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Q. In a week-long retreat, what does a typical day look like?

Our workshops usually begin after supper on the first day. This evening session is an introduction to our work and to each other. We begin to identify the issues that need to be worked with during the week. The subsequent days start at 7:15 a.m. This early morning session focuses on our physical being and how to be more present in our bodies (as opposed to being so much in our heads). No two sessions are the same and a lot depends on the group. Some teaching is involved and some direct experience, perhaps through movement. The goal is to help individuals to increase their inner awareness and develop inner boundaries.

After a breakfast, the main morning session takes place with the full group, in a circle, from about 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. During this time we focus on learning how to work with the emotional body. We work with issues and problems that individuals and couples present to the group. We work with unfinished business from the past. We work with clearing out emotions and resentments that have been blocked or denied. We learn about our defense systems and how to open up more when we want to. It's the most intense part of the day.

Lunch typical goes from 1-2:30 p.m. During the afternoon session, activities are matched to the needs of the group. Sometimes the focus continues to be on emotional-skills training. Sometimes Naomi teaches how to do self-exploration through creativity. Sometimes we'll do something outdoors. The activities vary from day to day, but they always add important pieces to awareness and personal growth.

On the last day of the group, we have a wrap-up group session in the morning, following by a closing brunch together.

As we outline in the last chapter of our "Second Marriage" book, we believe in the importance of building what we call an inner "container." By that we mean learning to come inside oneself -as opposed to living through reactivity to events and people outside of ourselves (which is how most of us tend to go through life until we begin to train ourselves otherwise). Each day's activity is designed to assist in developing skill at building this container. As the group progresses we add skills that are designed to help carry what has been learned out into the everyday world after the group is completed.