The Journey Creativity Retreat in California

Have you ever found a mistake turned out to be a blessing in disguise? There can be magic in mystery and sometimes there are forces working in your favour that you may not understand and or even resist.

This past week I went on a magical Journey. I attended and presented at the second Journey Creativity Retreat that was held at the mystical Joshua Tree Retreat Centre in California. It was stunning, stimulating and very good for me on so many levels. But I came very close to missing this phenomenal experience.

The Journey Symbol

Last Sunday after about a week of contemplation, my left brain concluded that I had to cancel the trip because I was feeling overwhelmed. It would be a financial challenge to attend as it was an unpaid presentation, Christmas was rapidly approaching, I had a taekwando belt test, my best friend’s birthday was coming up, I needed to finalize my Unexpected Connections Improv Workshop for that conference and I had an upcoming presentation at MoMondays in Toronto.

So on that Sunday it became clear that I had taken on more than I could handle and something had to give. After all, I’d already had the biggest year of my life as a result of my time in South Africa. Despite toiling over the agony of disappointing the organizers, it was the Journey creativity conference that I decided to cut out of my busy December schedule. I no longer felt that it would be the type of conference where I could generate business, and that was initially a major motive for applying to present.

For the first time in my life I purchased flight cancellation insurance. I have an allergy to insurance companies but for some reason had a feeling that the extra $25 would be worth it. So when I finally decided to cancel the trip, it seemed to make sense and I did not expect any problem. I was wrong.

“THIS FLIGHT IS NON-TRANSFERABLE AND NON-REFUNDABLE”

And the ‘cancellation insurance’ only covers things like natural disasters or if the airline has to cancel the flight. A death in the family would also qualify me for the much needed refund.  It was my mistake for not checking the fine print – a common challenge for highly creative individuals. Apparently this is standard for cancellation insurance but it was new to me and boy was I disappointed!

Don’t dance with this guy

On that Sunday, once I saw the above notice, I fell apart. How could I have been so unprepared for something like this? This upset me because it triggered something that made me feel that I have little control over my circumstances. At that time, I really felt that it would be a mistake for me to go but had past the point of no return.

Once I conceded that I had to follow through with it, I decided to make the best of it. As I turned my attention to my upcoming speech on December 17th, I did not have time to look forward to the Journey.

I put all of my energy into this talk and was rewarded with a presentation that I was pleased with, and that had several audience members speaking to me after about how it had positively affected them. With the caring audience of over a hundred people, it was a highlight of the year for me. This is why I am alive.

On December 18th I made the time to celebrate Heather’s birthday with some friends and we had some fun. Just a few hours later, I was at the conference in Joshua Tree, California.

The conference organizers, Bill Olsen and Whitney Ferre opened the Journey Retreat with some introductions and announcements.

I consider myself a very open person, but for the first hour or so I had my guard up. I didn’t know what I had gotten myself into. I could not get over how many stunning women there were in the group, and how much everybody was smiling and quite relaxed. It seemed to me as if all of these people had already come from some kind of retreat. What was my problem? This was a much needed pleasant surprise. Less than an hour of being around these relaxed, beautiful people, that guard came down and I was getting engaged in this experience.

The first thing that gave the conference huge value for me was in delivering  my Unexpected Connections workshop to an engaged audience.  Michael and Michelle – professional videographers – recorded my session. They are very skilled at getting testimonials from people who have enjoyed the presentations and I’ll benefit from the PR material that they’ll produce for me. Bonus!

In my first 3 sessions of this Journey, my energy had shifted from apprehensive, to accepting, to enthusiastic and I started to come alive. It was so incredible to have met this tribe of people and to feel instantly that I could speak to just about any of them about anything. The workshops on creativity and spirituality that occurred there, encouraged just that. It was such a safe setting for learning and experiencing.

The Journey world class presenters contributed to these wonderful new experiences:

♥ Awaking at 6.45am to do creative writing with Tim Hurson.
♥ Profound guided meditations and sensory stimulation with Tamera Christensen and Karrie Stafford.
♥ A mental shift with Joe Miguez.
♥ Practical, unconscious exploration through drawing with Jon Pearson
♥ A sensory experience called the “love bath” with Keith Kay and Tiffany Josephs, which was like a mental / physical / emotional therapy session with an excess of loving energy.
♥ Connections with new colleagues at similar stages of their businesses to share resources.
♥ Relaxation in the hot tub every night!
♥ Solid leads for some presenting work in the new year.
♥ An insightful walk through a labyrinth on a vortex with Bob White.
♥ Seeing auras and actually feeling energy for the first time with Nancy Smeltzer – profound!
♥ The beautiful soup that was our collective heightened state of consciousness on December 21, 2012.
♥ Amazing, deep conversations nightly with delicious wine.

There were so many new and incredible experiences packed into these few short days that it was glorious. The benefit to me both personally and professionally for having attended is immeasurable. How did I get here and how did all of this happen? Oh yes, I booked this trip by mistake!!!

I used to think that this spirituality stuff was not that important and that I couldn’t really matter for my business. But this past few days has taught me that I have an obligation to myself and those who I will help in this world to explore and use the unique gifts and abilities of my heart and soul.

I’ve always felt that there was something special inside of me that I could not explain in words, and this Journey confirmed it. Now that I’ve taken the first step to this type of personal discovery the portal is open, and I am starting to walk through it. I am extremely pleased and grateful for this experience. Now how can it get any better than this?

Franca and Karrie enjoy the flight delays

As we all know, the world didn’t end, so now it’s time to move forward. I strongly recommend the Journey Creativity Retreat to anyone looking to do some deep self-exploration or to improve their creativity.  The next time you come down hard on yourself for making a mistake, take a step back and breathe. Calm down and know that it might just be a very magical blessing in disguise.