As many of you know, I just got back from my yoga retreat in Yosemite. For those that don’t know, my retreats are a 4 day, semi-local experience, of all women focused on their self-growth and personal power. We embark on a weekend of looking at and uncovering insecurities, fear, and trauma, in order to create and become the women we truly are. One of the experiences is a nude photoshoot in nature - the intention being to have us confront those insecurities, fears, and traumas right away. In other words, this weekend is a weekend of self-work more than it is a weekend of vacation or relaxation. That being said, it can be truly magical, eye opening, and relaxing in that we do yoga, experience nature, and connect with great people. Anyway, the retreat I did in January was super lovely - everyone was kind of on the same page, weather conditions worked in our favor, and the group left feeling love, gratitude, and connected to each other and themselves. But I remember feeling a little off, personally. Feeling something like, I could have done better, or I wasn’t prepared that time, or something like that. To be honest, I couldn’t put my finger on it, but it just felt a little off. So I prepped for my next retreat, only two months away, I had to get going.
Meanwhile I’ve been focusing on a few other things as well - my upcoming teacher training program, my choreography, some dance endeavors, etc. And there was this subtle feeling I had as the March retreat got closer, like, I’ll just do this retreat, and then I’ll focus on the other tasks. Sort of like, “I know what I’m doing now. We will just conquer this retreat like we have in the past, and move on!” Which I think is a lovely thought on one hand. It’s filled with confidence, trust, and intentional priorities. However, it also had me expect things to look a certain way, and to approach this with the same intention as I have in the past.
Long story short, this retreat was definitely not like it has been in that past! Yosemite proved to be difficult weather and distance-wise. We had a bunch of hiccups like flat tires, wrong directions, no service, compromised sleeping situations, etc. And this group of women was not quite as in it as usual, so there was some difficulty diving into the yoga/connectedness/vulnerability part of the trip. Now, this retreat was absolutely lovely in so many ways, and the women were perfect for this experience; and, it was a lot of heavy lifting on the facilitating end.
All of this is to say that, while the experience was still incredible - there was something oddly tough about it. So, throughout the retreat and upon the drive home, I really started to look at it. Like yes, I know the weather was unpredictable, and shit happened like flat tires, but, really - why was it so heavy this time? Why did I feel like there was so much resistance at each step of the way?
Now - a couple things. I realized a few days before the retreat that our theme for this round was to find acceptance that our plans and expectations are always going to change, so to really be present at each step along the way, re-center, re-asses, and move forward. Basically, be ready for shit to go wrong! And of course as I saw that theme come into play I was like…damnit. Because that means I have to be ready for it! hah! So I knew it was coming, and it definitely was an appropriate theme for this particular trip. But even in knowing that, I was still struggling personally, and as the facilitator. So I looked a little deeper.
Then it hit me. The material I teach is not totally authentic to me and what I want to create with this brand. If it were, these hiccups would be way less tense. I realized that yes, my retreat is certainly focused on self-growth, and comes with work and focus, not just relaxation. But not as much as I believe to be beneficial. In other words, I actually want the retreat to be tougher and more intense: I want to create a greater transformation in a short amount of time, which requires pressure, intensity, and a willingness to have breakdowns. And to be really honest, I have been sort of unwilling to bring people to that place, for fear that it will be too hard for them, and they will end up not liking it. Now, to be fair - this is a legitimate business decision, to cater the retreat to the audience that is interested, because I definitely want the business to grow. But also, to soften my intention because I am afraid people won’t sign up, or won’t like it feels a little crappy!
My point in sharing here is this: I am so focused on staying true to my self in creating the life and career(s) that I want. I am so focused on being whole and complete on my own, and not needing external validation for my confidence. I am so focused on moving from faith rather than fear. And yet - I STILL MISSED IT! I knew I felt a little off, but I couldn’t see what it really was for months.
No matter how much we work, no matter how confident and in tune we feel for a period of time, no matter how successful we get, we never arrive. We never just know, this is it, I’ve made it, no more worries! No, there is always another layer. And as soon as we let ourselves sink into that, we are bound to miss some vital awareness to our growth.
Stay present at each step along the way. Be willing to see where you are compromising yourself and be willing to choose what to do from there. And, know that if you don't, the universe will find a way to show you ;).
Thanks to my retreat teammates and participants for being so down so roll with me this round, and all for supporting. It's making these steps possible! xo