26 Mar A Retreat Space to Rest, Reflect and Reconnect (vital for any changemaker)
Ever been to an event or conference and felt overwhelmed by all of the information heading your way?
Ever felt guilty that you couldn’t soak up all the super-important information offered to you?
Ever been to an inspiring event and left disempowered rather than empowered because you don’t know how to turn the information into effective and sustainable action?
I do, all the time. Admittedly introverts (30-50% of the worlds population) and HSPs (highly sensitive people 20% of the worlds population) struggle the most at events with lots of stimulus and are keen to reflect but even the most extrovert person needs time and space rest, reflect and reconnect with the information sent our way especially if that is information about the problems in our world and how we need to be part of the solution to fix them.
The lovely people at Lush contacted me in 2017 to ask for my help at their February 2018 Lush Summit for 5000 of Lush staff from around the world, influencers and charities Lush supports. They had received feedback from attendees at their past Summit (which are A-mazing btw! We were there doing craftivism workshops and talks) saying how much they loved it, learnt so much and were inspired but… many attendees also admitted (in anonymous feedback forms) that they also felt overwhelmed, overstimulated, exhausted before the summit was over and were not sure what to do with all that passion and inspiration they had gained from the Summit. I’ve heard this feedback at a lot of conferences I speak at. Many staff had watched my Activism Needs Introverts TEDx talk and asked if I could create something to help address this issue.
This is what I created (and delivered on a smaller scale in Florida, USA for Frank Gathering in a yoga centre for 50 people) and I wanted to share it with you to offer some free tools and tips on ways you can look after yourself at conferences as well as encourage conferences to get in touch with me to set up a retreat space at their event if you think participants would find it useful:
Welcome to the Retreat Space:
A place for you to:
- Rest your mind, body and soul after soaking up lots of important information from [Lush Summit/this conference]
- Reflect on the vision you have of a happy and healthy world for all and how to deliver your activism in a kind, creative and strategic way learning from the past and focusing on a positive future.
- Reconnect with the injustice issues you have learnt more about today and how you can be part of the change you wish to see in our world in a loving, sustainable and effective way
Please take your time to travel on this journey to each of the 10 stations slowly with an open heart and an open mind in the numbered/sequential order provided and remember:
“Never do it that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead.
Drop-in sessions where 10am-6pm. Each of the 10 stations had a description of what to do and an inspiring quote. Throughout the venue we had birdsongs that the co-founder of Lush Mark Constantine had collected himself from nature in Poole, vegan food and drink, every station had plants, candles and a scent that complemented the activities. For example at the first few ‘rest’ stations lavender would help calm people’s mind and body to take it slow. At the ‘reconnect’ stations towards the end of the journey the scents were more citrus and peppermint smells to help everyones brains become more awake after the rest and reflection stations to help everyone come up with tangible actions they can do post-summit.
There was also three workshops in a secluded corner space throughout the day; from yoga in the morning, ecotherapy in the afternoon with Earth for Life and craftivism at the end of the day. Staff were on hand to give more information on how to register for one or more of them.
“I felt so zen, it’s like being in the middle of a forest.”
“This is the best part, I could stay here all day”
– Grace Victory (blogger, vlogger, instastar, TV presenter)
“Had such an interesting and soothing day at the #LushSummit Retreat today. Time for rest and reflection now”
– Sophie Eggleton (blogger)
Here are some of the resources (not all) we used:
- Gentle Protest playlist on Spotify
- Gentle Nudge labels to help you wear your convictions
- Stitchable Changemakers
- Wellmaking Clinic
- A selection of books from my School of Gentle Protest library
If you would like a retreat space at your event or suggest it to a conference you think could benefit from it please contact me, Sarah
Photos and video by Tom Price