I recently attended an incredible retreat by Advivum Journeys (https://www.advivumjourneys.ca/). A group of total strangers gathered in Molokai for “The Reimagined Self” at Hui Ho’Olana. We were exhausted from travel, life’s dealings, or both. Even so, a few of us decided to ride into town, away from the comfort of the resort or its facilitative processes.
We were introducing ourselves in the outdoor lobby of Hotel Molokai and waiting for one final member when there she was! Wait, I was told the age range of retreat guests was “middle-aged to 80.” Here was this 30-something woman with long, freshly washed and damp hair, wearing a strapless sun dress. She had to be one of the facilitators. She was full of energy and literally stood on her toes, then landed on flat feet as she extended her hand. “Hi! I’m Laura!”The six of us piled into a van driven by “Auntie” who coached on how a group of white tourists needed be respectful of Mother Molokai. While I processed this information and wished for a second cup of coffee, Laura was spotting all the things we could do in this 4 square block town; watch hula dancers, go to the farmer’s market and visit the local merchants. I had a hard time keeping up with her, so we settled into separate journey’s agreeing to meet at noon. As I wandered around at my own pace, however, I kept running into Laura taking everything in. For such a young woman, she was so wise putting herself out there to optimize each experience. I was envious.
It doesn’t interest me
how old you are.
I want to know
if you will risk
looking like a fool
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.
(From “The Invitation” by Oriah Mountain Dreamer)
On one occasion, I entered a gift shop to see her embracing the owner, hands gently on each others throats and singing. Did they know each other? No. They were sharing vocal exercises and the willingness to connect with a stranger. A few minutes later, I found her with a man selling hand crafted ukuleles and singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” IZ Kamakawiwo’ole style. I was pretty impressed.
Later at the retreat, Laura quickly became known as the “twirler.” She nailed the hula lessons. Dance was natural to her. Since we weren’t allowed to discuss our “back-stories” during the retreat, it wasn’t until our interview that I learned she majored in dance at York University in Toronto, Canada. Laura considers dance a great vehicle for enhancing overall performance in theater arts. She also uses her dance to promote great causes. Laura has been involved with an adult dance company called PushPULL Dance, for over a decade. Every June they put on a special show, including a “relaxed show” for audiences with sensory processing issues (reduced duration, light and sound for audience members with autism.) Just this month, she and her PushPULL family volunteered at a Jitterbug Social for “Dancing With Parkinsons.” Laura plans to start an adult dance therapy class for women and men called “Dance Like Nobody’s Watching” where she will teach moves to monthly themes. I think I’ll dance more.
She Acts and Does Voice Overs:
I got a taste of Laura’s diverse acting ability during another portion of our retreat. We were instructed to introduce ourselves using any creative means we chose. For example, I wrote some prose. Meanwhile, Laura played a recorded version of The Velveteen Rabbit. After listening for a while, it occurred to me that she might be doing all the voices. Sure enough, she had! Further, she recorded the entire thing in the closet of one of our retreat mates! Currently, Laura is pursuing formal production of her rendition of The Velveteen Rabbit and has plans to build her own voice over studio.
A Wise Woman (Laura photographed by Dewitt Jones at the retreat):
One of the aspects of our retreat was to give ourselves credit for our three selves: Maiden, Creator and Wise Woman. Throughout the week Laura demonstrated all three with her enthusiasm, creative talents and the wisdom to risk looking like a fool for the adventure of being alive. Laura is no fool, however. Laura has a broad array of acting credits in theater, television and film. She is currently performing in a web series titled “Living with A Monster” and a play called “The Promised Land” by Paul Koster to be in the Hamilton Fringe Festival in July. She keeps her talent fine tuned by practicing and sharing in workshops such as “Playing for Keeps” and “The Monday Niters.”
For a more detailed resume of talents see her resume at http://laurakyswaty.workbooklive.com/Wbl.mvc/Page/Resume
To learn more about our retreat by Advivum Journeys, check out this review by retreat mate Niki Natarajan at Queen of Retreats https://queenofretreats.com/personal-review/advivum-journeys-in-hawaii/.