Do you ever get the feeling of being so overwhelmed with life and its challenges that you just want time to stop completely? It was this urge that drew me to a retreat in France at a place called Plum Village. I knew I needed to slow down and reevaluate my life but, once there, I spent the first few days wondering what I’d let myself in for.

This was no swanky spa break, but a proper spiritual retreat, led by Buddhist monks and nuns, in accordance with Buddhist traditions and ceremonies.

One of the philosophies that struck a real chord with me was the importance of letting things happen without forcing. Three days into the retreat, I went on a walking meditation in the hills, which involved focusing on how your feet make contact with the earth, helping to prevent other thoughts and worries intruding and distracting you from the moment.

As a result of focusing on my moving feet I found it increasingly difficult to continue. I became aware of how each step contributed to a greater change and had to force myself to go up a small hill. This was a very significant experience which put me in mind of the rebirthing I had undergone a couple of years before.