07 December 2005

Upcoming: A Spring Retreat

It's a very snowy, frigid day here in Maryland. The snow blanketed us in powder on Monday night, but it's so cold that it will not melt anytime soon. It did not, however, stick to the roads or sidewalks, but there is lots of "black ice" on the roads this morning according to the news.

Several friends have invited me to work with them in planning a women's retreat at the Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church, where I was a congregation member from 1998-2003 until I moved to Annapolis. I'm so happy to be back among old friends and having the opportunity to create a meaningful day of activities for the women of my former church.

We had our first planning meeting this past Sunday. Our plan is to have the retreat in early March 2006. We have decided upon a simple, yet multi-layered theme: Spring Clearing: Honoring Transitions, Restoring Creativity. (Yep. The "creativity" part was my idea! *grin*) We have already brainstormed for the basic outline of activities. We plan to have begin with a social breakfast, with very simple and healthy food options (all vegetarian). By 9:30 AM we will hold a Gathering for all participants. The Gathering Circle is followed by group activities designed to get participants thinking about the retreat's themes: how they can relate to the ideas of transitions and how they view creativity. My friend. T.H. will then provide a splendid pot of vegetarian minestrone soup accompanied by home-baked bread and other side dishes and will need a team of women to help her serve and clean up. Two different afternoon workshop sessions will offer some individual choices and allow each participant to choose or experiment with her own creativity. The final activity in the late afternoon will be a Closing Circle of the whole.

I'm very excited by the great number of ideas and resources we are bringing to this retreat concept. We have some women in the church community who we are going to approach about leading a workshop or a part of the group activities. The theme gives me much to think about and much flexibility. I will need to come up with activities that can be done by large groups and by small groups. I've already begun the first stages of planning these activities.

It came to me that my own afternoon workshop on individual creativity will be a collage workshop. I think that collage is an easy way for people who might be intimidated by painting or sculpture to get involved in making visual art. Plus, I'm an old hand when it comes to collages. I've been making them ever since preschool--not constantly, mind you--but I do frequently use collage in decorating presents and other works of art. Lately, I've begun to use new-fangled glue materials and want to decoupage some small boxes. I just painted a round one with gesso the other night and will soon think about what materials I want to paste onto it.

Knowing I have a finite amount of time to hone my workshop ideas is good for me. Deadlines usually keep me to task, and particularly that's important when my "day job" tends to spill over into other aspects of my life. With this coming women's retreat, my dream of being a facilitator is finally coming to fruition. Runningwave Workshop is becoming a reality.

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