We leave tomorrow for the week-long bioenergetic retreat in Prince Edward Island. We have spent a year preparing, with more active preparation going on since January, and accelerating toward tomorrow. The program begins on Friday evening and runs through the following Friday at mid-day, and each year it draws a diverse group that somehow becomes a community during our time together. And I can imagine that the people who are joining us from all over the world are preparing, packing, and anticipating.
I have been busy with getting ready, looking after details, checking in with the rest of the team, and preparing myself for the work of therapy. Body psychotherapists use their bodies in their work, so part of my preparation has been to be sure I do my bioenergetic exercises, to be aware of my sleep and nutrition, to work through any internal logjams that may get in my way.
And now, today, I am feeling that lovely anticipatory excitement that comes up when you are heading off for an experience that is new and also likely to be challenging and deepening and supportive and connecting. The closest comparison I can get is that feeling I had when I was maybe eight years old of expecting Santa to come and bring presents on Christmas Eve. There was an element of surprise but also the expectation was that things would be pretty good.
I am looking forward to seeing what gifts the next week brings. Gifts are not always in bright packages: in fact, the gifts of the retreat often arrive in the form of difficult feelings, ones we prefer to avoid. I guess maybe the gifts come when people are offered a time and space to be themselves, bring their struggles, challenges, and their joys, express whatever their bodies need to express, and then see what happens. Part of my anticipation is that I don’t know what will come up; part of my joy is that I do know that things will happen, people will have opening experiences, and we will become a community.
I wish you all the gifts that freedom of expression can bring.