Sally Kirby reviews this affordable health retreat in rural Dorset and finds the healing she needs to move forward with her life
In the weeks leading up to my stay at Middle Piccadilly, a country retreat at the end of a hedgerow-lined lane in rural Dorset, I’d been towing a wheelie suitcase from one friend’s house to another, unable to make a decision about where to live next – I’d moved house eight times in the past seven years. As I pulled into the car park, I looked at my suitcase, sitting in the passenger footwell, and said to myself, this has to stop. Either that, or it’s time to upgrade to a campervan; if you’re going to live on the road, do it comfortably!
This was my third retreat at Middle Piccadilly – my first two had been transformational, pivoting on a shamanic healing session that had flung open the door to the spiritual world, pulling the plaster off a very large childhood wound (losing my mum when I was very young). Aside from the powerful treatments, I chose to return to the health retreat for its simplicity, nurturing vibe and flexibility – with no group schedule, days here unfold naturally.
For this visit I was on the Living Smart Living Clean retreat for four days. Running throughout the year, this ‘life overhaul’ personalised retreat aims to highlight how the negative choices we make effect our physical, mental and emotional health. I was to enjoy several new (to me) therapies and realise how each one was chosen and ordered to aid the most comfortable and effective healing.
During my arrival consultation with Eliana Harvey, the retreat’s founder, we discussed my current physical, emotional and mental state. Sitting on my bed, Eliana across from me a leather armchair, I cupped a mug of peppermint tea and chatted openly about my health and niggling life situations. On a physical level, I’d been struggling to walk due to a recent knee injury, and she suggested this was a manifestation of unexpressed anger, or a fear of stepping onto my new path. Both struck a chord. Emotionally and mentally, I was all over the place, wobbling between feeling stuck and spinning in circles.
For the first two days, Middle Piccadilly owner, chef and Eliana’s son Dominic Harvey prepared three daily juices for me which I drank during mealtimes with the other two guests here during my stay. We ate all meals in the farmhouse kitchen, and the ritual of sitting down to eat, or drink, and share stories was one of my favourite times of the day.
This was my first juicing experience, designed to aid the detoxification process. On day two I struggled with low energy and headaches, the latter partly due to me having ignored their recommendation of avoiding caffeine the week before the retreat. I now see the benefit this juicing had, for aside from cleansing my liver, it slowed me down. I was barely able to move, and spent most of day two in my comfortable room – with a tea station, ensuite shower and loo, and books and notebooks sprawled across my double bed, there was no reason to leave.
‘Perhaps that’s why I love Middle Piccadilly so much – it feels like a spiritual home-from-home, and for someone who’s been searching for a place to call home since a young age, this is very important’
Claire’s therapeutic massage accelerated this relaxation. The treatment room, next door to my bedroom, was prepared with candles, crystals and burning sage. Highly intuitive, she was able to pick up on energy blockages and then pass this information onto Eliana prior to my shamanic healing.
By the time it came to the healing, I’d scribbled down a long list of things I wanted to work on. Eliana quickly intuited that these were current manifestations of an old wound. She invited me onto the massage bed, lay a blanket over me and took me on a shamanic journey to meet my three year old self, where I was able to give back the emotions I’d been carrying, unknowingly. It was a very balancing, peaceful and empowering experience.
During the last two days, I enjoyed Claire’s Hand on Heart session, a reflexology and full body mud mask designed to help clear anything that comes up in the shamanic healing and detox the body. Having moved onto Dom’s delicious raw recipes for a day, followed by warming vegetarian dishes for the last day, my energy levels soared and I was out exploring the local area – on foot, and by car. I enjoyed the walks across nearby farmland, and a visit to nearby Cerne Abbas.
The two other women here during my stay, in their late 30s like me, were both doing a seven day juice fast, and other than meal times there was little interaction between us. I found myself gravitating to Eliana, and felt honoured to have shared so much time with her, from our gentle afternoon yoga session – where she demonstrated that even at 87 years, having practiced yoga everyday, you can still roll around the floor like a child – to an after dinner dowsing session, where she shared health tips and picked out a heart-warming rose quartz pendant for me.
On the final morning I had a lifestyle consultation with Eliana, during which she passed on more of her wisdom. She’s one of the most inspiring and spiritually evolved people I’ve encountered so far on my life journey. Perhaps that’s why I love Middle Piccadilly so much – it feels like a spiritual home-from-home, and for someone who’s been searching for a place to call home since a young age, this is very important.
The Live Smart Live Clean retreat gave me space to get clear on my vision once again, showing me how I’d deviated from my heart’s desire. Now I’m back on track and focused on my lifelong dream, to create a home by the sea, filled with love, light, creativity and my family. Thank you Middle Piccadilly for getting me back on track, and showing me that taking small steps forward is better than feeling stuck.