So onto the next part of my trip, 5 nights at the Barberyn Reef Resort on the South West Coast of Sri Lanka. As the name suggests this is on the beach and when I arrived it was my first glimpse of the ocean since landing. The instant I see the sea I smile, I have always been the same. To add to it, the beach front location it in an alluring mix of chaos and calm- The waves coming in from the ocean are quite rough but they break about 20 meters out on the reef. That leads to a few good things; you can walk on the reef, you can hear the waves very clearly at night and the water directly in front of the resort is almost motionless. Great paradox. Which brings me nicely into my reason for being here; the contradictions of modern life. Ones quest to feel happy and fulfilled versus the pressures of the everyday commute, bills, deadlines, the failure associated with not posting to Instagram daily. There are a lot of things at odds and I wanted to learn another way of balancing them.
Let me be honest, I was of course sold by the words beach and massage but it turns out I got much greater value than the obvious.
On arrival, you are seen by an Ayurvedic doctor who listens to your account of your current physical and mental state of health. Some additional basic medial stats are taken; pulse, blood pressure, weight. If you are not familiar with the concept of Ayurverda, it is an alternative medicine originating in India. (My simplistic way of describing) It is based upon three body/ personality types. These categorise you to determine the best way to live your life. The food you eat, temperature that suits you, lifestyle choices etc. You only find the type out at the end based on their assessment so the treatments are only tailored to general health and any specific conditions you mention. I brought stress, weight management and my poorly ankle to the table to be healed.
During your stay, you are going to have to get well and truly on this healthy commitment. The food is all prepared freshly for you but it is uber healthy. No meat, no alcohol and very little by way of western food. Only hot water, herbal tea and fruit juice. For me the dramatic increase in vegetables was the most challenging part of the experience.
I stayed in what is described as a garden room, a spacious self-contained circular room with a double bed and bathroom. There is no aircon as it goes against the treatments, hard to get used to but worth it in the end. The style of the place is very in keeping with nature, think wooden furniture, minimal artwork etc. Although I was one row back from the sea, I could still see and hear it which was great. That is the same for most of their accommodation.
Each day you will dispenses with various verbal remedies, pastes, pills, potions. All to be taken at specific times. You never quite know what you are taking or why but anything in the pursuit of balance.
Now to the best bits, the treatments. Each person will be different but mine was a relaxing combination of head massage, sitting neck/ back massage, facial massage and full body oil or exfoliating massage. Heaven. Then a rest in the herb garden where packets of appropriate herbs for your conditions would be placed on your body, plus an Aloe Vera face mask, complete with noises of bubbling fountains. Next a shower with a natural body wash and then a herbal bath. Most stages of the treatment are accompanied by a different Sri Lankan therapist, they were lovely. Final stage was acupuncture. Day one was three needles by the last day I think I counted 11. My least favourite of the treatments but the combined effect of all cannot be argued with so I valued each one on that basis.
And repeat… every day you are there. Wonderful!
It was an interesting journey for me. On day one, I was not a very ‘good’ patient. Apart from the massage, which I occasionally indulge in back home, I wasn’t used to so much lying around or relaxing. By the time the final part of the treatment arrived I was ready to sit up and do my emails. That really was the point. I needed to learn to relax and value doing nothing from time to time. It is when we get space that clarity of thought returns. I have been actively trying not to think about my business. However, I have had some great ideas (in my humble opinion) nonetheless. This comes from clarity and clarity comes from breaking free of constant mental clutter. You will be happy to learn that by day four I was the classic patient, relaxed to the point of falling asleep on each stage of my journey.
I had a nice little routine going while I was here. 5.30am wake up, 6.00am meditation and yoga, 8.00am breakfast, 08.30am minimal WIFI usage, 9am sunbathe (or walking on beach if cloudy), 10.30am morning fresh juice by the pool, 11am more sunbathing, 12pm lunch, 12.45pm treatments, 3.30pm herbal tea on the beach front, 4pm reading life affirming books, 6.30pm watch the sunset, 7.30pm dinner, 9.00-10pm bed. That was me for 4 days. You are recommended to stay 14 days. If I had that would have been me for 14 days, except the range of treatments available would be increased.
So now to the results… it worked. My objective was to remove stress and the day to day so I could make some major life decisions and I made them with relative ease. Not that the decisions were easy, some quite the opposite. When I removed myself from the situation and allowed myself the time to really think, the answers were more obvious. As for weight management, I learnt some incompatibilities that I will try out at home and I lost 1.5-2kg. Now I don’t expect that to stay off when a normal diet resumes but I will settle for some of it. We will have to wait for a sports challenge to see if my ankle is up to it but the swelling is notably different which is great.
If you want to take a look around the resort or a glimpse of the treatments then subscribe to watch the vlog when it is uploaded here: Miss Lauren Riley YouTube channel
I really do feel a sense of peace from my time here and most importantly, full of energy for the next stages of my life. I may even follow this blog with what, if anything (please be something), I managed to keep in my day to day. Thank you to Barberyn Reef staff for looking after me and giving me a bit more of me back!