The experience of a personal growth retreat

by Javier  13-12-2019

Fidel had an office job at a well-known sportswear brand. He spent his free time reading books, walking, and … devouring television series. Once a week, he would meet a group of friends with whom he would have a few beers after work. He used his 30 days of summer vacation to get out of the city and visit his mother at his home town. This woman deeply loved Fidel, her husband had recently passed away and Fidel was her only son.

This is the story of Fidel, a 46-year-old man who had a quiet life, or at least that’s what he thought.

The experience of a personal growth retreat

Despite being a very controlling woman and having given him a rigid and conservative education, Fidel was always very attentive to her mother?s needs, knowing that he was her only contact with the world outside her town. And although the bond he felt towards his mother was very strong, there was always a strange mixture of love and rejection in him. It was like a resentment that he did not know where it came from and that hindered him from feeling fully comfortable and emotionally fluid with her.

Fidel did not have great preoccupations to worry him?not that he had a very colourful life but he felt calm in it. A life without frights, with a degree of security and well-being with which he could live properly.

That was enough for him.

And when everything seemed to be working as usual, suddenly one day he received a phone call.

It was his friend Joaquín, from the Thursday gang with whom he had a good relationship. When they were 27 years old, together they traveled by train through Europe and had good memories from that time that came to the fore as soon as they had two or three beers.

Joaquín called Fidel saying that he was going to a personal growth retreat and that he did not want to go alone and that he had thought of him as a companion.

It was a shock. He would never have intended to do something like that. His first answer was a resounding NO.

Joaquín, who had it all figured out, used the hook that they could possibly meet a girl there. He hit the target, because that was Fidel?s weak point and began to show some interest, asking more information on the retreat.

Joaquín had previously been on a personal growth retreat and his life had been transformed. Really the reason for calling Fidel was because he was worried about him ? lately his personality was losing light and he was more and more dull and increasingly isolated.

He wanted Fidel to get out of his house, to interact with other people and especially to have the opportunity to start doing personal work that would help him wake up from that sleepy state in which he was plunged.

After participating in 3 such retreats, he himself had left that commercial job that bored him so much and had opened his own business, which was prospering. He had fixed his relationship with his ex-wife and was thus able to renew the relationship with his son.

His life had been positively transformed in almost all his areas and although problems continued to appear in his day to day, he now had tools to manage them.

Aware of all the benefits that a personal growth retreat would bring to Fidel and given the affection he felt for him, he insisted for a long time.

At the end of the call, Fidel was completely convinced that he would NOT go to that place where people were going to ?open up?. It seemed like a flamboyance to him and that it was for people with ?problems?.

Joaquín contained his eagerness until the following Thursday, when they met again at the bar.

At first he sneakily showed no interest in the subject, but on the third beer, when he saw Fidel?s barriers falter, he took the opportunity to point out that he had not met a girl in a long time. His former partner left him so abruptly that he never opened his heart again.

Although he knew that the girls topic was only a lame excuse to talk him into going, he realized that what his friend was saying also involved a great deal of truth. This struck a chord with Fidel. So in an act of blind trust, he placed himself in his friend?s hands without asking many more questions.

Joaquín, in an embrace, transmitted a feeling of peace and understanding. It was enough to make his friends take a leap of faith and decide to get out of his comfort zone by going to the retreat.

After six weeks the day came and Fidel, fearful and suspicious, followed the outlined plan.

Although he had strong resistances, during that time a curiosity awakened in him that, with the passing of the days, just became a notable interest.

They arrived at a rural house in the countryside, after a two-hour car trip in which Joaquín did not reveal anything of what they were going to find.

Upon arrival, most of Fidel?s thoughts were judgments that sabotaged any attempt at openness. Judgments with people, with food, with the environment. Everything was new and he felt alien to that space.

Slowly though, as days went by, he began to feel more and more at ease. He became more and more loose thanks to new relationships, spaces for body movement, dance, meditation and, above all, spaces for personal development. There, he began to realize that he would very much like to live his life more fully.

And he began to open to feeling more: more empathy for others, more love for himself and the little things in life and an increase desire to be happy.

This awareness was so deep inside that it changed his face. He had another face. It seemed that something had blossomed inside him.

Fidel?s story is remarkable.

Apparently it is a common story, not very special.

But it is the story of awakening that is happening right now within many people, all over the planet. Around you, everywhere.

We approach a new era of evolutionary transformation and Fidel is one of those who have already taken the leap. He has left automatisms to experience life in its wholeness. With its lights and its shadows, with everything it brings.

If Fidel was able to make this change, we all can.

And it is what we are most in need of as a specie, as a family, as a society, as individuals?As human beings.

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