Well it is two weeks now since the Cancerucan Retreat which we ran at the Penny Brohn Centre in Bristol.
Im happy to say it was a complete success, measured by the connection, joy and and hope that the majority of the participants seemed to take away with them as well as the feedback forms that were filled in at the end of the retreat!
Something that I had not anticipated was that many participants reported that the pain that they had arrived with - due to their various cancers, was reduced and in some cases, gone by the end of the retreat!
This shows the very important part that experiencing positive emotions plays in reducing pain.
When I first stepped in through the doors of the penny Brohn Centre 11 years ago following my stage 4 cancer diagnosis, I had the feeling that I was going to recover fully and bring what I learned during my healing journey to the Penny Brohn Centre so that others would benefit from my journey.
I did not realise that it would be 11 years later - but the timing felt perfect in every way.
The Cancerucan retreat was an idea that had literally woken me up in the middle of the night around a year ago and with it had come such a feeling of celebration and excitement that I could not go back to sleep!
Cancerucan is all about empowerment - people dealing with cancer supporting each other to heal, by sharing support, tips, ideas and resources.
So I got out of bed, switched the Wifi on and went downstairs to share my idea on Facebook for the retreat with my Cancerucan Facebook group - hoping that once the idea had been 'parked', that I would drop off to sleep - it worked!
The next day, I decided to check how the idea had been received within the group and was shocked and delighted to see that there were already 78 comments and it was only 11am!
I think that the main appeal was that people who had been communicating virtually - some of them for 4 years since the group was started, were finally getting a chance to meet in person and share skills in the form of workshops and talks.
I was clear I wanted only people within the 'Cancerucan' community to share their expertise with each other and empower each other - after all Cancerucan is filled with amazing people with so much to share.
I was delighted that everybody seemed as excited as I was about the idea and the business of making this dream a reality began.
Thankfully there were many offers of help and the charities 'Together Against Cancer' and 'Yes to Life' came forward with generous donations which we were very gratful for as it enabled us to offer a number of half-price bursary places to over a dozen of the participants.
We also received a significant donation from Karen Waddington in memory of her beautiful daughter Laura who had sadly died from cancer the previous year.
Karen wanted to benefit as many people as possible with her donation and we were very grateful, as the budget for the retreat was looking a bit ropey due to the fact we were offering it at cost to the participants.
Making it a not-for-profit enterprize had been my aim from the start and that is not very easy!!!
I am reminded how life takes care when we move from the heart and trust!
I always feel a great deal of support from the universe whenever I run something that the universe really likes - this has been a great joy to me over the years. Running 'Potions Club' (teaching kids how to make and use herbal remedies and the 'Back 2 Health Integrative cancer health-care conferences' also fall in to this category of seemingly 'universe-approved'!
So the weekend happened - 32 people came altogether including the charities and stand-holders and extra help.
We started on Friday afternoon with settling in, welcome meeting, dinner and fire ceremony where people set intentions and released all that was not serving them in to the fire. Annee Bury - fellow admin did a great job of facilitating people to release unwanted emotions and burdens so that the space was cleared for the weekend.
The next day, we had a packed day of talks and workshops including Donna Eden exercises with Sidika, Nature-play, buddy-group sharings, my talk - which was entitled "Staying Alive", Death Cafe with Annee Bury, Creative Journalling with Nicola Corcoran (fellow Cancerucan admin), singing and music creation with Lucy Popovich, Kicking stage 4 cancer with Elaine Godley, Mental wellbeing with Ruhi, Food prep with Melanie Gamble, Medical Cannabis with Philip Smith, Vision Boarding, Heal your life with Kim Stapley, Power of 8 healing with Jenny Litman.
Then we finished off the day's activities with a shot of pre-dinner 'Love Potion' made by yours truly - taken along with an intention for the future.
Then the evening entertainment was cancer comedy - which Jessica Richards and I delivered (Jessica had travelled especially from London for this) and she and I had had much fun preparing to bring some lightness in to the rather dark subject that cancer very often is for most people - including Jessica and I who were diagnosed in the same month 11 years ago - before we know each other.
The following day we had some very inspirational healing stories delivered by Kathy White and Annee Bury and then Healing Circle with Annee and Power of 8 again.
We finished with the most beautiful singing medicine celebration thanks to Tarisha Seligman which also was our closing ceremony.