Invitation to a Friend Raiser

Two attendees share a laugh at Yoga Outreach's annual retreat.
Our annual retreat is a place to connect with other human beings, with nature, and with our own bodies.

“Love is not something we give or get; it is something that we nurture and grow, a connection that can only be cultivated between two people when it exists within each one of them – we can only love others as much as we love ourselves.”  ~Brene Brown

You may have noticed that we’ve started advertising our annual May Retreat recently. This is the 14th year that YO has hosted the retreat and each year we say “this will be the last year”, until the actual retreat rolls around. It’s such a wonderful experience. People are so thrilled. It becomes a ridiculous love fest… not in a cheesy or artificial way but in a real warm fuzzy kind of way. People bond. Make new friends. Reconnect with old ones – we even have several mother / daughter pairs who attend each year (so cute!). Everyone always seems genuinely inspired by the whole weekend.

Each year we choose a theme for the retreat’s classes to be woven around. This year’s theme is connection. It may be the most apt choice yet. In this, my 4th year organizing them, I’ve come to realize what is so special about our retreats: it’s the connection. Somehow we are able to hold an amazing space for people to get connected.

Stop for a second, right now as you read this and ask yourself, “Who am I connected to?”. As I write this I’ve been in contact with 18 people already via email today and it’s not even 10 AM, but I’ve barely spoken three words. How about you?

Maybe I’m in danger of slipping into cliche here but we all spend a lot of time “connected” to our computers, our smart phones, and our social media “friends”, but how much time do we spend in real connection with other human beings, with nature, with our own bodies? Raise your hand if you feel more disconnected than ever. Me too.

The quote I chose to go with this year’s theme is from Brene Brown (if you haven’t watched her TED Talk on vulnerability yet, check it out) and the more times I read it, the more relevant to our need for connection it becomes. Oddly we are all increasingly isolated in our hyper connected world.  I would hazard a guess that we embrace this, at least in part, because we find it less frightening to be in relationship via the internet than over a coffee table.

Yes, the retreat helps us bring in money, but as costs rise it’s less and less every year. The retreat’s real value is in friend raising – not just for YO but for each person who attends. Every year I am amazed at just how kind and loving people can be towards each other when the stress of our everyday life has been removed.

It’s like my mom used to say, “It’s a beautiful day. You should go outside and play with your friends”. So here’s your invitation. It’s sure to be a beautiful day, so why not come outside and play?

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