Updated: Jun 3, 2022
We opened our minds, hearts and will in the first two-day retreat of friends and contributors of the Wellbeing Movement. We met at the tranquil School of Ancient Wisdom on the outskirts of Bangalore with three intentions:
deepening our inter-connectedness
co-evolving the movement for wellbeing
exploring the roles, we wish to play
"What emerged cannot be captured in words. I feel a warm glow in my heart. Even though I don't know where we are going yet, I am committed to this group," said one participant. Hence, what I capture in this post can never do justice to our experience.
The participants are seekers, wellbeing and regenerative living practitioners, corporate executives, social sector professionals and teachers. All 12 of us deeply care about being well, thriving together on a thriving planet. Each of our work is distinct, but our like-heartedness was evident from the outset.
Jayashree initiated the gathering through rituals to ground ourselves while connecting with our planet and ancestors. The rituals were held under the trees' canopy, with the soil running through our bare feet.
In the two hours, I felt the time had slowed down and the weight of everyday responsibilities at work and home was forgotten. I felt profound oneness with all beings sharing the space with us.
After Shashi framed the intentions of the two days, Keerthana created an experience which helped us pause and appreciate ourselves and one another through a mindful walk and deep listening exercise held in pairs. The trust and safety we felt enabled us to openly share much in our hearts and minds.
I realized how we all hold the yin-yang, light-dark or day-night within us. These complementary polarities make us whole, so we must embrace and welcome both in our lives. I deepened my connection with my partner because I saw layers to her beyond her role and many identities.
We also held a short space helping people expand their perspectives on the movement. Participants discovered many new aspects of the movement through a gallery walk. We invited people to share an object that embodies the essence of the movement. The image below captures what emerged.
I left feeling how necessary it is to make the whole visible to our community. Describing the movement is like expecting people to experience a music or dance performance by just reading about it. Yet, the words spark the curiosity to know and experience first-hand. (Check out the artefacts we used in the gallery walk here)
We then paused to create space for our wellbeing, with a fitness session offered by Marzia and some Tai-chi offered by Pramod. We had a few laughs and received reminders to take care of our bodies if we hadn't already done so. I felt refreshed and recharged.
The conversations flowed from the hall to the meal tables and back throughout the day. While it threw us off agenda, the group made adjustments and changes to the flow in consultation. As the weaver of the experience, I always felt at ease and okay with letting go!
I was delighted to see how energized people were in each other's company that many slept late or woke up early, chit-chatting with each other. I ended my day gazing at the star-lit sky with two other friends lying on a yoga mat on the terrace. It occurred to me that we are all stardust, so our interconnectedness is inevitable and destined.
While day one was about connection, day two was about insights. More about day two in the following post!