2019 Retreat - the magic that happens
When I pulled together last years retreat the magic started happening early. As my first solo retreat, it was planned originally to provide a Tai Chi Student who had moved away a chance to re-engage and keep some form of practice going. Suddenly out of nowhere I’d booked 4 cottages in the village without actually checking them out. A bit of a risk but this was only going to be a one off and nothing grand. I found out after booking them they were all actually chalets on the same site, close enough to make things work nice and smoothly. Next came the hall which landed in my lap with the promise of keys for the weekend, meaning I could be more fluid in planning. The fact it was in the village and close to an amazing beach cafe just added to the magic. The way everything fell into place meant I couldn’t deny it was going to be a great.
As the first retreat came to a close there were calls to run another the following year. As I drove home I found myself driving through a field on dandelion clocks and knew I would answer the call and run one in 2019. There was much learning to take forward and I was looking forward to seeing how it would all develop.
The rest of 2019 passed bringing challenges of a very different kind that meant the 2019 retreat plans altered and moved from May to October to give me time to plan. Having the structure of last years retreat meant this one should come together easily - how wrong could I be!
Ensuring the same chalets were available seemed to be dogged with communication issues, but they were secured. As more people wanted to join the task of finding more chalets began, resulting in one, two, then finally three more chalets.
Next were hall issues despite the same hall appearing to be available, a new clerk made it so difficult to secure the hall I relented and looked elsewhere. The nearest available hall was a five minute drive away in the next village. This would mean challenging logistics with the movement back and forth between the chalets, the beach cafe and the hall. There was also no offer of a key.
In other planning toward the retreat I seemed dogged with continued issues that made the whole process move like the gears of a rusty tractor. The bags with three colours caused the lovely person who prints them for me some issues, followed by the mug press she would use to print the mugs not working at all. Issues she managed to resolve in good time but still ones that made the process lumpy. My printer used for producing the programmes would behave perfectly until I was printing the programmes when it would mysteriously run dry and fade the print regardless of the level of ink. The cost of print locally was so prohibitive I ended up with a new printer and all the joys of installing the drivers. Problems booking anywhere for meals for our large party meant new pubs and more travelling arrangements. The last straw in it all was a puncture on the day I was due to travel up meaning last minute adjustments to travel arrangements for those going early.
Finally the retreat was here. More magic happened. The hall was bigger and better, on the last day we discovered a wall of mirrors that added to the ability to see how people were managing the form, With a couple of early drop outs for the retreat I was left with enough chalet space to make life a little more comfortable for those attending. People gelled quickly and car sharing between the chalets and the hall started to happen. The retreat itself was full of magic - but that will be another blog. Throughout this retreat I saw last years lessons smooth this years retreat. I could already see learning from this years retreat that will guide me in next years offering.
As we sat in circle at the end of the retreat with everyone having an opportunity to say something about their experience I finally understood the magic had really happened again. All of the difficulties in planning this one seems so inconsequential when I listened to all the heart felt expressions of joy. Those attending had embraced the differences in this retreat, had chosen to be vulnerable and share their souls and had received much healing as a result. I smiled as the lessons I had learned started to form the structure of next years retreat.
2020 will see another HOST retreat - two years of practice and learning have guided me on what to change and where it should be. And the magic has already started to happen, a beautiful venue perfect for the revised format was secured in hours. Many of those who attended this years have expressed interest or even booked before costs are confirmed. This will be oversubscribed and will end up with a waiting list. The magic of next years retreat is already here making sure it will be the best yet. I am looking forward to sharing details and enjoying being immersed in the process of providing a new and beautiful retreat.