Poatina Residency/Retreat - the unexpected


Blown away – but I shouldn’t be surprised …
After having been to many wonderful retreats over the years, I should have expected it. But, as normal, I was so focused on the task at hand of producing the best possible work for this very quickly approaching show that I got bushwacked – again.
The environment, the people of Poatina village, the immediate prior residency, the other participants, the leaders of the Artist Retreat and God’s spirit (I know many of you don’t believe this, but tough – I do) all wove together to create this magic formula. And it was truly magical. I was not the only one to experience this wonder. By the way – if you ever have the opportunity to sit under the direction of these two leaders Heather Bradbury and MarDee Kaylock – do it, do not hesitate … you will not regret it!
The directional focus coming into these few days was very deliberate: reach | regain | recollect | restore | respond | rebirth | remember | revive | refresh | rest | reclaim | reflect | recognise | rework | retreat | redirect | recreate | regain | recollect | restore | respond | revive …. (amongst other ‘re’ words)
The way we were directed for the few formal sessions reorientated our thoughts by both the stories and activities provided by our wonderful guides in a most unexpected, gentle way.
Each of our individual experiences were of course unique, but there was a common refreshment of the spirit that we all profoundly felt.
For me, as well as a myriad of wonderful results on relational and production levels, a more profound and long-lasting personal effect was that I was able to give myself permission to pause and rest in amidst the craziness of my ‘tasking’. Even though it resulted in a brief respite, the headspace I entered into was a complete surprise. There was a discreet peace and warmth that enveloped me. It was comforting. It was profound. And in that place, not only was the creative visual juices flowing overtime, but I found my resultant words were forming patterns which I only ever had vague memories of being able to do before. For a long time I have been in awe of the creativity of spoken word artists and poets, and I never imagined that I could ever even vaguely form the beautiful aural patterns and images they achieve – but there it was: words of imagery coming out of my scribbly writing.

dwell now in His love
dwell now in His beauty
dwell now in His creation

This few days of Retreat was something special, and I leave with you as a final thought the central focus of the input – the first three verses of the 23rd Psalm

God, my shepherd! I don’t need a thing.
You have bedded me down in lush meadows
You find me quiet pools to drink from
True to your word, you let me catch my breath