Dear brave ones…..
It’s not yet 11am Monday morning. I had to go immediately to my laptop to write you all while my memories were still fresh and burning inside me.
I picture all of you lifting up and away one by one in your airplanes, journeying home through the sky, like birds leaving the nest while I stay here and hold space for you. What an honor and immense privilege it is to witness such profound expansion and gentle contraction over the course of these last few days together. I’m deeply moved by each and every one of you! I’m truly touched to the core on how you each found your way to me, allowed me to take your hand and have entrusted me to walk with you as we journey together towards your highest selves!
I invited you to step in, to trust the process and I set a safe container for you to gently explore, reveal and reflect. And then, I stepped back. You all dove into the deep end one at a time. Sometimes in a very personal, introspective way and sometimes in a shared, out loud way. We expressed and experienced deep intimate thoughts and feelings with each other. We held space and witnessed the stories. You were seen and heard. We journeyed together.
We climbed and moved mountains together literally and metaphorically!!
We peeled back layers and layers.
We laughed together and shared tears. We felt alive and awake.
Retreats afford us space. They remove us from our everyday preoccupations so that we can re-member who we are and where we’re going! They give us time to restore our bodies, reconnect our mind and renew our spirit. And they challenge us too.
If you’re willing, retreats can crack you wide open and leave us sometimes feeling drained, raw, vulnerable and fragile. But it’s my belief, after witnessing so many come through a retreat process, that you can’t get to the other side any way but IN AND THROUGH it!
You have to walk through the fire to come out the other side.
When we unpack our fears and stories, we stick a needle in them. We deflate their enormity. We take out the stinger. And by sharing these stories, in the face of empathy and compassion, they cannot grow. Somehow they become less threatening and instead of hiding behind or inside them, we learn to accept and integrate them into our whole. We feel less fragmented and consequently, stronger and lighter.
In this process, we pushed ourselves and each other with respectful boundaries, but with important nudges of confidence along the way. When one of us claimed our truth and power and voice and knowing, we were all victorious. We created a web of interconnectedness that will never be broken, even as the memories fade into the shadows.
We transmuted pain and suffering into deep understanding and integration. And while we may not feel full closure or completeness, we claimed a new beginning and a new truth. We leave with a sense of clarity we didn’t have when we started. We have a new knowing and a way to mobilize. At times the road will feel rocky again. You may find yourself stuck in the mud. And I’ll be there to remind you of who you are and help you hear your voice and see your soul.
We can do hard things!!!
Sometimes we need baby steps. Sometimes we need breath. Sometimes we need a permission slip or a path forward. Sometimes we look for a symbol or a guide. Sometimes we just need to get our footing. Sometimes we need stillness and silence. Sometimes we need a friend. Sometimes we need comfort. Sometimes we need a break. Sometimes we expand and sometimes we contract.
But we can do hard things!!!
And I’ll leave you all now with the blessing I wrote for our closing ceremony……
May you walk gently into nightfall.
May your wings always rise to support you.
May you face falsity with truth, wisdom and knowing.
May your story never stop you.
May your inner light never diminish.
May you step boldly forward with courage, even in the face of fear.
May you always remember to trust the process.
May you lift your eyes to the sky, take a breath and feel your connection to the earth beneath your feet.
May your expansion be profound and may your contraction shelter you.
May you give yourself permission to be true to yourself first.
May you know that your journey is uniquely yours and that you ARE worthy and enough!
May the mystery and beauty of the world around you make you pause and wonder.
May you remain mindfully awake, yet unattached.
May your voice be forever heard,
and your soul forever seen.
For I am you and you are me.
And it is so. Aho. Namaste.
With my deepest gratitude and loving heart,