'Breathe deeply and connect to that part of you behind your heart and ask yourself: What is stopping me from being who I really am?’ invites Victor John Borg, the creator of the Satori centre in a spontaneous meditation. We are on Gozo, a tiny drop of an island in the Mediterranean next to Malta. Dotted with the world’s oldest temples, Gozo has a magic and a magnetism. It is as if Victor has plugged into this and Satori, his new open community of holistic practitioners, is already a hub of extraordinary healers from around the world.
Victor’s suggestion comes from his heart. Satori operates from several locations, including its temple-like community and five-star hotel as well as a family farmhouse and its own private beach. Retreats tap into a rich tradition of learning from Indian Tantra and Chinese Taoism to Hawaiian body therapy and South American shamanism.
I joined a detox retreat where a Lomi Lomi treatment beginning with lighting a candle and setting an intention apparently opens my heart. A skilled naturopath leading the retreat is also a medical doctor, spiritual psychologist and integrative psychotherapist. He is typical of the multi-dimensional healers that Satori attracts, who seem to offer a new way of non-dual learning and of being.
‘He wants us all to be the best version of ourselves we can be,’ Alex, a nutritionist on the detox tells me under a hundred-year-old carob tree at the luxury Hotel Ta' Cenc & Spa. Beehive bedrooms invite meditation and a lagoon-like pool forms part of the spa. A deep peace pervades the place and there is a sense of being on the edge of the world, on an island within an island. We are surrounded by 160 hectares of wilderness set to become a national park, populated with wild birds and dotted with dolmens where 140-metre limestone cliffs plunge into the sea.
Our personalities begin to shine, along with the whites of our eyes and we become like a family in this family hotel. ‘I love you, Mimi,’ Alex says, laughing, to a Master of Wine who asks how she can possibly drink two litres of water along with the two bottles of wine she regularly downs. There may be a spiritual aspect to this retreat but there is nothing esoteric about it. Elena, a burnt-out chef, is able to work again thanks to the help she has found here. ‘It has literally changed my life,’ she smiles. Frank, a gourmand, grimaces at the cabbage juice, but practically cartwheels out at the end of the week.
A women’s retreat at Satori is running at the same time as the detox. This happens apparently effortlessly, thanks to the synergy between the people that Victor works with. ‘There is no separation between us,’ he says of Lyonne Sundari, a yoga, Tao-Tantra and energy healer. I took part in a two-day retreat led by Lyonne, which was deep, yet accessible, empowering and enlightening. We are encouraged to understand that ‘where energy goes, energy grows;’ that nothing is wrong and everything is right. It feels like a celebration and an education and a deep healing.
A chef with a background in permaculture who specialise in conscious nutrition
creates an energy-filled breakfast of coconut milk, nuts, red berries and banana and cucumber salad. ‘I enjoy supporting transformational experiences,’ he tells me as we sip on Satori’s own blend of herbal teas sustainably foraged from the wild expanse of the island. A ceremonial sound journey that feels like an orchestra for the soul ends with us each standing in a giant singing bowl for a powerful, personal re-tuning. The focus of the women’s retreat is on self-love and the dropping of resistance. One woman tells me: ‘This weekend has literally transformed everything for me’.
The therapeutic work offered draws on our own capability for self-healing, as well as on the island’s own energy. This may be a fledging operation but it seems set to fly. 'Think of me as your anchor,’ Victor invites, welcoming healers and practitioners from around the world to connect with him at Satori, which may well be Gozo’s temple for a new era.
Gozo Garage (www.gozogarage.com) provides transfers to the island, car hire and works with key tour operators. EasyJet (www.easyjet.com) operates daily flights to Malta. Hotel Ta' Cenc & Spa (www.tacenc.com) has the island’s finest spa, a medieval palazzo and extensive natural surroundings.
Satori (www.facebook.com/satorigozo) hosts a programme of weekly activities and meditations and a range of retreats.