By Delisa Myles, Maui Retreat 2016
I had the good fortune to be a part of the Aloha Girls Tango Retreat in March of 2016 and I now realize how a break from my busy schedule gave me the necessary perspective and space to see things in a different way. And I’m not just talking about honing my tango skills, it was bigger than that.
The trip to Maui happened to line up with my spring break from Prescott College where I’d been teaching for the past 22 years. Transitioning quickly from the dry winter of my mountain home in Prescott, Arizona into the lush tropics shifted something in me. Maybe it was the soft misty rain and the flowers with their magical colors and fragrances that took me deeper inside myself and reminded me to listen and see new possibilities. Maybe it was the retreat itself, with exquisite facilitation by Brigitta and Sharna, a wonderful group of supportive women, artful meals, and luscious tango and movement practices that allowed me to feel myself in ways I was hungry for. Maybe it was the focus on leading and experiencing the dance from both sides that opened up my sensitivities. Or perhaps what shifted in me was the opportunity to feel what was underneath all of my habituated roles.
Whatever it was, when I had that ocean of distance between me and my work, I was able to tune into the gut feeling that my time at the college was at its end. Within a couple weeks of returning home I resigned from my faculty position of teaching dance, the place where I had focused my career and life for the last two decades. Something was ripe in me for change, I was just waiting for the catalyst to take the next step. Even though teaching at the college had been a fulfilling career for a long time, I was restless and ready for a new phase.
Aloha Girls was a reminder of the life transforming potential of retreat and the special nourishment of retreating with women. And so during the summer I reignited a passion from many years ago and began talking with my friend Jade Sherer about returning to our work of offering Nature Moving Women Retreats, a combination of Jade's expertise in Nature-based Soul Work, together with my work in Dance and Creativity Practices. We wanted to design retreats that emphasized the particular qualities, challenges and gifts of women in our age group, fifty and over, who are often transitioning or reinventing themselves. Women who’ve poured their life energy into raising children begin to see their roles change. Women, like me, start to feel unsettled in long-time careers. Many are thinking about retiring, but retiring to what? I’ve noticed that women my age start to ask what else is there? How do I give myself the space to listen to what’s calling to me now? How do I get to the unlived dreams inside me? Jade and I wanted to provide gentle guidance and a safe and inspiring place for women to pause from the relentless pace of life and notice what’s underneath when the business ebbs.
In November 2016 we offered Circling Home: An Embodied Life Review for Women over Fifty, our in first in a series of retreats. We had a full group of twelve women who came from across the country, from Portland to Boston, to share three wonderful days of guided movement practices, wanderings in nature, writing, lively discussions and creating solo ritual dances. We now have our second retreat scheduled, Inner Flame: Breathing Life into Your Body of Wisdom, February 22-26, 2017 at Juniper Well Ranch.
I want to extend an invitation to any of you tango women who may be wanting to find a place and time to drop deeply into yourself. Please consider joining us for Inner Flame. In these four days we’ll stay in comfortable cabins in the wild landscape of central Arizona. We’ll offer invitations to connect with nature, commune through council, dive into movement sessions and engage in highly interactive discussion, all meant to guide you to the fullness of your present moment.
Jade and I have offered Nature Moving Women programs at Breitenbush Retreat Center and Riversong Sanctuary in Oregon and at Mescal Canyon Retreat in Arizona. Circling Home was our first program designed especially for women aged 50 and over. Inner Flame is the second in this series. As we have begun to navigate this new period of our lives, we feel moved to invite you into the practices that have brought us most alive in this uncertain time.
Delisa Myles, M.F.A., is an educator, choreographer and performer who has worked professionally in all three areas for the past 30 years. She designed the dance program at Prescott College at taught there from 1994-2016. She is Creative Director of Flying Nest Movement Arts, a neighborhood community arts space in Prescott, Arizona. Delisa is a founding member of recently formed Ævium, a collaborative, all female, multi-generational dance theater ensemble, recently funded by Arizona Commission on the Arts to create Intimacy with Disappearance, furthering the discourse on dance and longevity, aging and creativity, and land and women.
Inner Flame Retreat flyer: http://eepurl.com/crKvz9
More on Jade: jadepaws.weebly.com