On the first day of the year I brunched with the BVDs — the Brave Voice Divas & Daredevils, people who attended past Brave Voices, the 6-day retreats Kelley Hunt & I have been offering in the Flint Hills of Kansas since 2006. A bunch of BVDs had come to our fair city to dance in the new year the night before when Kelley played Liberty Hall with her band. As way of catching up, of course we ate and visited, but mostly, we sat in a circle and sang, read, made up poetry, drummed and jammed together for several hours as is the way of the BVDs.
When Kelley and I started designing the Brave Voice writing and singing retreat about seven years ago, we envisioned a clearing, a place where people could gather and have enough solitude and community, enough spaciousness of being, enough inspiration, humor and tenderness so they could create what called to them freely. What happened surpassed our imaginations. As we head into our sixth Brave Voice retreat — May 8-13 in the Flint Hills of Kansas — we bring with us layers upon layers of witnessing magic.
Yes, there is the magic that can come when writing, singing and songwriting workshops are well-designed and facilitated, but there’s a magic that met us both at the site of the retreats and in the souls of those who come. We do the retreats at White Memorial Camp, which is located on an arrowhead-shaped peninsula in the middle of Council Grove lake, surrounded by rolling hills in all directions and held in very big sky. The location of the camp is also where tribes from throughout the plains would meet in council (thus the name “Council Groves) for hundreds, probably thousands of years.
The people who came are drawn to immerse themselves in Brave Voice from near and far. While we often have a contingent from Kansas and especially our hometown, Lawrence, we’ve had people come from British Columbia, Florida, California and Vermont too. BVDs are writers, singers, musicians, artists, yogis, ministers, community leaders, and people who’ve lived quietly while creating wildly in their lives through homemaking, parenting, contemplating and reading. I’m sure if you could look up the phrase, “the ones who show up are the ones who should be here,” you would see a picture of BVDs at the end of a retreat, falling into each other while laughing and hugging. The community that emerges each time is so rich and life-giving that it cannot help but to support everyone in taking creative leaps in their art, writing, music and lives….and it cannot help but continue over distances all year long.
So here’s to the magic that we create together when we open our voices. Thank you, Brave Voices!
Thanks to Julanne and Danny for the photos!