I have been meeting a good friend/co-retreat facilitator/running partner/therapist weekly to plan our upcoming retreat weekend for months. We began meeting in the fall to discuss ideas and build a curriculum. We have done this many times over the years and, as is usually the case, we begin to form a rough outline and then we throw enough ideas at it that we could facilitate a monthlong retreat!
We read and re-read books, take notes, send emails, edit in google docs, print handouts, and then re-create the outline ten times over several months. About a month out we get serious about the curriculum and start working diligently to narrow down our notes and put them in an hour by hour itinerary for the the weekend.
We are both avid readers and we want to share every highlighted excerpt and anything else we can find related to the subject matter. Then we realize there isn’t enough time to actually breathe let alone take a bathroom break over the weekend so we continue to narrow down the plethora of information. This has been our duty over the last week: cut to the chase, rearrange the information, and occasionally, cut whole sections from the outline. It pains me as I always feel like I won’t be able to give our participants the whole story — in detail. My mantra this week is, “just the facts and maybe an example, or two or possibly three.” After all, a retreat is supposed to be a place you can go to breathe and get away from it all.
Our mission is to teach, create, rest, connect, re-energize and have everyone walk away feeling heard and seen. We also want to equip them with a few more tools to facilitate living a more authentic life.
Okay, I just wrote this and I am feeling a little stressed right now because I really hope this is how everyone feels when they leave on Sunday. Especially, since I am writing this blog rather than working on my curriculum!
WHERE IS MY “FREAKING OUT” EMOJI WHEN I NEED IT?
Did I say I want everyone to feel connected? Okay, good because when Melissa (the friend, therapist, co-retreat facilitator, running partner) and I first sat down to plan our mission, for us, was to feel heard, seen, connect, and be absolutely real with one another throughout this creative process. In order to make this happen we openly discussed our families, difficult situations, our emotions, possible solutions to issues, and shared our successes, happy moments, tears, and lots of laughter.
There were weeks that we never opened a book or took out a pen. We just talked about EVERYTHING from our children, faith, marriage, sex, marijuana (we do live in Colorado), politics, yoga, journaling, meditation, friends, how it all fits into our retreat, and not necessarily in that order. Life is messy and preparing for this retreat has been no exception. Throughout the process, though, the two of us have connected on a deeper level, we have been heard and seen. We have been honest and real with one another and it hasn’t always been pretty. I am grateful for Melissa’s friendship, her struggle to create boundaries, be seen, be heard, and be real with those closest to her. I am grateful for her open heart and listening ear as I poured my soul out to her as well.
This is what we want to share with the ladies at our retreat. That when you can break the door down to your emotions, understand them, talk about what is happening, create boundaries, have compassion, and allow yourself to get real that is when you really begin to LIVE.
Thank you, Melissa for sharing your life with me, your wisdom, and your mad therapy skills and thank you to the ladies that we will be connecting with on our retreat this weekend. We look forward to sharing our stories and hearing yours.
Sunshine & Sarcasm,
Lowi & G