I have mixed feelings about posting about my personal retreat on Harmony Hill Farm, only because it truly was so personal. I can’t recall a time period in my life where I welcomed the silence and stillness so willingly. I listened to a need within before booking my stay and I followed through and found true grace in the solitude. And with that grace came inspiration for new creations that came so easily, without force, and at a soothing speed and productivity level, unlike my more sporadic creative moments in my home studio, which only happen when time permits.
I learned of Harmony Hill farm at a local holistic business event this past Fall. I met the owner Jody there and felt drawn to her description of her art studio/cabin that she rents out for people to host workshops and events. I went to their website afterwards and saw the possibility of taking a personal artist retreat, and I knew this was something I needed to do in the near future.
Harmony Hill Farm is located about an hour drive outside of Philadelphia, PA. It is in South Coventry Township, an area known for it’s scenic countryside, wooded hiking trails, and the French Creek Watershed. I am familiar with this area because it is near where my dad grew up and I have family and friends who live in the area. It is the home and inspiration of many artists and tends to attract people with a love for natural beauty and simplicity. It is my heart home and I hope to own a home near there when the timing is right.
I rented the art studio/cabin for a 3 night stay in the second week of April. The rustic cabin came with a skylit art studio space, art supplies, a full kitchen and bath, a fireplace and a loft bedroom. It was so cozy and I felt at home instantly.
Jody and Leon acquired Harmony Hill Farm several years back with the vision of opening up the space for workshops and retreats. Jody is a corporate creativity consultant and has studied with Whitney Freya and also took Flora Bowley’s Bloom True course. The workshops she holds at Harmony Hill are primarily based around creativity and art. She and I had a lot in common as far as our vision on the importance of the creative process as a healing mechanism. While I was there, Leon was working steadily on making the barn on the property into a larger retreat facility for group retreats, with the goal to be open in May. It promises to be an amazing group retreat facility said to be on sacred Native American grounds, with a beautiful in-ground pool and patio, pool-side fire pit, art studio, trails and goats!
I timed my stay with a 10 day cleansing diet of simple meals like steamed veggies, miso soup, juices, seeds and seasonal greens that I had started the week before. The idea was that this was a time to recharge and renew in time for the upcoming activity of Spring and Summer. I have found cleansing to be an amazing opportunity for going within and learning so much about myself and my relationship to food. When I refrain from eating certain foods that I am used to eating regularly, having that lack of comfort and habit can be so illuminating. It also provides an opportunity to slow down, chew your food with intention, and take your time, all habits that I easily take for granted in the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
So naturally I was in a place where I mostly just needed to rest and absorb the surrounding beauty. There was a chill in the air on the first couple of nights, so Jody and Leon helped me to get a fire going, and I just lounged around most of the time read a little, journaled a little, and of course I painted. It rained the first day of my stay and I welcomed the chance to hang out indoors and start some backgrounds for my paintings. I thought about the importance of welcoming these types of rainy days in our lives and not fighting them with labels of “miserable”, “gross” or “gloomy”, just acceptance of what is and maybe some gratitude for what the rain allows.
The concept of rain made its way into my paintings and I spent time studying the various Springtime blooms that were around me. The April Showers series came very naturally and I painted just about one painting a day during my stay there. It’s so good to have the dedicated art studio space right there to greet you each day. All of the typical excuses to not paint were irrelevant…it’s just you, the surrounding woods, and your paint supplies.
I took breaks from time to time to go for hikes on some local trails and to visit the small town of Kimberton for some holistic health treatments that were part of my cleanse. On my final day, I received reiki from Jody, which was such an amazing experience. Jody had insights and visions from my session with her that floored me. It was truly a time of nurturing and I was able to leave with a renewed sense of purpose and peace to bring back with me into my everyday life as well as a new series of paintings, my “April Shower” series.
The first painting from my April Showers series I completed I named “Enter”. This signifies the entrance into a more quiet and meditative state.
The third painting I painted is called “Receive” this is the state of openness that comes from practicing meditation in which you receive whatever blessings, challenges or insights that come with the practice.
Many Blessings of Peace,