Two weeks ago today we were just wrapping up our annual retreat. For me each year, it is one of our sweetest times of coming together. Some years we focus more on community visioning, other years on sharing and getting to know each other better, and this year we focused on learning to own our reactions to events and people in our lives and in the process improve our relationships and become happier.
That may sound pretty intense, but it's interwoven with having fun and sharing meals. We kicked off our retreat with a potluck on Friday evening followed by the 2018 Heartwood Movie, which is a compilation of fun community photos and video clips from the prior year. It always feels good to look back and savor the good times together.
On Saturday night, as is our custom, we held our zany Gong Show. Members performed skits, music, dance, poetry, parody, jokes – you name it. So much laughter and fun.
Our retreats are kind of a work hard, play hard weekend together. They never fail to bring me closer to my neighbors, more knowledgeable about myself, and just generally feeling good about being here in community at Heartwood.
Members reflect on the retreat...
"I loved all the educational pieces and the experiential learning."
"I like that one of the main focuses of the retreat was about each of us taking personal responsibility for our stories, thoughts, and actions. I found that empowering."
"I liked that it was another confirmation of what a wonderful, caring community we have."
"My favorite was the Victim, Blamer, Rescuer exercise. I'm a kinesthetic learner and get impatient with too much talking. I got the most from it in the doing!"
"Curiosity is the key to managing anger and fear. You have a choice in the moment of heat — so, how are you going to stop, make space for yourself to make the choice how to behave?”
"I liked how much emphasis the facilitator placed on personal responsibility for our own individual experience. And I liked how many different dyads we used to learn new skills. I loved all the skill building."
"I love our Heartwood Retreats. Many people say to me it's really not a retreat if you don’t go anywhere, but to me, it is clearly a retreat. We retreat into ourselves, our community. The purpose is always to find ways to more deeply connect. I love that so many of our members respect this time and come together. I often have more hope after spending time with my neighbors. This year was a good example of that.
Yours in Community,