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Holiday, friendship and “meditation retreat” (tenth post)

A brief tenth post - back in Marrakech and reflecting on the trip.

Back in the city - so woken by the Marrakech muezzin long before 5.00am.  Lying in the dark and then coming downstairs to read and write.  Yesterday we started in Hotel Irocha a bit north of Ourzazate.  Great shared group breakfast out on a veranda, then into the 4x4's to head up over the Atlas and down again to Marrakech.  With stops it was approximately a four hour trip.  Rain.  The first we'd seen since driving down to the desert, both an age and just a week ago.  Then back here to the little hotel at Dar Soukaina, haven in the busy-ness of the medina.  Welcoming fresh squeezed orange juice and green tea.  Some unpacking.

Then we walked out into the medina, explored more, did some shopping.  Back to Dar Soukaina, showers, and then out for supper at the Riad Omar  - recommended by a charming spice seller some of us had been talking to.  It was great.  Friendship.  We spoke about the "Alternative Lives" exercise that I sometimes share with people (for more details of this see half way down the "Wellbeing, time management & self-determination" handouts page.  My three alternative lives might have been Hermit, Doctor for an organization like Medecins sans Frontieres  and Professor of Psychological Medicine.  This trip has helped "feed the Hermit".  Aspects that I suspect have contributed to this include travelling to a different country, the foreign language, being knocked out of habits like washing or seeing oneself in a mirror, the lack of any significant responsibility, and especially walking every day through the desert.  It's been great on so many levels - certainly also both for holiday and for friendship - and it has been a reconnecting to being amongst my usual life's sea of doing.  In many ways it's been the "coming home" that I wanted and needed.


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