It's a Sunday afternoon and I'm sitting at home enjoying my day off, which I call my hibernation day to decompress and lay low. I know of two gatherings that occurred this weekend that I couldn't attend but were retreat participants getting together to stay in touch and enjoy another meal together months after their travels together.
These are people who joined in on a trip without knowing anyone else. They said "yes" to the adventure regardless of the fears and doubts and insecurities they may have felt. They opened themselves up not only to the culture of where we were traveling together but to the group dynamic of meeting new friends. They allowed themselves to share and be vulnerable. They allowed themselves to have meaningful conversations with essentially complete strangers. They see the value in new friendships and are willing to create time for these relationships to continue to blossom.
It's interesting to see how people can sometimes open up to a stranger easier than a lifelong friend or relative. It can be healing and transforming to connect with someone who doesn't have any previous experiences or emotions attached. Sometimes it isn't even a deep connection but simply the appreciation of another person or shared experience. Whatever it is, I love it! Connection is key!
I have wrapped up four successful retreats this year, both domestic and international. I never know who's going to sign up for each destination, but it never ceases to amaze me how beautifully it always aligns.
On these trips my friends, students, and travel buddies have connected with each other and me on such a deep level. They have no idea how much they have contributed to my happiness and fulfillment. Although the adventures and sightseeing we share together are remarkable, nothing warms my heart more than seeing these beautiful souls love and appreciate each other both during our time together on retreat and afterward.