Tammi Martin

August 1st, 2021

Arriving Home to Ourselves – 24 Hours of Transformation

It was late Friday afternoon when we set off. I was present to the sense of anticipation and yet fatigue I carried as I drove on around the bays to our retreat location at Bellbird Heights, Allendale Valley.  Winding down the windows as I drove to let the brisk mid-winter evening air blow in, I could smell the bush surround me and heard the birdsong that accompanied the close of day.

I pulled over at one point to watch the dance of light across the bays as the sun slipped behind the hills and to take in the splendour of the scene before me.

I felt the conscious shift in my state as a result and a distinct awareness our journey had begun.  Arriving at our location for the next 24hrs, it was immediately apparent our hosts had planned carefully for this moment. The warmth of the fire, smell of good kai, candle-lit room, creative use of props, and gentle music immediately anchored me. The embrace from friends ensured this was a ‘coming home’ of sorts. I put my slippers on and settled in awaiting the arrival of others and the rich journey which undoubtedly lay ahead.

For me there is always a level of excitement when coming together as a team at Leadership Lab. Such a talented, creative, and diverse group of people. It’s usual for us to meet regularly as project teams, but only twice a year with our broader associates at half-day Purpose Party’s. On those occasions, the aim is to connect meaningfully, share kai and allow space for emergence.  Departing from this hui however, there had always been a sense that time had been curtailed in some way. What we needed was the space to deeply connect, with ourselves, with one another, and with the possibilities this may invoke. And so it was, we were invited to spend  24 hours together during Matariki – a culturally significant season in Te Ao Māori. Twenty-seven individuals from our Leadership Lab whānau arrived from around the country to share a time of retreat together. The invitation on this occasion, to explore the process and significance of Matariki and to allow space in this new season ‘to simplify and dwell in the channel in which your life flows.’

There’s no doubt our retreat was transformational, an exquisite blend of seasonal significance, unique facilitation skills and willingness and vulnerability shared by team members. Since having departed that space, I find myself regularly considering the implications of our learnings. How could a twenty-four-hour period of time have been so impactful to me, and to others? In the work I do, I often think about the creation of ‘meaningful encounters’ and ‘transformational spaces’ and the processes required to achieve such outcomes.  More and more I am convinced that foundational to this, is the ability to listen deeply, to others, to nature, to our own inner call and outer doctrine. Our strategic mind and the logic of economics has overwhelmed us for too long, the dominant religion of consumerism has led to a post-modern bewilderment and we have a deep sense that something is wrong but we are often unsure how to respond. We are being dragged against the natural rhythms of things and require strategies to realign and move in ways that bring joy and utilise our strengths.  I value processes that encourage this type of thinking.

In preparation for this retreat, we were asked to explore the idea of ‘Reflected Best Self’ an exercise developed by the University of Michigan designed to help see who you are at your best.  Through the process of self-reflection and the collation of short stories from others who know us well we were asked to consider apparent strengths. Try this sometime, it is indeed a rich and insightful process, perhaps a gift in and of itself. Over the 24hour period we laughed, cried, danced, sang, shared, listened deeply and were led through a process of transformation. These exercises were designed to challenge us to come home to ourselves, to chase our ‘best selves’ and to let go, to let come. A leadership team that is prepared to create the space for individuals to rest and wrestle together, to dive deeply into exploration regarding calling and purpose and the authentication of culturally responsive spaces is a team deeply invested in its people and the collective impact they believe can be made.

5.45am. Rug up warm and let’s walk together…through the freshness of the dawn and reflections on the past, watch the steam rise to the heavens, speak out and honour those we love who have passed and acknowledge the aspirations we may now hold for the future. A waiata sung in the darkness resounds, as we look to the Matariki cluster and then out to the horizon. The red hue to the east growing with every passing moment and the promise of a new beginning.

What do we learn about one another, about a rich cultural narrative and the tikanga that supersedes our existence, about speaking our truth and the freedom in letting go that we might move forward?  Breathe. Stand beside me, stand together our arms linked as a whānau. There has been a shift in our ‘knowing’ of one another and our knowing of self. I choose to savour this encounter deeply.

A huge thank-you to Pete Cammock, Lyn Jansen and Te Ao Marama Apiata for their facilitation of this transformational Retreat.

– Tammi Martin | Community Development Facilitator | Leadership Consultant, Leadership Lab

Tammi Martin

August 1st, 2021

Arriving Home to Ourselves – 24 Hours of Transformation

It was late Friday afternoon when we set off. I was present to the sense of anticipation and yet fatigue I carried as I drove on around the bays to our retreat location at Bellbird Heights, Allendale Valley.  Winding down the windows as I drove to let the brisk mid-winter evening air blow in, I could smell the bush surround me and heard the birdsong that accompanied the close of day.

I pulled over at one point to watch the dance of light across the bays as the sun slipped behind the hills and to take in the splendour of the scene before me.

I felt the conscious shift in my state as a result and a distinct awareness our journey had begun.  Arriving at our location for the next 24hrs, it was immediately apparent our hosts had planned carefully for this moment. The warmth of the fire, smell of good kai, candle-lit room, creative use of props, and gentle music immediately anchored me. The embrace from friends ensured this was a ‘coming home’ of sorts. I put my slippers on and settled in awaiting the arrival of others and the rich journey which undoubtedly lay ahead.

For me there is always a level of excitement when coming together as a team at Leadership Lab. Such a talented, creative, and diverse group of people. It’s usual for us to meet regularly as project teams, but only twice a year with our broader associates at half-day Purpose Party’s. On those occasions, the aim is to connect meaningfully, share kai and allow space for emergence.  Departing from this hui however, there had always been a sense that time had been curtailed in some way. What we needed was the space to deeply connect, with ourselves, with one another, and with the possibilities this may invoke. And so it was, we were invited to spend  24 hours together during Matariki – a culturally significant season in Te Ao Māori. Twenty-seven individuals from our Leadership Lab whānau arrived from around the country to share a time of retreat together. The invitation on this occasion, to explore the process and significance of Matariki and to allow space in this new season ‘to simplify and dwell in the channel in which your life flows.’

There’s no doubt our retreat was transformational, an exquisite blend of seasonal significance, unique facilitation skills and willingness and vulnerability shared by team members. Since having departed that space, I find myself regularly considering the implications of our learnings. How could a twenty-four-hour period of time have been so impactful to me, and to others? In the work I do, I often think about the creation of ‘meaningful encounters’ and ‘transformational spaces’ and the processes required to achieve such outcomes.  More and more I am convinced that foundational to this, is the ability to listen deeply, to others, to nature, to our own inner call and outer doctrine. Our strategic mind and the logic of economics has overwhelmed us for too long, the dominant religion of consumerism has led to a post-modern bewilderment and we have a deep sense that something is wrong but we are often unsure how to respond. We are being dragged against the natural rhythms of things and require strategies to realign and move in ways that bring joy and utilise our strengths.  I value processes that encourage this type of thinking.

In preparation for this retreat, we were asked to explore the idea of ‘Reflected Best Self’ an exercise developed by the University of Michigan designed to help see who you are at your best.  Through the process of self-reflection and the collation of short stories from others who know us well we were asked to consider apparent strengths. Try this sometime, it is indeed a rich and insightful process, perhaps a gift in and of itself. Over the 24hour period we laughed, cried, danced, sang, shared, listened deeply and were led through a process of transformation. These exercises were designed to challenge us to come home to ourselves, to chase our ‘best selves’ and to let go, to let come. A leadership team that is prepared to create the space for individuals to rest and wrestle together, to dive deeply into exploration regarding calling and purpose and the authentication of culturally responsive spaces is a team deeply invested in its people and the collective impact they believe can be made.

5.45am. Rug up warm and let’s walk together…through the freshness of the dawn and reflections on the past, watch the steam rise to the heavens, speak out and honour those we love who have passed and acknowledge the aspirations we may now hold for the future. A waiata sung in the darkness resounds, as we look to the Matariki cluster and then out to the horizon. The red hue to the east growing with every passing moment and the promise of a new beginning.

What do we learn about one another, about a rich cultural narrative and the tikanga that supersedes our existence, about speaking our truth and the freedom in letting go that we might move forward?  Breathe. Stand beside me, stand together our arms linked as a whānau. There has been a shift in our ‘knowing’ of one another and our knowing of self. I choose to savour this encounter deeply.

A huge thank-you to Pete Cammock, Lyn Jansen and Te Ao Marama Apiata for their facilitation of this transformational Retreat.

– Tammi Martin | Community Development Facilitator | Leadership Consultant, Leadership Lab