Emerging from Darkness: A Residential Winter Retreat

Dates: January 26th-28th, 2024

Venue: Charney Manor, Wantage, Oxfordshire, OX12 0EG

Cost: £280

Facilitated by Alex Wildwood and Rachael Kellett

Traditionally, winter is a time to slow down and reflect, to take stock and discern what is waiting to emerge. Our souls long to take a break from doing and savor the truth of our being. Join us for a unique opportunity to embrace the seasonal stillness and share deep stories around the comforting warmth of a crackling fire.

Retreat Schedule:

Friday, January 26th:

  • 4:00 pm: Arrivals & Tea
  • 7:00 pm: Supper
  • 7:45 pm: Session 1 – Welcome and Opening to Darkness
  • 9:30 pm: Evening Drinks

Saturday, January 27th:

  • 8:30 am: Breakfast
  • 9:30 am: Session 2 – What is emerging?
  • 11:00 am: Coffee
  • 11:30 am: Session 3 – What sustains us in the darkness?
  • 1:00 pm: Lunch
  • 2:00 pm: Resting/Time to Be
  • 4.00 pm: Tea and lighting of the fire.
  • 4:30 pm:  Betwixt & Between: a mindful walk as dusk falls, followed by what a ceremony of letting go using the fire.
  • 6:00 pm: Supper
  • 7:00 pm: Session 5 – Voices from the shadows: sharing our objects and stories
  • 9:00 pm: Evening Drinks

Sunday, January 28th:

  • 8:30 am: Breakfast
  • 9:30 am: Session 6 – Moving on in awareness
  • 11:00 am: Coffee
  • 11:30 am: Session 7 – Resting in Stillness
  • 1:00 pm: Lunch & Departures

Escape the hustle and bustle of daily life. Delve into the depths of winter, embrace the quiet, and nurture your soul. Find solace and inspiration.

Limited spaces available. Reserve your spot today.

To book, please contact us Charney Manor directly at admin@charneymanor.com or Telephone 01235 868206.

Alex Wildwood is a Quaker author and educator influenced by several spiritual lineages; he thinks of  himself as an ‘evolutionary’. Rachael Kellett is a Gestalt Psychotherapist and group facilitator who works in an embodied, relational and creative way. They both have a strong interest in group-created rituals.

Experiential group

Presence Group

Presence: an experiential, ongoing group 

Presence is a bi-monthly  co-created, experiential, ongoing group for counsellors, psychotherapists and coaches. A group space where we each give ourselves permission to explore being more authentic. Discover our own depths, and learn how we are experienced by others. It is based on a shared  commitment to meet together and participate in a lightly structured, spontaneous process. In which, whatever emerges, allows each of us to experiment and grow in awareness. 

What you can expect

The aim is to offer a ‘contained spaciousness’. Where everyone can say what they need to say and disagreements can be safely voiced. A space in which each person has a chance to be fully seen and heard. And in addition, learn about themselves through their engagement or withdrawal at any given moment. With each person ultimately responsible for their own boundaries and choices.

A typical day includes the following practices: (however, this is subject to the unpredictability of co-creation!):

  • Initial check-in (sharing our insights/ news since the last meeting/current feelings / health concerns)
  • Open group sharing and responses/circle work
  • Experiential exercises and focusing on a theme / topic designed to bring new awareness
  • Time alone, in pairs and small groups inside or outside in nature
  • Simple, self-created ‘ceremonies’/symbolic actions witnessed by the group
  • Mindfulness & guided imagery
  • Check out at the end of the day (How are we feeling? Where are we now? Is there anything unfinished for us?)


This experiential, ongoing group meets bimonthly on dates agreed together at the beginning of the year.

9.30 am -4.00pm (with shared lunch)

The cost is £75.00

Venue: Jordans Quaker Meeting House, Jordans, Beaconsfield, Bucks., HP9 2SN

The number of participants is limited to 16

Therefore, the basic commitment asked of everyone who joins the group is to attend on the agreed dates unless illness or genuine emergencies prevent us. To share honestly – their thoughts, feelings and sensations in the moment – even if this feels uncomfortable at times. Our experience over 8 years has been that this process takes courage. Moreover, it always leads to a deeper sense of belonging and to a more authentic experience of connection to others and ourselves. Insights, self-realisation, or awareness may come at the time or on our own after the group. It is our collective experience that staying with the process as it unfolds always leads to personal growth and greater integration.

Join us

Finally, if you wish to join us, we ask that you are willing to:

  • Be as present and authentic as you can be in each moment.
  • Practise being aware of your own process. Whilst still allowing yourself and others to learn by risking getting things ‘wrong’.
  • Explore conflict and the expression of anger. Without lashing out, blaming, or permanently leaving the group.
  • Own your projections.Either at the time or as soon as you become aware.
  • Engage with the emerging process and stay with that to the best of our ability.
  • Take ownership of everything we bring to the group, of what we say  and how we act.
  • Give and receive feedback in responsible ways, without being afraid to take risks and noticing when you may be avoiding challenges.
  • Accept, welcome, and learn through differences and disagreements.
  • Look at your own defences.

In conclusion,  making the time and space in our lives to come away to a beautiful venue, and sharing a meal as part of our day. These are also  important elements in the ‘magic’ of this experiential process. ‘Jordans’ has been a crucible for personal and collective transformation for over 300 years.


In conclusion, here are some of the things past and present participants say they have most valued:

“Presence has allowed me to continue deepening my understanding of myself and the impact other people have on me and I on them. I have learned so much about group dynamics that is invaluable in my counselling work and also how to stay true to myself. All this in a supportive, life affirming and emotionally literate group”


“Honesty, sharing of vulnerability, mutual support, feeling the caring

 Safety: receiving and being in a field of compassion and acceptance

 Continuity and deep connection I don’t have elsewhere

 Growing in awareness; being appreciated for who I am and experiencing others’ generosity of spirit

 A space to grow, develop; a chunk of time set aside for myself, a chance to listen and focus on what’s really going on in my life

 Whole-self development; growing in awareness and emotional/relational competence.”


“The only group I’m in where there’s no pressure to be okay or perform – even to pretend I’m fine by the end of the day”


Workshop Testimonials

Louisa says:

“Having been a founder member of this wonderful Creativity Workshop Group since it began in 2014, I’ve seen it develop and grow in strength and diversity throughout that time. 

I see it as being a means to look at and expand your Creativity in the broadest sense, in every aspect of life.  It’s fun, searching, companionable, insightful, thought-provoking.  Each workshop, whether getting together in a group, or on Zoom during Covid times, is immensely fulfilling and rewarding.  Rachael brings her wealth of Gestalt knowledge and experience, but it is by no means therapy-led, and Rachael often forms part of the group for exercises and tasks. 

We have become a close-knit group over the years – and despite our age range, from 20s to 60s, all feel that we have thoughts, feelings and experiences which are very in-tune with each other.  A joy to be with these people.

Most of all the Group is really great fun and gives a wonderfully close experience. A day of totally stepping out of your day to day life.

I would strongly recommend joining Rachael and any new Creativity Awareness Workshop or Group.”

Jenni says:

“I joined Rachael’s Paths to Growth group 6 years ago and have rarely missed one since!

Rachel’s warm, gentle and creative nature sets the tone for women to gather together and explore their own internal landscape and innate creativity. She creates a space where you feel comfortable to just be you – whatever that looks like on the day! 

The friendships that I have built within the group over the years are some of the most authentic and supportive I have ever had. 

The Paths To Growth retreats have really changed my view of myself and allowed me to explore new directions in all areas of my life. I couldn’t recommend joining one more!”

Quee says:

“Rachael’s workshops are always beneficial, helping us to focus on the present, on what is going on around us and how that might be affecting us. Allowing us to be thoughtful and experimental in looking at creative ideas and seeing how they might tie in with our own paths through our lives.  They also allow us to communicate with a very special small group of people in a safe, warm and supportive way.

The workshops are always inspirational, thought provoking and leave you feeling content and replenished.”  

Mandy says:

“I started the workshops after they’d been running for several years – I couldn’t have joined a more friendly and welcoming group. With a big age-range and diversity of lifestyles, each person contributes to making it an exciting and fun place.  It’s my treat to myself (my “me-time”).  Each workshop is unique and combines a mix of creativity, peace, spirituality, nurture, nature, support and much laughter.  Rachael runs these workshops with her usual professionalism, enthusiasm and warmth. Our face-to-face groups have the additional treat of sharing whatever we’ve all brought for lunch.  The lock-down digital groups have gone incredibly well and it always raises my spirits to spend time with these special people.”

Sheila says:

For me Rachael’s workshops are personal development, creativity, self-care, connecting with nature, a women’s circle all wrapped up in fairy dust!

Making time for Health & Happiness

“We haven’t the time to take our time” by Eugene Ionesco

With our busy lives and our never-ending “to-do lists” we never seem to find time to do the things we enjoy. We struggle to make time for ourselves and what matters to us. We are all familiar with the phrase “time flies when you are having fun.” When we become absorbed in something pleasurable we can lose track of time completely. Activities that we find fun and relaxing are known as past-times, and therefore tend to be considered unimportant. But are they? What if your relationship with time is a major factor in the promotion of health and illness? In this workshop we will explore our experience of time and its effect on the following:

    • Stress
    • Illness
    • Ageing and fear of dying
    • Pain
    • Energy levels

We will spend the day with a joyful mix of gestalt based experiential work , self reflection, mindfulness and guided imagery. To register your interest or book a place please contact me

Paths to Growth 2020 workshops – Making time for Happiness, Health & Healing – Wednesday March 11th- 9.30 am -4.00pm

Retreat Days

Dates: Next date Wednesday 11th March then bi-monthly

Times: 9.30 am -4.00pm

Since I started these Retreat Days in 2014, my hope has been to create a container of emergence, where people can join together with others to share their stories and feelings, gain insight and learning from listening to others, share food together, have fun and laugh together and support each others struggles.  I create a space for people to step away from their daily pressures and routines and take time to be with themselves and others. I offer Gestalt based experiential exercises which tap into our inner wisdom and creative thinking I offer an opportunity to reflect on what is important in your life and encourage you to let go of that which is no longer useful. There is no pressure on anyone to prove anything, it is a place where you are encouraged to be yourself , in fact  I offer exercises which help bring you closer to your true self. A place where you learn from listening closely to others and being properly listened to. I also include guided imagery, mindfulness, meditation, time in nature  and simple art and craft experiences.  This combination of the opportunity to build intimate connections, to focus on your needs and who you really are, experiential exercises which encourage reflection can all help you to creatively redefine yourself , your choices and who you want to become. Participants describe leaving these days feeling rejuvenated and inspired.

There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one you in all time, this expression is unique….You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open.

(Martha Graham in a letter to Agnes de Mille)

What is Self Care?

The term self – care is used quite a lot these days but what does it mean? For many it means finding the right life- work balance. For me self -care starts with understanding my own needs and to do that I need to be able to tune into my body and listen to what it is telling me. Before I discovered Gestalt Psychotherapy back in 1998 I had no real understanding of my own needs beyond basic needs such as tiredness, hunger and thirst. My priorities were being a good student, a good employee, pleasing others and basically spending my time “doing” and keeping busy. I struggled to allow myself time to relax unless it happened to also please someone else. I pushed myself so hard that my body eventually fought back. I developed Fibromyalgia. Chronic pain and fatigue. My body said “ENOUGH!” I had no choice but to learn about self-care.

Which areas of our life does it cover?

Self-care is unique to everyone. It is not enough to say self -care is about learning to relax and take breaks from our busy lives it is more than that. It encompasses many areas of our lives such as:

  • Health and physical well being
  • Psychological well-being, self awareness and self reflection
  • Emotional well-being and self compassion
  • Spiritual well-being
  • Personal fulfilment, meeting our goals and desires
  • Professional / work well being

4 simple ways to increase your self-care:

  1. Start a “Happiness list” on your phone

This is a document where you start to list everything that makes you happy. Ranging from your favourite food or beverage or a soak in a bubble bath to rock climbing, water skiing, or planning a round the world trip. It should ideally include a whole range of price and time brackets so that there is always something you can do from your list no matter how short on time or money you are. The beauty of it is you can add to it anytime you find yourself laughing out loud or getting a warm glow.

2. Keep a journal

A journal is an excellent tool for self reflection and for getting to know yourself. It can also help sort out your priorities as you tap into your own inner wisdom.

3. Practice Self- awareness

Develop your self awareness of what exactly your needs are so that you can find ways of meeting them. It can also help you to recognise when your life is in balance and when you might be neglecting your needs and sliding towards depletion.

4. Find a retreat or join a group with others trying to do the same thing. Look here https://www.rachael-kellett.co.uk/groups/


Make this year the year your Creativity shines through.  Whether it is making things, paintings, writing, baking, interior, design, photography or simply developing more creative ways of thinking and living.

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”

Pablo Picasso

Are you the type of person who would love to be creative but doesn’t believe they can. Are you suffering from artist’s or creative block? We all have the potential for creativity when we learn to connect with ourselves and remove the false belief that we are not creative or not talented enough.

It is never too late to move beyond your feelings of low self worth. Join with us to challenge yourself to uncover your creative possibilities and allow us to help you to nurture your dreams in an atmosphere of trust.

This day of discovering your creative self is based on the work of Julia Cameron and can be useful as either a stand alone experience or as a taster day and precursor to the The Artists Way 12 week course.

The day will be spent working to uncover the thoughts and beliefs that are preventing your creative flow. Together we will explore common pitfalls and negative patterns and then offer step by step strategies to help you move forward.

Who can benefit from this workshop?

This can benefit anyone who wants more creativity in their life. Ranging from existing artists who feel they are holding themselves back or experiencing artists/ writers block; to those who long to express some creativity but believe that this is something other people do, and that they just don’t have what it takes. It can help you to be more creative in your decision making. Basically anyone who feels they are not expressing their full potential.

Inside you there’s an artist you don’t know about….Say yes quickly, if you know, if you’ve known it from before the beginning of the universe.” Jalai-Din Rumi


Discover your Creative Talent

Lane End Conference Centre, Church Road Lane End, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, HP14 3HH


Organised by The Sollus Consultancy

Facilitated by Rachael Kellett (UKCP accredited Gestalt Psychotherapist)

Please contact me if you are interested or would like further information

07787 242442