My retreat journal part 6 of 6: The Closing Circle

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

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Here are some journal excerpts so you can get a small glimpse as to how powerful the experience was for me.

Recall:

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. 

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Chatted with others in the kitchen about fathers and death.  Such camaraderie in that.  Prepping for 8:30 start on the Raven drawing.

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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).

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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.

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my friends, my sweet barbarians,

there is that hunger which is not for food —

but an eye at the navel turns the appetite

round

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.

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We then packed and entered our closing circle. 

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Laura shared more tools to sustain the experience of the retreat and we reviewed our original intentions from Friday evening.

My original intentions:

Be present

Stillness of the heart

Allow

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.

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Thank you, Laura.

My Retreat Journal Part 4 of 6: The Symbols Way

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

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Here are some journal excerpts so you can get a small glimpse as to how powerful the experience was for me.

Recall:

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

Laura took each participant through the EXTRAORDINARY POWERFUL process called the Symbols Way.  I find the process not only a valuable tool for self-exploration, but a paradigm shifting exercise that changes the way I view my life.  The imagery is so rich, so tangible. Laura brings such depth and safety and beauty into the facilitation.  I loved scribing the processes for the participants through mind-mapping.  Each process took a little under two hours.

Sample of the mind map I created for myself when I went through the process with Barbara Cecil and Laura- the process truly a gift I treasure forever:

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“At a personal level, The Symbols Way is a way to reflect on your calling, unique to the phase of life you are in. the process yields personal clarity, rooted in one’s central core of meaning. At an organizational level it reviews current reality and reaches into relevant and meaningful possibilities for the future.”

– Barbara Cecil

FOR MORE INFORMATION drop me a line!

Stay tuned for Part 5: The Dance

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My retreat journal Part 3 of 6: The Cyclops Goddess

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

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Here are some journal excerpts so you can get a small glimpse as to how powerful the experience was for me.

Recall:

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

Laura explained the Symbols Way process and got us in the frame of mind to fully enter the process this afternoon.  

As part of our facilitation posters, I had reflected the 4 archetypes in my own way, and I feel the imagery I chose worked well within our natural Xenia landscape:

The Warrior (SOUTH)- imagined as a blackberry bush- emotional gateway ANGER; The Sovereign (NORTH)- imagined as Opa the tree- emotional gateway JOY; The Love (EAST)- imagined an autumn leaf- emotional gateway GRIEF; The Magician- imagined as a raven- emotional gateway FEAR
The Warrior (SOUTH) EARTH- imagined as a blackberry bush- emotional gateway ANGER; The Sovereign (NORTH) FIRE- imagined as Opa the Xenia tree- emotional gateway JOY; The Lover (EAST) WATER- imagined an autumn leaf- emotional gateway GRIEF; The Magician (WEST) AIR- imagined as a raven- emotional gateway FEAR

But before each participant was taken through the Symbols Way process individually, we dove into more messy creative process.  I took the participants through my chakra drawing exercise— taken from previous lessons I have shared with other students.  I love building and re-interpreting.

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We drew a human figure and then went on to drawing a 3-D eye.  We wrote the chakra chart and started incorporating the lessons thus far.  It was truly a GO WITH IT exercise, creating a CYCLOPS GODDESS that we just kept layering on top of!

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Delicious.  

Of course, I had to look up the meaning of the CYCLOPS to see why she was appearing:

Blind, yet seeing.  Ego vs spiritual enlightenment.

CYCL: the circle, the wheel.

HERE WE GO.  More magic!  How appropriate that the words in the chant we sang on the way to the sanctuary last night were:

We’re spiralling into the circle, the circle of our wheel.

We’re spiralling into the circle, the circle of our wheel.

We are the weavers, we are the woven ones,

We are the dreamers, we are the dream.

We are the children, we are the chosen ones,

We are all part of the web.

Aaaaaah-mazing!

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We also journaled around the matrilineal question: What was your mother’s name?  And if you know them, your grandmother and your great grandmother’s names? What are some qualities you or others associate with each of these women?  This was a great way to “set the scene” for beginning the Symbols Way process.

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I read MORNING LAUGHTER  by Gwendolyn MacEwen

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See more of the poem at: link

Stay tuned for Part 4: The
Symbols Way

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“I am wandering awed… gnawed trees breathe a delicate air.” Creativity & Connection Retreat Oct 17-19, 2014

Connections

CREATIVITY AND CONNECTION RETREAT WITH LAURA AND KAT

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We will provide you with tools for gaining insight and shifting perspective using inspiring themes such as archetype symbology and shadow-work.  Self-reflection activities will take you deeper into your own journey while group experiences expand your mindset.

Laura will share authentic leadership exercises to assist you in gaining perspective on your personal and professional challenges.  Kat will guide you through creative process and expression and will facilitate those precious aha moments we all love to celebrate.

What we’re offering you is a weekend of Safety, Gentleness, Nurturing, Discovery and a wee bit of Wildness!

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FACILITATORS: 

Laura Mack

My mission is to create opportunities for inspiration & transformation.”

Laura is a business consultant, facilitator and writer. She has a broad understanding of both the rewards and challenges of entrepreneurial life as well as the corporate and non-profit sectors. Laura is an associate consultant with ViRTUS, and Authentic Leadership Global, Inc.   She brings a variety of facilitation, strategic planning, team building and leadership tools into her practice. Known as a connector, Laura is passionate about sharing her experiences with ‘netweaving’, actively connecting those with similar interests and activities. She also is a volunteer facilitator of restorative justice with the North Shore Restorative Justice Society.

Katarina (Kat) Thorsen

My mission is to awaken creative expression through global art initiatives.”

Kat is a Vancouver artist, craftivst and therapeutic art facilitator and is passionate in her belief that art can heal and build connections.  Kat facilitates arts and crafts workshops for all ages across the Lower Mainland and coordinates Frames Film Project, an arts-based program providing life- and employment skills for local at-risk youth.   Her popular interactive art events and street art encourages participants to become part of the creative process.  Kat published her first book, Drawn Together- Maintaining Connections and Navigating Life’s Challenges with Art in 2013. Her next book is a true crime analysis and graphic novel based on her research into a historical Vancouver murder mystery.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

CONTACT LAURA MACK: EMAIL

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Some previews of what you will experience:

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The Labyrinth is an Archetype, a divine imprint found in spiritual traditions in various forms around the world. By walking the labyrinth we are discovering a long forgotten mystical tradition which becomes a metaphor for our own spiritual journey. The walk is a shared journey – an activity which communities can do together to coalesce and unify vision. The labyrinth is a mandala that meets our longing for a change of heart; for a change of ways in how we live together and for the energy, the vision, and the courage to become agents of transformation.

Xenia

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I am a frayed and nibbled survivor in a fallen world, and I am getting along. I am aging and eaten and have done my share of eating too. I am not washed and beautiful, in control of a shining world in which everything fits, but instead am wandering awed about on a splintered wreck I’ve come to care for, whose gnawed trees breathe a delicate air, whose bloodied and scarred creatures are my dearest companions, and whose beauty bats and shines not in its imperfections but overwhelmingly in spite of them.
― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

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RETREAT LOCATION:

Experience self-discovery, connection and the glorious insights that being in nature provides as we embrace the gorgeous BC rainforest and island setting of Xenia Centre.

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Xenia Creative Development Centre

You will be nurtured by amazing fresh food and our Xenia host Saria will be available throughout the weekend to provide healing sessions.

Why Xenia?
“Xenia” stands for the cross-pollenation of ideas between guest and host.  It means hospitality and being friends to the stranger. Xenia has always opened its doors and heart to whomever finds their way down here.
Xenia Centre is a gift to humanity, evoking service, she offers back peace, presence and a direct experience of ones true nature. Through so much love and attention being poured into her, Xenia has impacted the lives of thousands from around the world. This is truly a sacred place, a place that brings us home. In 1994, a young widow with a small child risked all to convert a dilapidated old sheep farm into one of the worlds most beautiful and unique sanctuaries. Against all financial advice, she followed her souls yearning to service this mission, the dream of Xenia called Angelyn to its birth.

XENIA CENTRE

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Pricing:
$650.00 for shared accommodations or
$750.00 for private.
A non-refundable 50% deposit will secure your room selection & possibly roommate selection if you’re sharing.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

CONTACT LAURA MACK: EMAIL

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