Inner Journeys Discovered in the Greek Isles
By Anniken Enger, founders of Inner & Outer Journeys
I walked up the hill to this small white and blue Greek chapels. One of those standing by itself on a cliff overlooking the vast ocean. The sun was shining, and the earth smelled like oregano. I turned the doorknob on the dark wooden door and to my surprise it was unlocked. Inside it was dark, cool, and light shone in through the small windows high up on the wall. I closed the door behind me, walked in, felt the total silence, and looking into a beautiful Madonna icon. My arms rose up to the sky – and I suddenly felt totally in tune with the chapel, the earth, the sky, the universe. Total love. Total freedom. I just knew we were all one.
The contrast to my hectic lifestyle was huge; I had two small children, had just finished my master’s degree, new job, a marriage that wasn’t working – I felt I was running around in the hamster wheel. It felt empty. Like I was missing something. And I didn’t know what. And I didn’t know how to change it.
This happened to me on a self-development retreat on a Greek island many years ago and was the start of my passion for retreats.
The program on the retreat was rhythmic; up before sunrise to meditate on the cliffs by the sea, breakfast in silence, teachings on breathwork, meditation, massage, nature connection, lunch, chillout on the beach – swimming in the crystal clear Aegean ocean, more teachings and exercises, meditation by sunset, vegetarian dinner, dance and music in the evening. And all this helped me into the altered state of mind.
The big shift was that I realized my inner world was an exciting and magic place to be and that I needed some guidance to access it. I also realized that my inner world was easier accessible when I changed my normal surroundings and traveled to a new destination where my automatic reflexes no longer worked, and my senses had to sharpen up. The immersion into clean, beautiful nature also intensified the experience.
I could never go on a “normal” holiday again and my passion for participating and organizing retreats started that day.