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  • Writer's pictureTemenos

22 - 26 Nov 2021 | RESTORE, RESTORY, REKINDLE An Embodiment Retreat with Johann van Greunen

Updated: Nov 7, 2021

“The body is the angel who expresses and minds the soul; we should always pay loving attention to our bodies. … The body is the angel of life.”

- John O’Donohue

Living in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic had an impact on our bodies and souls on many levels. The suffering that was endured during this time, including illness, death, isolation and loss of income, held for many a disembodied experience: a sense of numbness, the lack of or overwhelming emotions, grief and depression associated with the lack of togetherness and physical touch. The onset of the pandemic had a profound impact on our experience of embodiment due to social distancing and isolation. Especially in times of grief we were bereft of the necessary comforting human touch and embrace to affirm and support our embodied existence. Mental and emotional problems, anxiety, chronic fatigue and continuous trauma added to this sense of disembodiment.

John O’Donohue captures the essence of embodiment when he writes: “Your body tells you, if you attend to it, how your life is and whether you are living from your soul or from the labyrinths of your negativity. The body also has a wonderful intelligence. All of our movements, indeed everything we do, demands a most refined and detailed co-operation of each of our senses. The human body is the most complex, refined and harmonious totality. The body is your only home in the universe. It is your house of belonging here in the world. It is a very sacred temple. To spend time in silence before the mystery of your body brings you towards wisdom and holiness.”

Now, more than ever, we need healing and reclaiming our sense of embodiment. It is time to restore and heal our bodies that were energetically depleted from illness, stress, trauma and grief. It is time to re-story our narratives about our life situations that keep us stuck in negativity and lethargy. It is time to rekindle the creative energies needed to move forward with a sense of hope, joy and connectedness.

During this 4-day retreat in the beautiful and nurturing environment of Temenos, we will explore the following themes:

  • Neurobiology, stress and trauma: the impact on our bodies

  • The Narratives of Life-scripts: how we story our lives to make meaning

  • Embodiment: The energy body, embodied existence and the body in relation

The retreat will be structured as follows:

  • Early morning walks and/or yoga sessions

  • Morning and late afternoon guided meditations

  • Morning workshop-style sessions on the themes following breakfast

  • The afternoons will be dedicated to resting and practical sessions to honour the themes of the retreat:

• Embodiment practices to restore and rekindle energy, including movement, walking meditations, walking the labyrinth and free-style dancing.

• A practical session to evaluate life-scripts and to re-story problematic and self- limiting life-scripts.

• Painting and collage to rekindle creative energy.

  • The evenings after dinner will be dedicated to feedback discussions and sound journeys.

You are invited to join me for this 4-day retreat at Temenos Retreat Centre on the 22nd November 2021 for this retreat, inclusive of breakfast and dinner daily, retreat activities and materials used. Checking in-time will be from 14:00 on Monday 22nd November and we will gather 16:00 for the start of the retreat. The retreat will end at around 11:00 after a closing ritual following breakfast on Friday 26th November. The cottages at Temenos are fully equipped for self-catering, so you can bring your own food with for lunches or have lunch at Tebaldi’s or in town.

The retreat fee is R 7 950.00 single accommodation and R 6 500.00 sharing. An immediate deposit of R1 000.00 secures your booking. The balance is payable on 5th November. Discount is offered for those who want to stay on for Re-calling the Creative Muse: A Creativity Retreat during the weekend of 26-28 November at Temenos. Please book soon as space is limited. For bookings, contact Johann at or 021-914 1294 or 083 764 5978.

About your facilitator:

Johann Van Greunen

Johann is a Specialist Wellness Counsellor in private practice with training and background in Pastoral Therapy. In his practice he focuses on counselling, Reiki healing and training, teach ing mindfulness meditation and he runs various workshops focused on mindfulness practices and inner wellbeing Johann has realised the value of Meditation and Mindfulness Practices early in his life and has co me to know Mindfulness Meditation as an invaluable aid in assisting us to develop integrated and coherent life stories.

With an interest in Integral and Complementary Medicine from early on, Johann qualified as Reiki Master to offer a hands on healing pra ctice that complements his counselling practice. Being a Master in Reiki, he teaches courses on Levels 1, 2 and Master Level.

Johann had been training in both ballroom and contemporary dance for years and developed a strong interest in the healing power of creative processes, especially in art, movement and music. He uses these processes working with groups and during his workshops and retreats teaching Mindfulness Practices. He encourages his clients coming for counselling to use creative processes in o rder to develop new narratives for their life stories.

Johann holds an Honours degree in Psychology from the University of Pretoria and a M.Th. (Clinical Pastoral Care) from the University of Stellenbosch. He is registered as Specialist Wellness Counsellor at the Association for Supportive Counsellors & Holistic Practitioners. He is involved with mentoring programmes for the City of Cape Town which involves psycho social support for health clinic staff and clinic managers. His work with these teams includes team building, trauma debriefing and teaching mindfulness practices. Past work in this field includes mentoring programmes for HIV/AIDS counsellors at Lifeline, Wola Nani, Sothemba AIDS Action Group, Positive Muslims and Desmond Tutu TB Centre linked to t he University of Stellenbosch. He was also supervisor for the M.Th. Clinical Pastoral Care (HIV Counselling) programme for 5 years.

Johann is passionate about life, the arts, music, dance, nature, good food, coffee, wine and soulful friendships. He lives with his partner in the leafy suburb of Kenridge in Durbanville and is the servant of a big fluffy ginger cat.


At Temenos we're always happy to host Retreats and Workshops, for more details contact Margaret



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