A Way Of Life...after breast cancer
(A.W.O.L. retreat for women with cancer)
Next Retreat : February 20-23, 2014
Project AWOL offers a wonderful soothing and pampering retreat for women who have suffered with cancer, not only of the breast, but all cancers. The retreat will be held in Joshua Tree, CA. Activities will include personal glamour photography with hair and make-up artists at your side, trust building workshops, art workshops, massage, Yoga, Tai Chi, Meditation, fashion show, and other types of entertainment in the evenings with many lovely little surprises throught the weekend.
The cost of the retreat is $325 and will include all of the above along with food and lodging.
AWOL Breast Cancer Retreat Application
Scholarships may be available for those in need.
AWOL is a program specifically designed for women who have or have had breast cancer. The central purpose of A.W.O.L. is to provide each woman with psychotherapeutic services needed to cope with her illness and to improve the quality of her life, which includes an emphasis towards issues of body image that can sometimes be minimized by self, clinicians, family, and even people in the support system due to the potentially life threatening component of cancer. Dealing with these issues is essential to someone whose sense of self is highly based on how she looks on the outside.
As part of A.W.O.L., From Chrysalis to Wings conducts retreats to help breast survivors tap into their grief and loss as a result of cancer diagnosis, the treatment, perhaps the loss of a body part and the altered body image accompanying it. The retreat also gives an opportunity to deal with guilt feelings, the anger and the "why me" question and provides an opportunity to express gratitude for their survival, and to remove the stigma of the disease. Retreats are held at a location where a beautiful nature setting and a loving nurturing environment can be provided. In short, the retreat is designed to help improve the quality of life and well-being of the survivors.
While all women suffer with anxiety about their breast cancer diagnosis and its invasive treatment, for example, one quarter of women will also suffer from depression in the first or second year following a mastectomy and other forms of other sometimes severe treatment. Some will work through the anxiety and depression, while others won't and this may interfere with treatment and reduce a chance of full recovery.
ACTIVITIES MOST LIKELY TO OCCUR AT AWOL RETREATS:
- Massage Therapists available are at hand to provide treatment. Touching helps the body’s level of stress hormones decrease and the level of endorphins increase; touch is important for survival itself. Because a woman who may have had a mastectomy could feel self-conscious, she may be less likely to seek out a massage, making this element of our retreat especially important. Our nurturing therapists provide a safe environment where our guests can indulge. When not available, other forms of similar treatments are provided.
- Our customized Trust Building Exercises allow for letting go vs. controlling. Instinctually women are nurturers, often making it difficult to receive their much needed care from others. These reflective group exercises help guests understand that it’s OK to receive.
- Specially tailored Art Fun Workshops are offered as a healing art. Providing a safe and supporting environment along with these expressive arts facilitates introspection and growth our guests hold on to long after the weekend has ended.
- Our certified Yoga instructors lead classes that not only provide exercise, but also affect a person's emotional well-being; including dynamic interplay of movements, breathing exercises, meditations, lifestyle skills, rituals, gestures, and healing sounds. Many of these aspects are also true of our serene walking excursions and meditation sessions (when available).
- Throughout the retreat we have a series of wonderful little surprises touching each woman's soul. This facet of the retreat takes the experience above and beyond one's expectation.
- And to complete the package, we have an array of photographers, make-up artists, and hair designers helping to bring out the natural beauty that each woman holds within her, capturing it forever in our individualized and personalized photography. Guests often shy away from the camera, but with a little convincing they indulge, having been happy they did it after all!
No one has yet to leave an A.W.O.L. retreat dissatisfied. Quite the contrary. It becomes the most memorable weekend in a woman's life...volunteers included.