I am walking away with a well-fed stomach and a well-fed soul. I didn't come here to experience a "personal retreat", but that is exactly what I got. There are stories that suggest the land that Mana Retreat Centre is on has healing powers. True or not, one real, concrete fact that I know is true is Mana has space! Space for your thoughts, your emotions, space to play and run and jump and laugh. Space to work and space sit 
quietly.  Space to be social and space to be reclusive. Space to heal old wounds and space to think. This place is an all-encompassing sanctuary. It is your choice while here to do anything from challenge yourself mentally, physically or spiritually to do ab-so-lute-ly nothing! No thinking, no feeling, just being. I came to Mana in search of a basket. I found that basket, and I am now leaving with it full of goodies! 

As a wwoofer at Mana you are treated as a family. The longer you stay, the stronger the family becomes. The work is not hard, and you feel good doing it, because you know that the guests who will benefit from your work, are the type of people who will appreciate it. They are coming here to better themselves, and you are aiding them in this process. There is a calmness that comes with finding a respectful environment, and that's exactly what Mana is. While traveling, sometimes it is hard to anticipate the environment you will soon be in. Mana is like a safe and comforting home to protect yourself in. Whatever your beliefs or your lifestyle, if you bring respect to Mana, it will be returned ten-fold. A wise friend named Cyril once said, "I came to Mana to feed my soul," and that is exactly what has happened to me in the two weeks I have been here. The natural scenery - from the ocean to the mountain, the never-ending hikes and trails, the jaw-dropping and inspiring views, the incredible people with amazing knowledge and compassion and the work-worth-doing are all reasons that I will be returning to Mana. It takes a very strong vision to create a space that welcomes such a large variety of people and lifestyles and does so with complete respect and compassion. I can truly say that my eyes have been opened to a fresher, more real way of living my life. I think the name Mana in Maori means "seeing the beauty within". That is exactly what you will find when you wwoof here. 

The Secret

I picked up this book in the library at Mana for the sole reason that I remembered that my sister had read it a few years back (or seen the movie, either or). I recall her joyusly exclaiming to myself and my aunt that she now held The Secret and all she had to do was believe that millions of dollars would be hers, and they will come. I also 
 remember years ago when there was a lot of hoopla about this movie and book, I think it was on Oprah or something? Anyways, I picked up the book, but with skepticism. Any book or movie that focuses on teaching people that if they believe they will have millions, then they will have millions, seems a bit hokey pokey to me. But, none-the-less, I'm on a journey all about new experiences, right? Might as well give it a shot. And so I did.

For the first 30 pages, I held my skepticism front and centre and read each word with a grain of salt, focusing on how it could not possibly be true and thinking "this is not for me". But then the book told me to do something, and I did it, and afterwards, I felt good! 

"As you focus intensely on your feelings, with the intention to lift yourself, you can powerfully elevate them. One way is to close your eyes (shutting out distractions), focus on your feelings inside, and smile for one minute." 

So I did. It was the evening and I was cozy in bed, I closed my eyes and I smiled. Then my thoughts drifted to what makes me smile. Then my smile became more real because I was thinking of those happy thoughts. Watching the progression of my thoughts drift further and further into a very happy realm was really quite amazing. When I opened my eyes, I glanced over at Luke to see if he could feel just how happy I suddenly felt! It was this moment that I let my skepticism dissipate, ever so slightly.  

As I read on, I couldn't help but allow my thoughts to drift to the pain I had experienced daily in my back when I was at home. For the first time in my life I had experienced constant, continuous pain and no amount of exercise or stretching seemed to lift it. The interesting thing is, when I officially quit my job, moved all my items into storage, and began to get very close to my goal of living in New Zealand, the pain seemed to dissipate. And now, since being in New Zealand for two months and doing exactly what it is that I want to do, it has disappeared! And then I came across this quote: "Just the simple process of letting go of negative thoughts will allow your natural state of health to emerge within you. And your body will heal itself." Hmmm.... intriguing, no? 

I am happy to report that after reading further into The Secret, it isn't all about gaining millions of dollars in your lifetime, nor about having every possession possible. The basis of the teaching is simply that you have control over your own life and if you are not exactly where you want to be in your life right now, you have the power to change that, with the simple use of positive thinking. 
"The shortcut to anything you want in life is to BE and FEEL happy now!"

"The good news is that the moment you decide that what you know is more important than what you have been taught to believe, you will have shifted gears in your quest for abundance. Success comes from within, not from without."

"Unless you fill yourself up first, you have nothing to give anybody...People are responsible for their own joy. When you tend to your joy and do what makes you feel good, you are a joy to be around...When you are feeling joy you don't even have to think about giving. It is a natural overflow."

"All stress begins with one negative thought...No matter what you might have manifested, you can change it...with one small positive thought, and then another." 

05/26/2012 4:10pm


Christine Green
06/06/2012 9:57am

I want to go to Mana, it is so cool you guys got to go there as wwoofers! People often pay a lot of money to go on retreats like that. I can't believe how beautiful it is there! Miss you buds xo

06/06/2012 5:13pm

Your words are an inspiriation, and definitely food for thought. Thank you for sharing, and also for inspiring :-)

06/13/2012 7:25am

Once again Deanna, I am inspired by your thoughts. I savor each of your entries. I am lifted up when I hear about your healing. So happy for you. Wish I was there to experience just a small portion of your joy!

07/08/2013 3:40am

That picture of being an opportunist just brought in positive vibes into me. it is so true that being an opportunist is the key. Only a positive thinker can think that way. I will try my best to think that way from now. But I think it’s not all about being positive, we should be wise too right!!

09/15/2013 12:46am

Thank you, much love and blessings...

08/06/2014 11:40pm

What does it mean by "In return for your hard work we offer........., use of Mana facilities?" Is that like kitchen and restrooms? or what?


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