Retreat Spotlight – Newark Community Street Team – High Risk Intervention

Retreat Spotlight – Newark Community Street Team – High Risk Intervention

On June 28th several staff members of the Newark Community Street Team’s High Risk Intervention department arrived mid-afternoon with an aim to decompress their “always on call” selves and replenish through playing, eating well, being in nature and connection with one another for the weekend. After a brief settling in, the group sat down to a nourishing garden-fresh lunch and a warm staff and group leader welcome. Afterwards, they went straight up to Cheriklo where a circle of blankets in the dappled shade of the cherry trees was awaiting them.

After a beautiful guided grounding meditation, they entered into a sharing circle game of answering questions from a “Curious Heart”.  An incredibly loud woodpecker came to visit and gain the attention of all, and spark conversation!  The group went right into leisure time where the lawn games became a highlight. Next, they entered into a garden tour and metaphorical exercise that moved them through the biological community of their own life, how to nourish it, and what to release- or “weed out” anything no longer serving them.  After a delicious dinner of coconut rice and curried veggies, the group went back out to play more games.  They played volleyball until the country night’s darkness kept them from being able to see the game they were playing! They then shifted over to sit around a fire while the fireflies magically surrounded them.

The group used the majority of the rainy Saturday to bond, play cards, and have no obligations, something many of them say never happens. All enjoyed the perfect rainy day lunch of grilled cheese and hot tomato soup. On moments when the sky cleared they played more lawn games and took their chances getting rained on to walk to the Vista Shed and enjoy the epic view and freshly damp air wafting with the fragrance of sweet milkweed blossoms.  The city folks took their time to watch the large birds dance on the high wind thermals over the hills.  They returned to a delicious dinner of Uplands grown green salad, alfredo pasta and sausage. In the evening, many from the group relaxed in a sound bath.

Sunday morning began with gentle yoga for some.  A hearty brunch of potatoes, eggs, oatmeal and chicken apple sausage filled bellies before a plethora of pastries got eaten and packed up to bring along for the ride and home to loved ones.  A final open hearted farewell circle in the grassy field, included reflections and what each person was bringing home with them from their experience. The group was packed up and ready to return with fresh energy to their intense work in their community.  They have been here 4 years in a row, and hope to keep returning to the replenishing container of The Uplands.

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