Every other year since 2011, Foundation for Global Harmony, USA, members have traveled to Japan to enjoy a retreat with His Holiness Gayuna Cealo, to get to know each other better, to get to know our fellow volunteers in Japan better, and to learn about the beautiful culture and nature of Japan.
This year for our retreat, we enjoyed a health and wellness retreat led by His Holiness Gayuna Cealo. We all enjoyed such a beautiful retreat with 4 nights and 5 days at a spa in Hokkaido with several field trips both before and after. This was the most relaxing retreat with Cealo we have ever experienced and we have so many wonderful memories we would like to share!
Everyone we met and everywhere we went in Japan was so hospitable. On our first day, we were greeted very warmly by our fellow volunteers for Foundation for Global Harmony, Japan. Their cheer as they performed their volunteer service, through-out the week of the retreat, was delightful to experience and each of us felt embraced by Cealo's volunteers from Japan in a way that we hadn't felt before. This time we felt a closeness with each other and with our fellow volunteers in Japan, like we were each part of the same family.
We spent our first night in Narita arising early the next morning to fly North to Hokkaido. The Hotel Nikko was a wonderful place to stay with a 24x7 convenience store, wonderful restaurant, and easy shuttle bus transit to the airport and to local shopping and attractions. The hotel concierge staff at the Nikko Hotel were especially helpful.
Then, we spent 5 wonderful nights at a cozy resort hotel and onsen hot spring spa - Daiheigen Onsen Spa.
We shared space with old friends and new and slept Japanese style on tatami mats.
The theme this year, Gohan Retreat (Gohan means rice), focused on restoring health through food, meditation, onsen (hot springs), and massage. Throughout the retreat, Cealo shared his insights on how to restore the body, mind, and soul to health. The variety of daily activities included visits to the hot springs, meditation classes, Q & A with Cealo, a cooking class, body therapies, sight-seeing, shopping, as well as Japanese culture sharing. All these activities taught us how to heal the body, mind, and soul through food, hot springs, meditation, body therapies, and connecting heart-to-heart with other kind-hearted people. Also, several times throughout the retreat, Cealo urged us to continue to practice remaining heart centered, not to worry about the troubles of the world, and to have more pride in ourselves and being the kind of person who cares about the welfare of others.
During the retreat, we also learned about the importance of eating fresh, unprocessed food as a way to take care of our energy, emotions, and physical body. Cealo shared his insights on the sacred meaning of rice and the spiritual nature of preparing rice and other cuisine as a service and an offering of love to other beings.
This organic coconut oil is grown naturally, hand harvested, and made using cold-press techniques to preserve the purity of the oil. Upon testing, this oil was scientifically proven to be of the purest and highest quality available anywhere in the world! Now it's available only through the Big Heart Market!
We learned about the purest rice grown by Kuma-san and the rice team in Fukuyama.
And we learned how to use our new razor sharp knives. Don't forget! Curl fingers, touch food, then slice. Here is a knife sharpening video featuring Amica-san and Win
We also had a cooking class where we learned to use our rice cookers replacing water with chicken stock or Cocowin (coconut oil) and adding onions, garlic, carrots, celery, fish or chicken, etc. stir-fried in coconut oil and folding the stir-fry into to the rice before turning on the rice cooker. So delicious - oishi!
Our healing was so profound, both internal and external. And everywhere we visited in Japan, from Hokkaido to Narita, we walked through so many beautiful parks and gardens which each included the most beautiful Fall foliage and Shinto Shrines.
During our stay, we even experienced the first snow of the season making the Fall foliage really breathtakingly beautiful.
At our field trip to Mizu no Uta - song of the water, surrounded by picturesque mountains, some FGH-USA members even hiked up the side of one of the mountains!
To watch the happy birds video click here.
These gardens reflected our inner-joy and our return to nature. Just watch this video of happy birds bathing in a natural spring at the Narita-san Temple, chittering and chattering together. This was how we all felt by the end of the retreat. So relaxed and happy enjoying the hot springs!
Each of the 11 participants from the USA are feeling profoundly healed emotionally, physically, and spiritually. We really enjoyed being together and visiting with everyone and being able to share such a wonderful experience. Most of all, it made us so happy to see everyone smiling and connecting with each other and wtih the Japanese people and Japanese way, making heart-to-heart connections with each other and with the world. We hope we will get to enjoy it again some day!
Enjoy all of the photos at: https://goo.gl/photos/mYQSPQDkwKLnAMfx6
Hotel Nikko Narita: http://www.nikko-narita.com/
Daiheigen Spa: http://www.daiheigen.com/spa/
Mizu no Uta Spa: http://www.mizunouta.com/en/hotspring/
Google Pictures - ALL: https://goo.gl/photos/mYQSPQDkwKLnAMfx6
Narita-san Temple and Shakado Hall: http://www.naritasan.or.jp/english/index.html
Many thanks to Viram, Katie, and Eric for sharing their pictures!
For more details about the retreat, go to: http://cealo.org