Written by Ruth Schowalter, InterPlay Leader-in-Training
Happy New Year everyone! How are you? How did you begin 2015?
As one who loves InterPlay, I had the good fortune to travel from Atlanta to Browns Summit, North Carolina, to bring in the new year with about 40 other InterPlayers at an Untensive Retreat!
Yes! You are asking what an “untensive retreat” is! Here is the brief definition:
|GATHERING AND SHARING. NC Untensive Retreat, 2014-2015 (photos by Ruth Schowalter)|
At an “Untensive” retreat, you get to relax, connect, play, laugh, be moved and you get to learn helpful ideas and tools that can create more ease, fullness, purpose and satisfaction in your life. (For an expanded definition, go here.)
|Ginny Going and Tom Henderson|
Facilitated by deeply loved and seasoned InterPlay leaders Tom Henderson and Ginny Going, the Untensive summoned people from North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Iowa, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Maryland, and Virginia, many who have made this InterPlay retreat an annual pilgrimage.
And I can see why! Our time together was rich with play, connection, relaxation, and meaningfulness.
“Walking in the darkness and the light,” was the theme that Ginny and Tom gave us to contemplate during our four days together. Then they provided us the opportunity to “ritualize” our walk in darkness together in community.
|WALKING THE CANDLE LABYRINTH|
On Wednesday night, New Year’s Eve, we did a “Bless and Release” ritual, taking a stone to hold our thoughts and switching on a “candle” to carry us through our meditation. On Friday night, we were invited to walk in the darkness in a labyrinth made of candles (Thank you Roger Adkins and Brian Herring), remembering what we had released earlier in the week and contemplating what it is we would like to invite into our lives in 2015.
|FIRST DAY HIKE 2015|
Of course, the “Walking in the light” part of our time together seemed so very well fulfilled! We began January 1st with play and an afternoon hike, joining others around the United States in an annual hike in a state park. Oh we had a glorious walk in the North Carolina piedmont at Haw River State Park, the location of our Untensive Retreat! The winter sun shone brightly, causing the lake to sparkle and illuminating to gold, the brown leaves on our path.
Other daylight hours included, playing communally with InterPlay forms, resting in our rooms, sitting in the lobby by the fire, attending a vocal workshop with Kenneth Miller and a following-leading one with Kerstin Haug.
Yes! We walked the walk in both the light and the dark. What a “deep” metaphor to take into 2015.
Oh we did so much more during our time at Haw River State Park! But you may want to find out for yourself by attending one of Tom and Ginny’s Untensive Retreats there!
So for now, I will leave you with a wish for a meaningful and playful 2015. What will you “bless and release” as you enter this new year? What would you like more or less of?
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS: Gratitude to Tom Henderson and Ginny Going for their outstanding leadership and BIG LOVE. What a blessing you are to the InterPlay community. Thanks to Ken Miller and Kerstin Haug for their incrementally planned workshops. Appreciation to Park Ranger Kelly for her supportive presence and meeting our needs related to food and shelter! And finally, I want to applaud my amazing husband, Tony Martin, who supported my simultaneous love of him and InterPlay by accompanying me on this Untensive Retreat. I had such a grand time with you at my side. Thank you!Here is a slide show of our NC Untensive: