Flow Forward. I signed up for this retreat a few months before, and as I got ready for this weekend, I was thinking “why did I do this?” - what I really need is a weekend in a hotel alone to just sleep, relax, and recover. Instead, I was facing a weekend of workshops, connecting, and getting vulnerable with a group of strangers. I found myself thinking “I don’t even LIKE people..or GROUPS of people anyway”. I had no idea what I was in for at Villa Venezia in Ft Lauderdale, Florida. I was heading into two and a half days of “flowing forward”. I looked at the agenda - it wasn’t giving anything away. I recognized the word meditation, and beyond that it was all a bit overwhelming. Accelerating Change. Deep Work. Equine wisdom. Hmmmmm. Plus. I had to get on an airplane to get to this retreat. There’s a LOT of airplane time in my life - anyone who knows me knows I don’t particularly love the flying experience (nothing that a half a xanax can’t cure), but I DO love new experiences and new places and yes, even new people (introvert be damned!). I made an internal shift in my mind from resistance to acceptance and even anticipation as I boarded the Delta flight.
I arrived to a beautiful part of Ft Lauderdale I had really never been - four little finger islands off of Los Olas Blvd. Who knew these existed? Canals connecting to the intracoastal to the ocean lined with GIANT beautiful yachts. I always say there are so many different lives to be lived - I can’t wait until my yacht life!
My uber pulled into a cute old school Ft Lauderdale European type hotel - Villa Venezia. I immediately ran into Suzanne, who I had already connected with on facebook before the retreat - someone I knew would be a kindred spirit and likely a lifelong friend (you just KNOW). The joy emanates from her - this woman who has embraced a type of spiritual coaching called “Open Space”. She recently sold her house and is traversing the country in an RV and hosting/participating in retreats and seminars like I was about to attend. (Still not sure what that WAS exactly). I was escorted to my cozy quiet air conditioned room that would be home for the weekend. The heat and humidity of Ft Lauderdale felt good and the respite of air conditioning was a wonderful counterbalance for my sweat- drenched self. I sat on the bed and just took a deep breath. Sometimes just the GETTING to where you need to go is half the battle. I’ve had a hell of a year and a half at work, and while I’ve taken some vacations, the intensity of my work life has been ever present. I have started to get to a point where I know I need to let go a bit, and I had a feeling this weekend was going to help me with this. I took a 30 minute glorious catnap and secretly wished I had come in the day before to have 24 hours to just REST. We were coming together at six to “meet the tribe”. We gathered in the suite in which we would spend the next two days, sat in a circle, and began the journey.
My first thought as the introductions began - WOW. What an amazing, curious, eclectic combination of human beings. I felt the enormity of knowing that I might NEVER have met these humans had we not come together for this event. I’m continually reminded of the movie Sliding Doors - which has always had a great impact on my thoughts about what “should” happen in life. There are no “shoulds” in reality…only CHOICES that lead us wherever they lead us. Everything happens just like it is supposed to. I was meant to meet these people right at this moment. This theme would continually recur throughout the weekend.
Achim, the facilitator of this group, had entered my life many years before. I was at a selling skills type seminar, and I was drawn to his dynamic personality and coaching style. I was at a fairly early point in my career; an individual contributor in a sales role, but even then, I knew I needed and wanted to do more. I spoke with him at length afterward about coaching and what a career in coaching might look like and was inspired that someday I might find myself in a coaching role as well. At the time, however, I had small children, was firmly entrenched in my career that allowed me to still be a mom. Choices. I’m so happy I didn’t have a job where I was on the road all the time when my children were young - there’s no getting that time back, but I also have the hindsight to know that even if I had, it would have been fine. It’s a constant back and forth to find the appropriate balance as a mother and someone who is driven and determined to find purposeful and engaging work. I still struggle with it from time to time, but I also have learned and grown into a place where I know that I am the best me when I’m challenged, engaged, and inspired to do good work. I want my kids to know the BEST me, and I think I’ve found a nice balance now…..which probably means change is coming! What I’m continually amazed by is the depth of potential opportunity in this world. So many wonderful things to do - and so much to learn from one another.
Our first exercise involved asking ourselves three things and then sharing with the group.
The three things were:
Moments when I loved life
A moment when I surprised myself
Reasons why I may not take action
I won’t go into the details of my answers or anyone else’s, but suffice it to say these are not easy questions to answer if you overthink them. They also aren’t necessarily easy things to open up about to a dozen strangers! Easy or not, as Achim would say, we all “showed up” and shared brutally honest things with one another around joy and fear and pain and courage. When you take time and think through WHY you do things and WHAT drives you to do things, you learn a lot about yourself. When you hear your own fears and joys reflected by others as their own, you remember we are all one.
Ask yourself these questions and then think about them. It’s a powerful exercise.
Another question I remember during this session (or maybe the next morning…I can’t quite remember the sequence of things, and it’s irrelevant really) - What are you most proud of? We don’t think about this often, and we should!! This was a room full of people who are extraordinary leaders in all different worlds - we had engineers, happiness experts, coaches, human resource people, sales leaders, even a med student - all bringing a lifetime of experience to the table. What was most obvious is that nearly everything people said had ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with work. We are most proud of our families and our friends and the times when we have best connected with other people.
We then had dinner at the most lovely Italian restaurant - seated outside on a canal feeling the warm humid South Florida air all around us, drinking a lovely Chianti, eating delicious pasta and seafood and getting to know one another. Such an eclectic group, yet so many common threads of experience.
Saturday morning we awoke to the brilliant south Florida sunshine and gathered in the meeting suite. We sat in a circle and were introduced to Juan Jose Reyes who would lead our meditation that morning; another fascinating individual - one who leads meditation and also the founder of the Miami Street Photography festival. I was loving the vibe of all of these different people. I meditate most days, but usually just for 10-15 minutes. This would be a 30 minute meditation in a circle with all of these people. Would I be able to sit still for so long? Would I fidget? yawn? start thinking too much? back to the breath. back to the breath.
Be Well. Be Happy. Be Free. This thought for ourselves, for people we love, and for people we struggle with. This was the meditation focus; a powerful lesson in compassion and love for self and others.
I’m realizing now that as I get about a week away from this experience, I am forgetting some of the details or the order of things. I opened a file on my computer called FLOW FORWARD thinking it was this piece I’ve been working on and realized it was the “free flow” notes I took on Sunday. We had some time (which I had been longing for!) to just find a spot on the property and frantically write for 30-40 minutes. WOW. I don’t remember a single thing I wrote, but I somehow captured our experiences and my feelings around them perfectly. (flow much?) I will share these later.
So, this retreat was jam packed busy. As I mentioned above, I was longing for some down time. I don’t do big groups well for extended periods of time - I think it’s that introvert piece of me - I need to breathe, think, process…and this happens best for me alone. I did learn as the weekend unfolded to not resist, however…I realized I could just lean into the people around me and breathe with and through them.
Our morning session involved “masterminding on creating flow, accelerating change, accessing wisdom, and fostering deep work”. This was a long description for asking a lot of questions, sharing answers with a partner, and sharing back with the group. All the while, learning something about ourselves and others and learning what motivates and drives us. I say this because I can’t remember all the details of this session. I know I walked away from it feeling connected and energized.
Lunch was to follow with “reinvention guru” Pamela Mitchell. Pamela at some point decided the fast paced Wall Street life wasn’t for her (even though she had spent her whole life working TOWARD it), reexamined what was important to her, and changed industries all together. She has now gone on help people reinvent THEIR lives - to live their authentic, full, “always themselves” type of lives. It’s funny because I have been thinking about this a lot lately - even before this seminar . For me, it’s less about changing careers (although that does tickle my brain occasionally), but more about SHOWING UP AS YOU ARE. In the corporate world I work in, it is easy to slip into “what you think people want” mode, or to hide your qualities that make you stand out or be different. Sometimes corporate America feels like the grown up middle school; a place here people want to blend in, not make waves, not let their unique colors shine for fear of not being part of the “in” crowd. This doesn’t and never has worked for me. It didn’t work in middle school (although I tried!) and it doesn’t work for me now. My gut won’t let me show up in a way that is inauthentic.
I spoke about the fact that , unlike many of the people here, I’m not in a place where I want to CHANGE careers or make a huge shift in any way - I love what I do! However, I am always trying to figure out how I can do what I do BETTER - show up as the best me possible. She did a little demonstration with some tiny cans of play-doh; this exercise really hit home for me. She talked about how historically people are in a career and kind of in a “silo” - she stacked up all white play doh and a stack of all black play doh to represent this kind of thinking; two different silos. She then talked about how these days we are being asked to learn more, do more, and have a basic understanding of so many things. We also have so many interests and so much interesting content available to us to read, absorb, and learn. She started layering different colored cans of play doh between the white and black and developed a stack that was rainbow colored and representative of an individual who is exposed to a lot of different things. THIS person, employee, friend, spouse, family member - is much more well rounded than that person of the past. I’ve always loved to dabble in a million different things, and I think doing that has made me better at my job and at my life. Her point was it prepares you for that next opportunity - whatever that may be. In our ever shifting world and culture, we never know what tomorrow may bring; being our best and most developed selves prepares us for that pivot that may at some point be desired or necessary. This encouraged me to continue to lean in to all the things I can possibly learn - there is always room for more growth.
The next adventure involved a horse farm and some south Florida heat and humidity….what on earth might this be about? As we loaded into cars, I found myself with Suzanne and Elizabeth - wow I love these women! Suzanne is this pure burst of joy and open arms and Elizabeth this powerhouse truth telling badass babe with a heart of gold under that tough exterior - women after my own heart. We GPS’d our way to the horse farm west of Ft Lauderdale - Equuilibrium - a place where people come to heal through horses. I have never spent much time around horses, and I was in for a treat. I was about to “flow forward” through the energy of the horse. We talked a little about the work that Giselle does with her horses - she works with drug addicts, troubled youth, people with all types of issues in coping with life. We first started in a circle under an umbrella of palm trees - the hot Florida sun beating down on us; I could feel the sweat and the flies and the dust and an occasional sweet breeze. I noticed the sound of the birds and the sound of the palm leaves moving in the wind…noises we miss every single day with the distractions of our world - the electronic devices, the constant “content” that is ever available - all we have to do is stop, close our eyes, and listen. Be present. When did this become so difficult and infrequent?
The horses came in - first a small one with a tiny heart decorated on its flank - apparently the horse groomer loves to add a personal touch to each horse. Then came the bigger horses. We meditated and felt their energy and presence all around us. I was shocked to feel so peaceful in the midst of these beautiful animals; Giselle taught us how they relax (a big toothy grin of sorts and the lowering of their heads) and we had the opportunity to silently brush each of them with our eyes closed. When she explained the exercise, I thought it might feel scary to stand with eyes closed next to these powerful beasts that I was just being introduced to, but it was quite the opposite. As I gently brushed the beautiful white horse named Caminante (Traveler), I felt myself leaning in. Leaning in to rest my head on the neck of this horse. In response, Caminante lowered his head with a message of relaxation too. Ahh. Presence. Being present in this moment; something I have been forgetting.
We returned to the mats and were asked to draw or write on a piece of paper that had a horse and a person imprinted on it. I wrote the words “Lean In” and drew a giant red heart around the horse and the person; this was my experience. Some people had positive experiences, others less so.
We then were tasked on getting a horse to move backwards and in a circle with only the power of our body, our voice, and our energy. This is no easy task! It’s that fragile dance of pushing without actually pushing! How do you push and still let the horse feel he is being INSPIRED to move as opposed to FORCED to move? Like humans, horses respond to your energy and to a gentle pushing - a pushing where you are in control without pushing so hard that they just dig in and refuse to move. A pushing where you are in this thing TOGETHER - you speaking to the horse and the horse speaking to you in a pleasant tango. There are some powerful leadership principles to take away from this - energy and presence and perseverance and strength and partnership - the key to successful movement.
We moved into the round ring then, and we all stood in a circle in the middle. By this time, that Florida sun was beating down on us, I could feel the perspiration running down my neck and the dust all around; I tried to not be distracted by it, and I could also feel some anxiety from the group. What was next? Giselle spoke to us about being in the “eye of the hurricane” as the horses were led in and began to wildly run in the larger circle around us. I’m surprised that I didn’t feel any fear or anxiety; truly only awe at their beauty and power. We then worked in teams to move the horse without actually having a lead - moving them with a person on each side and walking in lock step with them; feeling their energy and they feeling ours. Sven and I were able to get to a place where we were having great success with this; only when we lost focus did we fall out of step. Again, more lessons. Focus. Presence.
We returned to the villa and the women in the group had an impromptu bridal shower/champagne toast for Elizabeth - recently engaged. I met this person the day before, and yet, through the power of all of the exercises we have shared, felt like we were kindred spirits. I felt so much joy that this person has met her person and that they plan to share their lives together. It was a joyous and heartfelt moment between new friends with old souls. Cheers to Elizabeth!
Finally - an actual shower - I had forgone the shower in the morning due to a lack of time and a need for a short run, which meant, that by this point, I was in EXTREME need of a good clean up. It speaks to the comfort I felt in this group that I could just show up with a sweaty pony tail and say hey - I knew it was in my best interest to run today and I don’t care what I look like. I must admit when I saw the pictures beautifully shot by Rose Gargiulo - I kind of regretted that whole no shower thing, but oh well! (lol). It had been a wonderful day. We wound up at a wonderful restaurant for dinner - Kaluz, where I was able to spend time talking with others in the group, and was amazed at the powerful connections we were building. We headed over in Ryan’s sweet ride - a beautiful Tesla, and I had serious car envy. That car is a wonder - computerized everything, and environmentally positive to boot! At dinner I sat between Ryan and Suzanne, and Ryan and I were immediately drawn into conversation about what we do. We both work in the medical world - he in operations for a device company (I worked in the device world in the past), and I in a sales management role in a biotech company. While we perform different functions, we certainly understood each other’s worlds! We shared trials and tribulations of what we do, and somehow I know our paths will cross again. One thing I loved about this retreat is the great VARIETY of careers, with complete SIMILARITIES in personal experiences - again, taking us back to that notion that we really all do share this common core of humanity. What we DO is not who we ARE, and when we look at each other as humans, there is such a beautiful connectivity! We enjoyed delicious food and wine, laughed and talked and talked and laughed some more. We sent all of our positive love energy to Suzanne that night - she has opened her heart to the possibility of love and relationship through our group discussions/intentions! The universe is about to work some magic toward this powerful individual and group intention. Who knows what form it may come in - but Suzanne had better ready that heart of hers for some big love headed her way!
The next morning we headed to the beach (I scored a seat in the Tesla again) for a morning meditation. As we sat in a circle on the beach and closed our eyes, I felt myself fidgeting and again wondering if I could sit for 30 minutes in the sand….but once again, just like that, it was over. My breath was slower, my heart was open, I was clearly hearing all the sounds around me, and my focus was just right there. In that circle. With these people. Surrounded by the music of the beach - the birds, the breeze, the tiny crashing waves, the street noises, the chatter of people running by, all of it. We opened our eyes and noticed the bright green palm leaves next to the vivid royal blue sky - colors that had been there all along, but that I was just then noticing. Right there. I don’t know why this is so powerful - this being present, but it is, and in that moment I was so grateful for it. We walked to the water’s edge to dip our toes in the warm south Atlantic waters, watched the sun glisten on the water, and just. felt. peaceful.
I don’t remember what we talked about on the walk to the car or the ride back to the hotel - I just remember that peaceful, relaxed, joyous feeling of presence.
Open Spaces was next. I found myself feeling a bit of resistance to it. There were posters tacked up on the walls, some objects in a basket in the center, and I suddenly felt a little anxious about what was to come. I think I was tired and felt like I just didn’t want to have any more conversations right now. I wanted time to be alone, to think, to process - the loner in me was rearing her head. I took a few breaths and remembered that this was why I was here - to learn, to be open, to flow forward. As Suzanne (who was leading the exercise) explained that we would each submit a question or two that would be the basis of small group discussions. We would then choose which groups in which we wanted to participate, and conversations would be had. This seemed simple enough - although it’s tough to come up with a pressing question like that - surprisingly so! Soon, however, the wall was full of them, and we proceeded to have some of the most amazing conversations I’ve ever had in my life! There were rules that you could participate in one session and then navigate to another whenever you felt like it. I thought I might flit from one room to the other, but the conversations were so engaging that I only participated in two in the whole time. Some of the questions:
What do I want to explore with others?
How to “visit” different points of view without getting lost?
How do you find or create mindfulness?
How do you be authentic when you’re crazy?(Elizabeth! lol)
How do we recognize our balance?
When is resistance a positive thing and is it always appropriate to just “let go”?
How do we build and realize or legacy?
How do we integrate wisdom into our everyday life?
How do you find pause?
Such deep, wonderful topics to discuss! I’m going to focus on the last one - “how do you find pause?” because I found this discussion to be so powerful and wonderful and IMPORTANT in our crazy busy insanely full lives. How do you find pause? Achim shared his “pause” in Tobago; when life had become too much and he needed to slow down…to pause. The diving technique shared by Luis - this was the most impactful to me, and I’ve thought about it many many times since. When you are diving and you are in trouble - what is the first thing you do? Most people would think - signal for help. DO SOMETHING. But in reality, the order of things to do in a crisis situation…
STOP (conserve energy)
BREATHE (the brain needs oxygen to decision make)
THINK (what are my options)
ACT (THEN TAKE APPROPRIATE ACTION)
This is a powerful technique for all situations in life - when we find ourselves gasping for air and floundering in the midst of crisis….Stop, breathe, think, act.
The power is always in the pause - in crisis, in conversation, in storytelling, in life.
The discussions were bold and honest and intimate and open. I think we all learned something from one another, weighed different perspectives, and were better for it.
I found myself loving the session that I was so resistant to earlier that morning. I felt energized and alive and connected. What a wonderful experience.
We then passed the bowl of objects around, held one in our hands and talked about what this session has meant to us. I loved the smooth heart - was drawn to the strength of the heart, the love that is the center of us all. It was wonderful to get to express how we each experienced this weekend - each of us taking different things away from the experience, yet all agreeing on the connection.
Luis Gallardo was up next - his “title” - “Visionary World Happiness Leader and Authority on Creating Happier Workplaces”….I knew we were in for a treat with this session. Luis’s warmth is palpable; his peace and joy emanate from his soft beautiful smile.
Happy - what does it mean? where does it come from? Realizing that the mind shift is powerful. We discussed some of the research out there on happiness; there are apparently multiple schools of thought surrounding the subject. One researcher found that happiness is 50% genetic, 10% circumstance and 40% up to me . Hmmm.. this doesn’t really resonate with me. I honestly think 90 percent of our happiness comes from within. But is that because my genetics predispose me to this? Or is it a learned trait? Either way, I am so grateful for the 90% of me that knows it’s up to me…..grateful that I get to live from a place of knowing I CAN IMPACT my happiness, regardless of circumstance. The mind is powerful. We can be resilient in the face of adversity; happiness can still exist in the midst of difficulty. Another fact I took away from Luis was that the Dalai Lama dies 7 times a day - visualizes his death 7 times a day through meditation. He does this so that he can wake up and be GRATEFUL to be alive. When I think about this, knowing we are all going to die, and think about all that is GOOD in this world, happiness follows.
According to Luis, the research shows that there are five primary things that lead to happiness
Having at least one good friend (meaningful relationships)
Practicing gratitude - saying thank you to others and yourself
Being in nature
Consciously managing thoughts
Finding your purpose/being aligned with your purpose = FLOW
The most disturbing thing I learned from this session was that “25% of people in this world do not have ONE SINGLE FRIEND”. Of all of the things I’ve learned here, this was the most shocking. Without connection, people cannot thrive. It makes me want to befriend everyone I meet. I think of how deeply important my friends are to me - old friends and new friends - truly such a huge part of my soul - I can’t imagine a life without them.
Achim then dismissed us for what I had desperately been longing for - 30 minutes to WRITE about our experience here - what we are grateful for; just free flow writing. I immediately grabbed my computer and dumped my brain and heart into a new document. I’m grateful that we did this - it has made writing this so much easier. The free flow of gratitude and learning and random thoughts has always been so important to me. I find that if I go a day or two without this, I don’t think as clearly and I don’t process my emotions as well. I’m going to attach my free flow of gratitude here…I captured some in this writing, but not all of it.
What am I grateful for from this experience
Surrounded by likeminded people
OPENING up to what is or what can be
CONNECTING with people and making new friends
EMBRACING the similarities and differences
When I think of specific moments - getting into a flow of conversation with Ryan at dinner. Realizing that while we work in similar type industries and in VERY different roles, we are experiencing similar situations
What can I learn from this
The moment I opened my eyes on the beach and saw ALL of the green and blue and clouds and sun
My hand on the neck of the beautiful white horse - Caminante (sharing this experience with Jeff, on the opposite side of the horse)
drawing a picture of that moment
realizing time and time again that less can be more
BEING PRESENT…no phones, no distractions
Recognizing the beauty - over and over again - of FOCUS
The champagne toast with new wonderful women
Luis’s warm hug as we said goodbye
Hearing Dawn’s strong faith through her voice
Hating the idea of Open Spaces and then loving it
Talking at length about THE PAUSE - what that meant to different people = STOP BREATHE THINK ACT - (Diving technique)
Achim’s pause in Tobago - how it began and then how it ended and what prompted both
Recognizing ME in everyone. Recognizing everyone in ME. (ONE)
The play dough aha moment - that session gave me confidence to lean in to ALL of my colors and to recognize that I have been COLLECTING colors for a long time….
Thinking about strength
Thinking about power
Thinking about death (the Dalai Lama dies 7 times a day so he can wake up to the gratitude for everything around him.
Happy - what does it mean? where does it come from? Realizing that the mind shift is powerful.
FLOW - I need to read the book at home on my desk.
Other small moments- the smile and contagious energy of Suzanne - seeing and feeling her joy is palpable
The LOVE - the moment we passed around the heart and I was finally able to verbalize exactly what this event has been to me.
the sigh of relief I felt at having 30 whole minutes alone to process and write - the one thing I have been desperately longing for in this experience. (I need creative flow daily)
I almost want to pull the agenda out and go through it line by line to make sure I don’t forget an experience
Elizabeth sharing half her sandwich with me
Realizing that 25% of people in the world don’t have a friend - WTF? This is the saddest thing I’ve ever heard and makes me want to befriend all of them
the heart on the horse’s butt
going for a walk by myself this morning to see the sunrise
missing Robb and happy to have a conversation with him this morning (even if non caffeinated)
LOVING the experience of ALL different types of careers— seeing possibility in so many ways
Knowing that I came here for a reason - many of which are yet to be revealed
Moving the horse around the circle with Sven and just matching my steps to those of the horse and feeling that flow with the three of us
listening to the birds all around as we sat under the trees with the horses
Dolly nuzzling the back of my neck while I was seated having a small meditation
My feet in the water this morning
the sparkle of the sunlight on the water
the blue blue blue perfect sky against the green palm tree
the girl running and running this morning - I long for it and miss it
Grateful for having so many friends while still having the ability to meet more
Knowing that all my experiences are rewiring my brain and making me into what I am; constantly shifting with every new experience. people DO change, and it’s their experiences that MAKE them change (NEUROSCIENCE!!!) I want to study neuroscience. It’s fascinating.
I want to know more and more about how the brain functions.
the main takeaway for me from this weekend is PRESENCE. Being present in the moment. NOT being all things to all people all at once. Saying no, choosing my battles, not trying to do too many things at once. Knowing that all will be well. Surrounding myself with positivity. How much power and energy is there in a group of positive people? it’s insane.
Bhutan - Luis - I’m going next year without a doubt.
The piece on Anger was interesting - it’s ok to be angry if it is for a REASON. Something you believe in - you have to go through the anger to get to happy. I guess it’s a lot like the stages of grief. You can’t skip one.
Flow Forward - what does it mean to me? it’s getting lock step with the horse and moving at the pace that FEELS right in each moment - always changing. Sometimes faster, sometimes slower, sometimes, pausing, NEVER pushing or pulling or forcing. Aligning with what is, resisting what does not serve me and putting one foot in front of the other in a way that just feels good.
So many things to process from this weekend.
After I wrote like a madwoman to get all of this into a document, we went back into the room. I think about our connection. I think about the word connection. I think about the word indivisible - a word spoken in the pledge of allegiance, but rarely otherwise. Humans - we are indivisible, even when we divide ourselves into categories, careers, political affiliations, religious affiliations….different, but all the same. One.
I feel emotional when I write about the very last exercise of the day. Music with a steady drumbeat was playing, and we paired up as if dancing. We placed our hand on the heart of the person across from us and then placed our own hand on top of that hand. We then were asked to look each other in the eye without breaking away as we “danced” in just one circle; just ONE time around. We were asked to not speak, not nervously giggle. It was amazing how difficult this was. It is crazy to think how seldom we ever look another human being in the eye for a significant period of time. We don’t do this with the people we love deeply…yet alone with people we have known for 48 hours. And in those eyes across from me…I saw so many things. I saw my own reflection, I saw spirit, I saw tears, I saw pain, I saw smiles, I saw joy, I saw life. I wonder why we don’t look at each other like this - when did we become so self conscious or separate that we forgot to LOOK into other people’s eyes? It was a beautiful close to a weekend I will never forget.
We shared hugs and email addresses and committed to staying in touch - and we have! I want to write a paragraph about each and every person there - so much depth and wisdom and love in that room. Thank you Achim, Suzanne, Juan, Pamela, Giselle, Luis, Rose, Elizabeth, Sandy, Dawn, Christian, Jeff, Sven, Ryan, Leandra for sharing your amazing selves with me. You are imprinted upon my heart and I am insanely grateful for our time together.