This Is Not A Retreat - Soul Seed Gathering
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This Is Not A Retreat

By Rozanne Dioso-Lopez

This Is Not A Retreat

Let me preface this article by saying I am not against retreats.  In fact, I have gone on a retreat in recent years and received many benefits from it including scheduled time alone, a break from my ordinary days, connecting with women, and having planned excursions and activities.  It was a beautiful way to recharge and retreat into myself.

Retreats are very popular these days.  We are a culture of BUSY and retreats are filling this need to slow down. When we sign up for a retreat, we commit to a forced stop from our day-to-day routine so that we can gain a little perspective and sometimes, to simply breathe. Retreats allow us to physically remove ourselves from our normal so we can really see what is working and what isn’t.  Some times we just need to retreat to save our sanity, to raise the white flag and surrender.
The word retreat means to draw back. To step backward.  To withdraw.  It can also mean a place of seclusion.
When I went on a retreat, I made the clear intention of withdrawing.  I would not speak if I didn’t have to or engage with too much energy expenditure.  It was time to fill the tank and be in seclusion while still connecting with other women when I felt I could and to be inspired by the retreat facilitator, letting her lead the way so I could just flow with her rhythm she had set for the retreat.  It was important for me to do this as I had never been away from my kids and my husband EVER.  I could take a step back from the edge and regroup. Again, I am not against retreats.  If you need to step back, do it. Soul Seed Gathering is NOT a retreat.  Having attended both Chapter 1 and Chapter 2. It became clear to me that this was a different experience. In Chapter 1: Guatemala, I held the intention to take my seclusion as if it were a retreat and I was soon taught a powerful lesson.  

My seclusion made me face a fear and an old trigger on the very first night.  It was only when I let that intention go and engage and ask for support did I understand what this gathering could do.  I moved into the driver’s seat and danced as a Creator.

 
Captured by Kayla Ramirez for Chapter 2
I began to play with my intentions in order to take responsibility for my experience moment to moment. At one point, I craved connection with other moms. The next day I found them in a talk that a woman gave on her very unique birthing experience.  In that talk two other moms who were my age also shared their very different birthing experiences and we also shared our deep love and deep fear we have all faced as mothers. I also had the intention to not force connection, to check my expectations, and to sit and to listen to what I needed in each moment.  If I needed to be alone, I still took the time but not in a way where I was “retreating” but in the sense that I had to check in with my intentions again.  Why was I there? What did I expect? Where did I feel resistance?
As I became more clear with my intentions, I understood I could be at mercy to my expectations or I could use this opportunity to create or to heal or to learn.  It was a blank canvas.
Chapter 2: Colombia allowed me to co-create with my eldest daughter.  We shared a room and the intention of allowing this experience to unravel our messy knot we had tightened over 20 years. It was time to re-weave intentionally our relationship now that she was headed into adulthood and I was certain that this container would set the tone and also birth her to other women of strength in this world.  
Captured by Olivia Ashton for Chapter 2

With each gathering, I never expect a certain outcome.  I don’t sit in the passive backseat.  

I don’t expect to be transformed.  I transform.   I don’t expect to be led or to be listened to. I lead and I listen.   I don’t expect explanations and wisdom.  I trust to receive what I need to receive when I need to receive it by being open and humble.   I don’t expect for someone to tell me all the answers. I sit with the questions and allow the experience itself to fill in the blanks.

 I don’t search for anything outside of me.  I have what I am always looking for but sometimes I need others to reflect it back at me so I can remember.  

 
Captured by Olivia Ashton for Chapter 2
At Soul Seed Gathering, we are co-creators with all of the women.  We are all storytellers and have something to give and to receive.  We respect each woman’s experience and are open to learning other ways to see the world by exchanging ideas and allowing every story to be heard.  We flow with the rhythm of the land, the rhythm of our natural cycles. We are invited by women of indigenous cultures to sit with them, to see who they really are, and to listen to their story, a story that is sometimes distorted or in the process of being eliminated. We also connect to the land and listen to its teachings. It is a research project on the most personal level where we return to the original word research: to search closely, to wander, to traverse.  It is an opportunity to look closely at our old programs and stories and to wander into new territory as collaborators and as women all journeying together.   Rozanne is the keeper of the West for Chapter 3 Dreaming with the Ancients, Brazil. To join visit here To read more of Rozanne’s writing visit rozannelopez.com  
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