Avalon is a training ground for the spiritual warrior — where we refine our Knowing through brave curiosity about ourselves and others.
What an avalon retreat looks like
Like any transformational group work involving free expression and movement, the subtlety and power of the Avalon experience is difficult to capture. Avalon has its own distinct flavor. Our workshops and retreats have a form but no rigid structure. Instead we move through three foundational practices — The Pulse, The Meeting, and The Debrief — to release the ways we constrict ourselves and tap into the cosmic playfulness available when we flow with Life itself. When we feel truly seen and accepted by others who offer unwavering presence and compassion, we access a light-heartedness and strength that fuel our highest purpose. We walk towards wholeness and freedom — together.
Avalon retreats have a form but no rigid structure. We move fluidly each day through three foundational practices — The Pulse, The Meeting, and The Debrief.
Avalon retreat days typically start with a Pulse, loosely defined as a fluid group check-in where we each share with others where we are at. In the Pulse, we move our bodies, share "withholds" (things we'd rather avoid communicating to others), offer caring, and investigate and stay curious with what is alive in our awareness and in the group dynamics.
The direction of a Pulse may change suddenly and dramatically in any moment. As we surrender, individually and collectively, to the group intelligence that emerges in Avalon, we find ourselves free to act spontaneously in ways we often hold back. We then take in feedback from the room (verbal or energetic): How are others responding? Is that really what I meant? What would I like to do now?
In Avalon, we have the invigorating opportunity to challenge our old narratives, scripts, and limiting beliefs and ask ourselves instead, What would I do right now if I were entirely free? We fully meet ourselves, that we may fully meet others — tapping into a healing force where everyone's expression and contribution is needed.
In Avalon Meetings, we come together in pairs or small groups to explore new ways of being alive, empowered, and in connection. We commit to expressing ourselves authentically while being mindful of our impact on others and the group dynamic. This is where the excitement of co-creation and aliveness exists and is part of what can distinguish Avalon from other retreats.
Meetings are a unique element of the Avalon approach, where every expression is allowed and every need given space (with the understanding that we harm neither ourselves nor others). In experiencing that kind of freedom and compassionate acceptance — for some of us, perhaps for the first time in our lives — we can see ourselves and others with pristine clarity. Meetings are a training ground where we get to emerge into our truest selves.
Real transformation becomes possible with this kind of unconditional acceptance and support. Having courageously met our shadows, opened to the vulnerability of our innermost needs and desires, and allowed ourselves to be deeply touched by others, we know ourselves differently. If we choose to, we can leave Avalon clear-minded and with the conviction that we need no longer hang on to a smaller version of either ourselves or our lives. At a level of cellular memory, we come to know who we are and what our purpose is in the world.
In Avalon, we fully meet ourselves — that we may fully meet others.
The Debrief is an opportunity to bring a cognitive understanding to what we've experienced during each day's Pulse and Meetings — to deepen our self-knowledge by adding conscious awareness to the emotional and spiritual aspects of the Avalon experience.
The healing that consistently happens in Avalon retreats is a first potent step to a broader self-integration that we build on and bring forward into our lives. During retreat days, we may go through intense processes (such as spiritual openings or trauma releases) that can feel new or unknown. By examining our intimate first-person experiences from a distanced third-person perspective, we essentially look into ourselves with the eyes of the mind. That is, by reflecting on and contemplating the day's events from a more holistic vantage point, the transformative potential of these precious experiences can be better integrated, embodied, and sustained.
The Debrief at the end of each Avalon day is for us to share feedback with each other, ask questions, and share insights we've had. This time is set aside for learning and discussion. The Debrief allows us to anchor our experiences in developmental psychology, psychotherapy, spirituality, and Integral philosophy, and we're each invited to share our unique knowledge and personal and professional expertise to support each other's learning and sense-making process.
This exploration is an important element of what we do in Avalon, bringing us closer together and deepening our understanding of ourselves and the group.
In Avalon, we can release the past and, in this release, find new freedom.
In Avalon retreats, we can release the past and find new freedom for our future. We learn that surrendering to Nature — which we cannot control but that we can shape — is an exciting, creative experience. There's risk in this — but also magic. The more we surrender, the more we discover our inherent ability to taste more, feel more, be more flexible in life and more satisfied, and contribute to others and the world.