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

Residential workshops begin at supper on the first day. The first evening 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 7:30 a.m. We do 40 minutes of movement (stretch/yoga), or walking to give attention to our physical bodies. Before breakfast each day, we take a few minutes to begin training in a type of meditation that we have found helps individuals to increase their awareness and develop inner boundaries.

The morning session takes place with the full group, in a circle, from 9:15 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 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 goes from 1-2 p.m. Typically there is a break until 4 p.m., although we occasionally embark on group excursions to one of the many interesting sites in the local area. Most days we have an excellent massage team available for those who wish to use them.

During the session from 4-6 p.m. 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 art and creativity. Sometimes we teach massage. Occasionally we offer breathwork sessions. The activities vary from day to day, but they always add important pieces to awareness and personal growth.

Over the years, we've learned that the best emotional training has to include some time for conceptual models and intellectual understanding. In our evening sessions from 7:15-9 p.m., we focus more on that part of the work. The evening time is also available for any unfinished business left over from the day. By the end of the evening, everyone is tired and has first-hand experience that emotional work uses up a lot of energy (and calories too: even though the food is great, no one puts on weight during the week!).

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.