Building Bridges Retreat @Trishna's House

Posted by Olivier Chhu on Jul 1, 2019
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Dear Me before the retreat day,

On that day, you participated in your first retreat day with ServiceSpace. You subscribed to the event after a spontaneous decision, when your friend Jasky introduced you the topic. You don’t know it yet, but you will see, this day will be astonishing. As everyday, you will meet wonderful people and you will put a stone forward in the path of your life. On this letter to you, I will tell you what you will live on that day.

This retreat day has been organized in Trishna’s house, London, who generously invited a group of sixty changemakers to take part in the event. All was finely organized in terms of space arrangement and provisions for the whole day. During the day, there has been alternatively meditation sequences, presentations with slideshows and video plays, and exchanges among the group. Questions about interconnectedness across people have been addressed, especially on the theme of Building Bridges.

This day was not about money, material goods and personal interests. Instead, there are words other to describe the retreat day: Kindness, Love, Positive energy, Connectedness.

Building Bridges

The receptivity state
It is incredible to see this group of persons, called changemakers, to gather in a wonderful house, breathing generosity. As you enter in the apartment, you hear an inspiring song, “With You” by Jai-Jagdeesh”. Listening to it, you feel fully alive, renewed, empowered. As you enter in the sitting area, you are invited to take a cushion, sit on it, relax and close your eyes to go wherever you have to. Everyone is sat in a circle. Think, don’t think, reflect, make the vacuum, be aware, listen around, listen to yourself. Thirty minutes of meditation allows you to pass from the outer world to the inner circle.

Gong rings out, you come back from your meditation and open your eyes. While opening your eyes, it is amazingly powerful to see the circle of people around you, in which you are included, connected like one soul, you already feel a high energy.

Listen to your audience
Then, the main theme starts: Building Bridges. After a very brief introduction, everyone is invited to share his thoughts turn by turn. And it is very special and wonderful to hear literally everyone delivering a speech! You successively feel touched by each other story, show compassion, are surprised by how much you get involved in all the personal stories. You feel grateful in fact.

In most of the stories, you see yourself like reading in a mirror and it makes you reflect on you and your relations to others. The vision of everyone is complementary. You hear stories of people that are fighting hard to build bridges with someone new or reconnect with someone meaningful from the past. You hear about that person who is simply smiling to connect with others. Some people break the glass easily, while other need a bigger effort. There is that guy who considers himself as an introvert and who discovered the game “big talks” as a way to connect with others. It is impressive how beneficial it is to listen to the stories without judgment – the sixty interventions lasted more than two hours but it felt like just a small second.

The “me” to the “we”, to the “us”.
This circle configuration and the fact that you are listening to everyone allows you to put your “self” besides. Don’t make a focus on yourself (the “me”) during the connection but put the “we” in the center. Indeed, building a bridge with someone else is a matter of plurality and reciprocal connection. Forget yourself for a short while, listen to the other, open your heart and tell or listen to deep stories. In that way, you will expose your mutual vulnerabilities, which is how you can get the trust of someone else. In that way, you can anchor deep roots for your bridge. Get along with their center of interests, make the other important, they need to feel you attention – in a one-way discussion, there are unfortunately things that are not communicated because of shyness, unconfidence or protectedness, although they are jewels to discover under one’s shell. So make the way bidirectional, there is so much to learn during the journey.

The thoughts were deeper when we started adding the “us” on the top of the “we”. The “us” embraces an interconnectedness of a whole, making sure that all voices of the whole are heard and have a place they deserve to belong to. Indeed, everyone, whatever personality they can show at the outside, possesses inner talents that can contribute to the “us”. Do not forget to keep inclusiveness in your relationships.

Bridges nature
Bridges are of many different natures. A bridge has a starting point and an ending point, symbolized by you and the person you are connecting to. Some of the bridges are well defined, already built, while others are just starting. While being built, you have to make sure they go towards the right direction and that they can reach the connecting point. Sometimes, their path needs to deviate to avoid obstacles or to better meet the other side of the bridge. Sometimes they have to be stopped or even deconstructed in order to protect yourself or prevent noxious losses of energy. Also, some of the bridges are existing somewhere but undiscovered, they are already strong without you know them, and this is up to you to open your eyes to retrieve them. Also, don’t be blocked at the state to plan to build a bridge. Do them, effectively.

Other nature is the inner bridge to oneself, because the reconnection to yourself is also an important vector. How to come back to basics, to get rid of the surrounding daily pollution and make the priorities clear. The reconnection to ourselves is also a matter of self-loving, of self-acceptance to better accept the environment. Look also yourself in the mirror and build a bridge to your reflection. If you don’t accept your own-self, there is surely a deviation to take to meet yourself. Indeed as recalled one of the changemakers and like Gandhi conveys, be the change you wish to see in the world.

As a summary, think globally, put your “self” aside, be happy in giving and in listening to others. Increase your awareness about yourself, the others, the “we” and the “us” – understand to needs of each other, make proof of empathy to strengthen the roots of the bridges. Mutual inspiration and solidarity allowed great achievements as proven by many examples in the history.

Loads of learnings, goodness, sharing, positivity, good energies and synergies were present during the day. People were from different horizons and backgrounds deepened the discussions. Smiles and exchanges allowed a bunch of bridges starting among people.

This group of people was linked by a common desire to spread love around them, and you could feel a very positive energy throughout the course of the day. This is an energy to welcome and to relay. Spread that to others and you will make your environment a better place. I would like to catch the momentum created by this retreat day and make the things happening.

To conclude I would like to express my gratitude to Jasky, who introduced me to the retreat notions and I am also thankful to the wonderful people who allowed this journey to happen – Nipun, Trishna, Jin Wei, and all the changemakers that I had the chance to meet on that day. It is hard to summarize all the teachings synthetically – but all in all, I felt a high amount of positive energy along the day, that I may want to use in the future.

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