Barb Tarantino, TWC Facilitator
In my heart of hearts, I know I was born to be a facilitator. Although I am a trained teacher, it was always the times in my life that I facilitated learning in a less academic atmosphere, that I found to be the most rewarding. And facilitating TWC Spouse Retreats is one of those rewarding experiences. I have been blessed to have earned my facilitation certification through Natalie Roger’s incredible program entitled Expressive Arts For Healing And Social Change: A Person-Centered Approach. It is this program that taught me how to listen to my heart and then, in turn, use my heart to listen to the hearts of others. A TWC Spouse Retreat is always an opportunity to do just that!
More blessings came my way when the creator of TWC, Dr. Anne Black invited me to co-facilitate a TWC Spouse Retreats. Anne too studied with Natalie Rogers and our beliefs and methods meshed beautifully. I have learned so much from observing Anne’s brilliant facilitation skills and her caring and kind heart.
For three, rewardingly intense days we listen to Spouses as they re-discover who they were before being a Veteran’s Spouse and who they still are. The facilitators and mentors hold space in a safe and sacred place for each woman to explore her gifts and talents, her fears, her hopes & dreams. Over the weekend, we watch the beautiful process of women in discovery, as they use art, writing, and movement to help heal old hurts and wounds. We gain the trust of each member of our group and honor each of us with empathetic listening. Each time a group member holds the talking stick she has the total attention of the group. It is her time to be heard and to be sincerely listened to. The Retreat is never a time for me, or anyone else in the group, to solve someone else’s problem, or to judge the choices they have made in the past. It is about trusting the process of this program, and knowing that Grace happens. I can let go and know, that each woman has the answers she is looking for inside of herself.
I feel truly blessed to be there as each woman discovers, what Gilda Good Witch told Dorothy in The Wizard Of Oz, “You’ve always had the power to go back home.” It is a powerful event to witness, as each woman discovers, she can indeed return home to the person deep inside herself. She needs only to listen to her heart.
Barbe Tarantino, Spouse Retreat grad, and facilitator.