Retreat To Yourself | By Penny Light

Originally in the Summer + Fall 2017 issue

So you go on this week-long, life-changing retreat and come out of it lit up, on fire, feeling good and ready to take on the world. Then you get home and that life of yours starts to challenge you.

How do you pack all that awesome in your suitcase and carry that crazy good feeling back home? How do you bring all that you’ve learned, all those new friends and all those “aha” moments back into the your everyday world?

I can offer a little guidance here. That retreat, those feelings, those friends, that was your reality. You created it, not anyone or anything else — not the ocean, not the blue skies, not the yoga or the teacher or the new friends. You. You created that reality for yourself, however you now describe that experience to be, with every single breath you took. You create your reality with every single breath you take.

Now step back for a moment and reflect on what brought you here …

You recognized a need or desire for a break. A timeout. You did a little research and you felt a pull to a certain retreat, a certain motivational talk, a certain place, a certain person — something drew you to that place and time and everything and everyone in it. And then you said “Yes” — you trusted your gut, you leaned in when you felt the pull of the Universe. It was clear, you were wise enough to discern that what you chose was right and true for you in that moment, and you did it with wholeness.

It’s our humanly purpose to contribute to the healing of the world, and the only way to do that is to first heal ourselves, and to recognize our true selves.

It’s our humanly purpose to contribute to the healing of the world.

When you stand in that authentic self, stand in that truth, ultimately stand in love (love of yourself and others), you began to actively and consciously create your own reality. You said “Yes” — you made the choice to step away from all the crap that was weighing you down, and you chose to immerse yourself in your body, in your mind and in your soul for seven days.

You did that. And you did everything after that. Everything you saw, felt, tasted, heard — the people, the ocean — you created all of it. Perception is everything and perception is a choice. How you experience this life, your time on earth, is entirely controlled by your beautiful self and your beautiful mind.

And so you’re back in it. Back in the daily grind of this increasingly complex world, this wild and crazy ride we’re on where we are bombarded with so much shit all the fucking time that it’s almost impossible to feel or know or see or hear what forces are acting upon us emotionally, energetically and physically. I mean, how can we when we’re trying to decide what we want out of one of the 57 different choices of coffee at Starbucks? And that’s just one choice out of so many on a daily basis.

As humans, we have remarkable abilities. We get to choose to be still; we get to choose to listen or not; we can choose to trust; we can choose to see, and choose what to pay attention to and for how long; we can choose what to hang on to and what to let release. We get to choose everything. There is no freedom without choice.

As humans, we have remarkable abilities.

What a gift. This is our magic.

We are feeling beings that think. We emote. And we need to pay attention to those feelings so that we may know. When you said “Yes,” you knew. You were still and quiet, if only for a second, and you listened for and heard the truth of your soul.

You were away from all the distraction when you were on that retreat. You were with you, and able to be in tune with your feelings.

Ah, but you’re home now, and that thing called Life keeps kicking you in the ass. Maybe shit hit the ventilating system (way more messy than a fan) when you got home, and if, like me, you sometimes struggle to stay engaged, motivated, aware, even awake at times, then I offer you this little piece of guidance.

Here are two very simple questions to ask yourself when you’re faced with challenges, feeling overwhelmed, stressed, unsure, lost:

1. If I were to lean in, if I allow myself to feel the pull, to stand in my truth, what would I choose to do?

2. What is the alternative?

Life is full of ups and downs. We can often be deceived by glory, by temporary states of euphoria that make it difficult to accept the difficult times when they come.

Time passes, nothing is forever, and impermanence is the state of being human. Flow. Be in the moment, but don’t stay there too long because the next one is waiting to happen, for you.

Choose.

When you get home, start an elimination process. Get rid of things that are keeping you from your truth. These are mere distractions. Schedule in your time first and say get rid of your excuses. You left those behind because there wasn’t room in your suitcase, which you instead filled with all those good feelings and lessons.

Life is full of stages that we must go through, and when we fall into the natural flow of things, we begin to feel free. Even the feeling of freedom will pass because life and the cycle will continue as long as we keep choosing.

Stop what you’re doing. Be still. Open up that mind, listen for the guidance, feel the moment you’re in. Our minds, our hearts, our universe is a complex system that has an amazing ability to self-organize if we let it. We can navigate through it. Life, like travel, can get uncomfortable, especially when we feel lost, but that is where we learn to find our way, that’s when we come back to our hearts when we trust ourselves and act on our truest impulse, and in that lies the freedom to shape our world. That choice is what sets us free.

In Magic & Love Always 

Live Life Light

Penny Light — Life & Adventure Guide 

Photo by Christopher Jarc.

Penny Light is a Life & Adventure Guide who has traveled most of the world, including living in a tent in the middle of the African bush for a year and documenting a pride of lions. She hosts yoga, personal growth and adventure retreats — both private and group — all over the world, and does elite one-on-one coaching/mentoring. Learn more at www.livelifelight.ca.
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