• Cecilia Macaulay

Making that More Beautiful Life Our Heart Knows is Possible: Live-and-Learn Retreat at Cecilia's

Updated: Oct 5




I grew up with six little brothers and sisters asking me how to do things they couldn't yet do. I'd show them how to dig a cool hole, or glue a broken treasure back together. Standing beside someone you like, and doing what they are doing is a natural way to learn and teach. When I was starting out in life I traveled to Japan and found ways to be in the world of my heroes, absorbing who they are and what they do. I somehow fell into the Japanese tradition of being a live-in student, in Japanese, 'Uchi deshi'.


For decades now, travellers with dreams have been staying in my homes, helping me with my lovely projects, as I support them with theirs. Together we became more and more skilled at things that make daily life wonderful. We had practical achievements. We made events, grew businesses, gardens, and transformed who we are.


Teaching Yuma how to draw like Cecilia, in my former Sydney home.

Live-and-learn week at Cecilia's home

My crew and I are opening my permaculture home as a 'live-and-learn' wellness retreat. It's a week-long experience where you get to stay with me and be looked after. We complete a creative project together, and then you go home, all skilled-up and Cecilia-ized. This program is running now, and again next Autumn. I'm so looking forward to who will come.



Here we are being useful producers, not useless consumers, during my Sydney house days.
We use lateral thinking and playfulness to get things made: Boris charming us with his onion-cutting technique, Sven turns old materials into a folding screen, Tim dries persimmons, Miho invents elegant tool storage, and housemate Stuart makes bodies happy.

The Gentle Arts

In our week together, 'us-two' become a dynamic duo. Like a wellness retreat in Bali, there are the usual indulgences of good food, restorative bodywork, and the looking-after that all of us need. You will get coached in a Zen Japanese approach to daily life actions. This might be as simple as serenely preparing a meal. We will work together on your own project. This will be something you have always wanted that seemed insurmountable. With a skillfull partner and good guidance you'll get all the way through. The project you've been dreaming to do 'someday'...We'll do it.


I've created a checklist of high-value skills that I love to teach and people love to learn. Message me to get the full list of choices. Its fun ticking of the ones you want. From the minute you admit to the universe that you want them, the manifesting process starts.


Cuisine by Cecilia, picked from my garden. Pretty delicious.


Sayaka's story


Sayaka spent a few afternoons in my former inner Melbourne home, after seeing my notice in the local Japanese-language paper. 'Come to Cecilia's and learn eco-living skills', it said. She said 'Hell yeah!', and turned up on my doorstep one hot summer's day. Here are some memories from that time.




Sayaka had a degree in fabric design, but nobody had taught her basic things like invisible mending. We fixed that. We made beautiful curtains to replace my landlord's unlovely rental blinds. In a few hours she got a useful skill she can bless her friends with as she traverses this world.



She got sent to the garden to pick flowers, as I get all my visitors to do, often for the first time in their lives. 'Hey, I'm good at this!' is a response I often hear, and it gives me the warm fuzzies every time. Then we planted even more flowers, for future generations of vistors.




'I wish we all had a calm, harmonious way to keep computer cords' I said, and gave her my box of sewing goodies. She got inspired, made all sorts of cute velcro ties. Best of all, she got an embodied experience of how your hands and eyes and heart can keep themselves entertained while making one area of life beautiful forever. We can achieve so much with the resources we already have.



Doc Jordy gets a new hairstyle. Dr. Lau, scriptwriter, gets a dinnerparty.
Indigenous-influenced Japanese tea ceremony with Adam Wojcinski.

Skills Large and Small

The micro-skills are where the magic happens. Learn:

- Japanese savouring of each action, creating deep meaning in small moments

- Re-framing things that are uninspiring, and making them things you want to do

- The importance of greeting someone with attentiveness when they arrive home

- Retiring at night knowing there will be something to look forward to in the morning: stretches, journal, a kitchen sink that smiles at you.

- How to enjoy pausing a moment before placing something down


Cecilia's 2021 home, Rosanna



Because its a home, the Live-and-Learn retreat is by application. Choosing people who are a good fit is one of my skills. If this sounds like a new possibility for your life, click for an interview and details on costs, the learnings, and timing. The current Rosanna house ends in mid-November, and my next house will be a surprise. I'll be posting lessons and stories on my blog, so we can be together in spirt, making that lovely world real.



When I'm standing beside someone and showing them how to do things, I feel happy and secure, and the people around me are growing capable. Best of all is the feeling of affinity. I know I'm meant to love all mankind, but really, its the people I've already invested in who are the ones I'm barracking for. These 'practical friendships' are something I wish more people got to experience. Live-and-learn retreat is my plan for making that happen. It's my way of making real Charles Eisenstein's vision of 'that more beautiful world our hearts know is possible'.





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