I climbed the same tree almost every day. It was the most beautiful banyan tree and I could lay all the way back and plant both my legs on the branches above while bracing myself on the branch to my left at the same time. I’d sit there for an hour and stare up through the leaves at the sky and watch the clouds pass. I became really familiar with the comings and goings of ant colonies, sometimes I’d watch them for a half an hour before moving on to another part of nature. Every morning I got to watch the sun come up after yoga, the brilliant orange color of a new day, while the birds sang and flew back and forth in the rising sun’s light. Every night I got to stare up at the endless amounts of stars overhead and was blessed to see a full moon. I managed to spend almost the duration of Mercury Retrograde at the retreat and leave on the very day Mercury decided to go back to it’s usual ways. I basked in hot springs after drinking my hot chocolate before sun down and meditated listening to the sounds of the day change from 4 am to 9 pm. Time didn’t matter, reality didn’t matter, only the present, and for 10 days the only voice in my head was my own.
In those moments of intense gratitude, that rushing over you that leaves you weak at the knees, I couldn’t have felt more blessed and at peace. Not to say that there weren’t lots of lows, oh there were… Day 1 through 5 was a steady incline of great meditations. I was getting intense downloads and answers to all the questions I was asking. It was insane, the universe was giving me all the information I was seeking, I was like an open channel. Then towards the end of day 5 my ego kicked in. It was saying, “wow Lauryn, you’ve really progressed! Look at you!” and that’s when I fell flat on my face. Awwww, that ego. From day 6 until day 8 I struggled to focus and started thinking about my past, and I mean eVeRyThInG in my past. Everything. I essentially reevaluated my entire life. Not to mention I had Sir Mixalot’s “Baby Got Back” stuck in my head for those 3 days, which is also very distracting, I’m sure you can see why. But I realized in the end that a lot of the problems I was having in my life or experiences that I thought were one-offs turned out to be patterns that I’d been creating over and over without noticing. I felt a lot of pain and relived many negative experiences, things I thought I’d moved past, but apparently I had just stuffed deep into my subconscious and tried to forget about. Well they surfaced! All that bad, negative, sad, anxious shit that I’ve stored up came out to stare me in the face and I had no one but myself to work through it. After 3 days of suffering and watching my life flash before my eyes, I decided to simply Let.It.All.Go. That was the biggest relief I have ever felt in my life.
Once I let all of it go and forgave myself day 9 and 10 brought a tingling joy that radiated out every pore in my body. I felt like I was floating around, colors seemed brighter, almost psychedelic. There was a lightness, like a huge weight had been lifted. My face was pulsing love with every ounce of my being. I felt so happy to be present.
How often in life do we get time to really spend with ourselves? If we did, would we actually like who we are? Would we want to hang out with ourselves? This is what it was like, it was YOU getting to know YOU. You’re not always going to like what you see, but all of these little demons are a part of who we are. The good and the bad. A lot of the negative parts of us are still there because we haven’t given ourselves the time to forgive and move on, not truly. We need to honor all of those parts of ourselves. That’s what I learned, to hold myself more gently, to forgive myself, to love myself.
I learned a new way to live my life and a new way to spend my time. I have now been cigarette free for 3.5 weeks and besides a glass of wine alcohol free as well. To be honest, I don’t want any substances to take away this natural high I have going. Now I know I’ll drink again, but right now I’m focused on my health- mind/body/soul. I want to know what else I’m capable of, because I feel like I can do everything and anything. It’s a great feeling to love yourself and spend time taking care of yourself. We could all spend a bit more time on self love.
I’m excited to see how I can implement this routine into my daily life because that’s obviously the hardest part. The day I got out I drove back with some friends from Phuket that I didn’t know were going to be at the retreat and we picked up 3 other travelers as well. We stopped in Krabi at the Tiger Cave Temple and hiked a very intense hike to the top of this mountain with the most gorgeous temple. I’ve never laughed more wholly and truly in my life. When I left even my laugh had changed and my face hurt from smiling so much. Gratitude for days.
Since I’ve been back I’ve paid for my IDC Staff Instructor course and began my studying. I’ve done laughing yoga, hot yoga, and tomorrow am doing an aerial yoga class in the morning and an acro yoga class in the afternoon. I can’t think of a better way to spend Valentine’s Day but focusing on loving and appreciating ME. I spent today in the sun for a good friend’s birthday and drank about 4 different kinds of smoothies. I’ll carry so many of the things I learned from this retreat into my every day life, but I will have to leave the wooden pillow, wooden bed, and cement room. Although oddly enough that wooden pillow and I became quite good friends.
This was an experience I will never forget. I didn’t know it was possible to be this happy. I’m in absolute awe of everything. I will continue to remain present and look ahead to accomplish the goals right in front of me. There is so much more to share but it’ll come when the time is right. For now I’ll leave you with this quote…
Buddha was asked, “What have you gained from meditation?” He replied, “Nothing!” However Buddha said, let me tell you what I have lost: anger, anxiety, depression, insecurity, fear of old age and death.