Q&A with Teen Retreat Teachers Pablo Coddou & Anne-Marie Keppel

Created Sun, Oct 13, 2019 by
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KCL Staff
Pablo Coddou and Anne-Marie Keppel

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What you were like when you were 13, 14 or 15 years old?

I was all about gymnastics and circus. I trained in tightwire, spanish web and trapeze and spent most of my time stretching and strengthening… I wanted to be a contortionist! The circus I was in influenced me in a huge way and I eventually became an event coordinator and fashion show director largely due to having grown up backstage… I knew how to put on a great show. The circus offered me two other gifts besides a way to generate income. At a time when we all become so self-conscious (12, 13, 14, 15 years old) the circus was training us how to laugh out loud and not be afraid to do so. When things are funny- LAUGH! Laugh hysterically if you feel like it! The second thing it taught was to always root for the “underdog.” In the circus the best, strongest, prettiest or most popular never won. Though those talents were appreciated and demonstrated to the audience, it was always the underdog that was the most clever or just won the heart of the audience with their unique and unusual quirkiness, sweetness or charm… The mouse would always outsmart the bull.

At 13-14-15 I was an introverted, serious book-worm, encased in the sprit of a wild, intense dancer.

Naturally shy and awkward socially for most of my pre-teenage life — and really also throughout my life up to the present day — I was also discovering at that point an insatiable thirst for movement. This included martial arts, breaking, and fitness, all of which brought me out of my cerebral nature and into my body. If I wasn’t reading or writing, I needed to move! I also was terribly loyal to my friends, a number of which I remain close with 25 years later. Living in New York City in the mid-90’s was not always easy, and certainly not defined by the gentle quietude I’ve come to appreciate and need now. Those years were raucous, endless adventure, exploration, and self expression, and I am so fortunate to have had them.

Why do we need retreats, or do we really need retreats?

To me, retreat is a time to reset and review my intentions and patterns, where I can disconnect from my familiar habits and reconnect with my essential nature and ground. Without a good dose of retreats every year, I’d be a mess.

We all need to retreat from society in order to “check ourselves” in a safe environment free from judgment, academic and social pressures… We need to slow down enough to clearly view who we are becoming, what we are thinking (or not thinking) and examine ways of comforting ourselves so we can return to our daily lives refreshed, confident and perhaps more gentle.

What kinds of things happen when you are on a retreat like this?

Magical mystery and ridiculous nonsense.

In retreats like these, I remember my true heart, and let my guard down so that it can reflect with the true hearts of those in the retreat with me.

Anything else?

One question that moves me is: how must the precious teachings imparted upon us by our many wisdom lineages adapt and manifest, in order to connect most skillfully with this world that so desperately needs them.


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