Lov­ing the peace and tran­quil­lity

Slow down, breathe in and gen­tly nur­ture your­self and your soul at Te­menos

Sunday Tribune - - TRA EL - BIANCA COLE­MAN

IN THE in­ter­ests of full dis­clo­sure, I find it ex­tremely dif­fi­cult to switch off and re­lax.

For years, beauty par­lours ther­a­pists have pum­melled the ten­sion knots in my neck and shoul­ders, urg­ing me to loosen up. The more they said that, the tenser I be­came. Who the heck fails at get­ting a mas­sage?

By the same to­ken, I’ve not had much suc­cess with any kind of med­i­ta­tion; emp­ty­ing my mind of its end­less lists of things to do and gro­ceries to buy and er­rands to be run proves fu­tile. I haven’t had a crys­tal or burnt in­cense for years, nor have I stomped bare­foot at a trance party while wear­ing some­thing tiedyed for well over a decade.

With all this in mind, one might won­der what I was do­ing at Te­menos, a peace­ful and tran­quil re­treat in the heart of Mcgregor, whose name is a Greek word mean­ing “a sa­cred space”.

First, it was a birth­day gift to my best friend, who claims this place as one of her favourites in the whole world. Also, even if I’m not one who seeks out this par­tic­u­lar kind of quiet, I still find the en­vi­ron­ment sooth­ing and pleas­ing.

On the grounds are sev­eral sin­gle bed­room self-cater­ing cot­tages and units of vary­ing sizes. The ac­com­mo­da­tion is rus­tic and com­fort­able. There are no tele­vi­sions, no tele­phones (ex­cept your own of course) and don’t even bother with the wifi. So­cial me­dia is not a pri­or­ity. The beau­ti­ful gar­dens are ex­ten­sive and herein lies the most likely point of your stay.

There are paths, a labyrinth, a Bud­dha and stat­ues of other re­li­gious icons, tem­ples, chapels and sanc­tu­ar­ies. You’re in­vited to re­move your shoes and leave them by the door to en­sure pri­vacy. Benches nes­tle be­tween the fo­liage for silent con­tem­pla­tion. Can­dles can be lit, in­ten­tions can be com­mu­ni­cated to the uni­verse and wishes made.

Gaze into ponds and wells or swim in the nor­mal pool, med­i­tate, pray or do what­ever you feel is right with your higher be­ing and emerge feel­ing re­freshed and re­ju­ve­nated. You can self-guide or join one of the work­shops or classes at the re­treat.

Your space will be shared with var­i­ous birds – in par­tic­u­lar a large num­ber of peafowl, for which the place is fa­mous. The hens are un­re­mark­able but the cocks are mag­nif­i­cent.

Ap­par­ently I can com­mu­ni­cate with them, be­cause when we en­coun­tered one, I urged him to show us his tail feathers. He eyed me up and down, then bris­tled and swept them up into a rustling, vi­brat­ing dis­play as he slowly turned cir­cles to make sure we ad­mired him from ev­ery spec­tac­u­lar an­gle. These birds have a ridicu­lously rau­cous cry – a bit like you’d imag­ine a gi­ant cat in dis­tress – which will make you grate­ful for hadedahs.

We pretty much fended for our­selves in our unit, which had an open-plan bed­room and kitch­enette, as well as in­door and out­door fire­places, and a tiny bath­room.

In the morn­ing we strolled through the gar­dens to the restau­rant, Te­baldi’s, which has in­door seat­ing as well as out­side in the front and back over­look­ing the rose gar­den. It’s fully li­censed and open – for guests and the gen­eral pub­lic – for break­fast and lunch Tues­days to Sun­days, coun­try cui­sine for din­ner on Wed­nes­days and Thurs­days, and a la carte on Fri­days and Satur­days. If you’re stay­ing on a Sun­day night, you can or­der a take­away.

“We be­lieve guests and staff at Te­menos do not nec­es­sar­ily need to ad­here to a set of spir­i­tual rules, but that our spir­i­tu­al­ity may be ex­pressed in our own unique ways. Te­menos is a sa­cred space where all are wel­come,” said owner Billy Kennedy.

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