Her alarm went off at 6am but a need to keep sleeping stopped her from rising and attending the yoga class that morning. Instead she shut her eyes and drifted back off to her dreams tangled in the cushions and sheets. When she did wake at 8am she felt better, ready to face the day and her morning run.
The track that led around the property was 1.5km but traversed steep grassy slopes, winding rocky paths and rain forest. It was beautiful. Her lungs hurt pretty quickly with the higher altitude but she pushed on and took in her surroundings trying not to stop as she caught her breath. She remembered a passage from the book she was reading, The Alchemist, that said ‘the secret of happiness is to see all the marvels of the world, and never forget the drops of oil on the spoon’. The girl wanted to drink in the beauty of this place but needed to remember her own goals and ambitions outside of this week too. Her promise to herself to run 3.2km every day for a year. If she let altitude and sore limbs stop her from doing something as simple as a run, how would she be able to face the real obstacles in life? And what was the point of running with your head down missing the stunning scenery?
Feeling proud, and very sweaty, she wiped down and went for breakfast where she joined another guest who was checking out that day. They spoke about their reasons for coming to Gaia, the treatments they had or were having, and the girl began to feel quite comfortable with this stranger whose skin glowed and eyes sparkled, she had been there 10 days! ‘That’s what I want to feel when I’m ready to leave’ she thought.
Instead of joining the 10.30am nature walk she stayed in her room, book once again in hand, determined to uncover the truths of life and the answers to her internal questions. As she flicked through the pages the rain poured down on the roof, the battering of the elements going on above her head was strangely peaceful.
At 11.30 she made her way to Kukura House to give clay sculpting a go. An idea that turned out to be immensely satisfying. Over the next two hours she turned a square lump of brown clay into a voluptuous woman. Who would have thought this exercise in patience could be so rewarding. Using her fingers she smoothed the clay woman’s shape, rounded her breasts and carved out blossoming buttock cheeks with her hands. She gave the sculptured woman a neck, a waist, shoulders – life. It was highly therapeutic and the two hours flew past with a focus on nothing more than molding something boring into something of beauty.
Lunch went by; alone she sat enjoying a vegetarian extravaganza on her plate while looking out through the glass windows across the fields. It was almost time for her first treatment in the spa and she was eager to get there.
Robe and slippers on, she meandered through the gardens; hedges flanking brick pavers, towering palms and trees the colour of spun gold. When Dan, her therapist, greeted her in the waiting room she followed him through the corridor to the third room, de-robed and placed herself on the bed.
The warm oil seeped into her skin as his strong arms kneaded her tension away, stroke by glorious stroke she felt muscles unclench, bones crack lightly and the energy realign inside her. His breath showed hers the way as the massage continued on, pushing, pulling, stoking, guiding and nurturing her body and soul to a place of joy and sheer relaxation. It was one of the best massages she had ever had.
In the waiting room he gave her fruit and water spiked with citrus so her fluids would replenish, then she made her way back to the room.
It was almost cruel and unusual punishment after such relaxation to have to climb the hill back to her room. Small steps got her there uneasily as she floated on pampered feet. A bath called to her, as did a relaxation tea, and the warm water washed away whatever small bit of stress was left in her body. She smiled, a deep hazily fulfilled smile and soaked.
That afternoon as the sun shone through grey clouds she took a walk around the property again, this time to the lookout. An energized scattering of rocks and ethereal white womanly statue mark the lookout and the view was breathtaking.
Gazing out over pastures, trees and rolling countryside, orchards to the right and forest to the left, it was almost too perfect, like someone had painted this on the horizon. She thought to herself ‘I suppose that’s what nature is, its perfect in its imperfections and it’s the embodiment of beauty’. She stayed there a while, perched on a rock first taking some time to meditate, then she laid back on a sunbed and watched the clouds float by, the chirping of insects the only sound. As if on a search for thriving life she then wandered to the veggie garden, a square fenced section of beauty, sprinkled with herbs, veggies, citrus fruits, and all the colours of the rainbow. She stopped to inhale the fresh scent of vine ripening tomatoes – one of her favourite smells – and sat watching the bugs for a while before heading back to her room to change, ready for another scrumptious dinner.
Something about the way she felt tonight made her choose to sit alone again. She wanted to really take it all in. She noticed the green grey gum standing proud directly in front of the pavilion. It was so still you could make out the tiny black ants traversing the branches. All you could really see were tree tops on the horizon and when the sun peaked through the grey clouds it sent slivers of light to illuminate the leaves. Inside, the cane chairs contrasted with crisp white linen on the tables and the copper glow from the candles matched the burnt orange hue coming from the lamps, each uniquely and intricately designed in unusual shapes and sizes scattered throughout the room.
During dinner she read a little, wrote a little and ate a lot – tonight’s menu was Harvey Bay scallops, baked chicken and veg and panacotta with lime and dragon fruit. The thing about food here was that it was always healthy, fresh, bursting with flavours and so vibrant on the plate. Perhaps the best part was that it was designed to your dietary requirements and simply placed before you. No choices, no hassles, just there ready when you were.
When she had finished it was back to her room, another glorious sun shower (at 8pm) sprinkled down on her skin during the walk, then she drew the curtains and snuggled up in bed to watch a movie.