Kundiman has been a transformative experience toward courage and sensitivity. Never have I been surrounded by such an instant sense of family and fellowship, of bread-breaking over poetry. Writing and reading poems during the retreat were rare opportunities to be vulnerable without judgment. There are no words for the dams that break when we realize we don't have to apologize for ourselves as poets or minorities and can be our whole, complex selves. The Kundiman retreat and family exist in a pocket outside of real time for me, in a space where I learn to push myself beyond what I thought were grace and poise, to a new kind of balance, support, joy, and permission. Kundiman teaches me to live my poems; my successes are worth little without the celebration of this community.