How connected do you feel to your partner or your kids? To extended family and friends? To a community? And how fulfilling are those connections for all involved?
In our modern culture, we’re often taught the value of becoming self-reliant and independent. Sometimes as we “succeed” in this, it leads to a sense of isolation. Or we may shut ourselves off from deeper emotions in order to get ahead, or to not upset others. Or we may simply feel too drained with all our commitments to give 100% in any of our relationships, and we wonder if it’s possible to have fulfilling connections, even in our own families.
These past two weeks, we ran our At Home in the World Family Retreat here in Bali. The families who came showed up fully, committed to deepening their relationships. Each had their own internal and external struggles they came with, whether family or personal challenges. While at first reserved, everyone quickly opened up to new ways of thinking and seeing, learned new skills and more confidence to trust their intuition, and gained clarity on their path forward.
By the end, most parents said this retreat felt like a major turning point in their lives. It’s changed the way they will parent, live, learn, and work moving forward, becoming more inclusive and supportive of their children’s needs, as they grow together as a family. Some families even expressed that this retreat saved their relationship with their kids or their spouse. (And some kids expressed similar sentiments.) Here is one example from 11-year-old Sky-Marie. I cry every time I watch this (especially at the end).
I am so grateful to be a part of this and to witness the positive changes these families are experiencing.
But what makes this possible?
What does it take to create truly fulfilling relationships? I would say nothing short of awareness, presence, authenticity (with ourselves and others), and vulnerability.
During the retreat, these inspiring families felt deeply, and shared vulnerably with courage and compassion. There were tears, laughter, dancing, shouting (and repeatedly punching a pillow in one case), and many moments of mindful presence and introspection. There were excursions to local Balinese villages, to temples, to rice fields and waterfalls and jungles as we adventured together, learned together, and faced the challenges that arose together (such as our bus getting stuck in the mud in the rain and needing to be dug and pushed/pulled out).
All this led to deep transformation, supported also by the framework we facilitated with and the strong community bonds that were forged and will last long past the retreat. The children also made lasting friendships with a mix of ages, and learned to love and support one another.
We went deep. We had fun. And we came out connected, grateful, and transformed.
If you want fulfilling relationships, then I invite you to look to yourself first.Consider some of these questions: What are your needs? What can you give? How can you express yourself with more courage and compassion? How can you use gratitude for what is going well as a container for what is not?
And as you look to the week ahead, what is one thing you can commit to do this week to honor and deepen one of your most precious relationships?
If you are looking for more support with this or are interested in attending one of our upcoming retreats, please visit our At Home in the World Retreat website, join our mailing list, or connect with us through email or Facebook. Our next retreat will be in Transylvania, Romania from July 1-14, 2019. If you or someone you know is interested, we encourage you to reach out right away.
You can also watch this summary video of the highlights from our Bali retreat this year to get a taste of what it is like:
Wherever your path leads, and whatever relationships you are currently involved in, I wish you the best as you tune into and honor yourself and your needs, as you also honor others in their needs with courage and compassion.
May you enjoy deep fulfillment and connection even now,