"I learnt a lot during the SenseSelfEssence retreat. It was the first time in my life to experience that kind of collective work with strong connection with each participant. After only one week of living and being trained together, we experienced an amazing level of feeling each other. We really were “as one”.
As a participant, I appreciated the clear and orderly structure of SenseSelfEssence, which was founded on its principal goal to synchronize us with our Self, to one another so that we would converge into a sole body, to the site, the subjects and objects, to everything that is happening “here and now”. On top of it, this structure was highly dynamic and flexible, with Christina managing to smoothly and timely adjust the program to the physical and emotional state of the group members and their individual needs.
Everything we did, the way we did it, all the surrounding objects, and every single element of this highly definite structure helped us to transit into this new, incredible state of synchronicity. We were stranded from the civilization, having no other external contact. This helped us to concentrate on ourselves, and on one another. We were requested to hand in all the electronic devices so that they would not distract us. What a pure joy it is to spend ten days in reality without going online! Though seeming minor, this requirement helped us to liberate our attention and set its focus on achieving the principal goal. We lived in a tent camp, slept on the ground, used the water that the earth gave us, ate seasonal products brought by farmers from the neighboring village, and thus synchronized ourselves with the site.
However, the most important contributors to our connectivity were the exercises and techniques practiced within the retreat. They were equally part of the whole structure, yet Christina was highly sensitive to changes in the group members and their individual needs. When necessary, she smoothly and efficiently adjusted the program, the practicing and resting regime, meals, and other aspects.
Thus, I experienced a problem of preserving the “presence” state during lengthy exercises lasting for many hours. I tended to return to the “regular”, habitual state, which interrupted the actions, and it would take me a long time to resume the required state. To deal with it, Christina suggested practicing the Intention-Action exercise. While doing an action, we would think and articulate through the whole process of doing it. Thus, a simple gesture of raising a hand became a deep meditation focusing on all aspects of the action: length, elements, details, and sensations. This practice was a precious experience for me and helped me a lot to keep the “presence” state during performances lasting for several hours.
The uninterrupted “presence” state also gave me the liberty to develop my action. I learned to let myself go, thus allowing the action to flow according to external and internal impulses. Whatever occurred – new viewers that would come and participate, new objects that would appear in space, contact and interaction that would be established with other artists, a new sensation that would arise in me – out of a sudden, everything became an impulse for further exploration, for my action development."