Winter Retreat 2014 Reflections

Winter Retreat 2014 Reflections

Vitality and Health: How to Govern for Compassionate Care

We were exploring how In Claritas models of convening and organizing can be utilized for the Charter for Compassion movement to achieve greater coherence and effectiveness on a global scale. 

Anne Stadler

“The whole experience was compassionate action–from start to finish–including, whenever a hiccup happened, improvisation that worked magically: I loved our introduction of each other, standing in the bar that first night, humorously embracing what IS.

I loved the atmosphere of self-responsibility for self AND the whole circle that prevailed: right from the first serving of each other at our opening lunch at Nieuwe Port. The emphasis on spontaneity and sharing our gifts began at that lunch as well. The opening talks were so personal, self-revealing, and enthusiastic, that I felt propelled into my own enthusiasm and sense of possibility–even though I still didn’t know many peoples’ names!!

And I feel I was treated to an anchoring in place that was remarkable and very moving. I saw Holland through the eyes of great Dutch painters AND then seeing it through the eyes of the portraitists in the Hermitage exhibit, as well as walking in the streets by ourselves and together was a deep embedding in the Dutch ethos of practical living– within the permeability of water and land. Then to see how humans, who are now living on a street that had housed much death, choose to collapse time, and honor the dead in a way that brought the living together in compassionate action. My memory keeps returning to the simple tea in the garden house, and our host’s sharing of her story.  Grace and gratitude.

Simplicity, inquiry, sharing of gifts–held in the spirit of Yes, pervaded the whole of our time together.  Thank you all.  So very, very much!”



During the first day the group was guided to take a step away from the well-known and habitual ways of perceiving the world. Moving with experiences of art and the symbolic towards layers of unchartered realities. Long moments of silence. Shared time and space in the present now. Mystery. 


Ineke Koedam

“Reflecting on the winter retreat in Amsterdam, I would like to thank everyone involved for three wonderful days which were really inspiring. Many thanks to In Claritas; Karin and Harry for facilitating all this. They both excel in holding a space in which the unseen, the unknown, is reflected and which will definitely have an ongoing effect on each and everyone. Working on the threshold between life and death myself and in the nearness of the dying rather ‘being’ in stead of ‘doing’, I feel that holding this sacred space, is highly important. It calls for inner peace and compassion. Since The Charter of Compassion had an important role during this retreat I felt that the most relevant thing to reflect on, for me personally, is the question how compassionate I truly am. It is so easy to think of myself as a compassionate person. Is that true? I am sure I forsake or fail many times in my daily life. Talking about compassion is one, living it deeply and truly and always is something else. These were indeed inspiring days and there’s a lot more to reflect on. Building bridges, connections and networks as we did these days will surely contribute to facing today’s dilemma’s whether near or far.”


During the second day the group built a vessel for renewal of thought and action. Meditation. Sharing personal stories. Deep listening. Intense silence. Courage to face emergent insights. Journaling. New levels of awareness. Continuous transformation within the vessel. Renewal of the heart.


Monica Neomagus

“Although I have met only some of you and could attend the In Claritas Winter Retreat only on Saturday-morning, I want to express my gratitude for having been part of this.
 Thank you Karin and Harry in particular, for organizing this and really bringing in vitality, energy and ‘good vibrations’ that can lead to new actions or (if better !) to less actions but new intentions.

We often share dreams, ideas and plans, but much less the personal grief and pain that also make us to whom we are today.
And it’s that kind of vulnerability that makes me feel connected to others.

Thank you Ineke for the important question you bring up in your mail; how compassionate am I really?
As long as we seriously keep asking ourselves this question and dare to face what comes up, we’re on the right way I suppose………….”


Resetting relationships with self, other and the creative intelligence of the group.

DSC_0220 BW

Sopa Bouman

“In my introduction (my very first email) I quoted Robbert Dijkgraaf where he states that the moment when one shift from one perspective to another is by far the most exciting moment, that is where insights are born.

Karen Armstrong wrote in the ’12 steps to a Compassionate Life’ that when you’re injuring another in your mind, it withholds you from an encounter (not her exact words).

The picture Vivian Maier made from a policeman and an Armenian woman shows his effort to make contact by holding her and trying to make eye contact with this desperate woman. Karin noticed that the woman keeps her eyes closed. So there is no encounter you could say.

Some keywords that came up during the retreat keep coming back to me: “Resonance” and “synchronicity”, the words by Anne Stadler intensified the feeling of togetherness for me at the end of our session.

The idea that you can reset your relationship with loved ones is the most important idea I’ll take with me. Through the stories of Anne Joergensen and Salmaan I understood that it is possible to reset a relationship even after someone has died, as in the case of my mother. Maybe we can make an (online) place where we can collect reset-stories?”

Reflections on how to transform interactions in professional settings consciously. How to understand the workings of polarizations and how to respond constructively.


DSC_0265 BW

Nicoly Vermeulen

“What keeps on coming back to me personally in the last days are thoughts around the monument the shadow wall, the book that was just published with very personal stories of war- affected people, and the movie The Railway Man.
 My mind keeps pondering how life can affect people, how they continue to live on, how they deal with their traumas and how at the end compassion is one of the keys to heal and contribute to the society. In the movie The Railway Man, a very traumatized man who was tortured by Japanese men, years later became a friend of his torturer. Both were able then to deal with their past. They were able to reset their “relationship”. I am reflecting on this theme in my life – Are there ways in my busy life to contribute more to compassion in society? What is my drive and intention in that ?
 So again, thank you for sharing. I hope to see you again.”


Transformation of consciousness in agreement with each other and outspoken. Inspiring energy. Hope. Echoing on.




Gerthe Lamers

“It is overwhelming to read how much impact these days have had on all of us. Reading this helps me also to make contact with the energy we shared during these beautiful days in Amsterdam full of our life experiences, stories, ideas, inspiration and also our vulnerabilities. For me, it looks like we created something like a ‘bed with seeds’ and also a ‘basket with flowers’. I feel connected with both images. It takes time and good conditions for seeds to start growing. The flowers we can pick immediately when we need them.  These inspiring images I foster in my heart.

For me In Claritas became a kind of basket that receives and collects experiences and, as Anne also said, creates a Beloved Community. Thank you Karin and Harry for organising this beautiful and inspiring retreat with contributions from your friends, locations and network.”

The third day was an open-space meeting, taking place in the Senate Room at the University of Amsterdam. Creative Imagination. Collective narrative. Dancing forward.


Salmaan Sana

The best way to describe is if it were to be a dance… a dance of people, a dance of spirits, all coming together for a single purpose. Not having to explicitly share what that reason is, however in depth knowing that our objective is the same.

The weekend organized in the Winter of 2014 was themed “Health and Vitality”. A couple of years ago I had been at the start of a few initiatives that touch on this topic. One was on Compassionate Healthcare and finding ways of making Compassion a core and intricate part of the current Healthcare system. And next to that finding ways of cultivating compassion within Healthcare and what manners we can do seeing the current restrictions such as practically no time nor money. The initiative comes from a clear need for people working within Healthcare to become aware of their purpose and the inside-out powerful impact compassion can have, starting with ‘self-compassion’ and how we take care of ourselves.

The In Claritas weekend ended with that very question, what does it mean to be healthy, what is health and how does one ‘be’ in a state of vitality? We shared stories, anecdotes and metaphors on how we approach such a topic, on both a personal level as on a level of Governance.

A true gift for myself, being able to be a part of those very special days together and making in depth connections and things certainly crystallised and become clear when it all ended. Actually, the end only felt like a new beginning.”

Screenshot 2015-01-26 12.39.21

On the third day we also received a message from Steve Ellis who contributed to the Spring Retreat in Denver in 2012.

The In Claritas group in Denver went on to test our principles and practices in existing organizations representing major sectors, including education, finance and publishing/publication. We found out that within companies there was broad understanding and willingness to talk about how to develop new governance. At the same time we also encountered the difficulties of breaking out of a familiar story about how to be successful, profitable and so on. Here is Steve’s very timely letter:

“As you may recall from our 2012 meeting, I had a partner that really wasn’t on board with changing our business model to invest for social impact, and this was a major obstacle to us moving in this direction.  Our conflict around this continued to grow, and that partner chose to leave earlier this year.  His departure allowed us to make some remarkable changes, which are described in the letter.  I also connected, at the suggestion of Anne and Jeff, with Bruce Herbert, a similarly minded financial advisor in Seattle.  It is a powerful connection, nurtured gradually over time as we see each other at conferences.  It is my hope that someday we will find a way to work together.

I smile as I think back to our 2012 In Claritas meeting, because I believe that many of you saw my situation, and the change that was needed, a lot more clearly than I did at the time.   I also wish to express my appreciation, because your clarity and insight on this matter helped me to persevere through this process, and reach the point that we are at today.  Thank you for that gift.   Please know that your kindness, your wisdom, and your efforts have ripple effects that continue to reverberate in wonderful ways which may not always be visible or expected.

And Anne Stadler’s reply:

Dear Steve:  It is such a blessing to hear from you!  You’ve no idea how synchronistic your message was!! I’ll explain below, but first let me congratulate you for sticking with your intuition and wisdom through what must’ve had been very difficult moments and coming to this place in your journey!

I’ve been following a particular thread for some time: to learn what governance is for awake, self-aware individuals collectively engaging in common purpose.  One key indicator of seems to be a condition of vital community.  But what does that look like?  How do you know it is present? Are there values essential to that formation? What sustainable forms foster community? What is the locus of authority in a vital community? Those are some of my questions.

I’ve noticed that In Claritas is a key place where I receive transformational insights and formulate hypotheses that ground my further experiments in my “regular” life and work.

At this In Claritas retreat, I realized that we cannot be constrained by our linear notions of “time” and habits of form.  I got your email the night we concluded.  During this session I realized that In Claritas actually fosters a transitory experience of Beloved Community (ref: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr).  Transitory but real. We experience using all our faculties (art, music, movement (walking), rational thought, story telling, etc. to offer our gifts to each other– in loving relationships that place responsibility in our selves, not in some external authority or “safe” structure. Your email affirmed that.  As Harry said, I, too, felt tears of gratitude; and joy at the affirmation of what I HOPED might happen.  ;-)! Both in your evolution for In Claritas’s awareness and evolution as well.


Warning: count(): Parameter must be an array or an object that implements Countable in /customers/f/7/f/ on line 7

Multimag Comments

We love comments
No Comments Yet! You can be first to comment this post!

Warning: Illegal string offset 'rules' in /customers/f/7/f/ on line 200 Warning: Illegal string offset 'rules' in /customers/f/7/f/ on line 207

* Copy This Password *

* Type Or Paste Password Here *