Before we are members of a team, group, or community, we are people. Our CEO Reza is passionate about self development – for himself, for his team and for our members. So this weekend, we’re hosting our first ever Self Development Festival at The Collective Old Oak, in partnership with the PachaMama eco-community in Costa Rica. (Book your free ticket here!) The event is open to members and non-members alike and will be exploring the value of self care through a series of workshops, talks, meditations and creative sessions.
In tandem with the festival, a few members of The Collective team ventured to the countryside last week for a group retreat. Through workshops, dancing, laughing and learning, we had the opportunity to get to know each other and ourselves. Here are some of our reflections from the weekend.
Reza: “Since we started The Collective eight years ago with a £1600 overdraft, I’ve realised that I get the most fulfilment from having a positive and transformational impact on people’s lives. I’ve also come to believe that our potential as human beings is limitless, therefore the more I develop and understand myself from within, the greater the impact I’m able to have on the world around me.”
Michael: “When I set aside time to explore the heart’s desires through self-enquiry, I’m ultimately reminded that a small child lives within me, one who merely wants to be loved and openly express his happiness, his sadness, his excitement and his sorrows. Experiencing self development exercises alongside colleagues reminds how we as The Collective are different, and why we are well positioned to be the change we want to see in the world.”
On an airplane, the flight attendant tells you to put your own oxygen mask on first before helping others. The same applies to life and self-care. Be mindful in taking care of yourself, and you can be of value to others.” – Andre
Niels: “The weekend was a great opportunity to get to know people really well and bond as a team, as well as understand what motivates me. The hosts did an amazing job of making everyone feel comfortable and only share what felt right.”
Julia: “I did not know what to expect, but after this weekend I dare to say that I understand my insecurities and can finally start working on them in order to be a more healed human being. I feel much more connected to my colleagues, they feel like a family now and I sense togetherness and belonging on a new level. I think this is one of the main traits for a great functioning team working together effortlessly.”
Bien: “I have worked for The Collective for over seven months now. I wasn’t exactly the friendliest person in the office as I am either too shy or too worried that I’ll be distracting people at work to have a chat. I didn’t have a chance to join the many company events as I usually have some activities to attend to after work. I have no regrets attending the retreat this past weekend because I sincerely connected with everyone in the group in the span of two and a half days compared to the connections I made in the last seven months. It was truly a magical retreat. I achieved a level of peace in me that I never could imagine I can achieve. I was able to release a great amount of rage, anger, sadness, fear, and happiness altogether.
“It felt simply great. I have so much self-love, I have the constant urge now to spread the love and gratefulness to people around me. I feel super thankful for this life-changing opportunity, I invite everyone to share the appreciation and awareness and let us collectively make everyone welcome, accept our authentic selves without judgement, and take special care of our overall well being.” – Bien
Alyssa: “Not knowing what to expect, I was a bit apprehensive before attending this workshop. What I experienced with my colleagues was truly something special. Creating a space without judgement from others or yourself, a space where you can be free to be yourself is a truly liberating experience. I left with a feeling of calm, relaxation and joy, and a more profound understanding of myself. Self care begins as a seedling. As you nurture and care for it, it begins to grow and develop into something unexpectedly beautiful.”
Gabe: “This week has started on a new level for me. I’ve definitely experienced enriching moments of mindfulness and deep insights during our weekend. I have been on my personal development journey for some years, and more than just with my close friends and family, I’ve always been really curious and excited to understand how I could integrate those learnings in my workspace. After this weekend I can say that I finally understand how to do it thanks to our process.
For me there shouldn’t be barriers for us to express our human-ness throughout our lives, being in our homes or working environments.” – Gabe
There’s no point to put on masks or pretend being someone we are not just to look less vulnerable on our workspace. Rather, we should value and learn from ours (and others’) vulnerabilities and celebrate what makes us humans. I believe that way we will be able to connect and create stronger bonds amongst our teams and ultimately curate the ultimate container for collaboration. The Collective is all about creating meaningful communities, made of humans like us. And we fully embody this culture from within.
Yiota: “For me, that weekend was a unique and transformative experience. It gave me the opportunity to explore and understand better myself and my emotions. In the busy world we live in, it is valuable to get the time and look inwards, reflect on yourself and make sure you stay emotionally healthy. Doing so with my colleagues created a stronger bond between us and new channels of communication. Together we all opened our minds, developed our trust and expressed our human side. Thanks to everyone for that amazing experience.”
We’re not often given an opportunity to take a step back and get to know ourselves better. To listen, learn, and open up to the fact that we already have everything we need to align with whatever our purpose is.” – Tempe
Tempe: “This weekend was my second experience of this kind of self development work, and I’ll treasure it always. I’m grateful for the opportunity to learn from the PachaMama trio and to bond with my beautiful team. By holding space for ourselves and others, we can have a kinder impact on the world.”
Matt: “The PachaMama retreat was special and profound in many ways. I had a lot of personal reflections and confrontations with core vulnerabilities that I would not have been able to have without the nurturing guidance of the crew. As I am already on a journey of self exploration – participating in coaching sessions, mindfulness, sharing circles, 5 Rhythms sessions, and more – this retreat was a way for me to deepen these self enquiries and do so in a safe and beautiful space.
The most inspiring takeaway from the weekend was to see how everyone was able to feel and experience the value of this kind of emotional work, and to listen to stories of transformation from team members.” – Matt
It was really special for me to not only come out with deep personal learnings, but also to hear that we had all had transformative experiences and therefore we created a strong bond around those collective experiences. This was a special weekend for me and I am very grateful to have had that opportunity and for all of those individuals who were involved!”
Petro: “The Collective is fearless in how it invites its team and members to truly explore the depths of being human. There are bits of you that you like, bits you don’t really like, bits you are scared of and hide away, and bits you absolutely adore. The work of these three gorgeous facilitators carefully and lovingly opened up all those bits and let us fall back in love with them all – and thus with ourselves, so we can now heal them and give the bits we didn’t like the due attention they deserve to get better. Go on, jump in – they’ll catch you.”
The Collective Self Development Festival runs this weekend, Friday 13th July to Sunday 15th July, at The Collective Old Oak, NW10 6FF, London.
The event is open to members and non-members alike. View the schedule and book your free ticket here, then drop into whichever sessions you like.
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