Waiting on God: A Christian Journey to Mindfulness and Meditation

Christian Mindfulness and Meditation guided by Horses Retreat

Are you desperately struggling and hopelessly stuck in the middle of one of the most challenging times of your life, knowing God has told you to wait but finding it soul-shattering difficult to do so?

Christian Mindfulness and Christian Meditation can help you through this faith-strangling and seemingly endless waiting season.

Everyone is talking about Mindfulness and Meditation and how it can help us cope with the trials and tribulations of life. I have been teaching Mindfulness and Meditation, assisted by my Friesian and Falabella horses, for more than a decade. I am convinced that it can enable and empower us to lead not only happier but also more purposeful, meaningful and fulfilling Christian lives.

The last few years, since the start of the COVID epidemic, have been physically, mentally and spiritually exhausting.

I could never have survived without my faith and my friends.

Forced to cope with one crippling catastrophe after another, I have learned so much, and I would now like to share what I have learned during this brand new retreat, the Christian Mindfulness and Meditation with Horses retreat.

If you yearn to reconnect with God, through mindfulness and meditation, and reconnect with nature by walk a section of the Camino de Santiago de Compostela, then this is the retreat for you.

The retreat is hosted at a picturesque farm in the south-west of France, surrounded by rolling hills, lush meadows, ancient woods, and the calming presence of my Friesian and Falabella horses. During this retreat, you will learn how to practice Christian mindfulness and meditation, as it has been done for centuries, with my horses as your guides.

Do you need to be a Christian to attend this retreat?

No, but the retreat is built on Christian principles and practices and meditation is taught from a Christian perspective, which differs significantly from the secular approach.

During the retreat, you will have the opportunity to:

  • Engage in meditations facilitated by the horses, designed to strengthen your faith and deepen your awareness of yourself, of others and of the world around you.
  • Explore the natural beauty of the region by walking part of the faith-strengthening Camino de Santiago, giving you the chance to experience the tranquillity of the great outdoors.
  • Enjoy healthy, delicious meals made from locally sourced, organic ingredients.
  • Stay in a 200-year-old home-from-home farmhouse, on the edge of an ancient forest, surrounded by sunflower fields, vineyards and lush meadows.
  • Discover the far-reaching benefits of silent contemplation – although this is not a silent retreat, periods of intentional silence are observed during the day.

Your retreat host is Dr Margaretha Montagu, who is passionate about creating a safe, supportive, and serene space where you can attend a Christ-centred retreat to establish daily practices that promote physical, mental and spiritual well-being and explore the connection between Christian mindfulness, meditation and horses.

Jesus himself went on retreat to spend time alone with God. In Mark 6:31, he says to his disciples, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” This invitation to rest and recharge is just as relevant today as it was 2,000+ years ago.

Have you always been fascinated by horses, and longed to connect with them on a deeper level but have always been intimidated by their size?

This exceptional escape to the south of France offers you the opportunity to make that connection and benefit abundantly from the horses’ God-given intuitive and authentic wisdom. You will spend the whole retreat in the presence of these patient, caring, and generous animals. You will be able to breathe with them, touch them, talk with them, walk with them and share your most secret thoughts with them.

 “I created these retreats with my horses to help you, as a child of God, internalise how exceptional, powerful, gifted, beautiful, strong, generous, appreciated, valuable, talented, brilliant, admired, respected, courageous, special and loved you are. My horses make these retreats UNIQUE. Friesians and Falabellas are generous, patient, warmhearted and affectionate breeds, and often powerful, intuitive healers.” Dr Margaretha Montagu

All activities happen with everyone’s feet firmly on the ground – there is NO HORSE RIDING during these retreats.

If this resonates, then Dr Margaretha Montagu’s Christian Mindfulness and Meditation retreats with Horses, which foster spiritual horizontal as well as vertical self-awareness, facilitated by her Friesian and Falabella horses, might well be the perfect retreat for you.

Embark on a Spiritual Journey…

Do you feel uber-stressed, overwhelmed and exhausted? Do you feel mentally and physically drained and unable to cope with the never-ending and ever-increasing demands made of you? If you are in desperate need of a break, then escaping to this 200-year-old French farmhouse, surrounded by horse paddocks on the edge of an ancient forest where you can rest, relax and recharge your batteries in the presence of these magnificent animals could change your life forever.

Christian Mindfulness – the practice of being present and fully engaged in the present moment – with the guidance of Esprit Meraki’s Horses – can empower you to

  • increase your attentiveness to God’s presence, create space to hear God’s voice and develop a more intimate relationship with God
  • increase your emotional and social resilience by developing problem-solving skills as well as crisis-coping skills
  • dramatically enhance your ability to focus and concentrate by training your mind to stay present and resist distractions, thus improving your performance and increasing your productivity
  • increase awareness of God’s moment-to-moment provision and free yourself from immobilizing fear by mastering simple techniques to easily and effectively deal with stressful situations with the guidance of the horses
  • increase your awareness of others and build strong, supportive and long-lasting relationships

This is your opportunity to thoroughly relax your body, calm your mind and nourish your soul, not only by connecting with the horses, but also by walking short sections of the Camino de Santiago de Compostela. During this 5-day retreat, hosted in the foothills of the mighty Pyrenées mountains in the unspoiled and largely undiscovered sun-blessed southwest of France, you can get answers to your questions and find solutions to your problems.

The Christian Mindfulness Meditation with Horses retreats are the perfect way to master the art of mindfully waiting on God, secure in the knowledge that with Christ, you can handle any stressful situation so that you can live your best life and joyfully do whatever it is that God put on the planet to do!

Imagine sitting under 200-year-old lime trees, comfortably ensconced in a sun-lounger, listening to the birds chatting away happily in the trees, your Bible open on your lap, sipping a scrumptious, ice-cold glass of fresh-pressed juice with the perfume of wildflowers and herbs scenting the air while a gorgeous Friesian mare is contentedly munching on her hay within touching distance.

Fast forward.

You are back home. The alarm goes off, it’s time to get up and go to work. You jump out of bed, rejoice in the day that God has made, and you are excited about what the new day may bring. You slept well, deeply and without interruptions, and you wake up feeling fully rested and refreshed. Bursting with energy, you are singing God’s praises on your way to the shower and smiling at your reflection in the mirror…

Are you ready for a potentially life-changing Christian retreat that will leave you feeling vibrantly alive and profoundly relaxed from the top of your head to the tips of your toes?

This retreat is for you, if you

  • find yourself in an impossible situation, that you cannot escape, and you have no choice but to wait on God’s answer to your prayers
  • feel overworked, overwhelmed exhausted, and close to burnout, and you want to avoid permanent damage to your physical and psychological health,
  • want to develop effective coping strategies that can be incorporated seamlessly into your personal and professional life and empower you to make a difference in other people’s lives,
  • aim to live a long, happy, healthy and fulfilling Christ-centered life, full of purpose and meaning – in alignment with your unique talents, values and ideals.

Find out what others have to say about Esprit Meraki retreats:

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Meet Your Retreat Leader: Dr Margaretha Montagu

I have two passions in my life: horses and stress management. After working for 20 years as a medical doctor in a variety of specialities including psychiatry and general practice, I came to the conclusion that many diseases have their roots in the stress my patients have to endure. I decided that prevention is better than cure, and studied a number of alternative therapies including Mindfulness Stress Management, Hypnotherapy, Life Transition Coaching and NLP, and eventually combined my education and experience to create the master mindfulness with horses retreats that I now lead at my house in the southwest of France.

After having successfully navigated several major life transitions myself, I now specialise in helping other people get through challenging life changes like divorce, retirement, redundancy, starting a business, changing careers, moving to another country etc.

Dr M Montagu MBChB MRCGP MedHypDip NLP Master Pract Cert Prof Life Coach Cert Counseling Cert EAGALA Cert

If you are ready, with the guidance of my horses, to discover an effective stress management strategy that you can easily incorporate into your daily life, that will allow you to deal with whatever challenges come your way, then this Christian Mindfulness Meditation with Horses Retreat might be exactly what you have been looking for.

Imagine how different your life will be in a year’s time if you decide to embark on a more meaningful, rewarding, impactful and fulfilling Christ-centered life, by connecting with my awesome Friesian and irresistible Falabella horses, while attending this retreat. Contact me at welcome2gascony@gmail.com asap to enquire about availability.

What is included in this retreat:

  • 4 nights’ accommodation in a cool, light, airy room in an authentic half-timbered French farmhouse in the heart of the Cotes de Gascogne wine region in the south-west of France
  • Christ-centered Mindfulness and Meditation session, Equine-facilitated Mindfulness and Equine-guided Meditation sessions
  • Potentially life-changing Camino de Santiago de Compostela walks with an introduction to walking meditation
  • Scrumptious fresh food locally sourced, served during brunch and dinner, with access to a selection of herbal teas and coffee 24/7

What is NOT included:

  • Transport from your home to Maison Meraki and back
  • Personal Health Insurance and/or Travel Insurance (we highly recommend insurance cover in case you/we need to cancel)
  • Classic Massages: for additional pampering, you can book a massage bien-être, out on the lawn, or on your own terrace, and give yourself over to Sarah’s magical hands, while the lavender bushes dispense 100% natural aromatherapy.
  • Alcoholic drinks
  • One meal in a local restaurant – to boost the local economy post-COVID (cost round 15-30 euros, depending on your choices)
  • To facilitate transport arrangements, or to explore the region, you are welcome to arrive a day early – we offer bed-and-breakfast accommodation on a day-to-day basis, starting at 119 euros per room per night, but only to our retreat guests – depending on availability. Non-participating partners are very welcome, there is a lot for them to discover and do in the immediate vicinity.

Enough free time is available for relaxing and recharging your batteries. None of the activities is mandatory. If you prefer to skip an activity and just relax and commune quietly with the horses, you are more than welcome. The program is not set in stone and might be adjusted according to outside temperatures.

Accommodation

La Maison Meraki sits in a sunny clearing next to a great and ancient forest, like a little old lady gathering her shawl around her bony shoulders. She has been here for at least 200 years, from her elevated position she looks out over the treetops to the mighty Pyrenées mountains. Who knows who has ventured over her threshold, maybe D’Artagnan himself, the chateau where he was born is only a few kilometres away. Yes, this is indeed Gascony, land not only of milk and honey but also of divine wines, persillade, garbure, foie gras, cèpes, duck confit…all less than two hour’s drive southeast of Bordeaux.

Maison Meraki is a half-timbered house that faces southeast, towards the sunrise, typical of all Landaise fermettes. She has her back to the sunset, where the cold winds and weather come from in the winter. The house is U-shaped, with a central, secluded courtyard, where lavender perfumes the air in the summer. There are two guest bedrooms downstairs, one opening onto its own patio where guests can sit and soak up the sun with a cool drink and a good book.

The heart of the house is the kitchen-sitting room, delightfully cool in the summer, and extended by a shaded patio into the courtyard and snug and warm in the winter, heated by a Godin wood burner. Two centuries-old Lime trees guard the eastern flank, and even older, majestic oak trees hold court in the paddocks surrounding the house.

I renovated Maison Meraki slowly and carefully. I have respected its humble origins and kept it dans son jus, comfortable but unpretentious, so if you want to experience unadulterated French farm life, this is the retreat for you. If you are looking for 5 days in a luxurious chateau, it is not.

En plus, this is a French farmhouse, unlike any you have visited before. Even though I am a Frenchwoman through and through, I was born in Africa, so the interior is decorated, the meals flavoured, and the garden is scented by the warm spices and fragment herbs of the country of my birth.

Cuisine de Gascogne

Nowhere in France is the French Paradox more prevalent than in Gascony. A paradox, because despite frying just about everything in duck fat, and washing undeniably rich dishes down with copious amounts of Cotes de Gascogne and Saint Mont wines, the people from this region live long, some of the longest in Europe, and healthy lives.

Not to be outdone, at Maison Meraki you will be able to investigate this paradox first-hand. The food is simple but delicious, a celebration of the wonderful variety of fresh local produce available from the garden as well as from the local weekly fresh food markets. Both brunch and dinner are served al fresco, weather permitting.

Vivre Vert – Slow and Sustainable Tourism in the Southwest of France

It is important to me that the retreats I offer, do as little damage to the environment as possible, while at the same time contributing to the local community’s economy. I feel more like the custodian than the owner of this property – I feel extremely privileged to live here. As its custodian, my intention is to look after Maison Meraki to the very best of my ability and to preserve it for generations to come. In the meantime, I share the exceptional natural beauty, the rich cultural heritage and the nurturing tranquillity of this open- and warmhearted house with my guests without harming the natural environment and helping environmentally aware local producers at the same time.

Only a limited number of participants will be able to attend a Christian Mindfulness Meditation with Horses Retreat every year.

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To ensure everyone gets individual, quality attention and the time to ask questions, I limit my groups to a maximum of 4 guests and I host a limited amount of these retreats per year – which means you will need to reserve early to be one of the few fortunate guests who come here this year.

Your Investment

Does this sound like the retreat of a lifetime? If it does, treat yourself by investing in your future and attend this unique retreat for 995 euros for a single bedroom and 1990 euros for 2 people in a double bedroom. Maximum of 4 participants per retreat. Please note: the retreats start at 18h00 on Saturdays and end at 11h00 on Wednesdays.


So seize this exceptional opportunity to attend a retreat here at Esprit Meraki now…a warm welcome awaits you amidst the Armagnac, Saint Mont and Cotes de Gascogne vineyards in the sun-blessed southwest of France.

Ready to make a reservation? To pay your deposit and secure your booking, please contact us with the dates of the week that suits you at welcome2gascony(at)gmail.com.

Subscribe to my Savoir Vivre Vignettes Mailing List to be the first to know about any last-minute or early-bird special offers on my retreats.

Cancellation Policy

Deposit

To secure your booking, a non-refundable 25% deposit is required. As the group is very small, only a paid deposit will guarantee your attendance. If your retreat is fully booked, you will be offered a place on the waiting list. Your deposit is transferable to another person for the retreat you booked, subject to approval.

Final Payment

The balance of payment is due 30 days prior to the start of your retreat. Reservations made less than 30 days before the retreat starts, must be paid in full. Please note: Due to the extensive and expensive preparation that goes into each of these retreats, I cannot offer refunds, so I highly recommend that you purchase adequate travel insurance to cover any unanticipated changes in your travel plans. Any cancellation made in writing less than 30 days before the retreat starts, or once the retreat has started, will result in a total loss of funds. Depending on availability, you can choose to transfer your booking to another date without incurring any additional fees, within the same calendar year.

I reserve the right to cancel the retreat if it does not meet the retreat minimum (if I do so your deposit is refunded in full). I reserve the right to determine if you are a good fit for this retreat (if not, your deposit will be refunded in full).  I reserve the right to cancel the retreat for personal reasons (if I do so your deposit/full payment will be refunded in full).

This cancellation policy is firm therefore please do not make any travel arrangements until you receive your registration confirmation.

⚠️ COVID-19 Safety Measures: Rest assured, at Maison Meraki, we prioritise your well-being. Our retreat adheres to strict health and safety protocols to ensure a secure and serene environment for all retreat guests.

Please read our terms and conditions

Let all that I am praise the Lord; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me. — Psalm 103:1-2