So Many Gifts About to Be Opened

Just a few hours from now, we’ll be meeting with our group participants at a nearby spot in Central Florence (close by, but with luggage, still requiring a taxi to get there) to catch our shuttle to the Villa. On our group What’s App thread, people have been checking in, sending pictures of negative Covid test results taken this morning, expressing excitement that our trip is finally here!

I’ve met and worked with some of our dozen travelers before, but many will be brand new to me. I’m eager to put faces to names for this retreat which Grasielah and I have been planning for so long.

Sixteen of us (12 participants and 4 facilitators/teachers) be living together at the Villa for the next ten days. A subset of us will return to Florence on June 1st for a four-day city tour.

I’m glad that Karyn and I arrived a few days early; I feel rested and happy—and the temperature is set to be 80 degrees when we meet up at 2 pm today. It looks like we definitely did bring the good weather with us!

Packing this morning was a bit of a challenge. In addition to everything I already had in my suitcase, I now had to stuff in my leather coat, sweater, raincoat, umbrella and the Gortex walking shoes I bought at the last minute because it was raining in Italy every day leading up until our departure. I wore all those items on the plane heading over here; now they may be shelved for the rest of the trip. It’s always challenging to pack for the time between seasons.

I’m feeling the joyful excitement and anticipation I feel at the start of every retreat. The way I look at it is this: every person who comes is a gift, waiting to be unwrapped. What will each person bring to our community? What stories will they have to tell? What adventures will we have together? What will we teach each other? How will our time together unfold?

When you teach a retreat, you try to plan for every contingency, and then you have to let it all go; there are so many unknowns, and for all of us, teachers, organizers, and students alike, the process of discovery is about to begin.

Having some extra time this morning, I went out for one last walk in “our neighborhood,” and had fun window shopping and enjoying all the high-end displays. Italy, of course, is known for its fashion. Enjoy!

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