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I’ve just returned from Australia and the Space Bangkok/Illoura Peace Retreats creative reflective retreat at The Eyrie in Skenes Creek. We were creative. We connected. We moved. We wrote. We grooved. We spent time in nature. And we engaged deeply with music.

In this Tedx Talk, Linsey Pollack defines creativity as “the putting together of two previously unrelated things, could be objects or ideas, and creating something new.” He also comments that, “the thing we forget is we tend, crazy because music is such a communal activity, but we tend to leave music in the hands of the experts and all of us consume music, but you yourselves can become carrot clarinet players quite easily.” Check it out:

Brilliant, right? So what about when we put together two or more previously unrelated people? And what happens when you put those previously unrelated people together in a space that frees them from the adult constraints keeping us from making music and art and writing literature and, instead, encourage them to be creative?

In Australia, at The Eyrie in Skenes Creek, with expansive views of the Pacific Ocean as a backdrop and wind carrying the bleating of sheep around us, I had the privilege of witnessing and joining in with what can happen. And it was brilliant. And quite honestly I’ve struggled with trying to summarize my thoughts and feelings about the whole experience. It seems too much to summarize. Flash point moments shine out - profound moments of connection, of beauty, of empathy and common pain, of questions, and the sheer brilliance of reflection. I am still chewing over many things that were said, done, shared, and experienced, and I imagine I will continue to do so for a long time to come.

As I sat on the last day of the retreat with my notebook open, pen at the ready, my friends sitting around me writing, and thus expecting some free writing to come about my final thoughts and reflections, hardly any words came. Two sentences wrapped up a thought I’d been in the middle of when we’d sat down, and then nothing. So many thoughts and feelings, and no words. So I wrote a haiku. In that moment, I walked the invisible journey through the entirety of the experience, seeking synthesis to “capture the complexity of an organic whole by reaching its simplest composition”*, and came out on the other side with this haiku:

It’s just forty-two And the cracks where light gets in Refrigerator

* Lederach, J.P. The Moral Imagination. Oxford University Press, 2005. p. 86

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