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FLOAT Workshops at Mental Health Recovery Camp 2016

Alison, Marilyn and Graeme from Think Thrive! joined the Working to Recovery Camp 2016 and delivered 3 FLOAT workshops for people at the camp.

The camp was an astonishing celebration of difference, inclusivity and acceptance as well as hard demanding self work and questioning in response to some brilliant and inspired workshops leaders and facilitators.

Ron Coleman and Karen Taylor again are leading the way in thinking about and working with mental health recovery – many thanks from the Think Thrive! team, great to have played a part!

The camp felt to me a little like a voyage on a ship, so here is my journal:

… this is like a voyage, a journey on an ocean liner, a ship with passengers and crew. Everyone has a part a play, working together. We set sail as nervous passengers, tip toeing around each other, looking to find our roles and meeting our needs and others needs. Each meal, each meeting, bonds are being formed, experience shared and learning happens. Inspiration happens too, accounts of awesome experiences and obstacles overcome lend courage to those taking part. Each person working, giving and receiving connected by understanding and heartfelt connection.

The tables out side the kitchen tilt with the sloping ground like on a ship pitching and rolling with the swell. We laugh as we try to keep plates on the table, some nibbling food, some in a hurry, some eating and listening and talking. In truth, each has made a journey to get here, in distance and in our emotional recoveries. The acceptance of the community here is inclusive and measured as each person is working hard. The warmth and the photos will bounce around long after this trip. Most will draw strength from this experience and for some it will be life changing. This week we are preparing, for the journey beyond will be lifted by courage and belief of action more than the words enacted here.

The days have passed and our ship has visited many islands. Each day we convene in the big tent with coffee and the crew sketch out the agenda of workshops being offered that day. The programme evolves as we flex with the feelings, how people are doing, the mood and the energy. Many reach overwhelm and then choose to go beyond to new places in themselves, new ideas and plans and hopes. Solutions are found to impossible problems and emotions here are beautifully held. Inclusivity is the key and what’s asked in return is commitment to the process, open minds and connection at heart level. The courage we’ve seen from almost all is worth eye teeth in the day to day life at home. The reward is growth, psychic and emotional. And healing. Sure feet on paths revealed in the process and hope.

4th night in we celebrate mad pride – this is not “what I am” but “who I am” – I’m me before I’m a label and we are us – sharing together and proud of the extraordinary gifts that we have that makes us extraordinary people. These qualities so often labelled as wrong are here OK tested with merit of giving and sharing and embraced as inclusive as we sail on this ship of recovery. A giddy celebration of friendship, people showing their vulnerable sides, performing songs, poems and stories for the group with fun, appreciation and a roar.

The closing ceremony is reflective in an way where each is gathered – some beyond tired in a place of new possibility. There is a brief meditation together and a blessing, a sound shower and the thank you’s seem to include everyone. The ship’s captain sets the dates for next year for the camp to reconvene and delight is released – hugs for those we have met and shared with on this journey, this voyage, this most extraordinary of weeks!

A great big THANK YOU again from us!

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