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Nurture your Nature: Damanhur, Italy

Dictionary Footnotes:  For those of you not familiar with the language we use in our plant community, NCC and/or Damanhur, see the footnotes.

I was ready!  I flew back to Milan from Frankfurt the night before the retreat and met up with Veronica the next day at baggage claim – for the first time in person!  Tigrilla – our retreat leader – met us outside the doors.  Sweet way to travel!

In this group, there were four of us total – Linda had arrived in Damanhur a couple of days earlier – conversed, connected, talked, cried (well, me), and shared everything on Zoom for the last year.  And so, it felt as if I knew everyone on an intimate level – and yet I really can’t describe the feeling of being in person.  Maybe it was because I had just arrived from visiting my daughter in person – being able to hug her – talk in “real-time”, I don’t know, but there is an added zing to be WITH PEOPLE!


I thought about writing this in consecutive “order” of events… but it seemed too structured.  So, I’ve decided to express myself through the experiences, instead.  

Tigrilla set up an amazing variety of encounters with nature over the week.  

  • We began with the Sacred Woods at Damanhur. (This is a sacred space and photos are not allowed, unfortunately.)  
  • We then went to the forest, and an ancient Celtic Altar.  
  • We engaged with potted, cultivated plants in Turin at a major flower show.  
  • Finally, we engaged with potted plants at one of the Nucleos.  

Each day and in each place, we engaged with the trees and/or plants, a truly biophilic experience.  Tigrilla invited us to ask questions – what tree wanted to tell us about Ki’s environment, what plant experienced living in a pot.  By actively listening and conversing with plants, we strengthened our connection, creating an opening where ideas and solutions to collaborate with nature can flow. I never would have thought of half the questions on my own. Now, I am curious; I ask questions and see Kin in ways I hadn’t before. We learned how to not only use words but art and emotion to “describe” the experiences we were having. While some artists are better than others…I did draw an amazing piece of moss – just saying!

Everyone has a unique way they “hear”, “see”, or “feel” plants when communicating with Kin.  Trust that communication IS happening.  We all need confirmation at times, verification it’s not something “made up”.  The NYN retreat confirmed communication takes place not just with me, but with all of us who attended this amazing experience.  Why do I emphasize this?  Because you learn to trust, become aware of, and be conscious of plant communication taking place.  And the more you consciously try, the more the communication takes place. 


We stayed at an amazing house, an Airbnb, within walking distance from DamanhurCrea, the river, the dam, and the Damanhur capital, Damjl (Pronounced it Da-Mil). Each room had a decorative theme.  Where did I stay? – The Dandelion Room!  LOL

We had the place to ourselves for the first couple of days, and then Marion joined us, she was traveling from Holland. A young couple from Montenegro came and shared a bottle of wine with us from their winery – great fun.  Two Americans, women who met each other on Zoom, came to stay.   In the short time people arrived and departed, we became fast friends!  Again, the joy of meeting people in person, engaging with others in the world, and hearing about their lives…this exchange is what makes a retreat!


What Retreat would be complete without food?  OMG!  Again, Tigrilla amazed me, this time with the variety and quality of food.  And, because she thought of everything…food modifications were available if your diet required it.

The Naturally Conscious Community attempts to be aware of the source of food, how it is raised (plants too – love in is love out!), and the sustainability practices of the restaurant and of the farm or ranch.  With these central themes, we experienced some of the most reasonably priced, delicious food this region of Italy had to offer. I challenge you to eat food sourced with love, made with love, and served with love vs food otherwise created…love of plants, animals, the creative process of cooking, serving, clearing, enjoying others enjoy the meal… it’s all present in every bite you take.  There is a magical difference.  

Each meal was an experience in and of itself – those organized by Tigrilla, and even the meals on our own.  We all had fun being creative and sharing.  Mealtime was a time to discuss the day, and our experiences, and put away the phone…except I HAD to take pictures of the food and wine! 

I can’t say one day, or one experience was The Best…rather the entire experience built upon itself, hour by hour, day by day.  I was blessed to be able to stay for an additional week and, on my own, walk through the village, hike up to the dam, integrate, and assimilate.  

Ok, best part?  We are planning another retreat for next year…


Tigrilla Gardenia – Nature-inspired Mentor and Leadership Coach.  Creator of the Naturally Conscious Community, hosted on Mighty Networks.

Damanhur – Damanhur is a living laboratory for the Future, Federation of spiritual communities and a worldwide movement that inspires the lives of thousands of people committed to leaving a positive mark on the world.

Damanhurians live in group houses, called nucleos. Each nucleo has specific skills and specialties that contribute to the whole.

Biophilia, which literally means “love of life,” is an affinity for living things and the natural world.  A biophilic experience is evoked through a sensory experience of nature: sight, sound, smell, or feel.

Ki/Kin – Plant Life Pronouns.
Robin Wall Kimmerer for YES! Magazine:

Nature Needs a New Pronoun: To Stop the Age of Extinction, Let’s Start by Ditching “It”

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