Satori is a Japanese Zen Buddhist word meaning:
• seeing in to one's true nature •
• enlightenment and a state of consciousness attained by intuitive illumination, not through rational thought •
• acquiring of a new point of view in our dealings with life and our world •
It all led to this
Emma's dream to create Satori began over a decade ago. And she's been working hard to actualise it ever since.
Following the loss of Emma's father in 2002 and her own cancer journey in 2007, she began to realise the power of nature.
She also remembered a dream she'd had many years before – to create a healing retreat.
On sharing this with an old man, he said ‘you’ll have to sell your house to make it happen.’ So Emma took the plunge, sold the house she'd worked so hard to buy and decided to purchase some land instead.
On 1 July 2014, after many stress-filled years of searching for the perfect pocket of land, she found it – a magical plot of Somerset countryside in the Blackdown Hills.
But this was just the beginning. From then, it’s been a jam-packed few years of nurturing the land, building the vital infrastructure (such as the yurt and compost toilet) and Emma, deepening her skillset to expand Satori's offerings.
Today, Satori exists thanks to the incredible help of volunteers from our local community and from all over the world.
It’s been – and still continues to be – a phenomenal journey.
When Emma planted the seeds of Satori, she nurtured the vision of a retreat that would encourage people to live and move as nature intended.
Now, the seeds have flowered – and she's delighted to share it with you.
Going for walks amidst the wild flowers and trees, getting hands on with natural crafts, tuning in to the senses and releasing thoughts and feelings on to paper through creative writing have all supported Emma through periods of stress, depression, bouts of anxiety and nervousness, helping her to quiet the mind and become more present.
They've helped her navigate cancer and cushion the immense grief she felt from her father's death as well as the living grief she had to work through relating to her mum's eight year journey with dementia. The simplicity, stillness and acceptance of her place within nature helps promote clarity of mind and body and her strength and resilience is in part brought about through movement and reconnecting with the wild foods.
But it's not just Emma's personal experience which indefatigably proves nature to be a great catalyst for healing. Extensive research exists proving nature's health and wellbeing benefits.
In 2013 the mental health charity MIND released Feel Better Outside, Feel Better Inside a report demonstrating the benefits of Ecotherapy in helping improve mental health and wellbeing. MIND invite their members outdoors to get active with projects like gardening and conservation.
Ecotherapy has been 'proven to improve mental health, boost self esteem, help people with
mental health problems return to work, improve physical health, and reduce isolation.'
MIND also found from a survey completed by GPs working across England and Wales that:
'over half agreed that Ecotherapy is a valid and suitable treatment for anxiety (52%) and depression (51%).'
In 2016 the Government agency Natural England commissioned a report A review of nature-based interventions for mental health care which highlighted,
' There is increasing recognition of the importance of nature and place as a determinant
of individuals’ mental health.'
Satori's philosophy lines up with these continually emerging beliefs being explored by central Government. An example from the Work & Pensions Department is a report they commissioned with Cardiff & Huddersfield University which states that:
'Treating people holistically means that health professionals need to go beyond just curing
the biomedical causes of disease to thinking about the social and psychological aspects of
how patients are treated'
Ecotherapy & the Green Gym
Offerings at Satori are embedded on Ecotherapy and the Green Gym principles. Ecotherapy presents people with the opportunity to reconnect with the healing power of our natural environment whilst undertaking land based tasks and crafts. Through these nature based activities guests and volunteers can share stories with others, reflect, listen and learn about nature and create. Wellbeing of body and mind can occur as we move, achieve goals and become more present.
The Green Gym was originally developed in 1997. It typically aims to offer people a way to enhance their fitness and health while helping support and sustain the outdoor environment. It is one alternative to attending a conventional gym or sports centre. Guests and volunteers get involved with all sorts of land based tasks such as clearing vegetation, building gates, planting, collecting firewood etc.