With Benig Mauger – Connemara; November 2008
Reviewed by Marian Neary
Friday 28th November 2008 I travelled from Connemara to Galway City to meet with a fellow traveller taking part in the course. Even though I had never met her I knew, at first sight, that it was her. This set the tone of an intuitive weekend and in fact we went on to share a room through the course.
The Burren Holistic Centre is situated in the Burren. The Burren lies south of Galway. The name burren is from the Irish language Bhoireann meaning a stony place. The Burren is a unique area in the North West part of Co Clare. Within the centre is a beautiful wooden workroom called “An Realt”, a hidden library, beautiful gardens including a Labyrinth. Developed by Bridin Twist (an earth mother) the centre provides a place where one can safely find nourishment for body, mind and spirit. It is located in a deeply spiritual environment that has very calm and peaceful energy. Bridin has created a truly magical centre with many areas in the grounds for individual meditation and reflection. This together with her nurturing self and her most excellent vegetarian food made the perfect place to mend a broken heart.
Following Benig Mauger’s recent publication Love in a time of broken heart – healing from within created the need for her to develop a workshop for healing from within and so 12 souls made their way to Co Clare on a very sunny and crisp day. Through the diverse experience of these 12 souls i.e. therapists, people on their first ever workshop, clients, trainers and trainees all coming together in their humanness and vulnerability, I learnt that the human heart can break at anytime. Some people were looking at a time of pre and peri-natal while others spoke of more recent heart break. For me, the diversity of all their experience and their searching allowed for a very open space. With the use of the archetypes, fairytales and re-enactment of dreams Benig encouraged us to explore how our earliest experiences shape our patterns of relating and helped us to understand the stories we are living out of. We explored how the “the inner marriage” can lead us to healing and wholeness. Using these models I learnt, that heartbreak can be a friend pushing us to levels and depths where we put flesh on our bones and discover the essence of who we are. During the weekend I heard of the “sacred contracts” which are agreements we make with ourselves and other souls each time we incarnate. With this understanding I find, even long after the workshop is over, I am looking at all relationships in a different way i.e. experiencing the other safe in the knowledge of my sacred contract. With this knowledge I have learnt to trust the bigger picture and that the universe is holding me, as I struggle to learn the lesions that life is teaching me.
On Sunday as we prepared to finish the workshop we once again gathered in the “An Realt”. This time with our object that Benig had asked us to bring which best represented ourselves. These objects ranged from teddy bears, angels, cameras, a hurling stick and many others – using these to close down our individual space. Following this we had lunch which extended to over two hours because nobody wanted to leave!
I found this workshop to be healing from within not only from its content and fellow travellers but also the spectacular location and holding energy within that ancient timeless stony place. Within this review I am struck by all I have had to leave out such as the laughter shared at mealtimes and into the night; the connectedness and intimacy with total strangers; the illicitness of the wine (like children breaking the rules); the witnessing, often through tears, of our stories. I found Benig to be a very human and compassionate woman who shared some of her own journey with us thus enabling us to do the same. I will be travelling to the Burren again to do more workshops with Benig.
On a personal note, the passion I feel about the importance of this work made me travel from Connemara to Dublin to a fellow soul for support in writing this review for Inside Out. When she cancelled from her sick bed I insisted that we could do it together as I also had a flu-like illness and “we could cough our way through it”, however, my friend exercised “self care” and we met one week later. This is my first article to be submitted for print but the learning I have got from this workshop merits that I share this experience.
Marian Neary is a psychotherapist working in private practice in Connemara and Galway