I say that alot - I say it because it is true ~ and if you have never experienced those life changing moments that can only happen in a Retreat setting then you will not quite understand my passion or commitment to giving these.
I first understood the power of people being together and experiencing something when I was still a teenager. When I was immersed into the world of Girl Guides and Youth Groups. Weekend camps were a time we would talk about life and all the stuff that goes with it and bonded us together - there is a story of a penguin that has reared its head constantly in the 30 plus years since. But it is a prime example of the sharing of an experience.
I was also witness to this in a program as an older teen and young adult - Youth Insearch is a peer based programs that allowed young people the space to heal and grow and this was done through talk and support.
I recently caught up with one of the beautiful girls Bridie when I was in LA - it had been 25 years since her and had last seen each other and it was like no time had passed because of the common bond that we shared.
Every Retreat that I have been a part of since that time ~ either as a facilitator or participant I have seen lives changed. This usually happens in an instant and it is like a light bulb turning on - suddenly they see clearer and know the path that they must take. Suddenly the world is a brighter color and everything makes sense.
The recent Retreat I ran to Mexico with Michelle Premura from Turquoise Barn in Bloomville, New York is a prime example of this ~ workshop wise for a Retreat it was pretty low key as it was all about connecting with our senses and the world around us. Now for those of you that know me know that I have been on a bit of a spiritual path since leaving social work but this totally blew me way out of the water. (If this is too woo woo and I have lost you now then that's ok) but if you can imagine what being connected to the earth and the earths energy is like then you will understand.
From the moment I caught my breath waiting for the shuttle bus at Cancun airport it was like my feet were heavy on the earth (not in a bad way) but in a safe and secure way. I felt calm, like I knew where I was. Then when I went swimming in a cenote on the way to Chichen Itza something inside shifted and I had faced a huge fear of swimming in water where there were fish, and the waters healed me - in a way that was not describable. Then we arrived at the Mayan Temples where 1000's of years of civilisations came together, and if you can imagine an electrical current running through your body then that is what the buzz felt like. If you have been watching the Outlander series and Claire is at the stones then thats what it is like internally.
I can not fully begin to tell you how this retreat and the connection of the women that were there and the bond that we now have. I talk to one of them regularly through technology and it is like I ache to be home with them, to a home I have never known before - the bond of sisterhood and ancient wisdom that has clearly changed me and the way I look at life.
And that is how Retreats can change lives - through connection, with others, ourselves and the earth - it is in the leanings of the world both old and new - it is a realm of magic that is not full explainable in words it is something you need to experience yourself.