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reflections from participants

Nature and Beauty

“Having time alone in those beautiful surroundings was a gift – it is a place I go back to in my mind when I’m facing stressful times. I close my eyes, slow my breathing and go back to those rocks on that island and remember the motion of those waves, the feel of that sand, the smell of the ocean, the sight of those sunsets and the gift of the stars each evening revealed.”

“Being at Big Wood Pond, away from everything, absolutely helped my healing process. There is a quiet magic about nature that can’t be described. There is so much happening in nature at each moment yet it feels normal and natural – the cycles, shifts…it makes sense even if I don’t understand the how and why of everything – nature just ‘is’. It is easy to be in nature – there is nothing to compete with, be distracted by, to worry about.”

“My time in the natural world was wonderful – mostly because it was unstructured and long enough to feel no time pressure. It was very relaxing and healing.”

“The trip gave me incredible perspective – it allowed me to slow down, observe and become a part of nature and to remember that I am a part of something that is much larger than myself and life’s problems. Listening to the waves and paddling through the water helped me get reacquainted with my own internal rhythms.”

“The experience in kayaks and camping on the coast of Maine in community with the intention of providing witness to each others' stories was medicine and balm, beyond words. I was deeply moved by the power of living by simple rhythms -- the rising and setting of the sun, the moon, the changing tides, the time in community and the time for solitude. I returned strengthened, deepened and empowered. And deeply grateful for the simple moments in life which the experience so easily offered.”

“I have never in my life had a series of days that were totally devoted to myself and my needs. It was a gift being away with no phone or connection to any of the responsibilities of my daily life. I needed the separation from modern conveniences and the solitude and connection with nature to begin to understand my life’s events. Two Roads gave me the setting to do the work I needed to do for myself and my well-being.”

Community

“Thank you once again for the sharing – not just in the stories, but in the laughter, the tears, the music. The process felt as natural and as nourishing as the wind which moved through the trees and over the waters…”

“I feel like I've carried you all with me in some way since last weekend, and whenever I think of you I feel strong and expansive and cared for. I like to imagine that I send that feeling back out to each of you each time I touch it, and I touch it over and over throughout the day.”

“I want to send you all my thanks for helping to usher in a promising new year for me. …I am opening to life in so many ways that I had left dormant over the past few years. The gift of last weekend…was the most perfect and amazing gift that could have found me. I feel incredibly fortunate to have crossed paths with each of you.”

“I listen and read patiently the circles of words amongst us – the desire to hang on to the beautiful moments together, to imbed them in our minds that we may be mindful enough to have them forever. That we may be able at any given moment, to close our eyes, to breathe in and to find ourselves there – with soft white sand in our toes, our bodies brushing against the palmettos, the oaks cradling us in their magnificence. That we have born witness to their strength and years of peaceful existence amongst the "horses" who in turn have offered themselves to the longevity of that tiny island. I carry you all in my heart and mind. I find myself smiling often when I think of you. I feel as if I am one step in front of everyone else, stronger and wiser, in that I have had the blessing of this experience. What we shared is irreplaceable; it is unrepeatable in its own moments. My community grows...... my friends grow...... my life grows....... and my soul is enriched. I thank you all - truly - for listening, and for smiling, and for being.”

Council

“The trip offered the perfect blend of outdoor adventure, peacefulness, and community. For me, the time we spent in council was the most meaningful and valuable experience of the trip. My primary motivation for going on the Two Roads trip was to participate in this particular aspect of the healing process, and still I was unprepared for the great depth of the experience. This is a tribute to your leadership, as well as to the sincere effort everyone made to fully participate. When everyone has an open heart, the heart opens even more, and I found myself listening in a way I have never listened before, and speaking from a place where I have never spoken from before. And the experience deepened with each passing day.”

“By allowing myself to be open with myself and others, I was able to feel and experience my sadness in a way that didn’t feel as solitary and empty as it had previously. The process and experience at Big Wood Pond gave me room to be open about my feelings and to feel connected to people while acknowledging the very real and painful circumstances of losing my husband.”

“Two Roads created a holding environment in which I could come to know my newly awakening Self. Within the shelter of the group I was able to begin the process of integrating the many emotional and physical challenges of my illness. A context of deeper understanding manifests daily, and a dawning of awareness was brought to culmination within the love and support of this circle...”

“I appreciated the safe and respectful environment of council; it allowed me to open up and not feel intimidated or embarrassed. Council time evoked thoughts and feelings I didn’t even know were right under the surface.”

The Return

“I want you to know how truly wonderful I feel and how much of that I think is due to my remarkably healing experiences with Two Roads. I know that I've been gradually healing, but I believe the extraordinary experiences in nature which you provided me helped me resolve a lot of emotional pain and to move into a place of deeper acceptance of where I am, which in turn has freed me to feel more joy than has been present for a long time.”

“The retreat created, allowed for, such essence of openness and community; to return to my daily world is taking time. Daily, however, there have been these wondrous moments of illumination of heart and soul, spirit and energy.”

“My time in Memphremagog was very healing. I needed that space at that time; it was perfect. I thank you so much for your piece in my peace. Just like tending to a fire, these feelings need to be tended to and I have been trying to keep after myself. I am in awe today… There are many gifts coming my way and I want to stay in this moment to be able to realize the gift as I see them so plainly.”

“I feel like so much happened last weekend. I find I try to tell people about it, and I really can't find words. It was so tremendous, and so what I had been searching for. I can still feel the weekend sustaining me from moment to moment. It's an amazing source of strength to draw on and an inspiration to commit to learning to live more fully again.”

“Mostly I experience joyful days and feel myself coming alive again.”

“The setting and my fellow ‘travelers’ gently allowed me to re-discover my joy. I mean JOY! So intense that it made me weep. So pure that I wanted to shout it from the hilltops. MY JOY! Not some cliché, but the real thing. And I hadn’t realized that it was missing. What better answer to all those big questions?”

“I also am moving slowly. Enjoying the warm, cozy feelings I am encountering. I've even stopped playing my classical music (mostly in the car) as I delve into the silence. And always I am there with you all – out in the woods, or upstairs meditating, sharing laughter and tears. …thank you all so much for the wonderful, enriching experience that has carried over into work and family life.”

“My agenda for myself was to answer some big questions: What should I do with the rest of my life? How could I heal the deep hurt of all that loss? I knew on some level that these questions probably would not be directly answered but I trusted that I would find something helpful in the experience. I am still amazed at the answers that I got. The experience is so personal and internal that it is difficult to find words to describe it.”

Two Roads

“The Two Roads Maine staff was incredibly supportive. Such care was taken with all of the preparations for our physical and emotional journey. I felt confident in the abilities of the staff to handle whatever situation might come up – physically and emotionally. They all radiated such comfort and safety.”

“I often think of the weekend I spent with you and the others. I am not sure why it has made such a big difference in my life now but it has. Helped more than any medications and all the specialist's I went to. Maybe because you did not try to analyze me and my feelings but just accepted them as what they were and sent me home with hope.”

“What can I say, really, about one of the most significant four days of my life- certainly my redeemed life of the past two years? You have created a wonderful "vehicle" for folks who are conscious of needing a boost to transform their lives- and who are exhilarated by the Outdoors.”

“This retreat and the purposefulness with which it is organized and led is so helpful in reminding people that life can continue to be rich and fulfilling and that we can find ourselves again despite the pain and loss that we come across on the path.”

“The staff was wonderful. You were all supportive without being intrusive. I liked the focus on inner self as a source of contentment.”

“I loved the immediate connection with nature on the kayak trip to the island, it started the experience off with a bang! I felt so safe and comfortable with everyone, the atmosphere of respect was created early on with the group. Thank you for creating such a safe place with a group of people who were all strangers!”

“Camping and kayaking were not familiar experiences for me. David’s patience in explaining everything, his encouragement and support were the reason I took the chance and tried something new at a point in my life when I was exhausted and drained. Having a professional and experienced staff made it possible for me to trust their expertise and relax and enjoy the trip.”

“It is a rare moment when one can jump into the fire with eyes wide open. Two Roads helped me do it and reminded me that I can choose to live that way any moment I want to.”

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