Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Websites Listed in My Favorite Bathroom Book (Part 8)

It's time for me to look at another website listed in my favorite bathroom book.

Today I shall be looking at a place in Tasmania's Flinders Island. It's called Healing Dreams Retreat.  It's one of those health resort places. I've never been to one. I wonder if I'd like it. Maybe? It would probably depend on how dogmatic it is.  If they're too down on junk food, I won't like it. I love junk food.

Now I'm fine with them having their visitors take a holiday from junk food for awhile. I'm sure all our bodies need a break from the crap. But I wouldn't want to be at a place where the attitude is no decent human being eats junk food...ever. Or where someone says, I'm not too strict with myself!  In fact, I indulge everyday. They giggle sheepishly and continue: Every other afternoon I eat two small squares of dark chocolate. And on Sundays, I put a spoonful of honey in my plain yogurt.

I wonder if meat eaters feel that way about me. That's another way for me to look at it. I imagine many meat eaters would be fine going to a vegetarian or vegan retreat. I think they can manage to do a weekend of deprivation. But would they enjoy being at a retreat where it was expected that everyone there never ate meat?  I would say...probably not. In those situations, you either have to lie and pretend you're something that you're not. Or you have to stick out as some kind of bad guy.

Now I'm going to start looking at the Healing Dreams Retreat website. The home page talks about hiking, picnics on the beach, spa treatments, and yoga.  I'd like the hiking and picnics. I'm not into the whole spa thing. Yoga? I've done a tiny bit on my own. I've never really gotten into it. In a group setting, I'd probably worry about the whole farting thing. And I might be embarrassed about my lack of coordination and flexibility.

On this page, Healing Dreams Retreat has excerpts and quotes from people saying positive things about the place.

Well, actually...now I see they have copies of the whole articles that talk about the retreat. From the Herald Sun,  I've learned that the retreat also offers boat rides and mountain biking.  From the Qantas inflight magazine, I've learned that Flinders Island has very clean air. Also, it has good seafood, a lot of native wildlife, and lots of plants.

The retreat has greenhouses where they grow their own kiwi, strawberries, herbs, etc. That's very cool.

It all sounds quite nice.

They have some endorsements from celebrities. Ross Wilson says, 2 days is not enough. I will be back. 

I wonder if he ever came back.

The website also has endorsements from people who are not celebrities.  There's a long quote from someone named Marianne. She talks about how the attitude is very relaxed. There's no pressure to do anything. There are many things you can do, and whatever you choose is fine. I like that.  It was actually mentioned in my bathroom book as well.

At the end of her endorsement, Marianne says, By the way, I can't recall having a dream whilst i was there - it's probably the first time i've slept so well for so long and the dreams were so good that they just sequed into day dreams.

I don't understand what she means by that. But is not having dreams supposed to be a positive thing? To me, it would be a very negative thing. I love my dreams.

But she contradicts herself. She says she can't recall having dreams. But then she says the dreams were so good.

I'm confused.

Now I'm going to look at the gallery page of the Healing Dreams Retreat website.

The pictures are a bit small. I think the site would be better if you could click on the photos, and see a larger version.

The small photos show nice things, but none of them greatly appeal to me. None of them call out to me, You need to come visit!

Here's a list of the activities the retreat provides.

There's a guided bush walk. I don't understand the pricing system.  They say, Go out with our guide, half day, $100 minimum, every person over two, add $50.

Or maybe I do understand. I think you can either go alone with the guide, or you and someone else can go with the guide. Either way, it's $100. But if you add any extra people over that, they're each $50.

The retreat is safety conscious. If you take a bike ride, they want you to tell them where you're going.

There's a painting class.

There's a botany class.

There's something called Meet the Dreamtime. It teaches you to open up your senses. I guess it's meditation. Maybe?

They suggest something called a bush wander. This is a very different way of going into the Bush - you set no destination, and permit yourself to be drawn by interesting phenomena this way and that. You do this by choice, so that you become very attuned to what is out there calling your attention. This approach develops from the notion that, if Nature is speaking to us, we usually can't hear it because we shut it out with haste to get to our predetermined destinations.

I like that idea a lot. I like wandering.

Or at least, even if I have a destination, I like to take a free-spirited route. I used to get frustrated with Tim, because he likes to plan out walks when we're in big cities. He looks at a map and tries to determine what's the best way to go.  I kind of just walk and let the traffic lights guide me. I know where I'm headed but with an awareness that there are many ways to get there.

But that was before I was iPhone dependent. I used Google Maps when we were in Australia. Then when we were in New York, I think Tim managed to be somewhat more relaxed about walking. Or maybe not.

There are times though where it's better to know where the hell you're going.  In NYC, we headed downtown to try to see the 9/11 memorial thing, and none of us knew where we were going. Actually, I think I was the one who started looking at the map. Tim might have been the one who just wanted to walk and see if that happened to lead us where we wanted to go.

We never quite found it.

I'm talking about city-walking here. What about bushwalking?

I haven't done much of it. Unfortunately.

When we were in the Grampians, Tim, Jack and Tracey went to visit some waterfall.  I think it was a very planned trip. Tracey is a planner like Tim, so they make a good pair.

I went on my own walk. I don't think I had much of a destination in mind. I just walked. Or maybe I did look at a map? But not in a premeditated kind of way.  There were maps on the walk. Or signs with arrows and kilometers. I might have followed the signs a bit.

I can't remember.

After you take a walk with nature, you can pay $30 at the Healing Dreams Retreat, and someone will spend 45 minutes helping you integrate the experience. Maybe some people would like that, but to me it would feel very invasive. It would ruin the whole thing for me. At first, I was thinking it was just a way to take more money out of people's pockets, and that's why I didn't like it. But even if it was offered for free, it would bother me.  Why do I want to have this profound personal experience and then....

And then what?

I really don't know what happens.

Maybe I shouldn't judge.

Maybe it's a wonderful life changing experience.

Now I'm reading about the picnic. It's not a casual thing where you get sand in your food. It's one of those fancy picnics with a tablecloth and silverware. Not that I want sand in my food, but I was picturing something more casual. I mean if I was going to have a picnic on the beach, I'd want to sit on a towel and eat a pie and chips. A little beach tent would be nice...or a picnic table.

Oh! They actually have dream-related stuff. I thought they were being figurative with their retreat name.

For $30 you can have an Evening Preparation thing. For $40, you get something called a Morning Discovery.

I'm torn about that one. There is a part of me that would love someone to sit there and listen to my dreams and try to tell me what they might mean. But I'd be afraid it would be bullshit. I would worry that they wouldn't truly listen to me or try to understand.

And here I'm judging their program without even knowing what it is.

Then again, they're asking to be paid $70 without explaining what they're offering. Although maybe at the resort, you're provided with more detailed information.

My guess about what it is? You ask a question in the evening, and the idea is that your dreams will provide an answer. I would imagine there'd be some type of meditation in the evening thing. Maybe it would involve some tools like candles, gemstones, herbs, etc. Then in the morning, I would imagine you discuss the dream with someone.

I could be totally wrong.

If I did pay the $70, I'd want to tell these dream gurus about the fact that there are so many people in my dreams that I don't know. It's been happening more and more lately. My dreams are full of strangers. Though in the dreams they're not necessarily strangers. I seem to know them, sometimes.

It could be because of the Internet. More and more of my social interactions are with faceless people. Or at least I rarely see their face.

In the dreams, the people aren't faceless. They have faces. I just don't know the faces, and I wonder where my mind gets them.

Maybe I get the faces from people I've briefly seen. I've seen them enough for my mind to record an image, but not enough for my conscious mind to identify them.

Or they could be people from a parallel universe. I like that idea. Sort of. It's more fun than the brain thing, at least.

Now I'm thinking the Internet theory has holes. Because what about books? Through out my life, I've read books which provided my brain with a ton of faceless people. But I think in the past, I was more likely to dream about people I know.

I should move on....

Here's a list of the retreat's amenities.  They recognize that people differ in their preference for bedding situations. So they provide both doonas and blankets. And they provide a choice of pillow types. That's very nice of them. I like that.

Their food is ethical and environmentally sound. I really like that as well. Although I would probably eat and sit there feeling guilty for all the times I eat food that's not ethical and environmentally friendly. But still. I guess it's nice to start somewhere.

I'd think I'd like the food there. Although I love junk food, I also love healthy food.

They have Muesli, which I love.

They have eggs that come from their own chickens. I'd love that as well.

And they have dessert! They have ice-cream and pastries. And look at this. They say, Chocolate…we always try to have something chocolate!

Now they have totally won me over.

So it's not one of these health menus that's about avoiding a certain ingredient. It's not low sugar or low fat. It's about using fresh ingredients and ethical ingredients.  I respect and admire that.  Do I live by it? Unfortunately, not enough.

If there was a food scale with organic wholesome ingredients being a 10, and processed crap food being a 1; I'd say my diet was at a 5 or 6.  I eat the junk, but I also eat a lot of good stuff.  Although the good stuff we buy is often not organic, so maybe it's not that good, after all.

I'm feeling like a really shitty person now. Thanks a lot, Healing Dreams Retreat.

I wonder if that's how meat eaters feel when they bite into their dead baby lamb flesh, and I'm sitting there next to them peacefully eating my lentils.

This page of the Healing Dreams Retreat site has a history of Flinder's Island.  It's named after Matthew Flinders, the explorer. He's the one who gave Australia it's name.

The retreat is on a mountain; and that mountain is named after a Polish explorer named Strzelecki

I was wondering if Strzelecki was the Polish guy who came up with the name for Mount Kosciusko.

Lord Wiki says he is.

The retreat's website says Flinders Island has a reputation for being windy, but it's actually less windy than western Tasmania.

I guess Flinder's Island is in the eastern part of Tasmania. I forgot to check before...or even wonder about it.

I'm looking at Google Maps now. The island is north-east of Tasmania.  It's in the Bass Strait.

This page has a list of the wildlife found on Flinders Island. It's not a place to see kangaroos and koalas; but they do have wombats, echidnas, and wallabies.

It seems they don't have Tasmanian Devils.

They have a whole page about their birds.

I'd love to go to a place that has a lot of Aussie birds.

I was wondering before if this resort is worth it. They offer a lot of activities, but you have to pay extra for so much of it.  But knowing there are a lot of birds, there...I don't think I'd have to pay extra. I'd probably be okay just hanging birdwatching. And eating chocolate and doing the bush-wandering thing.

The retreat website has a whole page promoting their microorganisms. They say, Seldom do you see 'microorganisms' as a 'feature' but it is absolutely the case, for the healthy vitality of the food that we grow at Healing Dreams Retreat is directly the result of the health of the microorganisms. We keep microorganisms out of the bedrooms but encourage them in our gardens.

Yep. Microorganisms. They're magnificent as villains, but there are some who do good by us humans...and other animals as well.  It's nice that the Healing Dreams Retreat recognizes this.

This page has a history of the resort. It's run by David and Lila Tresemer.  They're the same ones who provide the morning and evening dream services.

There's a guy named Robert Lawlor. He wrote a book called Sacred Geometry, Voices of the First Day: Awakening in the Aboriginal Dreamtime.

Here's a website about sacred geometry, and they have information about Lawlor.

And why am I writing about this?

Well, it's what inspired David and Lisa's journey. They did work based on Lawlor's ideas in Colorado. Then they came to Australia to meet him. I think on Flinder's Island?  And they fell in love with the place.

So I guess originally they were American.

As for sacred geometry....it sounds New Age. Here's a page about it.

I don't understand it, really. But it sounds kind of lovely.

At least I don't understand it enough to summarize it well. So if you're interested, it's probably better to just look at the page yourself.

Now I'm reading Lord Wiki's description of sacred geometry. I'm getting that it's along the lines of spirituality through architecture and music.  And art in general, probably.  Maybe it's shape and form influencing our souls and the world.  I can get on board with that.

Here's another website about sacred geometry.  I think they summarize it well. They say, And See the Wonderfully Patterned Beauty of Creation The strands of our DNA, the cornea of our eye, snow flakes, pine cones, flower petals, diamond crystals, the branching of trees, a nautilus shell, the star we spin around, the galaxy we spiral within, the air we breathe, and all life forms as we know them emerge out of timeless geometric codes. 

So I'm guessing the dream therapy provided by Lila and David would involve some of these geometric codes.

Now I'm looking at the page of the Healing Dreams Retreat site that provides practical information; travel and all that.

They say they're open to singles, couples, and groups. Children under 12 aren't allowed. Jack's 13 now, so we'd be welcomed.

They suggest you rent a car, because sometimes they don't cook dinner. That's kind of a bummer. And I'd be out of luck if I went there by myself. I can't drive.

I'm wondering about the dinner, though. Is it included with your stay? Or do you pay extra for it?

I'll probably find out more on the rates page....

To get to the island, you have to take a small plane. You fly from either Melbourne or Launceston.

There are bag size limitations, but the retreat provides certain things, so you don't have to pack them—umbrellas, slippers, robes, etc.

Here are the rates.  It's $260 per room. That's not bad!  And they also have single rooms which cost $160. I like that they provide that.

It doesn't include dinner, but you do get breakfast.

The mountain bikes are included, and you can take walks for free.

There are various extras you can add onto the price. None of them would really interest me much...well, except maybe the lunch and dinner.  I'd probably want that if I came to the retreat on my own. Or maybe there's a place in walking distance where you can grab a pie and chips.

From what I'm seeing via Google Maps and Trip Advisor, there's no restaurant nearby. You have to drive 14+ minutes to get to anything. That would bother me. I would prefer that the retreat provide all food, so we wouldn't have to travel out to find anything.

I would want to be lazy.

Wait! I spoke too soon. Very close to the retreat is another place you can stay. And it has a restaurant. So if the Healing Dreams Retreat Kitchen is closed for the night, maybe you don't need to take a drive to find food.

Now I'm looking at a Flinder's Island Tourism website. They have information on flights.  Two of the airlines offer flights for $181 for one way. Why do they sell it that way? Who's going to fly there and not fly back eventually?  I mean even if you decide to move there; one day you'll probably leave the island...at least temporarily.

I'm wondering if I'd want to go there or not. I do have Tasmania tentatively on our schedule for our next (way-in-the-future) Australia trip.

I like the idea of the retreat, although I'm wondering if we'd be able to find something similar in regular-Tasmania. And that way we wouldn't have to pay extra for the flights.

It wouldn't need to offer a lot of New Age stuff. I'd just like a relaxing place where you can do the bush-wandering thing and see lots of wildlife.  Something like Halls Gap.

I found a website that has pictures and information about David and Lila. They're part of something called The Starhouse.  I guess it's a religion?

David is a writer and does astrology work.  Lisa is into meditation, yoga, and feminine mysteries. And like her husband, she writes as well.

I wonder what percentage of the people who come to the retreat are into the New Age spirituality stuff.  Do a lot of people come for that? And for those who aren't into it, how many people end up trying the services? Like the dream thing.

I was about to quit this post.  But I just found Lila and David's website.

They sell their books on their site. They're pretty expensive. Lila's novel is $25. I wonder why she doesn't offer a low-priced e-book?

Oh! Wait. Here we go. I found the book on Amazon. And you can get a Kindle version for $10.  I think that's a bit much for that type of book—meaning a self-published book. Although I'm going to raise the price of one of my self-published books. Right now it's $1. I think I'm going to raise it to $3  I thought having it very cheap would get me more buyers, but that hasn't really been the case.  And if I raise it to $3, I can get a higher royalty. So that way, when once in a blue moon, someone buys it, I'll get more money.

Lila's book has three reviews on Amazon. They're all 5 stars, and they were all written within months of the book being published. This is strong indication to me that the reviews were written as a favor or out of obligation.  I think all writers are going to have reviews like that. But if that's all they have, it's wise to take the reviews with a grain of salt.

In my opinion, you're book isn't succeeding until you get at least one rating from each star type.  Right now, my novel has mostly 4 stars. Then I have one 5 star, and a few 3 stars. I'm still waiting for a 1 and 2 star. Though one of the 3 stars has a review that reads more like a 2 star. So maybe I can count it. Sort of.

I want someone to hate my book. Although it's probably one of those wishes, that when it comes true, I'll start sobbing.

But once I get past the sobbing and thoughts of suicide, I'll remember this: It's literally impossible to write a book that everyone likes. Every book I've ever loved has people who've hated it. So my book needs to find its haters.

Then again, some people have started my book and then never finished it. You know what. That counts. They're quiet, polite haters but still haters.

Now I'm feeling better about things.

Although I still think it's important to get a vocal hater.

It's every writer's destiny.

If you don't meet that destiny, it means your book isn't being found and read enough.

It's hiding from the world.

Here's a video made by David and Lila. They talk of lights and oneness. It is VERY New Age.

I'm not a big fan of the oneness idea.

David says relationships are about growing each other. That...I can accept. I believe we help each other grow. Sometimes it's by annoying the hell out of each other.  Ah...I just noticed a new meaning behind those words.  In a way, it might be saying, by annoying our loved ones, we help remove the hell within our soul.

When someone is annoying us, we have to work on our patience.  We have to work on not becoming angry. Sometimes that fails. We get angry. Then there's the struggle to deal with the anger in a way that's not catastrophic.

So yeah..I think the aspects of partnerships that probably provide the most growth are the negative and/or challenging ones—the fights, the differences of opinion, the insecurities, the manipulation, etc.

But if we have only the negative, then the growth will be a bad growth. It will probably lead to an awful outcome. Like suicide and/or murder. So you also need laughter, good times, support, compassion, and kindness in there as well.

Edited to Add: Today I started reading Neil Gaiman's The Ocean At the End of The Lane.  Soon after editing and posting this post, I read this paragraph in the book.

I have dreamed of that song, of the strange words to that simple rhyme-song, and on several occasions I have understood what she was saying in my dreams. In those dreams, I spoke that language too, the first language, and I had dominion over the nature of all that was real. In my dream, it was the tongue of what is, and anything spoken it it becomes real, because nothing said in that language can be a lie. It is the most basic building brick of everything. In my dreams I have used that language to heal the sick and to fly; once I dreamed I kept a perfect little bed-and-breakfast by the seaside, and to everyone who came to stay with me I would say, in that tongue, "Be Whole", and they would become whole, not be broken people, any longer, because I had spoken the language of shaping.

I think that fits eerily well with what I read, researched, and wrote today.

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