Notice: We are currently reviewing the three day summer retreat.
We aim to relaunch this in the coming future… check back for updates here.
Open to all Lotus Tree Students
This is our extremely popular 3 day Mayday retreat at our wonderful centre Park Place in Wickham, on the edge of the Meon Valley South Downs in Hampshire.
The Summer Retreat on the first bank holiday in May coincides with the british medicine wheel festival of Beltane. It is the celebrate the start of summer season with a residential 3 day course. This retreat offers a chance to encompass all aspects of the curriculum taught in The Lotus Tree:
From morning Qi Gong and Nei Gong meditations to text and outdoor practice, it is time for fun, laughter, silent periods, times together and time for yourself.
I cannot recommend enough the opportunity for outdoor walks in the fresh Hampshire summer light and coastal air of the breathtaking South Downs National Park. It is magical there.
We do tree practice in the beech woods, glorious 5 direction work in vast open spaces, celebrate the summer energies of Beltane; when our ancient British ancestors lit new hearth fires along the length and breadth of Britain.
They sang, feasted and danced the maypole festivities, bringing in the fertility energies, the optimism of the start of summer in these northern climes. Indeed down the timeline, a chance for us to breathe in the first air and light of the summer cycle in the journey to Summer Solstice…
Simplicity and Stillness
The aim of this retreat is to help you enter state of stillness, simplicity, sensitivity and relaxation to cultivate your practice.
These essences of certain states of being remind us what lies naturally beneath the noise, activity and stresses of everyday life. It is very easy to access our inner retreat space as a continous state once we have had experience of ourselves in the retreat experience.
Much attention is given to the environment and what you need to help you let go of inner tension for the duration of the 3 days.
All are provided with a small single room (usually with ensuite toilet and shower), functional and private, to help you have a space that you can rely on as yours.
I happen to strongly believe that privacy is really necessary to be able to mix together well and to relax; it has taken a long time to find a centre that so understand this in the way they provide these beautiful small single rooms.
The food is simple, nourishing, home cooked and wholesome. Sister Judith is a great cook, her cabbage dish is a culinary secret and all her homemade chutneys and goodies are on offer to buy as well! The choice is of vegetarian and non vegetarian (but they can’t cater for specialist vegan diets).
Park Place Pastoral Centre is a 10 min taxi ride from Fareham train station, the nearest local station with direct routes to London Waterloo, Portsmouth and Southampton. Roads are M3 and M27 or the A32 a picturesque (ancient drover route) from London to Fareham and has Jane Austen’s house nearby incidentally…
The Centre and the work of the Franciscan Sisters
The centre is a large heritage mansion with gardens, practice rooms of varying sizes, lounges, a lovely chapel space for those who wish it and adjacent rolling fields in the picturesque village of Wickham.
What makes this centre special are the Franciscan nuns from South India who run the place as their life work. The sisters are encouraging of all faiths, practices and cultivations as part of the whole, cultivating good for all and the planet.
When I talked about this noticeable cultivation of tolerance and openness, a senior sister suggested it could also be cultural, in the sense that the vast continent of India holds such a rich diversity of spiritual practices and traditions to grow up in, Buddhism, Hinduism, Muslim and Christian faiths.
The Sisters encourage all to come and run their classes there, from painters to writers, Yoga groups to Taoist practitioners and business conferences to local activities.
All money is divided between the upkeep of the centre as well as distributed to provide education, support, centres and workers for the poorest most underprivileged citizens of the world in some of the most poverty stricken parts of the globe.
This is the work of the sisters, who take no payment for themselves (in the spirit of St Francis of Assisi). All monies are distributed back out, helping the blind build schools in South America and Africa, educating and helping the underprivileged, disabled and neglected to find sustainable lives and skills.
They also have strong personal “live” cultivation which is clearly self evident to any practitioner and are always a joy to be around for a good discussion on practice! Their mindfulness in the way they provide for us is a testament to life practice as spiritual practice. I personally find them warm, humorous, individual, playful, tolerant and accommodating, but also with the strong personal discipline, clarity and gravitas of adepts.
Our group is getting to really appreciate them in our lives; we are so joyful to meet them every year. I really value the developing relationship between the Lotus Tree and the Sisters at Park Place who seem to understand my aims so well and I would encourage all to hire the centre, for retreats, conferences, holidays, and classes.
You can do a day, or overnight stays and it is perfectly placed for walking the Meon Valley which has recently been extended in the this area as part of the South Downs National Park.