There have only been a handful of times I could feel my soul at rest. Each time, it's like the reassuring hug of someone who, gratefully, knows everything good in you, and through that bind, tells you that you are enough, and that it will be okay.
But it also feels like a strong form of independence - a freedom and self-love that doesn't come with the need to steel oneself against the world, but from the knowledge that one is, for the time being, absolutely, perfectly safe.
It's not a state of being that often visits women. Sylvia Plath, deploring how the physical fragility of women necessarily inhibits their positive experiences in our world, said 'Yes, God, I want to talk to everybody as deeply as I can. I want to be able to sleep in an open field, to travel west, to walk freely at night.'
'To sleep in an open field'. How many times have I sat in a park, on the beach, walked through a clearing, without the fear that something might happen bumping against my consciousness like so many branches thrashing on a tent in a storm?
Although I might not have believed it as I walked in - blogging, although fun, is of course, still work - Gather Kindly's space was to arm my soul with a bed of flowers. Tucked away off a busy road in Woodstock, this airy paradise was to host a self-care and DIY beauty workshop, featuring the work of the gorgeous and interesting, Ashleigh from Deity. And what a workshop it was.
Gather is a gastronomic and lifestyle project run by two friends, Daniela Puccini and Filippa Harrington, who invite anyone interested in mindful living to explore their combined Italian and Swedish creative culinary efforts.
Working with a zero-waste policy (spinach stem hummus, anyone?), and a truly delightful sense of community engagement, Gather offers delicious plant-based meals (like, wow), and a chance for clients to expand their own skills and knowledge through a number of kick-ass workshops.
The first of these was the one I attended, where plant-based skincare guru (or 'goddess', I should say), Ashleigh spoke on the need for self-care ritual, and introduced us to a bright array of exciting natural ingredients - the makings of our workshop-made DIY beauty treats.
A table full of oils for an oil-based cleanser, or perhaps a makeup remover, should the mood take. Amber bottles, tops, and labels on another. And on yet another, bowls filled to the brim with herbs to make a skin tea. Or plain ol' tea, if we preferred.
Our new products made up and in-bag, we sat down to break bread. The food was ridiculous. My curiosity for new types of food really only blossomed when I switched to a plant-based diet. Before then I just ate a lot of burgers (I was also perma-hungover, but that's my early 20s for you). That said, I still have a somewhat guarded palate. Well, almost everything on the Gather table was new, and every single bite was eye-rolling tasty. Thank you so, so much, gang.
You can catch a Gather workshop by checking out their website and popping Filippa a mail (see website for details), and you can dine with them from 10am-3pm, every Tuesday-Friday in Woodstock, Cape Town. They also have a sweet Instagram buzz.
Speaking of which, Check out Deity's Instagram feed for some lit soul-serving pics, and keep an eye out for the upcoming online store. You can see more of the Gather space and the workshop with the photos below. Let me know if you've attended any other local self-care workshops - I'm itching for another doze in that open field.