Island Yoga Retreat

The following are some of the thousands of words I’ve written, out of the millions of words I’ve thought since coming back from the Island Yoga retreat in Aruba. Instagram doesn’t let me post long enough captions, so I’m going to be using this to post longer thoughts.

I wrote this after boarding the plane in Aruba on my flight to Ft. Lauderdale. I put my headphones in, listening to some of the songs from Rachel’s classes… Apparently that put me in the zone because once I pulled out my journal and pen I didn’t stop writing until we had been flying through the clouds for almost an hour. Here’s what I wrote on that airplane ride.

I think I came on this retreat looking for an answer. Knowing comforts me. I was recently told that control and anxiety have an inverse relationship: the more control, the less anxiety. It made sense, but I knew I couldn’t fully buy into the idea that giving myself more control would help me in the long run. I will never have control. That’s not how life works. It was too simple of an answer.

It took until the last night of the retreat for me to come to a realization that brought me immense relief and comfort. During our final sharing, I shared with my wonderful roomie. I shared first and made myself say out loud the thoughts and feeling I have always felt but not yet spoken aloud with full honesty. I guess that night I knew I had to. and wanted to. My partner was there for me, listening with eyes and heart wide open. When it was her turn to share, she provided me with an equally honest, raw, courageous account. We both cried tears of pain and then relief as we hugged to thank one another for sharing and holding space.

All 50 of us sat in a large (but seemingly small) circle in the Luna Shala. Seeing the pain, and the strength, of everyone, knowing the beauty and the power of my sharing partner and then seeing real pain, coexisting I then realized that if all of these amazing women are here, alive and shining, laughing and crying with their pain. I am no different.

Rachel then shared her own recent realization of pain and understanding. She spoke of her own deeply rooted fear of losing her mother, and how a teacher on a yoga retreat said she had to “drop” her mom. She had to completely let go of that attachment that was creating lingering pain.

When she shared her own pain, being told that the only way to let go of that pain, that huge fear, was to truly let go. to really let. go.

I realized I would never find an answer to my questions. That is, if I continued on my search. I would forever be left to wonder what on earth I should do? I had been feeling so anxious and literally confused. Mind cloudy, buzzing with everything and nothing, searching searching searching…

There was nothing I could do. The action I had to take wasn’t visible as an option to me because it was in the negative.

It was to let go. It was to realize there is nothing I can do to prevent my greatest fears from becoming reality. Saying what if and planning for the worst doesn’t get me where I want to be. In a place of peace.

The answer was there. It was to reach into my chest and soul and to pull out that which I did not want to look at, to acknowledge. To write it down on a piece of paper. To actually write it and not BS it. To be honest with myself and the paper and pen universe I was admitting this truth to. To write it down, spit it out.

and then to burn it.

To watch it catch flame and quickly crumble and shrink in size. to breathe deeply and with each exhale feel an increasing sense of relief.

That night when I was laying in bed, I felt this feeling, an energy flowing within my body. I realized I felt truly happy and so thankful. Looking at my mind, there wasn’t anything I needed to breathe away, to hide from so I could feel at peace to sleep. I felt taken care of. I was calm without exception, a feeling I usually only feel when I am active; hiking, running, dancing, playing; when my mind is busy and distracted, occupied. This provides a temporary relief. Running and body scan meditations only work 80% of the time because there was sh*t I wasn’t looking at, was ignoring, pushing aside of later. or never.

But no, I was laying in bed after a long day of yoga, sun, ocean, tears, singing, sobbing, huge and laughter. I was finally still, nothing for my mind to play with, just me, my headspace, and I felt perfect. I could finally trust.

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