I was doing workshops and retreats separately. This was an attempt to combine Wellbeing workshop (7AM to8AM) for 5 days and try to combine it with Health and Happiness Retreat from 2PM to 6PM on the same 5 days. The participants in Health and Happiness Retreat attend the wellbeing sessions in the morning. The rationale was to spread the retreat over more time while giving space and time for the participants to manage their other commitments. The spread over 5 days (instead of the earlier two and a half days) allows the participants also to assimilate what we do in a better way and especially try some of it in their daily lives. For me this format also works better for scheduling my other activities; if it is so I hope that I can increase the frequency of the Health and Healing retreat in Auroville.
My first impression is that the objectives were achieved and the rationale is valid. The feedback from the participants validated my impression and I would proceed in this direction and refine the retreat.
There were several ‘firsts’ in this experiment, part form the format. I included a conversation on conditioning as an important aspect and this becomes the foundation on which we build the super structures related to freedom from stress, emotional overwhelm, baggage of the past and processes for inner healing. The foundation also supports the new dimension I added to transmute conditioning and a more detailed session on being happier. I also introduced more video clips and all these innovations make the retreat very integrated. I feel elated about the way it turned out.
An important contributing factor in the success of the experiment is the interested group of participants who were committed to create value for themselves out of the retreat. What was delightful was that the average age of the group would be one of the lowest ever in the retreats I facilitated and I was initially a little concerned whether the serious topics would hold their attention over a period of 5 days. I was pleasantly surprised that they maintained the interest and attention and were there even when a cyclone broke out on the last day. I was fortunate to have such a group which included two young couples; all with extraordinary receptivity to the objectives of the retreat and the wonderful international mix of Auroville events. It is a wonderful experience for me and I am certain that the shape of ideal retreat that I would like to offer is close to manifestation.
This was the first time that I had participants form Uruguay and it was wonderful to get to know them.