Saturday, November 24, 2012

Midlife at Piha

This weekend I was invited to Piha, on Auckland's west coast. A group of women asked me to lead them in a workshop on midlife, based on my book Growing into Wisdom. 
The organiser graciously hosted us in her own home, which perches high on a hillside. It's a steep climb up her driveway but well worth it. This is the view from her deck. 
The first thing I like to do in a new place is to take a walk, and get the feel of the land. So I arrived early, and found a track that led to the sea.
 The pohutukawas are just coming into flower out on the coast.
 On the way I came across Madam Pukeko, sunning herself in a grassy clearing.
 She drew herself up, offended at my intrustion
 and took off to where she could walk about undisturbed.
 The workshop began with a simple setting in the centre of our circle. Soon it was filled with rich symbols and drawings.
And of course, in the breaks, there was the delicious food that women always manage to produce on these occasions.
My wish was to feel the flow between all of us who were there, and the spectacular environment of Piha. The wish came true, and more. I felt bathed in a spirit of generosity, from the host and all of those present; generosity that was matched by the pohutukawas that sprawled over the hills, the rolling ocean, abundant bird song and the lovingly prepared food.

13 comments:

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Juliet .. what a lovely place - I had to look at the location in Wiki - and see vaguely where Piha is relative to the Auckland Harbour area ..

I love the way you 'give' yourself to your meetings and am so pleased you were able to incorporate a little of the wisdom from your book.

Wonderful photos for us look at - and coming from a gloomy, flooded Britain has cheered me up a little ...

... can't say I'm impressed to see all that delicious looking food there - when I'm only drinking coffee!!!

Cheers and have a lovely weekend - sounds like a lovely day with friends ... Hilary

Max said...

Looks like a beautiful day x

juliet said...

* Hilary, I'm so glad that the images from Piha brought some brightness into your gloomy days. Piha is quite wild, about an hour's drive from the city, and such a contrast. Are you on a coffee fast?!

* Max, it was a beautiful day. The weather turned fine and quite warm just in time for my trip.

Thanks Hilary and Max.

Hotly Spiced said...

Piha looks so beautiful. I would love to have a holiday there. And the food looks delicious. Glad you had a great day out xx

juliet said...

* Hi Charlie, the salad was full of edible flowers, including rose leaves; there was smoked fish, ratatouille and gluten free noodles with snow peas. You would have enjoyed it all, I'm sure. The beach is a wild surf beach with black ironsand.

Penny O'Neill said...

Having a bit of trouble leaving a comment, Juliet, so, I'll try a different way to say:

This is so peaceful and looks like the perfect spot to hold a retreat, which I'm sure was wonderful. It is amazing, isn't it, that wherever women gather, there is food? Penny

juliet said...

* Penny, sorry you are having problems, and glad you managed to leave a comment. Yes, this spot was very peaceful, and I felt that the presence of nature was supporting the work. Women certainly bring the food; it's always so wonderful how this happens.
Thank you Penny.

Lynley said...

Madam Pukeko obviously did not want to reflect on midlife Juliet:-)

What a wonderful spot to take time out to reflect together.

Did you follow a set programme or did you just work with the needs of the group but under the guidance of your book?

Oh that food.....lovely post.

juliet said...

Lynley, I plan each workshop for the group concerned, so a lot of thought went into it beforehand. Yes, Madam Pukeko was more interested in flight!
Thank you Lynley.

anissa ljanta said...

i had heard about this lovely day...i thought of you all in that space and you holding it all. What wonderful work you do juliet. And it was such a glorious day for it too! x

Lynley said...

Thanks Juliet.

I know the amount of work that goes into preparing such a workshop. But such satisfying work.

Women are so open to explore and reflect.

Anne Dean Ruffell said...

I have just been catching up reading the last few entries on your blog and it has really made my day - the weather here is particularly cold and gloomy with floods everywhere, but fortunately not near us. I enjoyed hearing about your workshop at Piha and in my mind's eye I can see the wonder of the pohutukawas coming into bloom on that wild and wonderful coastline. Your making of the picture of leaves with Mira was quite inspirational. it's good to see you back in creative mode again.

juliet said...

Anne, how nice to have you visit on a gloomy day in the UK! It's getting warm now and the summer looks promising. Making the leaf picture was great fun.