Who is my tribe? Where is my community?
Those questions arose in me after spending 12 intense days in Greece. First, Pete and I led a week-long Radical Honesty retreat in the village of Kissos (hosted by the Kalikalos holistic community) and then I spent five days at the Honesty Gathering we organized in the beautiful seaside village of Damouchari.
Sometimes, when I see women post on Facebook smiley pictures of get-togethers with “the girls”, I envy people who travel and spend time with a group of friends. And then I think there’s something wrong with me, that I should have a group of women with which to do fun and serious stuff. I don’t have such a group. I enjoy spending time alone and I also spending time with one friend at a time when doing things like walking, cooking, eating, drinking coffee (my all-time favorite), picking mushrooms, picking blueberries or going to museums.
I realize, though, that I do have my community: my honesty friends. Even the ones I don’t see regularly I still feel I have a special bond with. The bond is called: no-bullshit-needed commitment. (I just came up that name and I like it!) For me, that means I don’t need to small talk if I don’t want to. I don’t need to ask superficial questions. I share how I am doing whether I’m feeling wonderful or shitty or proud or whatever. And I can tell the other person when I prefer silence over talking. It’s I often feel quite connected with the friend without us having to discuss every detail about what’s going on with us.
Truthtellers are definitely my community: my husband and co-trainer and business partner Pete, my fellow trainers and our especially our current and past trainees Jakob, Anna, Sean, Arjen and Bernie, and our talented cooks and friends Michael and Kasia. And Taina, who designed our website and was featured in the short documentary Finnish film about practicing Radical Honesty, Karis who does the web, social media and newsletter stuff for us and Riina who has filmed and edited videos for us.
And also honesty fans who I have become close to during our time together both in and out of workshops like Minna, Saija, Werner, Rüdiger, Albrecht, Xina, Chelsea, Tiina, Jenni, Jessu, Marjolein, Margo, Firdoz, Uli J., Uli S., Silke, Maikki, Karis, Anja, Simon, Annie, Pia, Tiia, Mia, Sami, Essi, Mirkka, Liisa, Rosanna, Sasha, Kate, Tony, Michael, David, Milobie, Jani, Helena, Mona, Daniel, Scott, Fiona, Andrew, Sharon, Gabi, Florien, Misha, Karo, Edgar, Oscar, Micha and Andrina.
Though I still don’t have a group of women with which to go to the spa (and I do love spas – the water, the peaceful setting, the massages, etc.), I do have a group of men and women I feel at home with. With whom I can be me.
Do you have a community? Do you yearn to find your “no bullshit needed” people?
With whom do you feel at home? With whom can you be comfortable feeling down, sad or angry?
I first fell in love with Greece’s Pelion peninsula when I first went there in 2012 to attend my first Radical Honesty workshop with Brad Blanton. Last week marked my sixth trip there (I’ve participated in four workshops and led four myself). And my love for Pelion has grown with each visit.
The Honesty Gathering was something new I envisioned and wanted to try out. How would a retreat be with a somewhat larger group with various concurrent sessions for smaller groups all in a lovely setting? More of a festival setting than a workshop one where participants would not be required to attend every session.
Last week at the Gathering, we began each day with an optional session of conscious movement and meditation. Then we had a large-group morning check-in for the entire community where we discussed the rest of the days’ offerings. We then had two session periods with two sessions offered each period. Some of the sessions offered included sharing circles, exercises, inner child work and hot seats. In the evening, whoever wanted to could organize and lead an optional program for others to join. The result was two storytelling sessions, an acupuncture show and a dance party.
I found the location of the Gathering—the Damouchari Hotel—to be amazing: a lush and secluded garden, swimming pool, lounging areas, shade under olive trees, all just a few meters from the sea. Apostolos, the colourful hotel owner, prepared for us lovely dinners in his taverna that overlooked the small natural harbor. In the kitchen we would be shown in the various pots and pans on the stove all of what he had cooked that day and then we’d choose the dish we wanted. I also loved sitting on the beach of white pebbles and watching the glowing red sun arising over the Aegean Sea, listening to the waves lapping against the shore and feeling the warmth of the dawning sun on my face. Paradise.
I’m already dreaming of organizing another event in Damouchari, and I don’t know when it will happen or how it will look like! More to follow…