This weekend, TAC was one of the lucky few holistic health charities invited to attend the CancerUCan Spring Retreat, held at the Penny Brohn Centre in Bristol. Setting up a table and giving a short talk to introduce and inform people of what support we offer, the weekend began with the familiar “get the word out” intentions. But by the end, the stand faded into the background, whilst creating strong bonds with attendees inherently came to the fore.
32 people attended the retreat, all members of the CancerUCan Facebook page, most of who are living with or have experienced cancer. It was truly moving to live and connect with so many inspiring people over the weekend. Not only did everybody come together to share their amazing stories, a real ‘family’ bond was also created, that which naturally forms with partaking at a residential retreat. Waking up, eating breakfast, lunch and dinner, laughing, crying and hanging out at workshops together, especially in a ‘home away from home’ building like the Penny Brohn Centre was truly a blessing.
Touching comments on the Facebook page after the retreat affirmed this, and the power of collective healing circles is made clear:
“It was so amazing meeting everyone face to face. Beautiful memories and shared experiences. Thank you everyone.”
“Still blissing out!!! Grateful to everyone… and filled with love!!”
“Thank you all for a delicious weekend in your presence. What a gorgeous collection of humans to be in one place. Thank you for the cuddles, laughs, connections, love showers, healing… xxxxx”
Friday evening began with participants gathering for a fire ceremony, where they were invited to set their intentions for the weekend, and release anything no longer of service to them by offering it to the flame.s This was followed by an Embodiment and Yoga Nidra session before bedtime.
Saturday saw the practice of group circles, where healing intentions are directed by the collective towards one another. Hoʻoponopono (the ancient Haiwaiian practice of forgiveness and reconciliation), visionboarding, nature walks, cookery demo’s, love potions (shots of fruit smoothie with a dash of CBD oil), and drumming and singing sessions were also on offer.
There were a selection of inspirational and informative talks to attend, including individual cancer survival stories, how to ‘strengthen your life force’, the affects of electro-magnetic frequencies, the medicinal benefits of cannabis (CBD) oil, the power of the mind in combating illness and more.
Other stalls included beautiful handmade Orgone pendants, EMF protectors, homemade fermented foods and sugar-free raw chocolates.
The highlight for us was the final event of Saturday night – a comedy cabaret written and performed by Fiona Shakeela Burns (organiser of the retreat) and Jessica Richards, both of whom have fought and beat cancer. The show opened with a sketch of the two extremes of opinion one may face when diagnosed with cancer – one with a mainstream doctor and the other with a holistic therapist. The former poignantly highlighted how often risky, or even potentially harmful treatments are recommended based on whether they’re “clinically worth the risk”, while the latter reassured the patient that although they must cut out all the dietary ‘pleasures’ in life, everything is still great because they can still indulge in plenty of coffee- (“up the backside”).
The second sketch was a line-up of different characters vocalising some of most common and ‘outrageous’ things said to anybody who has cancer, with quotes gathered from a post on the CancerUCan Facebook page. The audience were invited to shout “Bingo!” each time they recognised a comment, and needless to say there were a few that were almost ‘full houses’.
The show was well received, and Jessica made a great point after the show; “how can you be scared of something you just laughed your head off at?” Rightfully so. And it seems to us a beautiful, reflective way of looking at a situation, and how a change of perspective can facilitate a massive shift in our ability to heal.
Overall, it was a brilliant weekend enjoyed by everybody present. New skills were learned, friendships formed, and outlooks changed. And we were all left with a lasting sense of love, and deep connection to not only each other, but our Selves and powerful, once undiscovered parts of us which sit deep within.