While taking a two-year sabbatical from busy banking careers in Singapore, Crystal and Mark Leahy moved to Australia and established themselves on a small farm and vineyard in Victoria.
Hosting friends visiting them from London, Hong Kong and Singapore, the pair recognised how many of them were feeling burnt out, unfulfilled and out of balance. Teaming up with experts in the fields of behavioural therapy and oriental medicine, Crystal and Mark founded Legacy – a retreat that goes beyond the detox-and-yoga offer into a far deeper level of treatment, designed to leave participants with new perspective, awareness and general life skills.
Crystal Leahy shares her story of transitioning from the corporate world to establishing and running the Legacy retreats, which run four to six times a year in locations such as Bhutan, Bali, Vietnam and Australia.
How do you describe Legacy to someone not familiar with it?
Legacy retreats are about self-mastery, unlocking one’s best potential and removing blockages in the path to true fulfilment, happiness and consciousness.
What planted the seed for creating Legacy?
When myself and my husband left the financial industry and moved from Singapore to Australia, we bought a small farm and vineyard. We had many friends come to visit us from Singapore, Hong Kong and London and all of them seemed to have the same concerns – not being able to sustain their lifestyle, high levels of stress and low levels of passion.
Everyone seemed to be taking little holidays and yoga or detox retreats, but returning home only to quickly become overwhelmed by work again and needing another break.
I thought that it would be great if we could take the concept of a rejuvenating holiday and bring it to a deeper level by offering a retreat where you could be treated and nurtured on all levels – mind, emotions, spirit and body. Where you could take a pause to reflect on your life at this point, because the only life we have is the present.
And better still, learn some essential life skills so that when you leave the retreat and go back to work on Monday, you’re more equipped to handle all the routine stresses of the world because we can’t change this unpredictable world, but we can change our responses to it.
What does Legacy offer that other wellness retreats don’t?
Most wellness retreats tend to focus more on detoxes and physical practices like yoga. A Legacy retreat practices a holistic approach that targets mind, emotions, spiritual development and body healing, and few retreats venture into these realms.
The retreats are a structured and crafted to introduce you to the process of self-development in the most balanced, gentle and effective way. We guide our clients in getting perspective on their life and work with them to break down blockages, old habits and stagnancy and get them to focus on the areas which need more love and in the long run, help build a life which is meaningful and according to their values.
Zurig Dzong temple, near venue of Legacy Retreat – Paro, Bhutan.
What was involved in seeing the idea from concept to completion?
Entrepreneurship has been a really interesting process for me and has taught me a few very important lessons.
The biggest one was overcoming self-doubt. When you are an entrepreneur, you don’t have a boss to guide you or provide you affirmation. You have to really believe in what you do and that it, in itself is a reward.
I also realised how important it is to embrace change. While you have to believe in yourself, you also have to be open enough to really listen to your clients and what they want, and then tweak your concept so that it is relevant to your target audience.
When we first thought of the concept of doing a retreat, we thought it might be like a retirement bootcamp for bankers, teaching them how to transition from the corporate world to pursuits that feed their passion. However this proved to be narrow minded! We’ve had lots of people from all walks of life who have been interested in the Legacy concept.
Who are the clientele that seek out such a retreat?
We attract a diverse range of people, businessmen, writers, housewives, bankers, lawyers, advertising execs, yoga teachers, retirees. So far, our youngest client has been in their early 20s and our oldest client in their mid-70s.
Our clients are 40% from Australia, 50% Asia (mainly Singapore and Hong Kong) and 10% from other parts of the world.
What is it about certain sectors and professions that you think might make people ‘burn out’ or question “what’s it all for?”.
I think that in the past decade we’ve been hearing a lot about moral bankruptcy, but greed and fear are universal and timeless issues.
Having said that, we live in an age of information overload and this greed and fear can be exacerbated. We can end up very easily living a life that we feel others expect of us rather than the life we really want for ourselves.
When we live a life that is not in accordance with our values, ultimately it is depleting to our passion and life force. When I work on Legacy, even though I am ten times more exhausted than in my banking days, it is a different kind of tired. I feel good at the end of a day because it is something I am passionate about. The next morning I wake up and I am rejuvenated, the work doesn’t drain me.
If you went back to the start of the process, what is one piece of advice you would give yourself?
Don’t be so anxious! I always think of the saying “If you’re depressed, you are living in the past, if you’re anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the now.” On the whole, I could have enjoyed the early days a bit more instead of always focusing on the next thing to do, but it has been great fun. It’s all good.
The next Legacy Retreat is in Bhutan, September 3 – 8, 2013