from the black sands | breathing through change

by Gisele Theriault September 16, 2018

from the black sands | breathing through change

Eight days of silent solitude in the little hermitage in Ireland prepared me well for this next leg of research travel. I write you this hello from Stromboli, a small island off Sicily. Hellooooooooooo.

Living out of suitcases can become quite an art with a minimalistic mindset. I’m feeling like a snail these days with my home traveling with me. It is definitely one example of the power of less. Moving around with just what you love is a fantastic practice. It has one important rule, if you fall in love with something on your travels you have to decide what’s in the suitcase gets gifted away. One thing in, one thing out. Not always easy, lol

Changing countries, time zones, seasons and cultures is demanding.  When adding a foreign language into the mix I can get overwhelmed and am constantly reminded to breathe my way through change. It takes me a couple of days to feel present and then I realize that between doing my best to pick up a few new words plus using gesture and body language, I can understand and be understood.

Overall, during this current travelling I'm watering the seeds to create an experiential mindful adventure that draws the best of the Italian culture and culinary realms. Can you imagine waking each day with a small group of people and the itinerary is to rejuvenate every cell of your being?  Days with meditation practice, restorative yoga, outings to natural wonders that remind us of the gift to be alive. When was the last time you sensed the energy of the sun in the succulent foods you eat? What if you not only had the opportunity to eat exquisite regional foods but perhaps even the opportunity to be hands on in a kitchen and bring home a few secrets? The power of this kind of time together is not only in the fruit of external explorations but in the aim to match It internally and once again take home tools to understand and de-stress our lives.

To create an Italian retreat that parallels the extraordinary annual Ireland experience will take a bit of research. Since I would never create a venue for others that I've not experienced first hand, I need to feel these places in my body and meet the people with my eyes and heart. This is my dream so lets see if the all the necessary components present themselves to make it possible. 

We just spent 2 days in beautiful Palermo and are now in Stromboli, a volcanic island with black sand beaches. The energy of the land and sea here alone are rejuvenative. We landed last night. From Palermo you can take a 5 hour day ferry or an overnight ship. We are at the very end of the season where businesses are closing and the local population drops to 450. The sound of the waves on the shore mimicking the breath at best while feeling the energy of the volcano and the uninterrupted dance of stars is profound.


There are pluses and minuses to retreating here. Firstly to be in a place where the energy of the land and sea are extraordinarily alive makes you realize you are a part of nature, giving you an easy entrance into simply being. Another big plus is the isolation where there is truly nowhere to go nothing to do, as far as demands from the outside world go.


The main minus to a Stromboli retreat is also the isolation.  It’s takes longer to get here since most of us are traveling from another continent. One idea could be to make it a 10 day retreat with 2 days in Palermo then a week on the island.

We are here until the 25th so let’s see what evolves. I’d love to know what you think. I may try to go back to Tuscany, Umbria and Marche regions at the end of Oct to also explore more possibilities there.

Until the next time I send love, a lotus and a smile for wherever you are on life’s journey. Go gently.

keep in touch,



There is still space in the amazing Ireland retreat for 2019. Visit  https://www.mindfulnecessities.com/pages/copy-of-retreat-brochure

Gisele Theriault
Gisele Theriault


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