Yes, Hello! I have been back in the office for a week since attending another amazing Retreat Yourself weekend (May 27-31, 2010). To this day, I still have a hard time summarizing our experience.
I procrastinated writing this blog; I felt challenged by it. I sat in front of the computer looking for ways to describe the past experience, and to do it in a different way than the 2009 Retreats. Believe me, easier said than done! Why? Because common values seem to be the base of every Retreat: Love, trust, safety, openness, authenticity. When you combine these elements, you get the essence of what a Retreat Yourself weekend is made of.
Because we had 23 courageous people who were able to attend; amazing facilitators who gave of their time, love, and energy; peers supporter who brought the extra touch; and a great location, the four days we spent together were transforming in many ways. I know most things I will verbalize here fall in the category “you had to be there” but it’s still worth mentioning.
I am always amazed at how much beauty we see at Retreat Yourself. Someone mentioned we were not just connecting as individuals, our souls were connecting; I think it sums up well the general feeling. From silly games like Blockhead (you definitely had to be there for that one 😉 ), to real sharing of emotions, to working on masks, to spending time in the sauna and then jumping in the pool–everything contributed in making the weekend amazing and well-balanced.
Edenvale is a fantastic location, but mostly the team YACC had the chance to put together contributed a lot in putting in place what needed to be there. Our facilitators were incredible in making space to receive whatever was coming out of the group (the good, the bad, and the ugly). Together, we had time to talk about emotional health, relationships, finances, lifestyle changes, and loss and grief. Those discussions were always filled with honesty, laughter, and tears, again perfectly balanced (at least that’s how people felt mostly because there was no judgment and respect underlined all our exchanges).
Because what you feel in your gut is hard to put on paper, I chose three pictures to express some of it.
A huge Thank you to: Janie Brown, Gilly Heaps, Danielle Shroeder, Jennifer Bos, Jen Luce, Maria Dizon, Danielle Wolff, and Bonnie Lang. Thank you also to Mike Lang. It was amazing and so easy to work with you Mikey. Thanks for helping ease me missing Lesley by bringing everything that you are to the Retreat.
Thank you also to Callanish Society for providing not only the human resources but also enough art material to have our creativity liberated!
Thank you to Edenvale and all the staff (Michele, Iris, Joseph, and everyone else) for welcoming us in your community and making us feel at home. Thanks also for your flexibility and your amazing meals!
Those of you reading this that never came to a retreat must be wondering: “when is the next one?” I know many people asked us if we will have a Retreat East of Canada and we are looking into it. Our dream is to find Edenvale’s little brother or sister out east and work on making the event possible in 2011. The planning has started and we will keep you posted on our upcoming events.
If you want to donate to help make Retreat Yourself or any of our programs possible, please do, any little bit helps!
Next stop: Survivor Conference on the Rock part II. November 4-8, 2010. Be there or be square!