Unfortunately, I missed the All-American LY conference in San Diego, but I was laughing with a delightful group of women in the mountains of Colorado which was an experience I would not have traded for anything. As when I trained for LY back in 2005, I had no idea what I was getting into, but just as laughter proved to be, this training was exactly what I needed.
After working with Dr. K on an article entitled, "The Laws of Impermanence", I realized that change in life is our only constant. "Seasons of Change", the name of the retreat in Colorado delved even deeper into that concept, using the seasons of Nature as a metaphor for that change. Although the retreat is limited to women only, the program is not and I encourage all of you to explore it. Realizing that professionally I could be in the Spring phase, while still being in Winter personally, was extremely helpful to me.
A couple of the ladies had experienced LY, the rest had not, so I introduced them to it per the request of the other facilitator, Helene VanManen. As you can see from the remarks of Karin Marcus, the other facilitator, she appropriately made the connection.....
Remember that all things which happen
To you are raw materials
Endlessly yielding of thoughts that could change
Your life and go on doing forever…
So fear not, my friend.
The darkness is gentler than you think.
Nigerian poet Ben Okri
Visions Upon Visions
I just returned from co-leading, with Helene Van Manen, The Seasons of Change Colorado Training and Wise Woman Retreat. It was held at the Mountain Park Environmental Center. I first saw this facility five years ago on a guided tour with Dave Van Manen, MPEC’s Founder and Director. Built in the 1930’s by Roosevelt’s WPA crews, it had deteriorated to be rundown and neglected structure. The building’s owner, the City of Pueblo, had considered tearing it town. It was rumored that the city had also considered selling to a developer the under-used 600-acre mountain park in which the lodge is located. But Dave had a vision. He saw this building restored to its original Santa Fe Mission style beauty. He saw an opportunity to expand upon his passion to leave no child inside by developing an educational center to serve the youths of the area schools. He was also inspired by Helene’s passion to reconnect adults with nature, by training Life Coaches to lead safe and rewarding retreats www.retreatcoaches.com. Amazingly, Dave convinced the local politicians of his dream, raised all the necessary funds from members and foundations, and with heartfelt care built an eco-friendly, warm and inviting center. The rest as they say is history. Check it out at www.hikeandlearn.org.
Now here I was five years later arriving with a vision of my own. Early in my coaching career I came upon The Seasons of Change® transition model developed by Carol McClelland, PhD. It incorporates the wisdom of nature to help the individual embrace change and gracefully navigate through life’s inevitable ups and downs. Being a New Englander, the seasons are deeply ingrained in my psyche, and this model became the foundation upon which I built my coaching practice and retreats. This program, too, had remained dormant for several years as Carol had moved onto a new vision and purpose - an online coaching and resource center for experienced professionals who want to contribute their expertise to creating a green, sustainable future, www.GreenCareerCentral.com. The Seasons of Change® so resonated with me that I couldn’t bear to see it sit idle. With Carol’s blessing and support, we brought it back to life, and what better place to launch the inaugural training, then amidst the golden aspens of the Colorado mountains.
Add to this fertile mix eight women -- coaches, nurses, counselors and therapist -- each with her own vision to elevate the human condition. Each came with her unique gifts, skills and interests, seeking to revitalize and clarify her purposeful path. We all did a lot of soul stretching that week, renewing our spirit with inspiring conversations, hikes through canyons and valleys, delicious healthy food and delightful massages. All the while we were surrounded by beautiful mountain vistas and moments of precious silence, accentuated by the sound of wind blowing through the pines and the beat of the ravens’ wings.
I witnessed something magical during this retreat -- that vision, like laughter, is contagious. To be in the company of people who have a dream and the passion to manifest it starts the blood pumping within one’s own heart. Previously elusive possibilities seem tangible, and the mind begins to believe, “It can be done!” Once inspired, the universe seems ever ready to support and teach us, broadening our vistas, showing us the interconnectedness of all things, and demonstrating its ingenuity to adapt and prosper.
The lesson of this retreat:
Surround yourself with inspiring people,
Expand your horizon,
Nurture and believe in your vision.
~ Karin Marcus, "Seasons of Change" Retreat Leader and Coach
Shouldn't this ALWAYS be our lesson?