I attended a Retreat at Greyton ( 2022) entitled ‘Proclaim your work ! which was facilitated by the very thoughtful Anel Hamersma. Part of the process in getting us to proclaim our work was to begin to proclaim our voices. ‘When we give it a voice we give it life’ became the mantra of the 5 day retreat.
I want to thank Anel for putting together more than a writer’s retreat but a programme that equips us for life and to remember our voice. She introduced us to Nancy Kline’s the ‘Thinking Brain’ in which we were introduced to 10 amazing components of a thinking environment and it is these components that set the tone.
Anel it was special, you connect people, you introduce respect and appreciation into a space. It was wonderful and I would happily attend anything else with your name on it. And oh it was such a lot of fun too….
The 5 days that we spent with you in Stanford were a highlight for me, and I don't suppose I will ever forget that experience. I came into the retreat literally in emotional distress, and my mind was full of all the things that I had to do, all the deadlines for both (removed) - I don't think I mentioned at the time that I had just returned to Cape Town the evening before the retreat commenced, as I had been back home for the previous 2 weeks. I had lost my grandmother and therefore had to travel home for the funeral, and to be with the family for some time.
During the first facilitated session, you requested us let go of all the pressures and stresses we had. I found this quite liberating throughout the retreat, as to my surprise, I was able to let go and be fully present . By virtue of being in this state, I was able to learn a great deal - for example the importance of play (contemplating the kind of game I am playing in my life), the "trickster" offering the gift of freedom, embracing discomfort and chaos, the different kinds of thinking (divergent, emergent and submergent thinking), the importance of improvising, thinking about architypes, among many other important lessons that I took with me from the retreat.
I am reminded of the quote by Lao Tsu that you read to us in one of the sessions; "When I let go of who I am, I become who I might be." This lesson is extremely profound for me because as I mentioned in the session, I always subconsciously have a desire to control things and for things to fall into place.
However, I am now, not only learning to let go and to embrace the chaos and uncertainty, but also to only focus on the things that I can change or influence. I really appreciate how you created an environment that enabled us to share and learn from each other. I don't think I have ever been as vulnerable as I was during the retreat . This is a testament to your expert way of facilitating these sessions and making everyone feel seen and heard.
You even made us closer as a team, as we were able to play together, solve problems together, and learn more about each other. I felt validated whenever you affirmed what I said. For example, during the first session, you requested me to state the message on my WhatsApp profile, and in the penultimate session, you engaged with what I had stated (not seeking recognition for what I do), and encouraged me to become comfortable with being seen. You also ensured that we played "Broken Telephone", which as I stated in the first session, was a really happy memory for me as a child.
Lastly, I also really appreciate the compassion you showed to all of us throughout the period at the retreat. During the last session, you requested us to draw images of ourselves that depict our architypes. I recall informing you that I cannot draw, and you said that it was not about artistic ability. Those words really made a positive different and encouraged me to continue drawing, and even colouring lol, despite what the outcome looked like. Thank you once again! Enjoy the rest of your day and have a great weekend ahead!
I hope you have been keeping well?
I just want to take this opportunity to send a huge thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything I was able to take away from the retreat. In addition to all the very useful pointers that you brought to my attention, I left inspired, motivated and with a new sense of being, holistically.
You were exceptional, enthusiastic, beyond amazing and I can’t stop having flashbacks of those insightful sessions.
You know your story and keep thriving!
I hope you have been keeping well.
I just want to take time to say thank you for the wonderful work you do.
My experience with your work is a once in a lifetime experience. I went to the retreat with so many questions that I needed answers to and clarity on. I really did not think that I would be able to get all those answers - which are from within - within such a short space of time. You made it possible. I am now clear on my journey in my career and my personal life.
Thank you so much. May you continue touching more people’s lives with your wonderful work.
"I was deeply enriched by the process as a whole and came to recognise the vital importance of giving voice and body to one's wild fantasies. This is in fact our life blood and the force behind longevity of spirit.
Anel Hamersma held our group with strength, humour and vitality. The emphasis is on accessing your own magic that over time often becomes dulled by the everyday reality of life. I loved it and left feeling very empowered and motivated to give voice to certain aspects of me that I have left dormant for far too long."
This is an amazing workshop! I was at a low point in my career and it’s managed to revitalise me!! Facilitator is simply wonderful!!