Who am I after years of mothering? What makes me happy?
For the first time in years I was able to fully explore this question at the Body and Soul Bali retreat. I gifted myself the time and sacred space to find the answers. As a woman and a mother, the opportunity to eject myself out of my daily life of school runs, chores, work and bickering kids was a true blessing. I had attended some of the local retreats run by Kelly Hine. She had helped me progress in meditation to a point where I could easily still my busy mind. This had a lasting calmness that pervaded my life and quelled an increasing occurrence of panic attacks. A good friend and I were drawn to the idea of an overseas version. Bagus Jati was the setting (near Ubud) and it was delightful in every way. Perfect! Words cannot describe! So here are some photos:
I shared the experience with fifteen other women. The support and vulnerability shown by all was heart warming and further strengthened my respect for the feminine. One of the highlights was a ritual where, one by one, we stood under a waterfall as we each washed away limiting beliefs (mine included doubt, resistance, anger and worry) and manifested new intentions (trust, peace, positivity, creativity and freedom). Can I just say….it all came true!
Prior to the retreat I was feeling disheartened. My workplace depressed me. I was bursting into tears at random times. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be a lactation consultant anymore. Perhaps it was simply burnout? Along with meditation and yoga, the program provided soul sessions where participants were asked to write in a workbook reflecting on various life areas. I spent the first few days seeking a new career direction. Could I get into the events industry? My other hat involves assisting with organising breastfeeding conferences. I enjoy this work, it isn’t so emotionally draining. But something unexpected happened while I was away. It was the yoga that did it!
I found myself extremely resistant to yoga. Wanting to wag the classes. Angry. Feeling forced into it. I had dabbled with yoga on and off over the years but found it boring and repetitive. I attended the retreat primarily for the quiet space that I thought only meditation could provide, though I had never experienced yin yoga. Poses are held for up to five minutes (it felt like longer!!). Chi meridians are cleared and connective tissues are stretched helping long suppressed emotions to come to the surface. I surrendered to it, despite my negative feelings, and found myself feeling sadness about the loss of a friendship from 15 years ago. Where did that come from?! The following day more emotional release that brought a strange relief and inner strength:
I can handle anything; I can rely on myself; I have the answers within; I don’t need external validation from others.
Maybe yoga had benefits beyond increased flexibility and tone! As a result I now practice yin yoga a few times a week at home and balance it with alternate days of brisk walks (more yang style exercise). Yin yoga is a perfect blend of yoga and meditation, highlighting the importance of surrender, acceptance and patience – the perfect antidote for this fast paced world with its thirst for immediate gratification.
The retreat program also allowed for plenty of free time to lounge around the pool, reading books, complimentary massages, long luxurious mealtimes spent enjoying delicious vegetarian meals. The magic created in that week of bliss has given me a new zest for life. The attention paid to my souls desires reignited my love of writing. For most of my life I wrote a diary, recording dreams, teenage crushes, travel plans, heart aches and goals. Having kids had put a stop to this. The retreat provided me with all the right ingredients to awaken my creativity. I write almost daily in my diary now and started this blog knowing that I don’t need to wait until I am confident in my writing skills or get more experience under my belt. It doesn’t even matter if I’m not great at it or if anyone reads it! It’s the act of doing it that is revitalizing!
Overall the retreat raised my vibrational level to a place I didn’t think possible anymore – didn’t we just get older and more jaded? Life no longer feels so hard – so overwhelming! Tapping into my inner child, I found an optimism I had lost. I returned to work feeling more capable of enduring the negative aspects of my job and more trusting of what the future will bring career wise. I am enjoying new interests (writing and yoga). I feel lighter because I am living more in the moment.
Call to action for weary souls:
- Focus on the now.
- Don’t fight uncomfortable emotions – breathe, surrender – you can handle anything!
- Tend to your soul – find what makes you happy and do it regularly.
- Go on a retreat or simply book yourself some “me time”.