talked with us, answering dozens of questions and philosophising on life. So many amazing insights which deserve to be written down, fortunately Oksana did a video and I hope we all get to see it sometime. Here is a unique individual who is walking the talk all over the country and leaving no footprint behind him on Mother Earth.
Last lunch - a very mixed lychee, berry & banana team put together our red & green themed Christmas lunch. Most of us needed to head off about 2pm to get back home, farewells were said all round and we’re looking forward to the next retreat in 2009.
It’s never too late to start on a plant based diet but the best way of course is to start at 8 months.