6 Shortcuts To Insights And Inspiration – Part 1

What Makes A Boutique Business Retreat?

I believe that houses choose their owners. In 1991 Graig Ddu chose me.  You can find that story here:   https://tinyurl.com/ydyz5wp3 But back to the present.

After leaving an out of character foray into the corporate world as a property manager in 2018 where I had over 100 holiday cottages to oversee and their owners to manage, I knew that it was time to withdraw Graig Ddu from its role in that bricks and mortar rat race and make the transition from holiday cottage to a boutique business retreat.

As I was gushing about my idea to a friend one day, she bluntly said to me that she didn’t get how it would be any different from going away on your own to any other cottage.  What?

How odd, I thought, as I reflected on what was so clear and beautiful to me somehow hadn’t hit home to her!  I’d obviously made the mistake of leaving  a large amount of information in my head.  I retreated and thought more deeply about the nuances of the idea.

Over the following months I identified the 6 fundamental elements that capture the spirit of the boutique business retreat and why they are so important to connecting with intuition and capturing elusive insights.  Three are fairly common to many beautiful holiday cottages, but three elements are game-changers and elevate the experience at Graig Ddu into something unique.

Being At The Cottage - Graig Ddu - The Cottage in the Forest

Let’s start with the leading actor – Graig Ddu – also known as The Cottage In The Forest.  On the face of it, it’s a simple two up two down cottage ….. but yet, not at all.

It’s sheltered below the great domed moorland of the majestic Black Mountains in the Llanthony Valley, surrounded by forest.  With no WiFi or TV it’s immersed in timeless tranquillity and really is on the fringe of 21st Century life.

I’ve struggled to find the right words to describe just what it’s like to be there.  So, I’ve chickened out and left it to others who are far more eloquent than I.

There are many who are completely spell-bound by their experience of staying at the cottage and, after nearly 30 years, I still am.

I remember turning up the forest track to the cottage in October 1991 to meet my future landlady.  The crunching of the stones, the steady pull up the hill, driving deeper in amongst the trees.  Keep right at the fork, carry on climbing, go around the hairpin and then, the clearing amongst the trees with Graig Ddu standing there.  Every bit the cottage in the forest.  I knew, at that time, it didn’t have electricity, and I thought about what it would be like living without it for the shortest time.  After all, it was only going to be for 6 months.

Being At The Cottage - Small band of Welsh Mountain ponies above the Grwyne Fawr reservoir

But the thing is, you could pick up Graig Ddu and plonk it down in another rural area, and the magic would have vanished.  The Black Mountains, and the Llanthony Valley in particular, have a very special aura.  They are steeped in history and ooze ancientness.  Walking across what the farmers call ‘the flats’ you will always be walking in another’s footsteps, who knows whose inspiration and insights you may pick up on.

In these exquisitely peaceful surroundings, which are becoming increasingly rare and difficult to find, is another of the 6 elements which are a pre-requisite for capturing the spirit of small, but perfectly formed, business retreat.

Stay – Choose From 3 Exceptional Experiences

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What Is The Boutique Business Retreat?

‘What is this life if, full of care, We have no time to stand and stare. No time to stand beneath the boughs And stare as long as sheep or cows.’                
W H Davies 1911


It’s over 100 years since W H Davies wrote those words, and most of us are now hurtling through life so fast that when we do trip up, the momentum is so strong that we metaphorically end up taking those wild and uncoordinated strides, trying to avoid the impending crash to the ground. – Often we can’t stop ourselves falling.

Continue reading What Is The Boutique Business Retreat?

Hop Into The Bath And Unleash Creative Solutions

Create: ‘Bring something into existence’ – Oxford English Dictionary
‘To evolve from one’s own thought or imagination’

Creativity thrives in an expansively quiet mind.  It doesn’t happen while we are staring at a tablet or dealing with the daily grind of mundane problems in the office.  That’s why 72% of people get great ideas and insights in the bath or shower.   Being in water induces a meditative state and engages the brain’s default mode network.  Soaking in a steaming bath or being washed by a waterfall of water under the shower causes us to daydream in a way we wouldn’t when we remain focused on a particular task.

Activating the brain’s default mode network is extremely important for creativity.  The mind begins to relax and wander.  Free of stimulation, we are in the best position to produce some of the finest problem-solving and creative solutions that the mind can generate.

Being At The Cottge - 72% of people get creative solutions when they hop into a bath

Being creative doesn’t mean we need to be an artist, architect or sculptor.  Being creative is about bringing anything new into existence that wasn’t previously there – something that is demanding your attention.

Creativity is inherent in all of us and lying in a steaming bath can accelerate the potential for the creation of something extraordinary.

Sometimes group discussions, brainstorming and many heads are better than one.  At other times, the need for the solution we’re seeking drives us to take a break from the daily grind.  At those times, the sweetest answers often come while spending time alone in the bath or under the shower.

Taking time out to relax your brain, re-group your thoughts and recharge your batteries reassures the subconscious. As soon as the mind chatter and habitual distractions are put to one side then we can tap into the hidden seams of inspiration held by the subconscious.

Being At The Cottage - Bathe - soft towels and toiletries

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6 Important Things You Need To Know About Your Subconscious

Thing No 1 – Giving you the edge you need

Developing the relationship with your subconscious will give you the edge you need to succeed.  The more you can connect with your subconscious the more extraordinary results and eureka moments it will give you.

Thing No 2 – Dissolving barriers to progress

As you pursue something extraordinary, accessing the hidden seams of inspiration held by your subconscious, you will trigger eureka moments and dissolve barriers to progress.

Thing No 3 – Stimulate creative solutions

Leaving behind habitual distractions and spending time alone while tapping into the Subtle Dynamics at the cottage deepens your connection to your subconscious. You get an Access All Areas pass to the infinite well of creativity and innovation stored there, and creative solutions will be stimulated as you develop a deeper connection with it.

Thing No 4 – You get what you think about most

It’s not so much about trying harder to think smarter, it’s about learning a style of non-thinking thinking.  It’s about being more, and doing less.  Gradually learning to spend time with this expansive awareness is important because the subconscious does not think independently.  It follows instructions absolutely, and will deliver whatever you repeatedly imagine, feel and tell it to. You get what you think about most.

Subtle Dynamics of Being At The Cottage

Thing No 5 – It stores all your memories, beliefs, experiences and emotions

The subconscious is your gut feeling and intuition and works in harmony with the Subtle Dynamics of being at the cottage in the forest. The subconscious is extraordinary.  It holds onto everything and never sleeps.  You will never feel alone once you engage your subconscious.  It stores all your memories, experiences, beliefs and emotions and is continually processing upwards of 15 million pieces of information in any single moment. In contrast, your conscious mind is only able to process 7 bits of information at any one time, plus or minus 2.

Thing No 6 – It works according to your conditioning and beliefs – always

Your subconscious has the job of taking this almost infinite amount of information and filtering it down to what must be used by your conscious mind.  This will be different for each individual and will depend on the conditioning and beliefs accumulated over time, some of which will be barriers to progress.

Expand - shutterstock_128950574

To engage with the subconscious is to be able to see and create whatever you choose because it has direct access to Universal intelligence (your higher self), which your conscious mind does not.   Until you take control of your relationship with your subconscious, information from your hidden seams of inspiration is only passed onto the conscious mind if the subconscious determines that there is a need for it to do so. Otherwise it holds onto that information until you trigger its release.  You can open a dialogue with your subconscious through connecting with any of the Subtle Dynamics, opening up the streams of consciousness which contain the eureka moments you are looking for.

As your awareness of the power of your subconscious mind sharpens, and you allow the process to unfold naturally, trusting that everything you need to know is already here, your subconscious will gratefully offer up to you everything it has been holding onto.

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