Changing Lives: One HSP Gathering Retreat at a Time

Participants at the 20th HSP Gathering Retreat

Changing Lives: One HSP Gathering Retreat™ at a Time 

The 20th HSP Gathering Retreat, (since 2001) was held Sept 2-6th at Walker Creek Ranch, 60 miles northwest of San Francisco.  It was supposed to be a celebration. However, it was anything but a celebration. “Mercury was in Retrograde” which made an actual celebration quite difficult. I never related to this astrological occurrence prior to this weekend, however, I now have a new respect for such things.  Briefly explaining, Mecury in Retrograde can be characterized by misunderstandings, delays, malfunctions of all kinds, and a need to rework or redo things you create.  And by the way, Mercury is currently in retrograde until December 30th.  

So ….. back to our 20th Gathering Retreat.  Anything that could go wrong – administratively – did go wrong.  It was the main motto of all HSP Gathering Retreats™ – “Focus on Needs, Not Approval” that kept me grounded, open and willing to “show up.” It was such a safe place to share my frustrations, ask for help, and be heard and seen. Thanks to each of you attending for your patience, understand and help! 

Other principles that came into play during our four days together were from my presentation on “Building Foundations (and Protections) for Healthy Authentic Relationships.”   These were: 

(1) Individuality & Belonging: “Can someone say what they are truly thinking and feeling without fear of repercussions?” (Yes we could.) 
(2) Is conflict viewed as a normal part of healthy relationship development and is it solved in a win-win manner? (Yes, it was.) 
(3) Power: Do individuals have the power to initiate change for the betterment of themselves and others (Yes we did.) 
(4) And finally, “Can someone be who they truly are and still retain a sense of belonging in the group.” (Yes they could.)
It might be a good exercise to think about all the relationships in your life — if you can apply these four principles to them you are indeed lucky!  

We had many opportunities to be observers and participants as these principles and the motto “focus on needs, not approval” played out in grand style! Lessons were learned, friendships formed, lives changed, and in the end, for most of us, there was a love and joy we all shared. 

It is always validating to hear comments such as: 

“I’ve been feeling a depth of self-acceptance, self-love, and comfort in my own skin
that I can’t remember feeling for quite a while.” 

                           “It was a deep wonder and joy to meet you all.” 

               “What an incredibly beautiful gift getting to know you all from the
inside out has been for me.”

What I will take from this Gathering is a deep sense of a strong, secure attachment
within myself – something I did not receive growing up.”

And for me, the most profound lessons came from the Serenity Prayer …changing what I could, accepting what I could not change, and being grateful for the wisdom to know the difference. The essence of this prayer, helped to remind me 

(1) Stay Present; 

(2) Breathe Deeply; and 

(3) Let go and trust the process. 

This worked amazingly well — in spite, of missing my first flight to San Francisco; dealing with inadequate rooms (spiders and bugs, oh my !) at Walker Creek Ranch; one participant in tears wanting to go home; missing agendas; presenters who couldn’t make it at the last minute; misplacing my wallet for 24 hours…and the list could go on and on.    Ahh, just a little taste of the many challenges of hosting the HSP Gathering Retreats….but the rewards of spending four days in nature, with all of the beautiful HSPs who show up has me looking forward to hosting three Gatherings in 2011, one in Massachusetts, England, and Southern California. I hope you can join us at one of them. 

Finally, it was a special treat to have Elaine Aron join us once again at Walker Creek Ranch. She and I co-created these unique Gatherings and experienced our first one in 2001… To be back in the same place again in 2010 was definitely worth celebrating.  Thank you Elaine.                                                                           

First HSP Gathering, May 2001, Walker Creek Ranch, photo by Shane Hathaway


"Elaine Aron's talk was outstanding - she is so brilliant, and so warm and gentle as well, and also very down-to-earth, and I find the combination really marvelous!" ~a HSP Gathering Retreat participant

Walker Creek Ranch HSP Gatherers
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1 Response to Changing Lives: One HSP Gathering Retreat at a Time

  1. Jan Bridges says:

    I felt such a sense of relief and “I am not alone” as I read your posts about Mercury in retrograde. At least it helps makes sense of the total chaos lately! I am hanging on by my fingernails until January 1st- lol . My family and friends think I am a “loon” about such things. It sounds like ya”ll had fun anyway. I am hoping that I will be able to make the gathering in Massachusetts this coming year. I am a little nervous about such things but we shall see.

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