The following is an exerpt from week two of my ‘Journey to Shine’ e-retreat, titled ‘Moments of Clarity.’
Six months later I was on a yoga retreat in Bali. I had done yoga on and off for years, but mostly for the physical benefits and had never delved into the spiritual side much.
The retreat involved long periods of meditation and I had never sat still like that before. For five days we meditated and practiced light yoga for almost four hours per day. It was very challenging for me to sit with my thoughts and feelings for so long, and yet I felt like I was getting to know myself a little better each day.
Even though the retreat had been challenging for me, I was relishing the new experience and could definitely feel some healing occurring. I was thriving in the environment of peaceful introspection and yet, whenever I thought about returning to my life in Australia, I was filled with a rising discomfort which I could not quite pin down.
I was working as a flight attendant for a major Australian airline and although I enjoyed aspects of the job such as decent pay and flexible hours, I was no longer happy in the role. I was forcing myself to show up with a smile on my face and I had begun to resent being at work most of the time. What’s more, I had come to believe that it was normal to feel like that.
I was living in a nice apartment in an inner city suburb. It was a place which I filled with soft furnishings and IKEA furniture, but I never felt comfortable there. Something was missing.
For most of my life I had grasped at the security of a steady paycheck and owning an apartment in order to appease up my fear and insecurity. But nothing worked. Nothing felt right.
I felt out of touch with who I truly was.
Many of my friends were getting married and some were starting to have children. I didn’t want those things, but had started to think that maybe there was something wrong with me because of that.
I loved my boyfriend and our relationship had gone through a lot of healing as a result of my recovery, but my head told me that because neither of us wanted to settle down, get married and have children, that perhaps our love wasn’t real. I wondered if in fact I should want the things that other people seemed to want.
One night during the retreat, our group gathered in a sharing circle around a beautiful floral mandala, complete with flickering tea light candles. When it came to my turn to share, I stared into the mandala searching for the right words for what I was feeling and what came out was this:
“I feel like I’ve been asleep and have woken up in someone else’s life.”
As I said those words, a powerful moment occurred in which I knew that my external life was not a true reflection of my internal one; that all my grasping for security, validation and love through possessions and accomplishments had left me empty.
In that moment I became aware that my problem was not that I didn’t want what others seemed to want, but that I had been trying to squeeze my life into a box that did not fit me.
That moment of clarity occurred almost exactly four years ago.
For those of you who have been following my writing from the beginning, you know how things have played out since then.
I no longer feel like I did on that balmy evening in Bali in 2011.
My life has been completely transformed since that night. Through a lot of doubt, fear, tears, melt-downs and leaps of faith, I am more fulfilled than I ever thought I would be able to be.
What has been key for me has been getting honest with myself. I’ve been blessed with several of these moments of clarity in my life which have woken me up to the truth and altered the course of my life for the better.
That is why I meditate and do yoga; to connect with the guiding presence of pure awareness which exists within me.
A couple of the women who are attending were present with me around the floral mandala that night.
My Mum, one of my dearest childhood friends and many new friends will be experiencing their first retreat ever.
The countdown is on in our private facebook group and there are sixteen very excited women from Australia, Canada, the US and Saudi who are looking forward to meeting each other for a week of reflection and relaxation in one of the most special places I have ever had the pleasure to visit.
I feel very, very blessed to be able to share this experience with them all and wonder what moments of clarity they will encounter which will alter the course of their lives for the better.
There is one place available if you would like to join us. Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.