Most of the time, you don’t know how much you’re carrying until you put it down.
I got a taste of my own medicine at a retreat last weekend. I knew I needed it, but I didn’t know how bad until I got there.
I’d signed up to spend the weekend at one of my favorite places, Garrison Institute, housed in a glorious old monastery on the Hudson River. It was with two presenters I knew next to nothing about, but the timing was perfect and the title, Embodied Listening, was right up my alley.
As much as I do my best to walk my talk, and pride myself of being a do-it-yourself-er, it was clear as I made the beautiful 25 mile drive along the river that I was quite at the end of my tether. The previous weeks had been a perfect storm of:
- feeling disconnected from my partner.
- finding out that a dear client wanted to move on from our work together, and recent business outreach wasn’t panning out as I’d hoped.
- a boatload of concern for the state of our world; Syria, the situation at Standing Rock, the daily shocks to the system of our current political climate.
- the creeping dark and cold that is always a challenge to my physical and emotional state.
With the stereo up loud, I found tears welling up as I drove. And when I arrived, I found it hard to stay awake through the first evening session, especially with the very mellow presentation style of the presenters (wisely steeped though they are in their subjects).
But as we worked our way through the weekend with their teaching — mindfulness meditation, Alexander Technique (a method of movement and body awareness) and Focusing (which guides you out of the stories and into the felt sense of how emotion lives in your body, giving access to tremendous intuitive information and clarity) — I experienced a level of pure presence and ease that I hadn’t touched in quite some time.
Retreat + Guidance + Community = Homecoming
It was a precious reminder, on a cellular level, of the difference between intellectual knowing (as in “I know this stuff!”) and bodily wisdom. Until and unless we come out from behind our screens and away from our habitual patterns, it’s hard to drop into the state of presence where issues can truly be metabolized and allowed to move from the shadow realms to the light of healing.
I share this story with you to remind you that, even in this busiest of seasons, making time to be truly present with yourself and your feelings is the greatest gift you can give to yourself. And in giving that gift to yourself, you’ll also be gifting others — with more of a capacity to feel connected, compassionate, alive and present. Which makes me think this may be the truest meaning of “present” — not some external thing you give, but the very best of yourself, which invariably draws out the very best in others.
Sacred Circle Community
To support you (and myself!) in creating more of this in our lives, I’m working on an idea I’ve had for a while — a way to meet regularly, via Zoom video platform, to share practices like these in community. As one of my mentors says, DIT (do it together) beats DIY. and, being something of a loner, I have to agree!
Stay tuned for details coming next week…and till then, may you create as many moments of true presence and embodied peace as possible.