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  • Catherine Pohl

5 things I learnt from hosting a foraging retreat...

I wouldn’t necessarily say that I take for granted the beautiful, healing nature that surrounds me and provides me with (at least at this time of year) seemingly endless supplies of delicious wild foods, but guiding a group of people around for a week certainly served as a pertinent reminder of what I really have living here. Over the course of the last three and a half years, my life has changed so dramatically it’s almost unrecognisable. From a semi-detached town house in the London suburbs to a wooden house in the countryside, surrounded by forests and lakes, the contrast really couldn’t be more different. And no doubt I have changed too - still a busy mum of two (incredibly fast) -growing lads, still working with my amazing clients to support them with their diets and lifestyles, but definitely with nuances that reflect my new way of living, being and seeing the world.

So what did I learn from the last week?

1. Never underestimate the power of stillness. Yes, being here, being away from the city, being surrounded by nature has had a profound effect on me and my life journey, yet seeing others step away from their hectic lives, take time for just themselves, switch off from the bustle of modern life, brings back a stark reminder of just how powerful that is. And just how much we NEED it. As physical bodies relaxed into the stillness that they had not received for a long time, there came a phase of almost exhaustion-like rest. Definitely I learned that I need to slow down the programme to allow for that relaxation and rejuvenation. We definitely needed a whole week!

2. Nature truly is a great provider. I often pick berries and mushrooms, herbs and more as I go about my day-to-day life, sometimes walking with my dog, sometimes more actively foraging. But when you guide other people you also slow down again and start to pay more attention to the smaller details and just how much is really there. We are quite literally surrounded by nature’s gifts, every square metre has something to offer, and I remembered so many of these gifts that I often overlook.

3. I have learned so much. I always loved food and I’ve always been interested in foraging, be that mushrooms or blackberries, or finding sloes in the park on the school run. But things have just accelerated. I have been like a sponge, absorbing knowledge from the guardians of the land that live here, from the wisdom-keepers I have met along the way, from my ever-expanding collection of books on foraging, mushrooms, herbs, in Swedish now as well as English, from Google lens that my children just taught me to use! Sharing that knowledge really brought it home to me just how much I have learned.

4. The people that I meet are not by random chance. Those ladies that came here to learn from me also taught me so much too. From the more obvious teachings of yoga, energy work, herbs and essential oils, to the unexpected situations that forced me to look at myself more deeply and grow accordingly. I am so grateful for the wisdom that each and every one instilled in my weather knowingly or unknowingly.

5. Life is a journey and I am so happy to be on it! Not everyday, I don’t feel like this everyday, but reflecting back on this week has shown me that yes, I love my life, I love my new wisdom, I love sharing that and inspiring others with it. I am proud that I took a risk to invite people here and try something new. I am proud to say that I took the risk to follow my heart here, to find a better way for me to live, more aligned with my own values. I feel like I have come out of this week even wiser and happier than I went in and with a sense of satisfaction and calm that knowing that this is what I am here to do.

Thank you to everyone that joined us for the off-grid foraging retreat at Jep’s Place. Petra and will be hosting another next year, so please make sure you are signed up to the mailing list if you think you might like to join us – we will be in touch with details in the new year when the snow is thick and we can’t be distracted by “one more blueberry picking walk!”

Catherine x


Phone +46 70 638 34 33


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