Reflections on a Retreat



There is a place I go to in New Mexico that is free from judgment and every hurt you’ve ever held is okay to put on the table.  I am witnessed, loved, and held up.  I am gently guided, sometimes prodded, and always helped. 


I have a teacher and community there that are out of this world.  I have never experienced this level of soul connection in a group.  It is where I go when I know that I don’t want to (and can’t!) hide.  I returned from a retreat last weekend and wanted to share some insights. 


There are always more layers to peel

“But I thought I healed this!”  After we tend to our pain with tears, reflection, therapy, journaling, talking it out with friends, creating from it, yoga’ing it, sound bathing it, breathing it, meditating it, primal screaming it-you would think (hope!) that you’d be done right?  We really like to wrap things up with a bow and tuck them away, never to be felt again.  The truth is, we’ve all got a few biggies that we will be working with for our lifetime.  They will always be our biggest teachers and they will show themselves again when we are ready to be present with another layer of that pain.  A human being can only feel so much at one time.  When we are strong, when we are ready, we can let a little bit more eek out to work with.  Sometimes it happens when you tell someone new and kind your story.  Sometimes you hear a song.  Sometimes you talk about it for one minute longer than usual and the tears fall.  It’s okay.  You didn’t fail at the healing the first time.  There is just more and that’s normal.  Keep going and mix some more love into it. 


Choose a teacher who is doing the work

I know that I can only bring you as far down the rabbit hole as I am willing to go.  This is why I hold my own hand to the fire, in service of myself and in service of the people I encounter in my healing space, in groups and on this page.   It is a dance as a teacher to reveal yourself with the intention to teach without verging into the dreaded territory of over sharing.  My teacher balances vulnerability with grace and is a perfect example of living his truth.  I once met a healer who told me that they no longer felt anger.  This person is not an ancient Swami living in a cave.  I thought two things:  1.  You are full of it.  2.  I am bummed out for the people you work with because they will not be allowed to feel this emotion and will feel ashamed for not having moved past it too.


Bottom line:  If you want to do the work, choose someone who is neck deep in it. 


Your higher self/Higher Power has other plans

I arrived at this retreat feeling really full of joy and like I am in the best emotional place I’ve been in awhile.  I had the intention to create a deeper connection with Spirit and the Earth and to allow myself to be seen.  Spirit through a wrench in the game with a perfectly timed disappointment that happened the very first day of the long weekend.  It brought up all kinds of limiting beliefs and old tapes about my value and trusting love.  I had to let myself switch gears and get into the emotional messiness that was begging to be attended to.  I wanted to not be the one who was dissolving in tears and showing her wounds.  But I was.  Again.  And it was cool because I found new levels of self-respect and self-acceptance.  I got clear and I could only get there and leave this burden behind because I let my higher power take the lead and show me what really needed healing.  It’s comfortable to stay on the surface and claim it’s just your back that hurts or it’s just these headaches.  It’s not that my jaw is clenched because I want to scream and I don’t.  Or it’s not that my spine aches because I don’t feel worthy of receiving love.  You have to dig under the surface to excavate the roots of the pain.  It’s worth it.  Let your guides lead the way.