Are You Ready to Learn to Forgive and Let Go?

As I sit here in my living room on a cold, snowy Saturday afternoon in early March of 2019, I am reflecting on the upcoming Weekend on Forgiveness and Letting Go and wanted to share some more about the why the where and the how. 

When I first imagined hosting a therapeutic weekend event, it simply did not occur to me that I would have more than one of them. It was something that I had dreamed of and planned for over almost a decade, but the execution was something else entirely. I was, without a doubt, held back in fear.

As I consider the most recent private event, held for a couple working to renew their marriage, I recall clearly seeing their discomfort as they arrived and watching them, both as individuals and as a couple, learn and grow during our time together. That series of five two and a half hour intensive sessions moved through what would have taken the better part of year in traditional weekly sessions. I am always honored when people choose to have me join them on their journey to healing – to consider the trust and faith that they put in me. A few months prior to that, a long time coaching client flew in from the coast to spend an intensive weekend with me. That client described the growth as explosive during those few days.

During the first Weekend on Forgiveness and Letting Go, 21 people entrusted myself and my team to teach them techniques to finally, once and for all, forgive and let go. Back in April of 2016, we met in our huge shop/garage and sat on tables and chairs borrowed from the Troy Volunteer Fire Department. During that first event, lessons were learned that have carried forward again and again and again.. That is the most amazing thing – that people teach me how to help them and support them better and better as time goes forward. 

It almost defies description, the energy that exists when a group of almost all strangers come together with the common goal of learning to forgive and let go. There is fear and there is hope all rolled into one. The event starts with dinner to allow the participants a chance to meet in a more social setting. I should mention that the dinners are prepared by Chef Robert (aka my hubby) who spent the better part of two decades delighting diners in several states with his exemplary culinary skills. So, if NOTHING else, the food rocks. Our breakfast, lunch and snacks are prepared with a ton of love by my dear friend Earlene who has (I am not allowed to say how many) years of cooking with love for her family and friends. Earlene has managed to replicate my dear departed mothers macaroni salad in a way that greatly honors the memory. 

After dinner on that first evening, we have our opening group session and then some down time to get everyone ready for the days ahead. The second day starts with coffee (if you know me at all, you are laughing and nodding here) and a breakfast that fuels us for the healing work ahead. As we begin, the music starts, the therapist finds her groove and the participants are led through a series of group therapy sessions, slowly and deliberately leaving time for reflection and consideration. The schedule now has evolved based on feedback from those who came before and the lessons learned. There is time built in for reflection and for taking a walk to enjoy the amazing square mile in which the lodge and cabins are set. 

When I try to describe this place, our lodge and cabins where clients come from all over the world to enjoy time in nature (but very comfortably), the words do not do it justice. We try to be there when new clients arrive to catch that first reaction and universally the comments are along the lines of ‘wow, this is breathtaking and the pictures do not do it justice at all.’

As the event continues, I watch those who arrived on the first afternoon not sure what to expect into people open to learning and growing. Some people choose to share and others are not ready – there is never any pressure to do so. That first year, one participant said five words the entire weekend… and a few weeks later, she reached out to me as she was ready… and I was there for her.

Before, during and after the event, I am available to help and support you and I always suggest that you are already in the care of a great therapist. Some participants are my clients already, but most are not. Some are strangers who choose to get on several airplanes and fly to a place that they have never been before because they feel that they are ready – I am so very honored by that.

As the second day moves on, we close with a bonfire and this is by far the most impactful time of the event. As I watch and listen around that fire, I can see and hear people getting lighter as they leave the people and events that have hurt them so deeply in the fire.

Sunday morning finds us all a bit tired but refreshed and after more amazing breakfast fuel, we move through how to take what we have learned home with us. Every single person who has attended has learned and has taken tools home with them that can and will be used again and again going forward.

I welcome questions about the event, about me, about the program, about the location – use the contact button to reach out.. I will be here.

Jeanie Winstrom, Montana mental health therapist

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