Over the past ten years Adirondack citizens have joined together to offer an annual Arts and Healing Retreat for women with cancer and chronic illness . This retreat provides a unique opportunity for women who are struggling with life changing diseases to tell their stories in a variety of contexts and thus to develop a sense of connection, meaning and empowerment. During the retreat, they are immersed in the healing environment of the Adirondacks and, through workshops offered by Adirondack artists, they are surrounded by the opportunity to use words, music, movement and laughter to create bonds and realize that they are not alone.
What started as an annual retreat continues to grow as we reach out to new groups and old friends. In our tenth year we held two retreats, one in July and one in September of 2008. The coming year marks the beginning of our branching out to new audiences. This blog is offered as a way to keep our community connected. Here is a sample of the images and words of those who have benefited from this experience:
“I used to think the staff performed this magic each year. Now I see it clearly. They provide the canvas. We paint it. I can't wait to see what we create this year.”
“I take the image of the bridge lit up at night. As I cross it, my shoulders go down, the radio goes off, I am here. I forgive my body for betraying me. I take strength from all of you.”
“I feel the strength of the women who came before me - and I count on the strength of those who will come after me.”
“This time affords me an opportunity to look inside my self, to remove, so to speak, "the skin of the onion", to face challenges with a greater strength and move forward!”
“I learned that life isn't over until it's over and that the illness isn't robbing me of that, my attitude is.”