This article was originally published on my website New Growth Wellness.
When I originally discovered the opportunity to volunteer at Hollyhock I knew in my gut that it was something I needed to do.
Honestly, I didn’t really know what to expect going in. And I didn’t even find myself thinking about it until a week before.
I’m glad that I took some time to write down my intentions for my month at Hollyhock. Reflecting back on them now, I was able to accomplish every single one. Such a powerful reminder of why intentions are key to getting what you really want in life.
- Feel more grounded – check
- Break my technology/work addiction – check
- Build more trust in myself and the universe – check
- Uncover a clearer sense of my next steps – check
- Make new connections – check
- Slow down and recharge – check
Arriving home only a few days ago has really shown me a deeper understanding of everything that I uncovered on Cortes. It’s night and day. My deeper understanding in myself has allowed me to really get clear on a few things that need to shift in my life. It’s been an uncomfortable few days as I settle back into a different way of living but I trust that I know enough now to shift what I need to in order to get back to feeling grounded and relaxed on a daily basis. I’m thankful for this lesson.
I miss the simplicity of life on a small island, my morning walk through the forest, my sunrise swims, connecting and laughing with new people at every meal, listening to the eagles as I fall asleep in my tent at night, getting woken in the night by the baby deer frolicking and playing, the abundance of nourishing and delicious food, and the instant peace I felt whenever I walked through the garden or looked at the ocean.
One of the things that I will miss the most is my new family.
I still remember arriving on the first day and meeting a few of the other volunteers at the registration desk. We didn’t know each other yet, but there was this connection between us already.
10 strangers throw into a house together sounds like some sort of social experiment.
Even though I was the youngest by 20 years, we were all connected by our desire to give back, connect in community, and experience Hollyhock’s magic. Age, gender, race, nationality… none of it mattered.
I still can’t believe how well we bonded and how after only a week we were sharing intimate stories, massages, and deep connection with each other. We became a family that first week.
We shared meals, talked about our volunteer jobs, laughed about learning how to fold fitted sheets in housekeeping, explored the beautiful island, and even went skinny dipping together.
It wasn’t always sunshine and roses, but I still can’t believe how well the whole month went. There was no big drama. There was no disrespect. I don’t know how we pulled it off.
I will be forever grateful for my experience and the people that I met during my month at Hollyhock. I’ve learned so many new things about myself, the world, and how I want to interact with others. I’m already planning my trip back next summer!
Ready to sign up for your own month of mindful service and retreat? Find our more about Hollyhock’s Volunteer Service Program here.
Feature Photo: Amanda McNaughton