I experienced a life-changing weekend as I co-facilitated Creativity and Connection Retreat October 17-19, 2014 on Bowen Island with Laura Mack at Xenia Retreat.
Here are some journal excerpts so you can get a small glimpse as to how powerful the experience was for me.
PART 1 October 17, 2014 FRIDAY INTO SILENCE
PART 2 October 18. 2014 SATURDAY MORNING INTO THE LABYRINTH
PART 3 October 18, 2014 SATURDAY MIDDAY THE CYCLOPS GODDESS
PART 4 October 18, 2014 SATURDAY AFTERNOON THE SYMBOLS WAY
PART 5 October 18, 2014 SATURDAY NIGHT THE DANCE
PART 6 October 19, 2014 SUNDAY: CLOSING CIRCLE
Sunday AM. Woke up at 6:30. Showered, prepped. Cozy. Slept so well as the room was inviting, the bed so comfortable and the light so right. Going to grab a coffee while I can and then come back and savour these moments in the cabin.
Chatted with others in the kitchen about fathers and death. Such camaraderie in that. Prepping for 8:30 start on the Raven drawing.
After breakfast, we sat in opening circle and pulled Goddess cards.
Participant 1 pulled “Mary Magdalene” and that message certainly resonated with what this participant focused on this weekend: self-love/heal the situation with love.
Participant 2 pulled “Mother Earth.” Though the message at first seemed environmental and about taking care of the planet, upon reflection it also became about taking care of the self and the inner world.
Laura pulled “Sorceress”- making complete sense to me. I love watching Laura move into new, richer, visible leadership. Trust. I am so blessed to watch my dear friend blossom and expand her work.
Participant 3 pulled “True Love”- a card that shone with the message of the gift of staying in the present.
I pulled LEAP OF FAITH- again!!! Take a risk and put your heart’s true desire into action!
Our drawing session began with a Raven drawing and unfolded into an image of grounded perspective and reflecting the work we have been doing around archetypes. Water (LOVER), Earth (WARRIOR), Raven (MAGICIAN), Crown (SOVEREIGN).
A bio break and then snack time with Saria’s delicious muffins and blueberries plus crumble and whipped cream. Bliss.
Laura has taken us into more perspectives around the work we have been focusing on at this retreat- providing tools to carry with us as we “re-enter” our lives. Clean Talk, Clear Actions.
We are now journaling around what awaits us as we step back into the world.
Deep breaths. Address a piece at a time. In small steps. TRUST. Trust that I am taken care of. This pause from my daily life certainly feels cleansing, but certainly stepping back into it feels slightly ominous because this experience truly allowed me to take a real emotional dive/mental break from TV/Phone/To-do Lists/Worry/Fear- is it possible to allow myself to carry this lesson forward into my life “on the mainland”? To be cleansed by this LEAP OF FAITH?
Filling this journal with stream of consciousness and drawings has been the greatest feeling. Dancing again, teaching, creating, being together, being in the structure of the yurt during processes, pausing and being, being nourished by this welcoming land, being nourished by glorious food, being taken care of but also leading, guiding, sharing who I am as a creative force.
It is Sunday AM and I am tired. A plane flies overhead. Reminds me that tonight I do not open my computer or prep for the week. Leave that to tomorrow. The yurt is being pelted by leaves. Loud leaves.
The participants role played and practiced clean talk.
Then off to a beautiful Mexican lunch with Saria. We presented her with our art piece: Creative Prayer and I read her “A Breakfast for Barbarians” by Gwendolyn MacEwen. To me, the poetry of Gwendolyn MacEwen partnered perfectly with this retreat and this particular poem was a perfect thank you to Saria.
my friends, my sweet barbarians,
there is that hunger which is not for food —
but an eye at the navel turns the appetite
with visions of some fabulous sandwich,
the brain’s golden breakfast
eaten with beasts
with books on plates
let us make an anthology of recipes,
let us edit for breakfast
our most unspeakable appetites —
let us pool spoons, knives
and all cutlery in a cosmic cuisine,
let us answer hunger
with boiled chimera
and apocalyptic tea,
an arcane salad of spiced bibles,
tossed dictionaries —
(O my barbarians
we will consume our mysteries)
and can we, can we slake the gaping eye of our desires?
we will sit around our hewn wood table
until our hair is long and our eyes are feeble,
eating, my people, O my insatiates,
eating until we are no more able
to jack up the jaws any longer —
to no more complain of the soul’s vulgar cavities,
to gaze at each other over the rust-heap of cutlery,
drinking a coffee that takes an eternity —
till, bursting, bleary,
we laugh, barbarians, and rock the universe —
and exclaim to each other over the table
over the table of bones and scrap metal
over the gigantic junk-heaped table:
by God that was a meal
Gwendolyn MacEwen, “A Breakfast for Barbarians” from Magic Animals: Selected Poems Old and New. Copyright © 1974 by David MacKinnon. Reprinted by permission of David MacKinnon.
We then packed and entered our closing circle.
Laura shared more tools to sustain the experience of the retreat and we reviewed our original intentions from Friday evening.
My original intentions:
Stillness of the heart
I truly feel I have met my own intentions during this retreat. I allowed the fears to come up and I met them with love and stillness. I navigated the journey with Laura with ease, being present to changing currents. I allowed myself to welcome back the dancer. I even sang! I know that I now infuse and exude all the lessons of my life and I can maintain my intentions to be present, to allow, to have stillness of the heart. I immerse myself in the creative process- not to escape but to simply BE- to allow stillness, connection, action, results and move back and forth through the spiral. No judgment.
The SIMPLICITY in all this is that I have gifts that I love to share and those gifts are my guardians. I am safe. I am me. I am taken care of by the peacefulness of the creative process, by the stillness of knowledge, by the trust.
That is one thing I’d like to share with the group: TRUST. When the fear arises, fall back to stillness and trust. Unravel the past from the present, from the future, the depression from the anxiety from the peace and give them all space to dance and breathe together, to let it all BREATHE.
Thank you, Laura.