An online retreat
This year, the annual Prout Sisters’ Retreat, a gathering for women whose lives and work are inspired by the vision and values of Prout, moved online and took place on the 18-19th July. The physical gathering, which has been held since 2017 in Denmark, has mainly attracted participants from Europe and the US. This year, thanks to the online platform, women attended from all around the world, from Venezuela and Brazil, Mexico, USA, many parts of Europe, India, Philippines, Vietnam, Australia and many other locations. There were over 260 participants in total and, utilising Zoom’s translation room function, we had simultaneous translation into Spanish, Portuguese and Italian for the entire programme.
Each day began with collective practices of yoga and meditation to support our physical wellbeing and to nurture the feeling of connection to ourselves, one another and all life. Establishing this spiritual base is an essential part of putting Prout into action in our daily lives.
The days were then divided into two main sessions.
Understanding Racism: Deep Work Toward One Human Society
A rich discussion took place between a panel of women from diverse ethnic backgrounds about their interpretations of racism and the impact that it has had on their personal lives. It was fascinating to hear their stories and perspectives and to gain insight into the wide spectrum of life experiences and possible ways forward to a more equitable and mutually respectful society.
Why Women’s Leadership Works: Activating the Power of the Circle
It is hard to deny that we have arrived at the current state of the world, teetering on the brink of economic and ecological collapse, under a male-dominated and hierarchical leadership. It is time for us, as an integrated society, to move forward, guided by values of empathy, receptivity, cooperation and co-creation.
In this workshop, we explored how these qualities, which have traditionally been associated with the feminine, might guide us onwards, while also acknowledging the complexity of gender identity in this day and age.
Women’s Prout in Action: Meeting the World Where She Is
In this session, we looked at the history of the Women’s Prout movement, which began in India in 1978 and has since spread to all continents of the globe. We learned about the positive roles that female heads of state have played during the Covid pandemic and the importance of women’s leadership at this crossroads in our collective history.
Through visualisation, we explored what it would look and feel like to wake up in a society that is guided by the principles of Prout and based on the love and respect for all beings, expressed by the approach of neohumanism.
We then used open questions and breakout rooms to share ideas and discuss how we as women could respond to the world’s most pressing needs for political, economic and social justice, and ecological sustainability.
Art Share for Systems Change
Music, dance, storytelling and collaborative poetry were all part of this co-created session, focused on using the arts as an expression of and inspiration for personal and social transformation.
With musicians from New Zealand, Turkey and Brazil; participatory improv dance; a story that took us to the Chipko movement in the Himalayas and a poem in which women from all over the world gave words to describe ‘The World That I Long For’, it was truly a soul-stirring patchwork of artistic expression.
Where to from here?
We closed the retreat with the all important question: where to from here? The possibilities are endless and the energy generated by women coming together with positive intention is powerful.
So watch this space!