Creating Space for Self-Exploration and Self-Care within the LGBTQ+ Community.
Back in June, at the height of lockdown, a new ‘virtual retreat’ programme was launched to try and help support gay men on their personal growth and wellbeing journey. The ‘Who am I?’ virtual retreat programme by Create Space Retreats has now had around 100 participants and received plenty of glowing public reviews from the grateful community.
The programme itself has been thoughtfully designed around tried and tested psychological and holistic practices. Each retreat brings together a team of six global industry professionals. The programme aims to empower LGBTQ+ individuals with the tools they need to focus on their own health and wellbeing. It does this by helping them understand how their past experiences may be influencing their present-day behaviours, thoughts and beliefs.
The founder of Create Space Retreats
Michael Edward Stephens is a mental health and well-being advocate within the LGBTQ+ community. He is also the founder of Create Space Retreats and driving force behind the ‘Who am I?’ well-being programme. He explains,
“Self-exploration is such an important aspect of self-care and personal growth, especially for gay men, many of whom have most likely struggled at times with their identity. Once we understand why we behave a certain way, we can use that knowledge to make healthier decisions and fundamentally lead a happier life. We take an active role in shaping our own future, and hopefully pave the way forward for others too.”– Michael Edward Stephens founder of Create Space Retreats
Michael is on a mission to recruit a wave of LGBTQ leaders, activists and change makers to help him resolve some of these issues within the community. The programme now has around 100 global ambassadors and this number is growing every month. Each retreat, a different ‘guest speaker’ joins the team to offer a new perspective. Michael hopes that by creating a space for these brave men to share their personal stories more openly it will encourage others to do the same.
Special guest speakers
Daniel Pillai is a gay writer, producer and media host based out of Toronto, Canada. He will be joining the Create Space team for the month of September. Whether it be through his own social channels or on mainstream media as a tv host, Daniel is always using his platform to tell his personal story of trials and triumph as a member of the LGBTQ+ community. He understands the importance of sharing, supporting and guiding others struggling with their identities and sexualities.
Daniel explains, “Accepting my sexuality, and all the other parts of what make me unique came from radical acts of self-love. From learning that I have the power and ability to be who I am despite the conditioning of my ethnic background, my religion, my society and my family. If I can encourage someone to love themselves and believe they are worth it, that small feeling can lead to something greater later on. And that’s pretty amazing!”– Daniel Pillai, gay writer, producer, media host and guest speaker for Create Space during September 2020
How to book a slot
With places limited to fourteen participants on each monthly ‘virtual retreat’, it is a very intimate and confidential space. The programme offers the unique opportunity for participants to openly share and learn from each other’s past experiences without judgement, building resilience together in the face of their collective adversity.
Create Space will host a free workshop with Daniel Pillai on Saturday 5th September. The two day virtual retreat will take place on the weekend 19th and 20thSeptember.