Dr. Ruth Morehouse
From a Woman's Point of View
Women's Retreat 2010
Dr. Ruth Morehouse
Every year I conduct at least one Women’s Retreat, usually at a beautiful, serene location in the Colorado Rockies. We just completed the program for 2010. The format included lecture, discussion, and guided activities on differentiation, women’s roles, female leadership, sexual desire dynamics and female eroticism. These weighty topics are interspersed with time for relaxation, jocularity, playfulness and opportunities for developing meaningful connections.
Here’s a typical example of the learning and emotional progress that can occur in a relatively short time. Dina and Janis (names changed) came to the Retreat from different parts of the country and quickly developed a simpatico with each other based on common interests, similar work experiences, and an appreciation for each other’ sense of humor.
Janis and Dina had much in common but they definitely were on different sides of the low desire/high desire dynamics in their respective relationships. Janis came to the Retreat hoping to address her lack of interest in sex with her spouse. She ended up in a discussion group with Dina, who was frustrated with being the higher desire partner in her relationship. Janis often felt defensive and irritated with her husband much of the time because of the sexual pressure she felt from him. It was almost as if she couldn’t afford to feel any compassion for him, because she felt like he was always blaming her.
In our group discussions, Dina talked poignantly about the hurt and disappointment she felt so frequently with her partner. Janis was able to hear Dina without the typical defensiveness she exuded at home. Her openness to Dina allowed her to understand what it might be like for her husband. Conversely, Dina gained some insight and developed appreciation for the lower desire partner’s experience by listening to Janis. Each woman left the Retreat feeling grateful for their interactions, armed with greater understanding of their own feelings as well as those of their respective partners.
In an prior Women’s Retreat I met Rebecca, who came to break out of her inertia following the death of her husband two years earlier. Rebecca knew it was time to start the next phase of her life, but she needed something to budge her out of her lethargy following her loss. The enthusiasm she felt in relating to other women at the Retreat got her in touch with her own personal energy. The Retreat subsequently galvanized and mobilized her to made plans to go into business with some female colleagues. Several years later the business is still going strong and Rebecca attributes getting herself in gear to her experiences at the Retreat.