I often think of how much I miss those hugs. In this space that I belong lives a love that few people experience. Every time we come together its like we have spent no time away. It’s a safe space where we can talk about everything. In this space we are given the freedom to share our most intimate secrets without fear of judgement. We have cried together, shared together, but mostly; we laugh together. We laugh with each other, we laugh at each other, we laugh for each other and we laugh in support of each other.
The weather is usually iffy when we come together but the sunshine that is produced makes the weather’s rains irrelevant. The environment is always conducive to our activities, whether inside or outside and we share intimate love stories while we break bread. The home cooked food is loveworthy. The offering of specialty meals is a testament to the love of the cook who pays special attention to the needs of us all because she cares. The food is good and wholesome, just like the event.
The first time I attended this wonderful getaway I was apprehensive. I really did not know what to expect. I was open to the promise of no cell phone service, no TV, no news, no Facebook, no artificial interruptions. I was open to being in the company of a group of my peers for three days. I was open to the promise of enlightenment, engagement, and entertainment and, as promised; I received all three. As an added bonus, I learned a few things about myself and a whole lot more about other people.
I learned that others also go through what I go through, life, love, death, dismemberment, heart break, unemployment, disconnection, the need to belong, the need to be seen, and the need to be accepted. It was such a wonderful experience that I have now repeated my attendance five times.
Last year, I had several traveling commitments that conflicted with my annual retreat of choice, but I made the choice not to allow life to take away my annual sanctuary and I convinced my lover to drive to the event, last minute. It was worth the hour-long drive.
Looking forward, on April 14th 2016, I will be packing and driving to spend quality time with my Shades Retreat family. I am looking forward to seeing the old and meeting the new and embracing the feeling of love and acceptance that always comes in the place I belong.
This trip will be the first time that I will be sharing my craft with my peers at Shades. I am so excited. I get to stand in front of my peers and give myself to them. I am excited not only because I am sharing but also because I am able to give back to the people who have sustained me, for the last six years. They have sustained me with love, hugs, kisses, laughs, cries, and celebration. The joking, participating in activities and partying are a plus. There are a few days left before I feel that feeling of belonging. Shades Retreat here I come.