“…The centrepiece of my trip to London was the Maximized London Mini Retreat organised by two sisters I had met for the first time in Marrakesh, Morocco: Brooke and Khalida. I had loved the trip my daughter-in-law and I took there and I knew that London would be just as exciting, although quite different.

We arrived at our cabin retreat in the English countryside where my daughter and I met up with sisters from across England and as far away as Tanzania and Trinidad. We began with a professional pampering: a facial massage using organic oils and scrubs along with a manicure or pedicure. Those on retreat took our assigned rooms, some of us sharing space, others preferring a little solitude at night.*

We did many activities at the retreat, including our daily morning yoga, one-on-one consultations, horse riding, archery, Qur’anic reflections, working on journals with Nilly from storidori.co.uk and one of my favourites – learning how to play the drums for a finale we would all take part in. It was a roaring send-off back to the city for the final tourist leg of my adventure.

But as my daughter and I packed our bags to go back to London, we realised we were taking away more than a series of events – we had grown from the experience. We all have hopes and dreams and we all have problems. Some sisters were at the retreat as young single women or marking the beginning, continuation or end of a marriage. Some of us were celebrating a child’s acceptance into university, some were in the midst of the struggle to raise tweens and teens or were taking some time off from the demanding life of being a new or young mum. We all had stories to tell, struggles to share and we found quiet listeners and valuable advice. Some stories I think will be in my heart forever, creating a love and appreciation for the strength of women who forge onwards despite incredible challenges, challenges which you can tell have brought them closer to Allah (SWT). May Allah (SWT) make it easy for my lovelies…”

*All retreaters get their own private room on the London retreat.

Thank you so much to (repeat!) retreater Ann Lambert Stock for sharing her experience of our London 2017 Maximized Mini Retreat.

“Didn’t realise connection with sisterhood was missing until I came.”

Morocco Classic Big Reconnect Sleepover Retreat 2016

“Not sure why I came.  I needed something.  I expected mad fundamentalists! Instead I found a non judgemental safe space.”

Morocco Classic Big Reconnect Sleepover Retreat 2016

“Excellent overall. May Allah bless you for all your hard work and getting amazing sisters together.” London Maximized Mini Retreat 2017

London Maximized Mini Retreat 2017

“The week was extremely enjoyable and an amazing experience. We did a variety of activities that everyone enjoyed.”

Morocco Retreater 2017

“You went beyond my expectations.”

London Retreater 2017

“Thank you for organizing such an amazing event. I would have never been able to experience this had I come alone. I feel so relaxed and ready to face reality even if I’m not ready to leave.”

Morocco Retreater 2017

“First great experience of being with English speaking sisters. I feel reconnected.”

Morocco Classic Big Reconnect Sleepover Retreat 2016

“An amazing experience. Refreshing to be amongst encouraging and supportive sisters. I will be back.”

Morocco Classic Big Reconnect Sleepover Retreat 2017

The Big Reconnect Sleepover

Sit comfortably in an upright position
Allow your seat to take your weight and hold you
Allow yourself to relax
Allow the tension to be released from your body
Bring your focus to your breathing
Breathe in, breathe out

By attending this retreat, I am writing my destiny
For surely, we could all leave a legacy

At the reconnect, it is time to reflect
Time to give ourselves more respect

Breathe in, breathe out

At the riad, a choice of a tranquil, African and white room,
I was destined for the red room

In it I found a small mouse, timid and frail,
“You are intruding and must leave!” I said, holding it by its tail

Breathe in, breathe out

Mnsemen, bahrir and eggs for brunch
Mechoui and tanjia for lunch

Rashid, our guide, fluent in English, German and the Berber dialect
Explains about the ben Yousef madrassa, which has stunning architecture

Breathe in, breathe out

It’s all about making the right choice
Let the world hear your voice

Breathe in, breathe out

I love the hot, fulfilling harira
And still have to visit the palace Bahia

“I need to buy zelij and more honey”
“Can we go to Hotel Ali to change money?”
Breathe in, breathe out
Breathe in, breathe out

I learnt to cook the tagine at Amal
And I chose not to get on the Jamal

We stand together as one team
Ready to follow our dream

We leave with new friendship and a strong sisterhood
Learning to say could instead of should

Breathe in, breathe out

My destiny is calling
I should stop stalling

Breathe in, breathe out
Slowly become aware of your surroundings
And when you are ready open your eyes

by Nahida Esmail, Author, Poet, Mountain Climber and Repeat TBRS Retreatee

 

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