Looking for a life coaching retreat? Travel writer Caroline Sylger Jones got crystal clear direction on the next stage of her life when she reviewed the Julie Hosler’s Personal Strategy Retreat in France
Are you looking for clarification on the next stage of your life, relationship, career or business? This powerful 4-night Personal Strategy Retreat with Narrative Strategist Julie Hosler of The Strategic Space only runs in the Autumn and Spring and I’d urge you to book it (next one 4th October 2017). I went late last year and got crystal clear direction on the next stage of my life whilst enjoying the most gorgeous surroundings of a magical chateau in Burgundy, indulgent and nourishing food (and wine) and the clever attentions of a brilliant coach.
So what is it? ‘Personal Strategy’ looks at how you get from where you are now to where you want to be. It’s a bit like life coaching, only your coach shares inspirational stories and creative techniques and is allowed to get into the ring with you rather than just direct from the sidelines. And I was more than happy to have Julie Hosler in my ring – an intelligent and well-read American now living in Paris who also trained with the International Coaching Academy.
Sharing a beautiful space with just nine other guests in the village of Chateau de Mailly, you’ll spend your days on a carefully curated programme of morning rituals, group workshops, solo activities and downtime. Each day pivots around a three-hour-long group workshop each morning, in which Julie introduces narrative strategy concepts, shares stories that provide inspiring context and sets workshop activities to make the experience personal and powerful for everyone. The key focus is – as the author of your story, how do you want the next chapter of it to go? It fired me up creatively and enabled me to let go of some conflicting stuff that had been hanging around too long.
Afternoons are used for solo self-enquiry based on the morning’s theme. You might be asked to read, write a letter or imagine a future. I especially loved walking by the pretty local canal during these times and pounding through my thoughts whilst doing lengths in the awesome cliff edge swimming pool. There are also massages available, and evening activities over apéritifs to bring the day’s theme full circle.
My favourite bits included the practice of Morning Pages, where you’re asked to write three ‘Morning Pages’ on waking to clear your mind of clutter so it can be used more creatively. We burned them each day after breakfast in a giant hanging fire-pit, which felt hugely satisfying. I let myself relax and enjoy the camaraderie of the group, but also took time out to day dream in the tree-garden swings, and just wander the truly splendid chateau, which as well as historic, elegant stone and wood interiors features a large central courtyard filled with herbs and flowers, a rooftop potager, a poolside garden and stone terraces looking over the expansive Burgundian countryside. Be prepared to be awestruck by the morning fog and evening sunsets.
I defy you not to feel indulged by the Bourgogne wine and food served cooked and served here by chef Ollie Timberlake, a culinary wizard — you can expect fresh, local, extravagant dishes filled with flavour, mainly vegetarian and fish, but with optional meat options sometimes also included. Enjoy locally farmed organic trout, Monkfish with capres et olives, prawns in a Jamaican curry, butternut squash ravioli in a sage sauce and indulgent deserts such as salted caramel tart and seasonal fruits sorbets.
You get a private session with Julie during the retreat to shift things along, and one after your retreat to help keep you focused. I felt the benefits long after I’d left France – and a year on I feel them too.
The next retreat runs 4-8 October 2017 in France. From 2500 euros per person for 4 nights including all activities, three gourmet meals a day and a follow-up session. Private retreats are available all year round in France.
For more wellness travel ideas check out Caroline’s brilliant site Queen of Retreats at www.queenofretreats.com