Wonderfully written testimonial from Robert Lansdell about Return to the Source.
“Standing at the top of the cliff looking down through the thirty foot expanse of empty air below me, watching the water lazily churn and bob away from the pristine falls, and seeing the expectant faces of people I’d come to know as friends, I knew I could make the jump — if only my legs would move. I had jumped off cliffs before, but not from this high up and my nerves were getting the best of me. All day I knew that this moment was coming, and as we rock hopped down the length of the beautifully rugged Whatcom Creek, I had imagined myself coming to the ledge and making a running leap with zero hesitation, but when the moment arrived I stopped. I backed away and let Scott be the first to leap into the abyss. Soon Adam, Dane, Nick, Emma, Laura, Rusty, Dan, and Mike had all jumped but I was still hanging back. You might slip and fall flat, or swallow too much water, or jump into a shallow bit and get hurt… my mind tried desperately to turn me around, but my heart knew I would be fine. I edged forward as I peered down I heard someone down below yell “YEAH ROBERT!” and my feet were suddenly searching for solid ground. I felt my whole body tighten up as air rushed past and my stomach tried worming it’s way into my throat. At the last moment I straightened into a pencil and felt the cool waters flood up past my head. I was smiling before I made it to the surface. I couldn’t help it.
When I signed up for Evolve Move Play’s Return to the Source camp, I figured we’d be learning basic parkour, but in trees, maybe there’d be some good swim spots too. I would come to learn that the roots Rafe planted run much deeper. In our world of safe boxy structures and sterilized surfaces, smooth and shiny free of danger, we are constantly in a state of retracting from our comfort zones. Our gyms are clean and balanced, our routines are designed by scientists and t.v. personalities. We do what we are told and so rarely get the chance to express who we are. When you see an entire class of people on spin bikes in the gym, no-one bats an eye, yet the fellow in the park climbing trees for fun gets sneers and scoffs before getting kicked out of the park. Liability is the law of the land, and it’s this movement climate that Rafe Kelley is trying to change. In the three days I spent training with him, we climbed trees, jumped over logs, rocks, and swift moving water, dove off of cliffs and climbed through a waterfall, yet I never saw a frown, or a scowl, or heard discouraging words from any of the participants. Rafe gave us permission and guidance to explore our physical capabilities as well as push our personal boundaries.
This was no boot camp either, Rafe’s team of assistants made it possible for everyone to go at their own speed and level of capability. Nearly every time I would look back, Rafe would be hanging off of a root or tree branch or thin rock wall helping someone to make it over or around an obstacle. Soon others were taking his lead and those who were capable made sure to help those less so. Not everyone jumped from the cliff, but I’m sure everyone had a moment where they saw their own fear standing in their way and felt the immense, life-affirming joy of overcoming that fear and doing something they weren’t sure they could do. Watching their faces, you could see it happening: first fear and doubt, then resolution, commitment, and elation.
I could spend a lot of time detailing the breathtaking locale we camped at each night, or the delicious meals made by truly talented cooks, or the hours spent around the fire and around the table talking with wonderful beautiful people from around the country. Instead all I will say, with complete honesty, is that what I learned at Return to the Source has improved the way I view myself and the world around me. I recommend this experience to anyone and everyone. I guarantee no matter who you are you will be challenged and given the chance to find a deep well of strength and happiness within yourself, and when you’re done, you’ll be rearing to go back for more.