Loving the peace and tranquillity
Slow down, breathe in and gently nurture yourself and your soul at Temenos
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.
Temenos and its restaurant, Tebaldi’s, are in the heart of McGregor village.
There are numerous chapels and rooms around the property for solo or group meditations,workshops and rituals.