Friday, May 7, 2010

Immerse Yourself

I did. I immersed myself. I gave it everything my mind-body-and soul would allow me to give. And I discovered, I discovered me, the greatest gift I have ever given myself.

Last week, I was given the experience of my life to go on a 5 day yoga retreat tucked back into the beautiful Altamont Utah, where we stayed at Hidden Ranch. A place now that I would call my home away from home. Or if i were to think of a heaven on earth, that would be the place. I have been participating for the past 5 months in a very intense yoga certification through the brilliant D'ana Baptiste at Centered City Yoga. I have blogged about my experiences with this certification before, and I have expressed how this training has really changed my life. Going into this retreat, I kinda had an idea of how amazing this retreat would be. But like I said "KINDA," Now being home almost one week after experiencing this retreat, absorbing what I felt. I still cannot find the right words to express on how this retreat changed my life. I have come to the conclusion that there really are no words, you just had to be there to understand. But I want to remember the best I can, so I am choosing to blog and express to the best of my ability. It was nothing less then amazing that is for sure. The first day getting out the door was very difficult for me. My car had broken down the night before, and I was told that I would be unable to drive it 2 hours to the retreat. I was upset the next morning scrambling for a solution, knowing that I had to be at the airport within 1 hour to pick up someone who would be counting on me to drive them to the retreat as well. I knew somehow that all would be well, and was able to get someone to fix my car within 30 minutes of having to be to the airport. I knew that I was meant to take on this retreat, and nothing was going to stop me from getting there. Even if it meant walking, I was showing up. Picking up Brie was only the beginning of this amazing experience. Brie whom I had never met before picking her up, suddenly became a friend that I felt like I had known for a very long time. I now know that I was meant to meet Brie, and I feel like I have a friend forever in her. Thank you Brie, for beginning the process of what would be one of the best weekends I have had to this point in my lifetime.

Arriving at the ranch 3 p.m on Weds April 28Th, I was a little bit nervous. I had no idea what to expect. Walking in and putting my stuff to my assigned bunk and roomies, I still did not know what to feel. Excitement? Fear? Definitely a little bit of both. I had jumped the first hurdle of getting there, and I was ready for whatever was about to come my way. I knew before going into this retreat, that I was more ready then I have ever been in my life. Our first night began with an amazing practice taught by D'ana and then followed by an amazing dinner with all of us ending the night sitting in the circle introducing ourselves. I was thinking to myself, what would I have to say that is profound. Look at all these amazing people sitting around me, I really didn't know what I was going to say. As I listened to my new family, I knew without a doubt that I was in the right place, at the right time, with people that I felt like I had already known before arriving. I felt completely at ease. Even if I didn't have all the answers to why I was there, I was sitting right where I was supposed to be in that moment. And little did I know I would soon have the answers that I was searching for.

Wake up at 630 ready for Pranayama. Breath work. I had never experienced this before. But before I knew it, I was so engaged in this process. I loved waking up to the sun. We would sit out on the deck all cozy in our pajamas breathing in the beautiful morning. I cannot believe the difference it makes in your day, just by beginning with connection to your breath. I realized while sitting there that normally I would roll out of bed without a thought of my breath or even connecting to it. And off to start the day in a hurry. While I was engaged in this breath work the first morning, I was waiting for some incredible things to be opened to me, a breakthrough maybe, because like I said, I was ready. Nothing happened that first day, it was like I was hearing crickets in my mind. Well OK, I did hear cows. I never wake up to cows mooing. I wasn't disappointed, because never in my life have I taken the time to wake up breathing to the sun before I start my day. I was grateful. I was grateful for the cows too. I was grateful that I was alive, and that I had my breath. This breath work every morning was the beginning process of connecting to self which is something that I had been lacking since I was a little girl.

Who am I? Learning more. I know that I am quick to beat myself up, I am cruel to myself. The first morning practice I was angry. I was upset and my mind was not connected. Was I even doing yoga? Well so I thought, but little did I know what I was holding on to, and choosing not to surrender too. What I did take from that practice is that I rarely support myself. Evidence that I don't love myself is lingering. Hard to learn, but lesson one was being unveiled to me. Still a success, every practice was a success because after all was said and done, I learned something new each time I stepped on the mat.

Lunch break! What an amazing cook we had up there, I am still grateful. Patty you were a beautiful cook, and I thank you for feeding me. My body absorbed it so quickly, it nourished me completely.

Practice two. Surrender! Something that I didn't do in the first practice. BREAKTHROUGH. My first bit of magic. That low lunge, brought tears. But I was completely willing to surrender. With the help of D'ana, I was truly able to surrender. I trusted myself. I started to see that even though I admitted to not loving myself in the morning practice, that there was a glimmer of hope within. I embraced myself in the afternoon practice. I was more stable, more engaged, and more in touch within my body. I was more observant of my thoughts, and breath. Savasana, I saw her. Red zip up sweatshirt, she always wore it. Red it was her favorite its green. But I saw her, a shy smile. Blond hair tucked behind her ears. Her bangs always pinned back, and blue jeans. I hugged her. I hugged that 7 year old. I told her it was okay. I said sorry. And I told her I loved her. It was as real as if it really happened. I was so connected to her and this moment, that I don't know how I even woke out of it in time. I have never been so relaxed in my life. I felt safe....

I was numb. Very numb. i stuffed all my feelings down, because most my life I have told myself its better to be strong. Its weak to show tears, and your vulnerability. It is exactly why I know that I have failed in all of my intimate relationships. Nobody wants to be with someone who is not willing to show vulnerability, walls, and who is too strong. I was numb. Until the tears came, the flood gates opened and they wouldn't stop. Breath circle did something to me. I don't know how, but I began to feel. I was OK with it. Yes, I was embarrassed, and I wondered who would see, and who would think I was weak. But then I remembered it was OK. Normally, if you ask those that know me. I don't hug much, I have walls up. I am not one to be really affectionate. But I will admit now, that I have craved it for SO long. I have ached for it. Before now, I shut that part of me off. Like it wasn't needed. I thought for some reason I didn't deserve it. When the tears were streaming down my face, I craved that touch. I prayed for it. It happened, and I felt loved. I knew that It was OK to be sad, because in that moment I felt loved. Once I embraced those feelings again, every chance I got to hug, I would. I would hug so tightly, and I didn't want to let go. I knew that I was making up for all that lost time. I was refilled.

Dear Hug, you were all I needed. Thank you! From, Abbey

My center...My heart....I felt them, and they were open. I felt my heart as if I was holding it in the palms of my hands. I felt so alive. I was WILLING to receive. I am now worthy of it. I am worthy of true love, and one day soon. It will come.

Dear past friend, I forgave you. You know who you are. I hope you forgave me. I cried my last tear for you. I wrapped that green ribbon around my soul for you, and forgave you. I sent it out to you, and I hope you felt it, because I did. It felt amazing.

Dad, I love you. I know you did the best you could with me. You are an amazing Dad. I love you Dad.

LOVES DIVINE-SEAL. That song was so powerful. I love you Abbey.

Time for some silence. I experienced silence in my life. What amazing things you learn about yourself in quiet times. I learned that I love silence. My life is loud, I have a lot going on. Being away from the phone, computer, music, gym, ect. The only thing I had was my thoughts. Wisdom flows. Wisdom flows within when you have silence. Thank you for granting me silence, it was a great nap!

Saturday, May 2. 2010

Today I was supposed to do an Iron man. That in my mind was supposed to bring me to myself. That was my false identity. I had to prove myself in that way (so I thought) so that others might see me and know me and approve of me. So that I again could feel worthy of being loved. Today I was supposed to cross a finish line that was going to give me the satisfaction, that I am worthy. But instead, today I chose to be still. Stillness. Stillness is good. I chose to stay within myself. To see, and know, and understand the pain for what it was. I felt that pain of what it meant. I identified with her, but this time I was honest. I got to know her for real. Today I chose a path that took me beyond any finish line. I have been given a gift that is more precious then that of any Iron man Medal. Instead the medal is my heart, and I wear it with pride, shining for the whole world to see. Allowing anyone inside that will nurture it. This medal represents, courage, strength, hard work, fears, tears, bliss, sadness, authenticity, and this medal represents passion, spirituality, dreams, hope, and faith. But most of all, this medal represents the real Abbey, and I am proud of her.

BLISSFUL! That is what I am feeling by now. I finally let go! I jumped in, and I didn't hold back. I gave everything I had that day. Everything, that I possibly could find within. Everything that I could give, I gave.

I danced! I never dance! I danced all night long! I normally am the person that sits on the sidelines, wishing that I had the guts to get out on the floor and shake it. But that night. Nothing held me back! It was so freeing. I am going to never stop dancing now. I danced! I danced! I danced! Then I went to bed, and slept like a baby! Much needed. Did I say I danced! How exciting for me. BREAKTRHOUGH!

The last morning Pranayama, something happened this time. The only words I have to explain the way things opened up for me was effortless. I was more open to feel and see from a place that I had never looked at before. And I saw it so clearly! My dreams beginning to unfold. I am not going to just be a dreamer, I know now what I am capable of being. That my dreams are mine to grasp. I am the master of my own destiny. I choose to be that woman one day that I told that little girl I could never be. It felt so good! But Then I realized that my weekend was about to close. And I began to feel sad, and I didn't want to leave just yet. I needed more time. But I had learned enough about myself that I was more then excited to go home, and start living my truths.

Final Salutations. Last practice. I observed everyone, the way they moved. The energy. We were a family, completely connected. We had been through so much together. We had cried a lot, laughed even more, danced, fell down, slept, leaned on, sweat, sang, hugged, shared, breathed, felt, gave, received, and not to mention (pigeoned, frogged, folded, lunged, and even MOOED together) I could keep going on. (you get the point?) We went through a whole lot together. During our last practice I noticed we all even moved together as if we were all the same breath. We shared so much. We truly became a family.
In the last practice, the most amazing thing that I observed was D'ana. She had watched over us the entire retreat. What an amazing and inspiring weekend she put together for all of us. Her passion is unbelievable. Her authenticity was revealed in every practice. Her dedication was seen, and her love and time for her work was felt. Her connection and dedication to all of us, gave us all the ability to move mountains within ourselves. Her unconditional love was undeniable. I felt so grateful. I felt so lucky to be a student of D'anas. I felt so grateful to be able to learn from myself as well. D'ana extended the tools, and I was willing to accept them. She taught me that what I learn from myself, is to be felt within. I observed the way she moved with us. She was sending us on our way, our angel protecting us and guiding us throughout our last practice. The sun was beaming through the windows. Everything was that of peace, and serenity. Wow! Is all I could think to myself. Was this really ending? Was it a dream........

I learned, I gave, I hugged, I cried, I listened, I felt, I noticed, I surrendered, I finally let go! I found hope, and I was leaving with faith. I learned to stay grounded, and I was feeling the internal bliss of who I really was. I discovered that. I did the work! What a great feeling. I felt brand new. I felt as though I was stepping out of a armor that had held me bound for so long. I felt again, that I really truly loved myself for the first time. I came back to self, knowing that it was OK to feel again. I had left that for so long. Knowing that stillness is sometimes better then chaos. That its not about the finish line, it is the journey in between. And if you have to stop and breath along the way, everything in life is more at ease. That you feel more abundantly blessed, and the bliss is easily recognized. The best part for me, was learning at the age of 28 what I know I must do for the rest of my life. Watch out world! Until next time..............I will remember every day the affect you had on my life.
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