For nearly a decade I have been hosting women’s weekend retreats that focus on opening up to the miraculous within the normal. These retreats are filled with discovery and wonder for all involved. The distance generated works like a greenhouse for the player’s tender shoots of consciousness to spring to blossom, in a secure environment free from judgment, criticism and obligation.
Gut zu wissen
Between the nervous, timid, even reluctant manner of the girls during first hours and the bright, open, laughing beings which leave two weeks later, many hurdles are handled, resistance melted, discoveries made, laughter shared, tears shed, songs sung and truth revealed. Connection to the origin of power as well regarding the divine happens through the body.
Over the years I have been on this path of personal growth and self-awareness, the largest’ah ha’s have come through accepting the body beyond the mind. To put it differently, engaging the body through voice, breath, vibration, dancing, yoga and drumming, so the conscious brain is engaged in the action and relaxes enough to let what lies below to surface. In these practices, an individual can’t be lukewarm; one has to be complete, then authentic and frequently buried feelings can emerge.
This understanding has come from my own direct experience. My desire is to present the protected environment required for participants that are brave enough to enter their own interior realms through engaging the body. I say courageous, since it’s a journey of circling back again and again to all those areas of anger and pain sealed up too fast. We proceed, sing, breathe, drum and shout to open those areas, expose them to our consciousness, and free ourselves from the energy and strain of holding them at bay.
The body, which cannot lie, informs the brain, which has protective mechanisms which have often outlived their usefulness. This work entails understanding all parts of ourselves, even the ones that are uncomfortable, or that we might consider unacceptable. In understanding and accepting these components, they cease to have power over usthe energy that makes us behave reactively, unconsciously or against our better judgment.
For women to reclaim their power, they have to know intimately what’s disempowered them, cut them off from their origin. Despite the fact that we’ve discarded words such as’unladylike,’ the recoil from that type of behaviour remains. Nearly all women aim to be’fine’ constantly, honest, just, kind and so forth. We are also ravenous, wily, cunning and driven. It’s interesting to note how prepared we are to align ourselves with nature in all her bounty and nourishing qualities, but consciously or unconsciously decide to dismiss her harshness.
Take into acoount
As you prepares themselves to be in the wild, by studying the land, its animals and their habits and, most of all, by being intensely alert, an individual must also prepare themselves for life’s journey through the wilds of the own internal character. To naively think that by being nice and great one can correctly negotiate the vulnerability of being in a physical body is an invitation to be challenged and tested. We closed out the’nasty bits’ in our own peril.
To be fair, it’s been culturally ingrained for girls to exhibit all of the so-called positive aspects of the female, and suppress the warrior elements of her nature. To be able to survive, a lot people have become benign, servile, compromising. What happens is that these other aspects of ourselves are bound to be published and they reveal themselves by simply squeezing out in bitchiness, whining, temper tantrums, and cattiness.
Once we understand these shadow sides of our character, and come to appreciate their worth, we can start to genuinely integrate them into the complete spectrum of our potential. We’ve got such tremendous capability to live a life rich with expression and experience, yet the majority of us live within such a narrow variety. The fantastic news is through all the work done in the past hundred years, to wake us up individually and together, we’re more aware and stronger today.
Many people have built up what one of my friends describes as’emotional muscle,’ the endurance to maintain our own emotions, feelings and most of all, power. Not power over anybody or entity, but the energy inherent in understanding ourselves and acting from clarity and consciousness. This is being on your own power. That is being completely alive. When we have complete contact with all of who we are, we can satisfy up with the celestial without shame or artifice. In the retreats, we do powerful meditations developed by Osho, an enlightened mystic whose ashram is in Poona, India. Esana, my yoga teacher and co-facilitator, warms us up and deepens our body awareness and comprehension through Kripalu yoga. We dance, noise, and breathe to break through barriers that prevent us from experiencing our whole aliveness. This job was my liberator and it’s my passion.