By Darran Hughes
Darran Hughes shares his recent experience of healing, discovery and empowerment on Embercombe’s flagship personal development programme The Journey in November 2022.
“I invite you to spend some time exploring that…”, were the words Stefan gently spoke, as I sat alone on the edge of a roaring fire late one evening. I looked at him, knowing in my heart he was right, as at that moment I recalled mythologist Joseph Campbell’s quote “The thing we seek, is in the cave we most fear”… It was just one of the many pivotal moments and unfolding in the process of self-discovery that is, The Journey, at Embercombe.
It’s interesting as I reflect on the first day of that week-long programme, where we sat in the grand dining yurt, a band of mingling strangers from all walks of life, ages, beliefs and at least five countries. Never comprehending that in seven days, that random band would be a beautiful gathering of deep friendship, born of a common thread, in which we all at some point, by some means and no small amount of courage entered our own caves and found it, that Thing! The thing is, the THING, for the vast majority (including me), wasn’t even an answer we knew we were looking for. But it was very much the medicine we needed. For some it was a release, others forgiveness, many found direction, and all received healing of sorts, but no one walked away with just one thing. The gifts we discovered and received while on The Journey were many, and magnificent. In my case, it was a remembering of who I truly was, and for the first time in many years, seeing my courage, my creativity, my passion for life, and my love for myself. And I dearly wish I could tell you “how” we came to find those things, but the truth is I can’t!
I’ve been attending “personal development” workshops and programmes for nearly twenty years, and The Journey at Embercombe is at another level, or should I say depth! While some programmes are there to fix or improve. The Journey is very much about finding and healing, discovering and empowering. Trust your instinct, if you even have the slightest belly tingle about the idea of joining The Journey, just do it. It’s quite literally, transformational.
Firstly, because the first rule of The Journey is, don’t talk about The Journey (outside of The Journey tribe that is). And as cliché as that may sound, it makes sense as a means of holding sacred its’ “magic”. More practically, however, I can’t tell you that there is no one “way” or “experience” that is The Journey. It’s far more than that, it’s unique to each one of you there and far more than can be described in a few lines here. Ah yes, there was ONE thing we all had in common at the beginning. Even if we didn’t quite know WHAT we would be doing, or WHY exactly we chose to be there, we all knew we wanted to be there, almost like subconsciously knowing it was the right place to be at that time in our lives. Yes, we were all looking forward to being connected to Embercombe’s beautiful landscape, to amazing nutritious and incredibly delicious food, and to spending time out of the bustle of our “normal” lives; but we had all been drawn in some way at some time, to The Journey. So, what became of us all? Well, we are all still very much connected, and many returned to life with a deeper understanding and connection to what they had “back home”, and for some (me included) it was the springboard to new adventures, new destinations, and new projects. After all, The Journey isn’t about what happens in the magic of those seven days, The Journey is about what we do with that magic, what lives we create, outside of the womb of Embercombe, back in the worlds we live in. And that is all you need to know really… just trust your instinct! If it feels right, no matter how uncertain, no matter how little detail you know… TRUST! Your heart and soul know what’s there for you, even if your brain doesn’t yet. Just go… be there… it will quite literally change you!