My Stay At OUR Ecovillage
By Jessica Slattery
I planned a personal wellness retreat at O.U.R. Ecovillage as the beginning of a first physical move back to my beloved homeland. Arriving at the village began a process of unravelling the last twelve years abroad, living in six different countries, giving birth to and parenting two incredible boys, and going on countless adventures around the world. By this time, my internal wells had been running dry after living the Middle East for five years, and my nerves felt frayed, perhaps as they’ve been reaching in all directions in search for the soothing forests, mountains and sea they once knew.
I was able to tuck into the welcoming embrace of the healing sanctuary, made of cob, the perfect antidote to the desert sands of Abu Dhabi. Gracelynn was so kind to bring me a scrumptious dinner and breakfast, as I was dealing with a time difference of twelve hours. Having a flexible schedule the first day allowed me to visit nearby Duncan where I acquired a much-needed pair of winter boots!
The tour of the ecovillage was one of the most touching and meaningful events for me. Although frost was in the air and a light dusting of snow covered the flora, I learned of the systems in operation on the land, including how sheet mulching and composting toilets build arable soil. I noticed that the zones of the garden are planned in a way that encourages inter-species connection, as outdoor kitchens, showers, and living spaces are woven throughout. I feel blessed to have learned that I am not alone in having conversations with plants and water. It was good to find out that relationship and connection to the local First Nations is maintained.
I had four intense but transformative days of therapy sessions, including eco-expressive art sessions, a massage and foot detox, Japanese acupuncture, a personal Yin Yoga session, and a sensational woodfired sauna. Perhaps equally healing was the time spent during meal times with the community, where I immediately felt welcomed as a member of the group among people incredibly at ease being completely themselves with each other.
I am immensely grateful for the warmth I felt by each individual at the village and for the energy that went into creating a soft landing back home. I am so looking forward to bringing my family back to visit and to take part in upcoming events at this special place. Thank you all!