I have just returned from facilitating a Connect Retreat for Women in the Drakenberg. Once again, after many years of facilitating personal growth workshops and retreats, I am left with so many mixed feelings about this country and what it will take for us to truly unleash and nurture the talent and potential of every single individual and to encourage contribution rather than consumerism, citizenship rather than self-preservation.
We had a lovely mix of more mature women and young adults on the retreat, some with means and some with very little who were sponsored. Each and every one of them individually has experienced so much, endured through many difficulties, has amazing energy and talent to offer and has ambitious dreams to make a difference for their families and their communities.
What saddens me is how much hurt, anger, fear and self-doubt so many of them carry with them. Many have lost parents, been abandoned by loved ones, been physically or emotionally abused, have experienced many traumatic events and tragically feel unloved, not capable or just not good enough.
How much are the wounds of the past, and the baggage that we carry with us, limiting our ability to step up, take a risk, reach out and express our true authentic gifts and unique talent?
As we take the time in a safe space to examine who we are and what we carry, to assess whether it serves us positively or not, decide what to keep and what to let go, and ultimately to accept and believe in ourselves… the faces light up, the possibilities become clear and hope and willingness to make a difference comes to the fore.
I believe that we absolutely need to create economic opportunities for young talent, and build their skills to contribute meaningfully to society AND equally we need to create spaces for personal awareness, growth, healing and to explore and build inner skills for personal empowerment. I imagine a society where we can guide people to channel emotions for positive action rather than self-sabotage or the destruction of other’s hard work or dreams. I imagine a community of contributors, skilled in encouraging and facilitating personal growth and release of destructive thought patterns and feelings. I imagine a society of people who are encouraged to believe in themselves, love their uniqueness and are celebrated for their gifts. I imagine millions of young people recognising the power and impact of their choices in every moment and are inspired to think in possibilities and the spirit of Ubuntu.
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