Explore more than 100 workshops at Kawai Purapura

Voices of Sacred Earth 2018 eco-festival is only one week away (23-25 March) and it’s the perfect time to plan your own festival. Explore the final timetable and choose your favourite themes.

  • Have fun exploring Creative Arts: play with your personality and join a theatre workshop with Jen Hyde and learn how to express yourself through poetry with a Gus Simonov.
  • Free your spirit with Dance and Music: let your body move at the sound of Grammy Award winner Chris Berry‘s African drums, sing out loud Maori ancient stories along with Matiu Te Huki‘s deep voice, listen to your intuition and express your inner self through dance with Priscila Costa and relax on a mat in a sound journey with Sika‘s World Tribal Music.
  • Learn from Cultural and Wisdom Keepers: welcome the sunlight energy through ancient Maya practice with Xiwico, learn Te Maurea traditional Maori massage in a hands-on class with Ruatau Perez and find out about indigenous American tribes watching Jeff Huamanchiq Wium‘s movie Wisdomkeepers.
  • Get a chance to experience powerful Healing techniques: balance Ying and Yang in your body and activate your self-healing energy with Master Sunny Lu, find your magic in an esoteric ritual ceremony with Franchelle Ofsoské-Wyber, learn how to clear your chakras with the power of mantras in Utkarsh Sanjanwala‘s Transformational yoga class.
  • Widen your knowledge on Sustainability and Environment issues: understand the role of taste in making food choices with Louise Darragh-Law and her Searchless Raw Diet, discover the qualities of ecovillages and permaculture with Robina McCurdy and learn Traditional Composting techniques with the Compost Collective crew.
  • Bring your Kids for an exciting programme of creative play: they will play and dance with the nature-based activities of Little Voices, dance with horses on the grass with the Equine Pathfinders Foundation, discover the beauty and fun of yoga with Karin van Kooten and learn how to make macrame bracelets with Ramiro Ibarlucia.

And so much, much more.

Join us for a weekend of fun, wisdom and nature. Indulge on the earth and nature, taste delicious and healthy food, shop at our selection of vibrant market stalls, follow your heart in the healing circle. Tickets are on sale here, tell your friends!

Pinky street art

As I was working on my metaphor and looking for an image to add to the post on the optimistic view that leads to pink glasses of a meaningful life, I found some interesting stories. Immersed in the serendipity tunnel of the search engine, I followed one link after the other and here I am, collecting photos of street artworks and reading about the provocative urban art scene.

One in particular resonates with what I wanted to say in my post. Sea Pink by Swiss artist Marc Moser represents a gigantic pair of sun grasses with pink lenses that sits apparently abandoned on the sand in Aahrus. Part of the expo “Sculptures by the Sea Aarhus 2011”, this piece of art encouraged people to look at the world with a different perspective. A pink one. And we know that everything looks funnier when it’s pink.

Here’s how the artist describes his projects: “The various forms of my works look critically at changed values and perspectives. In this context, cracks and breaks are supporting elements, detachments are space, and enlargements are cognitions”.

Interaction with art is what allows us to find our own meaning, rethink about life and how look at the world. What gives more impact than an everyday object reproduced in large scale and abandoned on a busy public space?

The pink sun glasses of a meaningful life

What makes a life worth living? Ideas, drive, mindset, change, connections. In one word, meaning. Meaning brings happiness, it gives you a reason to wake up in the morning, put clothes on and get out of the door with a smile on your face. Not only it makes your days easier, but it gives you a sense of fulfillment that will instantly add a pink shade to everything you come across.

Ok it’s not as easy as it sounds, but let’s try to break it down to the essentials.

The first pillar of a meaningful life is belonging. Believing in something and working for it makes you feel part of a community. What you do reflects what you think and people that share the same values will give you value for what you really are. Be in a group and identify with it is what humans are made for.

Purpose. Having a goal to channel your skills gives you an incredible energy and keeps you motivated. If this goal includes helping others in something that you believe in, your strength gets even bigger.

Transcendence. When you are connected to a higher reality, being it a sport team, a fandom, a religion or any passion, time flies. Literally. Like a kid that plays even while he is cleaning his room, you don’t even realize that you are working. Proven.

Storytelling. As always, a special mention needs to be given to our brain. Which stories are we telling ourselves about what we are doing? It’s easy to forget, but we are the authors of our personal roman and we are the only ones that have the power to change it. If you describe it like a drama, it would fill like a drama. If you think of it like an adventure, it will be it. And so on.

Indeed, we just need to know our values, find a personal pattern to channel our strengths and write our own fairy tale. Let’s take some time today to be quiet with our own selves and meditate on these four essential pillars. We will be one step closer to a better way of living.

There’s an interesting podcast and Ted Talk on this topic by Emily Estefahani Smith, author of the book The Power of Meaning: Crafting a Life that Matters.

The peace within

Tune in with your soul and get inspired in this boutique holistic retreat on Auckland’s West Coast facing a protected native forest and magnetic view on Karekare Beach

Moving clouds on the ocean, the energy of a green forest, the fresh drops falling from a waterfall, the immaculate singing of birds, a soft breeze among the blossoms. In the vibrating nature of Waitakere Ranges, 40 minutes drive from Auckland and a few miles from Karekare Beach, you’ll find a peaceful place to be. Close enough to the city but far enough to unplug, Sacred Earth Retreat is as remote as you can imagine. Not only it’s surrounded by a green carpet of native ferns and Kauri trees, spectacular miles of hiking trails and refreshing water holes, its position facing the ocean instantly lets the mind fly away.

The dream

Creating a spiritual retreat where a community could live in harmony with nature, working on something meaningful and giving relief to troubled souls. The dream was in a pocket, until the time came and the magic happened. It all started around 25 years ago in India, when owners Phil and Jenny went to visit the ashram of spiritual master Sathya Sai Baba. A voice guided them to meet sage Sukonadi, and their questions were finally answered. The description of the hill and the garden, the idea of a little Eden and a full blessing. Soon after, following a serie of lucky coincidences, things started to move in the right direction. Blessings can travel many miles and will last forever.

“When we came to see this property, we just knew it was the place” Says Jenny with smiling eyes. “I don’t even remember how many rooms were there, if there was a kitchen or so. We immediately loved it”. First Satyavan, cosy house overlooking the forest and the ocean, and piece by piece the project came true. With three luxury lodges and eco-friendly cottages hidden in the bush, Sacred Earth Retreat welcomes short-term guests and a growing number of residents. Like Leslie, who lived here since the beginning. With her kind words and her adorable manners, she is always ready to share her wise happiness: “There’s nothing else I could desire”.

Wisdom is about being able to see the gift in everything around us and be grateful. It’s the meaning of He Pou Rerenga Wairua, the captivating Maori carving that stands in the middle of a sunny glade, facing north. A spiritual Waka, floating canoe reaching up towards the heavens and celebrating Aroha, the love of Father Sky and Mother Earth. “This special bliss belongs to all of us, it cleans our energy and helps us to continue our inner journeys”, says Matua Louis Kareopa sapiently. Inspired by this idyllic place and the knowledge of a millennial tradition, he carved the Pou out of the ancient wood of a Totara tree that was submerged in Tongariro river. Deep and humble, he touches this first artwork of a series of 12 and adds, laughing: “Don’t forget to look at the original bark of the timber at the back, nature’s work is much better than mine!”.

A place to rest

A home designed with love, bits of wilderness that come in through the open windows, a magnetic sunset on the coastline. It’s the perfect combination to connect with Gaia and begin a life-changing experience. It may start with a deep breath sitting cross legged on the grass, while birds are singing and a salty wind flows quiet. Or with a guided meditation in Savitri temple, a breathtaking octagonal building that sits on top of a hill and receives vibrating energy from the sea and the forest. Dedicated to Sathya Sai Baba and his teaching of the oneness of all people and all religions, it celebrates the universality of all beings and is open to all faiths and paths. If you hang around that area, you will definitely meet Tom, a blessed heart that would  give you relief just by standing next to you. “Self realization is knowing who you are”, he says smiling, “and underneath our ego, we all are Atma, which in Sanskrit means collective soul, the one big spiritual plasma that connects us. All are one”.

While meditation and yoga classes are held regularly in the temple, you can come over anytime. Here or on a wide wooden deck facing the ocean, you’ll find the ideal location to dive into your body, find stillness and deepen your practice. Joyful and caring, Mary will guide you to places you’ve never reached before through her angelic voice and the rhythm of the harmonium. Laugh, cry, go everywhere, come back to yourself. She will show you how to get rid of tensions until complete relaxation with her Yoga Therapy. And if you just want to lay down effortlessly, ask for an integrative Aromatouch massage, you won’t regret it. Once the body is feeling well, you can think about nourishing it and maybe ask her for a healthy catering or a raw whole food cooking class. “I like to involve people in the activity rather than teaching old-style”, she shrugs her shoulders. It’s much more fun.

No matter if you are going for lunch or you sit quietly familiarizing with yourself, mindfulness is the key. Even walking in the bush becomes an opportunity to discover something new. Warm peaceful soul, naturopath and director of Wellpark College in Auckland, Phil will guide you through the forest highlighting the native medicinal plants traditionally used by Maori tribes. Manuka tree, Kawa Kawa, Mapoe, the abundant unfolding Ponga and many more. “The leaves with holes from insect bites are the best ones. Always trust animals”, he blinks. Acknowledging the perfection of this marvelous living earth will make our stay much nicer and more respectful: once you reach this connection with nature, nothing will ever be the same.

Life in the community

Creatives, spiritual minds and wondering souls come to Sacred Earth to derive inspiration from this tranquility. Walking in the retreat on any ordinary day, you can meet amazing people like crystal healer and artist Kimi, who found the perfect workspace in her lovely hut in the forest. Sweet, dreamy and sensible, she crafts gorgeous wearable talismans and blesses them in the water of Karekare waterfalls. Or Lynn, childrens’ book illustrator, storyteller, teacher and awaken being that combines her skills with shining devotion and passionate work. And Aaron, scholar, author and publisher with profound interest in esoteric world. Reflective, calm and accurate, he would guide you to a better understanding of Alchemy or give you a detailed Astrology reading using ancient techniques from Greek and Egyptian knowledge.

Every individual here has something to share. Spiritual soul and unconventional healer, Tony would dig into your heart with his touching words, his scanning eye-gaze and his fulfilling light. You see him walking in his Maori tattoos followed by his playful dog, and he will do the rest. Also, you may be lucky and get the opportunity to join an exclusive sound journey, where you will connect with the purifying vibrations of mantras, traditional music instruments and guiding spirits. Reiki master and physical healer Will would take you to a dreamy escape far from this planet and closer to yourself. Or clean your energy, release your blocks and give you emotional balance with his sapient hands.

For Jenny, the community is the most important thing. Everybody brings bits of sunshine in and the result is pure harmony. Like a warm hug. It’s already in her visionary mind the project of sharing this heaven with people in need, running rescue programs to help troubled minds. According to psychological studies and experimental projects, it takes three months to introduce any longterm transformation. “We all grow beautiful flowers if we get the right context”, she says warmly, “here everyone can find an idyllic setting to find focus and discover the true aspect of who he really is, which is pure divine love”. In other words, happiness.

Forest escape with view

Luxury retreat in protected regional park Waitakere Ranges on Auckland’s West Coast with natural waterfalls, private swimming hole and easy bush walk to world famous Karekare Beach

Plunge yourself in the wild peace of a protected forest with spectacular views of one of the most iconic beaches in the world. Immersed in the regional park Waitakere Ranges, Sacred Earth Retreat will surprise your senses with calming waterfalls, rock pools, hiking trails, native birdlife and idyllic green surroundings. Offering private luxury lodges and a dream-like environment, it’s the ultimate destination for a relaxing escape.

A light breeze through the bush, the rough sound of the ocean, the extravagant concert of native birds, the bitter smell of Manuka trees, a heart-opening sunset. As the mind finds its inner balance, time floats quiet and slow following the rhythm of the earth. Only 40 mins drive from the city and 15 to busy Piha Beach, it feels like being in the middle of a magic land. It’s exactly what you need to rest.

Hidden in nature with magnetic views on the scenic coastline, the three eco-friendly guest houses feature fully equipped kitchens, private hot tub, indoor fireplace, open wooden decks and just 14 rooms, comfortably accommodating up to 19 people. Attention to details makes the difference. Crystals, spiritual home ornaments, plenty of cushions to lie on and a warm earthy asian decor will add glam to your stay.

Sitting on a hill facing the ocean, there is a temple. Here, early birds can enjoy daily meditation and chantings, and get in contact with a welcoming spiritual community that shares fulfilling messages of love and compassion common to all religions and peoples. No worries if you enjoy to sleep in, the temple is always open, providing mats, pillows and yoga classes upon request. You might also get the chance to participate in a spiritual sound journey at sunset, an opportunity to give your mind a break, leave your body and clear your soul through vibrations, in an intense dreaming state.

The black sand of the volcanic Karekare Beach is at your doorstep and the easy hike down the valley makes the walk on the shore even more desirable. If you feel brave, a surf school and exciting canyoning adventures close by will challenge your balance. Make sure you always wear togs, there are plenty of opportunities to swim, either in the ocean or in the river. On the way down the hill, a glittering stream, waterfalls and refreshing natural pools pop up among the stunning Kauri, New Zealand’s tallest and oldest trees, and the massive roots of Rata trees. In the huge protected land of Waitakere Ranges regional park, birds such as the Tui, the Ruru, the rare little parrot Kakariki and the Wood Pigeon Kereru peacefully sing their freedom. Every step is an invite to know more about the land, its creatures, its native plants and powerful medicinal herbs like the surprisingly abundant Kawa Kawa, Manuka trees and unfolding Ponga Ferns.

Owners Jenny and Phil had the idea on one of their travels in India and when a friend invited them to come over to their new house in Karekare, they just knew this was the place. “Our purpose was to create a quiet relaxing context where people could connect with nature, find peace with their inner self and be happy”, says Jenny with shining eyes. Over 25 years and a lot of passionate work later, the dream is alive. “This place is full of energy”. You feel it coming from the roaring ocean, blowing through the trees, raising from the grass and spreading towards the sun. In a quiet glade surrounded by bushland, a Pou celebrates this sacred flow depicting the story of creation. This extraordinary traditional Maori carving was crafted from ancient Tatara wood by Matua Louis Kereopa in four months and gifted to Sacred Earth in April 2017. Like a canoe traveling from the spiritual world to the centre of the earth, this artwork is the treasure of the retreat.

Looking at the coloured clouds that paint the sky at every sunset, you will wonder why you don’t move here permanently or just stay a little longer. Not surprisingly, a unique community of creatives and spiritual souls gathers in the area, living in the beauty of nature, sharing energies and offering a variety of services on request. This is why, while you enjoy this paradise, you can consider treatments such as integrative massage and aromatherapy, detox and fasting programs, yoga classes, raw and whole food cooking classes. Follow your instinct, you could find inspiration through guided bush walks with teachings about native trees, plant essence healing, spiritual healing and reiki, astrology consultations and alchemy workshops, crystal jewelry and custom talismans.

Breathe deeply, enjoy the silence, feel the energy of the nature, make it yours. This place is the magical setting for a life-changing experience.