Mar 15, 2019 | By: 2018 Spring Silent Yoga and Meditation Retreat Participant
I attended last year's Silent Yoga and Meditation Retreat and have nothing but joy and LOVE when I think back to my experience. I honestly still go around telling everybody about my life-changing week in the woods and that I believe everyone should go on a silent retreat at least once in their life!
I don't even know where to begin because I loved everything about the experience. The food (OMG the food), the people, the location, the nature, the yoga, the meditation - OH MY! It honestly was just a week of bliss! I can't even think of one thing I did not enjoy because everything was perfect. Something about the silence and the stillness just allows you to really live from that place of unconditional love and appreciation - something we can sometimes forget in the busy-ness of our daily lives.
For me, it was truly an incredible life-changing experience and it truly changed the way I saw everything in my life. I still remind myself of a phrase Toni said during that week, which changed everything about how I approach my life. She spoke of the words "when we pause, we have a chance to pivot". We all know what's in our hearts and what our intuition is telling us, but when we are constantly in go-go-go mode, we can't see it or hear it clearly. We are clouded with fear. When we give ourselves time to be in the stillness, time to pause, the truth can be revealed. That was exactly what I experienced during the week. Every moment revealed another truth which only helped me believe in myself and my inner knowing that much more. I think we all want to believe in ourselves but sometimes when we hear the voices of others or the voice of our own fear/mind, we can't hear ourselves and hear what our hearts truly desire. Giving yourself the time to get quiet and truly listen is the greatest gift you can ever give yourself!
One of the most fascinating things that the week in silence taught me was about how much we say without words. At first, it felt a little funny not being able to communicate with the people around me who I didn't know, especially sharing a cabin with someone I had never actually spoken to. What it taught me was how connected we all are and that even without words, we were all in this together, supporting each other and healing together with so much love and compassion. Without being able to speak, we still knew exactly what we were thinking, how we were feeling, and were able to send loving energy to one another when we needed it. One of the most powerful and memorable moments was when we did a loving-kindness meditation. We could literally feel the love being shared around the room. The whole week was surrounded by this love. Without words, we shared it in smiles, in hugs, in passing/writing notes and in a simple knowingness that we are all supported and surrounded by love, cheering each other on in our journeys.
It taught me that true connection really comes from the heart and that when we feel safe, loved, accepted and connected, we can move through anything. Something my own healing journey taught me was that everything comes down to love or fear (or really your parasympathetic or sympathetic nervous system). These serve the function of "rest and repair - or rest and digest" or "fight or flight". When we pause, give ourselves the love we need (meditation and yoga are amazing ways to do that), our bodies can heal themselves! It's truly magical and that is what happened for me in that week of silence. I was able to see so clearly how when I operated from a place of love and let my body do what it's naturally able to do, miracles happen! May you have the courage to give yourself what you need and trust that making the choice to give yourself love (and attend this incredible retreat) will bring miracles into your own life like it did mine!
I will be forever grateful for that week, the beautiful souls I shared it with and all the life lessons that I will forever remember. One thing that someone shared that week was the quote that "We are all just walking each other home". That stuck with me. We really are just walking each other home - home to ourselves. That experience really helped me come home to myself and learn to let others help me along the way too, knowing that we are all in this together and everyone in our lives is here to help us. Sometimes they help us by "hitting our stuff", something Toni helped me to see as a good thing. I remember reading "Untethered Soul", something many others were reading during that week and the quote in that book changed my life. It was about how people in our lives are here to hit our stuff. In reality that's what's been happening our whole lives but the difference is now we see it as a good thing - an opportunity to let go. That week in silence allowed me to clearly see when my stuff was being hit, give myself time to see it with love and compassion, and then choose how to respond...with love, rather than with fear, being grateful for each opportunity to let go. Bringing those lessons and all the learning from that week into my life after the retreat has changed the way I experience any prickly moments where my stuff is being hit.
I will forever cherish the time I spent there, the friendships I made, and the lessons I learned in the stillness. I am grateful for all that week brought into my life and I know you will be too!