Insights from Retreats


{Insights from Retreats}

We just completed two retreats upon our return from the Covid-19 pandemic. They were certainly a little different but I can honestly say we managed them well and the changes to the retreat were small and probably not noticed by those attending. Our new facility is more spacious. Our previous conference room is no longer viable given the capacity restrictions. We ended up enjoying the new space and I believe we have found a new home.

I wanted to share some of my insights I have learnt from the past two retreats.

My initial insight is that so much of what takes place at a retreat is not in the actual retreat its self. It’s the connections that are made during meal times, around the smoking area, down on the lake front, on the morning walks. Conversations prompted by the inner work each participant is doing. When we are invited to have deep conversations, uninterrupted by our ever present phones, people’s need to and desire to go deeper draws them into these life defining relationships.

The superficiality of our culture with ever present media, interruptions, distractions and constant commercials hijacking our attention, leaves our inner life bereft of healthy dialogue. Richard Foster said in his book The Challenge of the Disciplined Life, “Superficiality is the cure of our age”.

Deep conversations transform our view of our self and others. It assists us in getting connected to healthy relationships. Johann Hari said in his book on addiction that the opposite of addiction is not sobriety rather, connection.

It is in the informal time at the retreat where so much healing happens. Our longing for human connection runs deep and once in a while life affords us this gift. That so many need alcohol or drugs in order to connect the price of this is high, and in the end leaves one feeling empty because there is a realization that it was not a connection rather it was an induced euphoria that leaves us empty. On the other hand these informal conversations with others create a bond that is life giving and enduring.

Post retreat I see the conversations that continue and they fill my heart with joy to see people from many varied background walk together the healing path.

Second insight is a deep-felt gratitude for the power of the human spirit to return to health. When both men and women find the space within their life to let go of hurt, to forgive abusers, to forgive themselves, and then to experience the freedom that this brings, every time it happens I am deeply grateful. To see the sadness replaced with authentic joy and love. I have heard stories over the last 6 years that leave me in a paradoxical mixture of emotion.

Somewhere between rage and empathy. How do people hurt others so much? Family members abusing family. Then I realize hurting people hurt people. I know that we hurt those closest to us the most, so it is no surprise that much of our pain is from original family. In the same moment I see the hope and power of the human spirit when the victim grabs back hold of their own power and stands tall in a loving forgiving place. We forgive for our self not the other. We let go so we might be free.

Forgiveness is abandoning all hope of a better past. With the past completed and the future opening up before us I see the smile of hope and a heart fill with love ready to embrace their future.


The stories we share allow us to put voice to our thoughts and feelings. They help us describe the things we have seen and done, the moments that matter, the things that have shaped us, and the things that have defined us. Read some of the Transformations Stories here.

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