I think I'm still floating a little bit from the cruise. Being together with twenty parents and children, many of whom had different life circumstances and were at different life stages, who could connect so fully with one another was definitely a highlight of my year. It was, I believe, nearly the perfect blend of time together, time apart, time learning together, time to play, time to heal, and time to just be.
If you asked my 7 year old what his favorite part was, he would tell you about the sting ray he saw being chased by a large fish when he went snorkeling in Cozumel with his dad and older brother. And then, he would tell you about all the desserts he enjoyed. My older son, who is 12, probably wouldn't answer the question (he's 12, after all), but I think he enjoyed the freedom that the boat allowed him. I knew he couldn't go very far and so he was able to enjoy hanging out with the other kids on the boat, including his new friend, Andy, who was part of our group.
I really enjoyed our late night chats on the back of the Lido deck when we could share a little more about our lives. The last night we were on the boat, Josh, my 7 year old, fell asleep in a chair while we talked nearby as the warm air blew in off the ocean and the ship gently rocked him to sleep.
We learned about the Masgutova Method of reflex integration (sounds boring, but we were ALL riveted... Did you know that the eye muscles don't finish developing until a child is 8 or 9 and that eyes were really intended for mostly long-distances and occasional close-up work, not the other way around like it is today with our children? I didn't.) We also learned about Birth Matrix Reimprinting and heard stories of mothers changing patterns around their births (past and future) using EFT and understanding how connected we all are to one another. And Writing Down Your Soul- a divine way to get out of your conscious mind and access your deeper wisdom. We also heard about One Brain, as a path to healing through a multitude of healing tools, and got to experience part of a session.
We had a craft time that was intended to be for the kids, but I am honestly not sure who enjoyed it more! We made our own personal "journals" or Soul Books, as Janet Conner might call them, to record our experiences on the ship.
The first full day at sea, a group of us gathered in our meeting space on the ship and shared our journey to becoming a parent. After it was over, one of the parents let me know that this was one of the most powerful parts of the entire experience for her. Everyone who shared that morning had experienced some major trauma themselves and/or with their children. Perhaps we all just think that we're the only ones who are struggling and that most people just aren't going to understand why it is hard for US. She left the ship with something she didn't expect- to know that she really wasn't alone.
I watched as dads would gather on the pool deck or at dinner time, hungry not only for the amazing food on the ship or the chocolate melting cake, but also for the company of one another. I think we all left the ship feeling like we're just not alone. We all left with resources we didn't know existed and new ways of looking at ourselves and our children that are all full of hope.
It took me quite a few days to adjust to life back on land, not just because the land didn't seem to be moving (even though I felt like it was!), mostly because I had just left a space where we could all be real with one another and where somehow the world would never be the same.
I'm planning to have more events like this. If you'd like to join us for next time, please let me know what you'd like to see or where you'd like it to happen. I get the final vote, of course, but I'd LOVE to hear from you.