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The IPA Spring Retreat 2002

by Mickey Judkovics
(with contributions from Shelly Beach, Daniel Miller, Sam Turton, and Bill Whitesell)

"Having the spring retreat is quite a different experience than the summer conference - it's more intimate and since the group is small the electricity and intensity seems greater (for me, anyway)."

The Spring 2002 IPA retreat was an event that almost didn't happen. Grow II, our previous Spring gathering site was not available, so Sam Turton and Sharon Kane took the initiative to go after a new site. After an alternative didn't work out, Harriet Geller and Jean Rashkind suggested Deer Hill. Some intense followup by Sam and Sharon (with help from Harriet, Jean, and me) was needed to make the Spring Retreat happen at all. Great, great choice, group. Thank you all!

Deer Hill proved to be an ideal facility to hold the retreat. Sherwin House, a newly renovated 200-year-old Victorian mansion had "a sun-drenched living room/meeting room with a large fireplace and wraparound porch with a view" and was the sole possession of the IPA for the weekend. The "living room" provided a comfortable, safe place to have community meetings, skillfully lead by Harriet and Jean, and also to have the men's leaderless support meeting in the mornings. Our thanks to all the women who graciously volunteered to give this larger room to the men.

"A great big mansion that we took over - complete with fireplaces, cozy dorm rooms, and super food. Yeah, maybe the food wasn't as great as Tony's feasts from last summer, or Grow II's ridiculous deserts, but it was GOOD."

A famous quote says that 90% of making things happen is just showing up. And people did show up - 29 in all, about 50% women, 50% men, for those of us who were counting. Who were they? First let us welcome and congratulate newcomers Ellen Badnin, Phil Banco, Andrew Casagrande, Linda Ellinor, Jim Pullaro, and Clark Wilburn for their interest and courage. We can all remember our first time, wondering what we were getting into. They quickly became part of the group, and from all their reports were happy that they had come.

At the other end of the spectrum were elders Dan Miller, Larry King, Mary Taylor, and Don Eschbach, who provided a stable anchor with their many years of experience as therapists and primalers. Their presence was welcomed and greatly appreciated. Welcome back Dan. Then there were the rest of us - you and me - with a desire to reconnect with ourselves and others in the healing container of an IPA retreat. Thanks to all of us for showing up.

"Lots of primal pain, joy, and bonding. The Real Thing in an Unreal World."

We quickly fell into a familiar routine of meals, community meetings, leaderless support groups, primal group, meals, and afternoon workshops. Here are some quotes from the participants:

"Some unforgettable moments for me were: seeing the chocolates that Mickey had placed on every pillow as a welcome gesture; Leonard really getting down to James Brown's Sex Machine; the giant wrap-up puppy pile at Sunday Mat Track - it's amazing how sound travels through solid bodies; getting the call late Thursday evening that my daughter Teri had a baby girl, Tayler. I'm a granddad!"

- Sam Turton

(Congratulations Grandpa Sam!!! She couldn't have done it without you.)

"There's never a dull moment at an IPA event and this one certainly is right up there with its many highlights - women's group, mat track, peer group, cabaret, monologues from the mat - one of my favorites."

- Shelly Beach

"I liked . . . the sharing in and about small groups where people let their vulnerability hang out . . . discovering I brought the wrong past life video and having to do a past life session in vivo . . . discovering my self-destructive krap; the wonderful ambience of Deer Hill, its (relatively) comfortable beds, elegant but casual spaciousness and great food."

- Daniel Miller

Community-created workshops included "Monologues From the Mat," with Jean Rashkind, the "Essentials of Reevaluation Counseling for Primal People," with Bill Whitesell, "Past Lives" with Dan Miller, "Gestalt" with Linda Marks, "Therapist Support Group" with Sam Turton, "Shock, Suicide, and Self-mutilation in the Primal Pool" with Mickey Judkovics, and the leaderless "Primal Walk." The facilitation of Mat Track primal group each morning was shared by Sam Turton, Mickey Judkovics, Bob Holmes, Linda Marks, and Mary Taylor. Massage was offered by Mary Regis, and the inimitable Cabaret was artfully hosted by Bill Whitesell and Christopher P.

Thank you, Sharon Kane, for stepping into the role of Chair with such an organized, yet warm and personal touch. Many thanks to participants Walter Gambin, Jane Lewis, Karl Reis, Bernard Rielly, Marlene Schiller, Alex Tadeskung, and Taff Welch for their valuable presence and contributions to yet another great IPA community gathering.

Deer Hill states, as its mission, to provide "a nourishing place of peace where all persons can search for truth, embrace diversity, and then participate more responsibly in the creation of a just and peaceful work and a whole and healthful earth." I think that we at the IPA would also hold this as part of our mission with the addition that we choose to create peace through the primal process. May our healing and peace happen soon.

This article appeared in the Summer 2002 IPA Newsletter.