The remarkable Paula Harris had an idea for a retreat, then made it happen. That sentence does not reveal the 10,784 decision points between conception and reality. One of those fortunate decisions was her hiring me along the way.
I returned to NYC in the Quiet Car on the Acela Sunday evening after a rewarding, fulfilling and dynamic time with 17 women, my co-leader Ken Nelson (who referred to himself as the toKEN male!) and Paula, the visionary producer of the event. I wanted to share some of the highlights.
On Friday night I wrote down the themes we women (in transition) share: loss, guilt, getting beyond pain (from death, illness, empty-nests, etc.), finding our footing again, acceptance, the importance of friendship. By Sunday, after many rounds of exercises, sharing, journaling and laughter something shifted for each participant.
One of the takeaways each woman commented on was the necessity of community, not keeping things secret and hearing others tell their stories. Ken and I provided a safe, confidential structure for that kind of disclosure, plus lots of activities to assist in bringing the feelings and truths to the surface.
Having faced multiple transitions in my own life these past few years, I’m able to share my favorite personal tools and techniques for dealing with hard feelings, loss and the desire to keep moving forward in spite of a tidal shift. It was rewarding to see them applied and working for others.
If it’s possible to fall in love with 17 people over a weekend, I believe we achieved that end. And isn’t love the answer to all our woes anyway?