This is just a quick note because I wanted to share with you how very special this year’s retreat in France, from which I recently returned, was. It was one of the most moving, powerful, joyful retreats I have ever attended. We laughed, sang, walked, talked, cried and connected at a very deep level. I think we all returned on a very special high. Just to give you a flavour of it, here are a few lines, written by some of the participants, before one of our morning sessions. I asked for a few lines “on Love”. This is some of what came back:
Love has the power to slay the darkness. A fierce blade wielded solemnly. An antenna that carries an arching current from god, closing a circuit to the soul, between souls.
Love is beauty, powerful, eternal
It is real, an authenticity
It is wholeness – the only thing that really matters
Love is pure, healing, cleansing
It is empowering, an interconnectedness
It’s the life force
Love is God – omnipresent, omnipotent
It knows no bounds.
Love is allowing myself to be fully me, in the whole range of who I am, good and bad, dark and light. Love is accepting, understanding all of this in myself, and in others.
Love is truly seeing the other person – to connect on the same level and be at peace with each other and care for each other. It is calm and content.
Love is expansive.
Love is joyful.
Love is a poem.
Love is warm.
Love is laughter.
Love is a rose.
Love is living in a whole, authentic way, in truth, in balance and in harmony.
Love is the invisible energy which moves through us and around us and connects us to the natural world and to everything beyond our universe.
Love is the moment when everything is exactly as it should be and beauty is in the smallest things… seeing that some love that is inside us all and inspires us all and joins us, so love of other is the same as love of one’s self.
Love is a vibration.
Love is an energy, a feeling, an action.
Love is unconditional when it is true.
Love is appreciation for what is – no judgement of what is.
Love is supportive, embracing, all encompassing and accepting.
Love is what enables all life.
Being grounded, balanced
Feeling light, empty, weightless
Happiness, a sense of well-being
Feeling of freedom and harmony.
Connection to the earth, in its totality and the greater universe, the creative in every sense of the word. The unspoken communication with an/other/s on a deeper level. Allowing others to be themselves whilst remaining so oneself.
I think love is just being and offering the best of you. Offering light and kindness but the more whole you are the stronger the love. I realize now it’s not all hearts and flowers, if it’s encapsulating my dark it’s a stronger, more whole feeling. Love is not minding how the other person feels towards you but offering love anyway. Loving a child teaches you about love or has taught me about love because it’s taught me to love in an unfettered, ‘pure’, uninterrupted way, but also showing me that love needs a balance.
Love is an expression of the heart that touches another, or can meet love in another or be received from another. It has a purity, it is totally accepting and without judgement. It is both sweet and powerful, can compassionate, forgiving, generous and healing. Where love meets love, it blossoms and strengthens. It comes from God and a connection with God.
Love is thank you for this precious life.
And here is what I wrote:
Love is the agent of peace, harmony beauty and truth.
Love is absolute. Love is infinite. Love is balance.
Love is acceptance of the other. Love is the honouring of the self. Love is the valuing of all others. Love be with me always.
Love is not the ideal, nor the result (pursuit?) of an idealized reality, or other.
Love is not attachment. Love is not non-attachment or the repression of detachment.
Love is in peaceful co-existence. Love is in adherence to truth. Love is the beginning and the end.
Love be with me always.
You won’t be surprised that we have already reserved a date for next year; it's May 31st – June 4th 2018. Look forward to joining with you there, if it calls you.
Meanwhile, go well, be well,
Hilary and Felicity, who led the meditation and yoga sessions respectively, write:
We return home from this year’s retreat feeling uplifted, inspired and transformed. It is always a joy to spend this special retreat time with the Values Family, whether they are newcomers just discovering the power of working with Michal, or reconnecting with old friends who have been walking this path for many years. For those unable to attend, we held you in our hearts. Michal emphasized the need for harmony and inner balance, and gently but powerfully guided us to explore new personal depths with daily teaching sessions, creative exercises and her transformational presence. Along with daily meditation and physical exercises, plenty of time for relaxation and walks, we were supported and nourished by the wonderful connections between us all, delicious organic food and the beautiful environment.
This year there was the added delight of singing every evening around a campfire. Even for those of us who believe that they “can’t sing”, the process of joining our voices together created such joy and uplift, and the image of smiling, happy faces in the warm glow of the fire is a happy memory.
It was Sally-Ann Turner and Brenda Brown's first retreat with Michal and they write about their experience here:
Sally-Ann Turner writes
"I started the retreat feeling a little unsure of myself, however, it was soon evident that we were a like-minded group, so, I really needn't have worried - I felt comfortable enough to be my natural self; as a result, I had a truly incredible experience.
Aside from powerful meditation and yoga, we used collage and paint in abundance - it was so liberating to be given a means of expressing my inner world - to then have it's interpretation facilitated by Michal and the rest of the group: issues that had lain hidden, together with others that I was conscious of, but needed the right environment to free.
Regardless of when the next retreat takes place, I shall be rebooking: it's effects are heartfelt."
Brenda Brown writes:
"Working with Michal Levin over the years has given me a fundamental connection to self, a solid foundation on which to grow. Attending the retreat gave me the opportunity to expand upon this, working within a supportive group, in a beautiful environment, where I felt free to express myself."
Working with Michal was a great joy. I particularly enjoyed our group sessions on Hierarchy which I found both illuminating and relevant. I arrived not knowing what to expect. I left with a feeling of peace, joy and laughter, and a firm commitment to return again."
Wishing you a very happy season, wherever you are.