Exquisite Courage


Having just returned from an intensive immersion weekend retreat just outside Cape Town, it feels important to briefly reflect on what happened and what is going on inside me before it evaporates.

I went with a diverse group of ‘seekers’ that i have have known for just over three months and this was an opportunity to spend 3 full days with them. What never fails to amaze me on these types of experiences (I have done my fair share of experiential weekends in an effort to catch a glimpse of myself), is the tenacity and courage of the Human Spirit.

I was the only man on the retreat which was an incredible opportunity to be with women in an emotionally intimate way without it being contaminated by anything sexual. Rather, the space and containment lent itself to the spiritual and offered a fragment of what true relatedness between the sexes can be, a meeting of loving, creative and resilient energies.

There were moments of sharing from a place of exquisite, poignant, courageous vulnerability. Tears ( which can mean so many different things, grief, relief, knowledge…) flowed as we each reluctantly cracked open our defences and offered hidden parts of ourselves to each other. It was a relief to be there not as a therapist, but as another human looking to let go, integrate and evolve. Those few days were another powerful reminder of just how similar our internal landscapes are, how each of us compensates for our psychic wounds in different but agonizingly familiar ways. How we all flow towards healing, even if we struggle against the current.

There are many of us who are private and experience this kind of relational intimacy as excruciatingly painful. Although I push myself into these spaces, they are certainly not comfortable, but the release of the repressed psycho-spiritual dross created through denial, repression and avoidance allows for more circulation through our psyche and moves stale energy through the system into the open. I often retreat to isolated places on my own to have deep conversations with myself but there is something extraordinarily powerful about having the courage to do it in a group.

And now, as I return once more to my vocation, I continue to hear life narratives that never fail to humble me, to you all, I salute you…

About the author

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Jamie Elkon http://shrinkrap.co.za/

The author can be found rummaging through life looking for nourishment in the early hours of the morning. He is slowly going sane by using his actual life and relationships to wake up.He lives in Cape Town with his teenaged daughter, two bassett hounds named Thelma and Louise and Digit... the cat. He hugs trees, has experienced numerous dark nights of the soul, collects incorrect Chinese packaging and tracks curious things to their lair.

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