On one of our breaks yesterday, Maja from the Incest Trauma Center handed me a small gift. It was a set of four square coasters, with rounded corners, illustrated and written in Serbian, a thin paper wrapper binding them together. The two of us sat down on the steps of our meeting room, while the women around us smoked, drank coffee, shot pool, played foosball, and rocked out to a playlist created by Ivana #1. This was unlike any break I’d ever experienced at one of my workshops before, but when in Serbia, do as the Serbians do. I was learning to flow with the variations in this culture. Hopefully by tomorrow, I’ll be a lot more flexible about our start times and the length of our breaks.
Relaxing over dinner and wine on the deck. Happy. ... [Continue Reading]
When I walked into the dining room after an early morning sauna at the hotel’s opulent spa, the huge restaurant was mostly empty. There was one table in use by four members of our group, but since it was already full, I sat down at a new table nearby. I set down my things and went to explore the breakfast buffet. As at my previous hotel, breakfast was plentiful, rich with foods both familiar and unfamiliar. Although the multitude of pastries were tempting, I was more delighted to find oatmeal, laden with goodies—pumpkin seeds, raisins and what looked like cut-up dried cherries. I added a handful or walnuts and a couple of prunes, what’s known in the workshop business as "the retreat attendees best friend.” I’ve never been to a retreat center anywhere in the world that didn’t feature prunes ... [Continue Reading]
An hour from now, a taxi will show up outside the lobby of my hotel to take me the bus that will take me, the organizers from the Incest Trauma Center and all 20+ participants of my workshop to the Hotel Villa Breg, "located on green slopes of the mountains" of Vrsac. There will be women service providers from Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro, Romania, and of course, Serbia. All ten of the original founders of The Incest Trauma Center will be in attendance. I've already met a fair number of the women who will be there, and if they are any indication of the caliber of women attending, I'm already in awe of the participants. These are women who have been in the trenches, deeply committed for many, many years. I always feel humbled (and a bit nervous) before I begin teaching a new group, ... [Continue Reading]