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Make sure your group retreat is a hit: Part Three

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Space to transformSpace: the key ingredient of every transformational retreat.

In this third blog in our series about running successful retreats, I invite you as a retreat organiser to take a bold, look at what you plan to deliver in your retreat.  One of the most vital questions you can ask yourself as you look at your plan is, surprisingly, how much space is there in it?  If your programme makes you feel good because no-one could possibly accuse you of under-delivering.  Take a deep breath and a step back, then start to delete a few items – particularly the bits where you are doing all the talking and your clients are therefore not doing much experiencing.
The aim is to create a structure or framework that will guide the flow of each day.  Rather than dragging your participants around from one place to the next, or cramming their heads with knowledge, let your participants actually experience the feelings and hear the insights they never get to experience at home.

The other surprising thing about the way people absorb information and experiences they have during activities best is that they need to be told:

a) what they are about to do or learn;
b) how to do that thing, or what the new content is;
c) what they just learned, or some context that helps them connect what they just experienced to a concrete learning

In each element, map out the activities and teaching that will be included, let the day have a natural beginning, middle and end, and remember to make space for people to absorb their new data.  The key is not to “over teach”.  Letting people come up with their own insights is the best way to facilitate real and lasting transformation.  Words are just words, and the world is already full of words, but real life experiences teach.

And it was after all, the transformation that your participants achieve that was the real reason they came to work with you.  and its the reason that they will come back for more and be interested in your follow-up programmes and other services.

Author: Estelle Gillingham, PhD
Forensic Healer and Creator of The Karmic Breakthrough
Author of “Be Who You Came to Be”
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