Digging Deep To Rediscover Your Life Purpose
Two spirited South African women are on a wellness mission to help people re-discover their life purpose. The founders of Anassa Retreats, Dr. Siobhan (Shiv) Dawson, MCChB MR Psych, and dynamic businesswoman Megan Abbott, are passionate about Anassa. Despite running other businesses, they have come together to blend their different skills and share wisdom with those looking to transform their lives.
What is your life purpose?
Megan’s own life purpose has been realized in Anassa. She says, “Anassa was born out of a dream to create a gathering point for strong, like-minded souls who seek sanctuary from their busy lives. A resting place to breathe, re-balance, heal and become inspired.”
Explains Shiv, “We invite participants to rekindle the relationship with their own truth and re-ignite the knowing that they are whole and empowered; all that is needed is the space to trust your inner voice and pursue what sparks your joy. Our mission is to cocoon and honor you. We support your discovery through connection, tantalizing the senses, functional nutrition, meditation, movement, deep inquiry and playfulness.”
Blending nature with group therapy
Longevity chose to participate in the “I AM” retreat. Although the “I AM” retreat is aimed at both men and women, this particular retreat drew a women only group.I had just completed running our very own Longevity led medical de-toxification workshop, which had a strong focus on the body, genetics and improving one’s physical health outcomes. So, this was an ideal time to do some serious self-introspection. Something many of us are afraid of doing.
The retreat was hosted at the Angala Boutique Hotel in Franschoek. Chosen to exemplify beauty in line with the Anassa philosophy that the connection with nature provides the greatest healing balm for the soul. And despite being a five-star boutique hotel, it offered a perfect balance of homely luxury blending with the pristine beauty of nature. Our suites and cottages were spacious, fully equipped and private.
We had our own private swimming pool, and although it was autumn, I took a skinny dip one night after Shiv dared me. It was exhilarating to float under the clear Cape skies with hundreds of stars blinking down at me.
Angala also has hydro spa facilities including a solar heated ozonated pool with tub, an infrared sauna and steam room. The retreat offered a variety of professional spa and massaging treatments, in the comfort and privacy of your own room. I loved the hotel’s sparkling Eco-Pool (pictured right below). This is a unique feature which recreates the natural filtering process as found in mountain streams, rivers and ponds.
And of course, who can forget the food? It was delicious, hearty, healthy, home cooked food. Sourced from local farms and ethically produced.
Women with a life purpose
The three-day workshops started with talks on nutrition led by Megan with a demonstration on how to make the perfect pure raw cacao smoothie, with a variety of Superfoods. And then other interactions and activities followed. Shiv (pictured below), who qualified as a psychiatrist and is now and integrative medical practitioner, used soft-spoken words which really prompted self-analysis and introspection. Practical tools were provided to channel thoughts and creativity. From sharing experiences, even working with clay, to drawing up our life journey using pencils and crayons.
The focus on the mind body connection became stronger and deeper as the workshop progressed. By day three the focus was less on the mind and fully on the heart center. Using a combination of breath work, a spectacular sunrise-walk, breath work, music, movement and meditation, the work we had done the previous two days was culminated in deep soul discovery. This is almost impossible to put on to paper. It’s a feeling deep in one’s heart. An opening of the mind to the many possibilities we are able to activate. And while this may all sound very esoteric, the programme was led in a structured and well formulated manner. It was a professionally moderated journey of self-discovery. The retreat was time spent with a group of incredible women from varying ages, backgrounds, languages and communities; friends, mothers, daughters and entrepreneurs. The only commonality shared: a search for truth, meaning and wholeness. The desire to become re-acquainted with our authentic selves. Despite not knowing any of these amazing women, by the time I left the retreat, I felt as if we were all sisters at heart. We had shared a deeply intimate, life changing experience.
Have you discovered your inner bliss?
A beautiful sunrise vision-walk over the mountain on the final day of our retreat would complete our journey of self-illumination.
Not everyone is lucky enough to have discovered their inner bliss. And with no hype or over-promising, this retreat enabled participants, including myself, to set out on a path of meaningful healing. It also delivered on its mission to help release that which was no longer serving my life.
I have no doubt that Shiv and Megan will continue to transform lives with Anassa. You can discover more about their upcoming retreats here.