EWP Annual Retreat – 2021
Jean Houston states, “The universe is a factory for creating creators – people who can sense what is needed for this time.”
Tisiola (aka Tisi) Lear, is one such creator, and this year marked the tenth anniversary, of the organisation she has created (Embracing Women’s Potential – Transformational Learning Centre – EWP-TLC); a much-needed place for women, especially at this time in our world.
And so it was, following days of relentless rain in the Southern Highlands, wonderful to go over the mountains and down to the sea (to Callala Bay), for some much appreciated warmer, sunnier weather and a Transformational Learning experience.
Faces lit up like the sun, as one by one, we arrived at yet another beautiful, spacious, luxurious residence which was to be our home for the following two days. We had a full house of ladies, first time retreaters, Mandy, Lida, and Trish plus the rest of us who have been on this annual retreat for many years.
As always, there was an abundance of delicious food made and shared over the following days, beginning on the Friday night with out of this world Gin Cocktails created by Mandy.
Dinner, games and frivolity followed.
Sadly, Julie could not join us as planned, so as well as missing her, we missed all the wonderful music she had organised to entertain us with. And the following day, we were saddened to also lose our beautiful Robyn, who had to return home, very unwell.
Saturday began with meditation led by Lynne; strolls on the beach; brunch at a local café, and then some leisure time before our workshop, on “How to Become the Authentic Creator of the Life You Most Love to Live,” with Tisiola.
As said by Marcus Garvey, “A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin, and culture, is like a tree without roots.”
The day was about finding the child within ourselves and reaching in to know ourselves better. Activating our curiosity and delving in to look at the life we have created and asking ourselves if it is the life we love? And having done so, being able to take our learnings home, and either continue to create the life we are currently leading, or to recreate the life we want.
To do this, we first looked at how we actually saw ourselves now, and what, if any, were the things we wanted, to enable us to pursue the life we wanted to live.
In summary, some of the things identified by the group were: -
· Perspective. Know your capabilities
· Letting go of procrastination
· Know what you want
· Maintain positivity
· Maintain focus
· Allow self to show up as me
· Better understand creation
· Improve self-confidence
· Be content with self
· Consciously live the best I can in every moment
· Be more self-loving
· Be unafraid to be true self
· Experience the balance of operating from your whole system.
There were two parts to the topic: Being aware of our inner, personal state of being and being aware of what is really going on in the world around us.
Naturally, until we can sort out our internal affairs, we are incapable of doing anything about sorting out the external problems around us.
The aim of the day was to enable us to see that self-caring is about addressing our own needs and understanding that we are a Mind, Body and Soul system. We are a whole system, comprising of three main parts. Just as the earth is a whole system of many parts -including us. We are the story; a part of the story; the creator of the story and the storyteller. And in order to develop fully, we have to be re-connected with our soul, which will then enable us to hear our true selves.
Humans operate from one of two energies: Love or Fear. We need to know which of the two energies we are operating from.
Throughout our lives, we are co-creating with one of these energies, and women, in particular, have instinctively known the power that comes from working collaboratively. Especially with one another.
Given the current state of the world - great upheavals in multiple areas: politics, workplaces, homes, economies, - systems that have been in place for decades, centuries, are breaking down. Biodiversity is declining at unprecedented rates; the climate is changing far quicker than previously feared; the eco-system, of which we are a part, is rapidly falling apart.
The one bright light in the midst of all this mayhem, is that through the breakdown of the old systems, we are witnessing pioneers worldwide who are giving birth to new ways of creating a sustainable future.
These new leaders are transforming the way business is done in ways that support all life on earth. Not just the few at the expense of the many. Nor for the pleasure of mankind at the expense of all other living beings - including the devastation of the earth itself.
As Tisiola said, “This is the life to be a part of. To be a leader of the new not a follower of the old.” To do so, we need to recognise the true power that lies within each of us and use that inner power to transform the outer world of which we are an integral part.
Presently, however, most females are still caught in what Riane Eisler calls the “Dominator Trance”. We react, instead of understanding things. We’ve been in this trance for centuries, and as a result, both men and women have been deprived of part of their human potential. None more so than women.
Men have been taught to be dominating, and women have been taught to be submissive. This wasn’t always the case though.
There was a time, up until between 10,000B.C.E. – 8,000B.C.E. when women and men lived in harmony. As told in Marija Gimbutas’s work which also includes the work of many historians such as Raine Eisler in her book The Chalice and the Blade, women were the leaders and they worked together with men, using both their skills to care for their needs. There was a deep sense of wholeness and connection with all life forms including humans. Both men and women understood that they were the custodians to uphold and support all of life rather than destroying it.
Things began to change after 8,000BCE, with the changes in agriculture, and roaming nomadic tribes who often became aggressive towards tribes who were beginning to settle in areas. There was a shift in the gender roles, with males often having to defend their turf, while females concentrated on continuing to nurture nature and life.
Unfortunately, the change in climatic conditions in and around the fourteenth century A.D., brought about famines, epidemics, and a total shifting of human beliefs. Nature and the earth, of which females had been Mother Earth Goddess, became the enemy. And this was when the separation of male and female, heaven and earth began in earnest. God and man became totally divorced from nature and women.
The church and great thinkers, like Francis Bacon, were instrumental in the persecution of women and nature, and the dominating of men over women and nature, has been acceptable to men to this day. Man was superior to, and morally right in, exploiting nature and women for his own pleasure. Amen. Women, like nature, were portrayed as wild and unruly in need of being dominated over and controlled.
We women, need to return to our true nature. We need to do it together, and we need to do it NOW. Once again, conditions are dictating that it is imperative that males and female get back to complimenting one another.
Everything in our lives has been wrongly defined from the dominator point of view. Our values, institutions, economics, families, work-values, politics, religion, health, all of these systems need to be re-defined.
Including us! Our female qualities need to be identified, celebrated and incorporated into the tapestry of human life. The world is waiting and impatient for females to take their rightful place alongside their male counterparts.
In fact, numerous studies show that the global referendum on men worldwide is expressing great dissatisfaction with men operating from a system of control/aggression/black and white thinking/ reckless risk-taking behaviour, resulting in wars and scandals.
These studies, especially the work of John Gerzema and Michael D’Antonio are also indicating that two thirds of people questioned in numerous countries think the world would be a better place if men thought like women. People are looking for leaders with the feminine traits of expressing and sharing emotions openly; with long-term thinking policies instead of short-term expediencies; decisiveness, resilience, collaboration, patience, passion, compassion, morality, loyalty, selflessness and empathy.
As Gerzema states, “Femininity is the operating system of the twenty-first system. “
There is economic benefit in including the female voice, and there are many men and women throughout the world, coming together to reshape exciting new ways to create a fairer, balanced, sustainable, wholesome planet for all of us to inhabit.
So as females, by bringing ourselves out and into the community, we are bringing with us the female qualities required to have what Tisiola calls “The Thriving Together Community – TTTC”. And that is what EWP-TLC is all about! Supporting women to become the creators of the life they really want to live. Understanding that creation is a journey, that along the way, parts of us will be triggered. However, we are meant to grow and develop more capacities through the journey. By sharing our experiences together, we are able to co-create new ideas and, at the same time, illuminate our integral part in the whole system.
To become the Authentic Creator of the Life you Most Love to Live, Tisiola identifies the following 7 steps in the process:
This “Thriving Together Community” is such a healthy, committed and powerful community to be a part of, I feel very privileged to be a member of it.
Our way forward, on purpose, Co-Creating “The Thriving Together Community is as follows. Creating a:
· Community of Practice
· Everyone’s Culture – Empowerment and Embodiment
· Authentic Connection and Effective Collaboration
· Efficacy and Transformation.
This was such an enormous and absorbing topic, I have all too soon run short of my allocated word/space.
However, following the workshop the fun began. Another important part of self-care is to make sure we have fun time and we sure did. It was a time to do whatever we wanted before our celebration dinner. Some of us enjoyed swimming pool time, playing ball games and just getting cool; some found their quiet spot with a refreshing drink and a good book to read, and some of us just sat and relaxed. Before long, it was dress-up time, pre-dinner drinks and nibbles time while gathering around the swimming pool and BBQ area.
Then it was time for our “Celebration Dinner” to officially celebrate the EWP 10th Year Anniversary of advocating for women’s potential. It began with speeches from the EWP team members, Ricci Wilson, Ann Sharwood, Patricia Keen, Michelle Cooke, and Barbara Lear, sharing their fond memories and positive experiences of being part of Tisiola’s dream and vision. As Tisiola acknowledged, her passion and purpose became possible because of the love, support and commitment working in collaboration with her team. The rest of the night was feasting and indulging ourselves in one of the best BBQ feasts we have ever had prepared and catered for by Pat, Debi, Ricci and helpers.
The night was also celebrated in style not only because all of us made the efforts to get dressed-up but we celebrated the night in our own style of dancing, singing, chatting, laughing, talking, more music, dancing, and laughing before Sleeeeeep time! It was the best kind of celebration.
Early Sunday morning, wakey, wakey to witness the rising of the sun time; woken up by Ann with “Barbie’s bell”, awaiting the glorious Sun birthing a brand new day, another day to be grateful to all of Life. Followed by meditation time with Lynne and writing reflections on our transformative learning experiences.
All too soon it was clean-up and pack-up time; off to the beach to imbibe our final eats and our closing ceremony. We were back to our individual lives - but very much enriched through connecting, learning, sharing and being together on purpose.
Phew, apart from being a wonderful social occasion as usual, this week-end was very much a call for all women, to Wake Up, Stand Tall, Re-claim their Rightful Place alongside men, and equally important, To Live the Life they Love to Live.
ps. We will upload a video of the retreat to the blog shortly.