Review of a HA!Retreat

I feel truly fortunate to have been able to be on the first HA!Man retreat at Eagle’s Ridge in Stutterheim. It was a remarkable week in many ways. There was enough disciplinein the daily routine to make one feel secure in the rhythm of the week’s experience –three excellent vegetarian meals, plus coffee breaks and treats– but also enough space and freedom to explore our own interests. The setting was perfect for a creative retreat, close to a deep forest with waterfalls, and housed in a series of buildings designed as works of art in themselves, with numerous artistic touches and small installations to discover and enjoy.

The music playing sessions took place in a painted rondavel, in what felt like a sacred space.Francois facilitated with generosity and encouragement. I really appreciated his ability to allow space, while gently guiding the flow to nurture the confidence needed to explore one’s own spontaneous expression.

Each night he also offered a solo improv show in a different genre– cello, movement, piano, video, speaking. Everything Francois gave was with an authentic integrity, a passion from the heart. Discussions before and after sessions were in-depth and honest, it felt as though there was a real exchange and shared exploration that took place, sparking joy and curiosity in art, awareness and artistic experience.

I felt sustained and nurtured not only as a musician (I’m by no means proficient, and certainly not a professional), but also as an expressive being, as though I had been able to develop creatively in ways dormant for a long time. I came away from the week feeling healthier than when I had arrived; more relaxed, more grounded, able to integrate aspects of memory and experience in a positive way, almost as though I’d undergone years of successful therapy, or something. It was one of the best weeks ever.

Anton Krueger
, February, 2020