Two weeks ago while waiting for the end and still trying to cope with a new beginning I slipped away to West Virginia for a retreat with my teacher, Todd Norian. It had been three years since I'd practiced with him and I was incredibly grateful to be there.
Todd has decided to start his own new yoga system based on his 34 years of work as a yoga teacher and a teacher's teacher, Ashaya Yoga. I am awed and amazed by how he is bravely setting out and moving forward. He kept much of the alignment and philosophical work from our time in Anusara and refined and renamed it. But he is also powerfully incorporating knowledge and wisdom from modern day scholars. Most notably, Brene Brown's work on shame resilience made a huge appearance in his lectures and theme-driven practices. I figured out while I was there that much of the reason I resonate with him is that he teaches the lessons I need to learn. And he teaches them in a clear and loving way. It was a huge gift to be with him.
He made so many wonderful points and I'll be sharing them in my classes and this blog in the weeks to come, but one stood out more than the others. He said: The Heart is like a Cork, It always floats back up. So no matter what waves of emotion come over you, eventually your Heart will always rise back up. (and if it doesn't then you know it's time to find some serious support). Now that we have crossed the threshold and are in mourning rather than waiting mode I find that statement very comforting. I know as waves of sadness and loss wash over me and my loves that the waves aren't a tsunami that will drown me. My heart will rise. It is a comfort from the teaching.
If the weekend did nothing else but give me that little nugget to hold through these next few months, it was a very successful retreat. As I keep saying I'm so grateful I was able to be there.
In busy and stressful times, it is hard to feel like it is OK to step out from life to take a retreat. The level of intensity of life seems crushing and impossible to escape. And, it is just in such times that Retreat can have so much more power. We like to think the world will stop turning without us to hold it up... but in reality we are way less integral than we think, and there are ways to make mini-escapes.
So I encourage you if your life is turning upside-down, retreat from it for a second, an hour, a day, a weekend. If your life is wonderful, retreat from that and savor. Find a hint of nourishment and restoration because somewhere in the midst of that you will find the next tiny nugget to carry you across the choppiest of seas.