First impressions count. When I called and reserved my spot in the workshop, (titled, ironically enough, "Developing a Holistic Center"), I specifically asked what time I could check into my room. I was told 1 pm, then she changed it to 3 pm, "to be safe". No problemo. I got lost on my way, and arrived after 3:30 pm.
"Sorry. Your room isn't ready yet. This is a transition day for us.
"Hunh?"And about what time will my room be ready?"
"Oh, come back in around 45 minutes, or so. Why don't you go and sit in the garden and wait?"
"Oh ... OK. I guess."
But what I was thinking was:
Because, you idiot, I don't want to go and sit in the (expletive deleted) garden. I have been sitting in gardens much nicer than this one for the past 3 months all over North America. Give me a break. I've been camping for four days. I need a shower. My hair's all stringy. I want to shave my legs. I want to lie (lay? Where's an English major when you need one?) down and rest for a bit before the festivities begin. ARGHHH!!!
Hollyhock is a slick little marketing endeavor. Go check out their web page, where ever it is. It's well-designed and easy to follow. I expected more of an infrastructure than what's here, quite frankly. It's expensive. The accomodations are bare bones, mostly shared baths and shared rooms. No, thank you, to the shared room, however I will take you up on the shared bath for a 30 dollar price break. They wouldn't let me camp in the Eurovan; tent camping only, at 70 dollars per, but that does include food.The grounds consist of 48 acres of ocean front, orchard, garden and woodlands. The buildings are of the homemade genre. What I've seen so far is not that impressive, but I'll try to reserve judgement, eh? Ha. Well-run? I've yet to see that, other than that they certainly were efficient when they oh-so-quickly rang up the charges on my credit card.
My room is about nine feet by twelve feet with a futon on a platform, two pine nightstands, each with a lamp, and a linoleum floor. I am not even going to tell you what I'm paying to sleep here. I must be demented.In case you haven't picked up on all of the subtleties, I'm feeling incredibly petulant.
There are about 27 people in my group, plus two presenters. The group is multifaceted: bodyworkers, an accountant or two, therapists, a banker, a few social workers, a guy who runs a lodge outside of Banff, a merchant marine. They're mainly from Canada, quite a few from Alberta. Representing the states are a woman from California, a man from Iowa, a man from Vermont and me. Tonight we introduced ourselves. Ta Dah. The building where we are meeting is quite attractive, and the food is pretty good. Things don't feel good, though. I have no sense of fellowship with these people, and I feel like I've been charlatanized.WAIT! HOLD THE PHONE! I GOT IT! This may be the chicanery and trickery part of seeing the elephant.Okay, new approach. Drawing From the Left Side of the Brain. Consider the negative space in the picture. In other words, what do I see here? How would I NOT want to run a holistic center? Or a workshop ...
This has turned into an exercise in patience for me. The meals are decent, your basic vegetarian fare, but there's a lot of it. The workshop is rather more of a lecture than anything interactive; I fell asleep for a while with gum in my mouth and woke up choking. We've done a couple of visioning exercises, but I do that all of the time in real life, so it hasn't been especially productive. I keep thinking that we're going to delve into some fresh information, but it really is rather a primer level offering of the subject. I have no doubt that everyone who has addressed us is quite effective at what they do, and they all seem nice enough, but there has to be a better way to present the material. And if they pat themselves on the back too much more, they're going to get neck aches. The guy from New York seems rather pretentious at times.I'm wondering this evening if the facilitators are all that happy to be here, or do they have other things that they'd prefer to be doing?
My accomodations suck. The room has spiderwebs with bugs in them and there are worms crawling around. My linens were not pristine, either, and that is something that I am fussy about. The building that my room is in is stuck way back in the woods and is surounded by piles of woody things that are being stored for some future use, I assume. I feel kind of abandoned back here.There were no planned group activities tonight, and I saw a lot of people wandering around looking bored. I came back to my room and read a book. It would've been nice if they had had something going on, a meditation or dancing. Whatever.It may be time to cut my losses and get out of here. How interesting that the one place that I was looking forward to being with people is the one place that I have felt most disjointed and isolated.
I stayed, and I'm glad that I did, because everything shifted today. The workshop was interesting, and I got some good information. Everyone taking the workshop is pretty interesting. As a matter of fact, I'm probably the least interesting one in the group. The building that we've been meeting in is pretty cool. It's round, like a yurt, all wood, and has a glass dome on the peak. It sits on the side of a hill in the middle of the woods. It's a pleasant place to hang out. After dinner, about 10 of us went back there and danced like wild things until the wee hours of the morning. It felt great, and was loads of fun. The stars were incredible, and I slipped outside quite a few times to admire them.
Hollyhock was not exactly what I expected, but I will probably come back. Their programming is excellent, and Cortes Island is beautiful. They are working on the accomodations thing, and will begin construction on some new buildings in the near future. I'm sorry that my sojourn there began as it did, because it colored my viewpoint, but it all worked out fine in the end.