Retreat Feeback – by Becky
Note: Not everyone thinks of retreats as being life changing or even particularly challenging, given that a lovely cabin is provided and no instruction or assignments given. The fact is, however, that many who come here for a retreat experience end up – intentionally or surprisingly – dealing with deep issues or reconnecting to themselves and earth in deep ways. An excellent example was the recent visit by Becky, a sensitive, self-directed and grateful woman who did most of her work and play here by herself. Her letter of thanks and sharing follows. -JWH
Hi, Loba, Wolf and Kiva,
It’s hard to put into words what I experienced at Animá last week during my quest … but I want to start and give it a try.
First, thank you all from my heart for providing the environment, for being such good stewards of the wild, sacred place.
Loba, thank you for your helpful suggestions that always took me deeper than I would’ve thought to go on my own. Thanks for helping me remember the power and delight of being barefoot, for your generosity of spirit and heart-filled support, and for the delicious meals filled with nourishment and loving intentions.
I realized that what I received at Animá was just what I needed: a warm, welcoming, loving place to remind me I’m truly home here – here and everywhere. I now have the deep, experiential knowledge that I am home. Literally, I = home. I’ve been embraced by this place, I embrace my place here, I embrace my true self, me.
I also realized that I don’t “leave” anywhere – I keep my roots in each place, in each person I meet. Visualizing my roots – a piece of me extending all over, the roots of everyone and everything extending all over – a marvelous web of connection and interconnection! We are one in the sense of when someone or something moves, acts, grows or dies, the whole web is affected, we are each moved/impacted in some way.
During my time at Anima, I felt a full range of emotions. Surprisingly to me, I mostly felt at home and peaceful with myself and my surroundings. As I left, I felt such exhilaration and joy! Then the day after I returned home, I experienced the pendulum of emotions swinging hard in the other direction. Without knowing the “why” behind it, I just let myself curl up and cry. I spent the day like a turtle with his head tucked in, with only the hard shell exterior exposed to the world. I reminded myself that emotions are meant to flow, that the more I felt the true joy, the deeper I’d feel the sadness. And, I was relieved to see that my sadness doesn’t last when I can express it and let it be. I’d like to learn how to stay connected to others when I feel sad, instead of withdrawing into my shell. Ahhh – more to explore!
I look forward to returning to Animá and seeing you again in the future.
My love and gratitude to you,