If readers are interested, I am going to be slowly going through my journal and detailing what we did each day. Of course some information about other people’s (participants) turns is confidential, I will just be describing my experience and my reactions and my thoughts on the process.
Day 1 – Monday. We were a pretty large group – 17 including 3 teaching assistants and the 2 teachers (Myrna Martin and Ken Martin) plus 12 participants. Therefore the morning was entirely taken up with 10 minute introductions and check-ins from each person. In the afternoon, we chose beads to see which 6 person pod we would be a part of (for the entire 2 weeks) and then later we also chose beads to see which smaller group of 3 we would be a part of for the first week. This group of 3 changed people for the second week. We discussed what people needed to feel safe and comfortable, we discussed how much support was available there are the retreat – we could talk to the TA’s and the teachers at any point about our process. A 10 or 15 minute check-in was easy and encouraged. Also if we wanted, the TA’s were also available most evenings for an hour long session that we could pay additional for.
Most days we had delicious breakfast at 8 am, then occasionally we would have a snack around 10 am. Then an organic delicious lunch was served at 12:30 pm. There was almost always a break / snack time in the afternoon – 3:30 pm or so and then dinner was served at 6:30 pm. The food was incredible and Andria did a wonderful job of accommodating at least 6 different food sensitivity needs – some people were vegetarians, others were grain free, one person was gluten free and others wanted to have at least 1 serving of meat per day, and so on! To be honest though, I might go back just for the food (and the beautiful clean pure environment) it was so so so good!
Day 2 – Tuesday. The morning was the first turn with Myrna. Without having experienced a process workshop or one of her trainings, it will be difficult to describe fully what a turn looks like. Also, each person’s turn is determined by their intention. If someone’s intention is to explore their birth patterns in relationship to psychological boundaries, then the turn will almost always involve a re-birthing of sorts. A turn might also explore conception and implantation without getting to the birth – we would have the chance to re-do the genetic coding of whether or not this world we live in is safe and comfortable and encouraging of exploration and play (vs. dangerous and survival is the only thing we can be concerned with!). Some people’s turns explored adult type issues like boundaries with partners, boundaries with family of origin, etc. Therefore there is no one way of doing a turn.
The process for determining whose turn it was, is very important and revealing and insightful as well. First Myrna would ask, “is everyone here ready to support someone’s turn?” And then she would ask, “who here knows it is not their turn today?” Next we would get into checking in about how we feel about taking a turn if we did not raise our hands to that last question. On several days, multiple people felt like it could be their turns, and we would negotiate about how we felt about taking that turn. Only once did we have to choose a number between 1 and 20. And on that day, both people we basically working with the same nuances of their birth process. Therefore, in spite of not taking that particular turn, the other person felt like they too took a turn that day. It was pretty amazing!
Once we knew whose turn it was, we went around affirming that it was our turn to everyone. For some people, each of these steps could be a huge deal, and therefore we went slowly allowing for whatever wanted to arise to do so.
The first turn was extremely potent. There was a little bit of a negotiation that took place to see whose turn it was but once we got started (knowing whose turn it was), it proceeded to deepen further and further. It did not involve a re-birthing as far as I can recall. But we all did somatic motions with our hands as toxic words and emotions were released and we “shoveled” that crap out the windows. It was a big day of release and reclamation.
That afternoon we did what seemed like a relatively simple exercise involving ropes and cords. We set up our little bubble of space and that was our boundary. We could make it as large as we wanted to or as small as we liked. And then we would explore having someone put their bubble nearby us. And then we got to feel what it was like to have someone put something in our bubble without our permission. For some reason, in spite of having done this exercise at least four or five times previously for various workshops, I found this exercise to be very activating! I was a part of a group of 3 people who were fairly sensitive, so I think we all felt a lot during this playing with boundaries game.
It turned out that each afternoon we would do a different edgy – potentially-emotionally-charged exercise and our TA mentioned that each exercise could give rise to multiple turns (as in 3 hour turns). They were that informative and insightful.
I think it was this day that we had a sushi bowl. This was by far my favorite meal that we had at the intensive (I mentioned to some people there that if there was one food I could survive on for the rest of my life, it might be sushi!).
Each day built of the previous day as we were slowly building up to exploring our own conception and birth processes (in week 2). Therefore just about everyone became more and more exhausted by the end of the first week and definitely once we got into the 2nd week.
By writing this, I feel that I am recollecting the beautiful energy and container and cohesion of the group I was a part of. The principles of safety and saying no and contact etc created a marvelously safe and comfortable space for dropping deep into emotionally charged waters. And frankly, that kind of container is extremely difficult to find in any kind of workshop or training! (This is coming from someone who has done dozens of various types of retreats and workshops and trainings.)
Thanks for reading!