Before creating philanthropic teambuilding that gives back to the community through our Build-A-bike program, Helping Hands and others, Odyssey Teams used outdoor experiences like ‘The Edge’ to help people move beyond fear – both real and perceived. And no program was more important to us than Healing Odyssey, a cancer survivor’s retreat for women conducted in the hills above Santa Barbara.
‘The Edge’ describes a literal cliff where women would hang their toes over the edge and stand tall in their harness with outstretched arms. Connected to ropes from behind, with eyes wide-open, they would lean out at a 45-degree angle beyond the Edge. Beyond the literal Edge is the Edge that lives in all of us. It is an end, a beginning, a place to avoid, or lean into, and so much more.
Cancer is a journey of coping with fear and the physical Edge was a microcosm to practice allowing that fear to pass over and through them. This would create space for something more powerful to enter – presence, peace, forgiveness, family, love, and more. The Edge was an experiential opportunity to practice a quote from the book DUNE and fully express all feelings related to their journey of cancer.
“Fear is the mind-killer. The little death that brings total obliteration. I will allow the fear to pass over and through me and when the fear is gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain. ”
Last Saturday we conducted the last Healing Odyssey program after 18 continuous years with over a thousand women. Some have died but so many have lived fully, beyond the Edge, beyond cancer, embracing the mystery of their future.
All of those women have inspired so much good work from Odyssey Teams and myself, and have taught us more than we ever could have taught them.
We will deeply miss this expression of our work and all the amazing people who made it happen.