A little more than a month ago, I embarked on a journey to teach yoga in Costa Rica and to connect with artisans in Central America. Before I left, I decided to sell most of what filled my home, taking on what I called a ‘Ritual of Release’. I have spent the last few years nesting, which can also mean accumulating if you’re like me and enjoy beautiful things. While my house was full of goodness, I decided to slim down my trunk of possessions to the most sacred and high-vibing pieces that I had collected from intentional artisans. I hosted a few yard sales and had some friends over, and the process of seeing what had been ‘mine’ become someone else’s felt much like an exhale, a release of all the physical and emotional ‘stuff’ that I had been holding on to. I left for the world of yoga teaching, jungle living, back-pack carrying, and artisan-creating feeling inspired and clear as to my purpose in the next chapter of my life.
And now, six weeks later, I sit in the beautiful Stela 9 shop in Antigua, Guatemala, and I can tell you that the Universe took my ritual much more seriously than I had. A week into my journey, my computer was stolen in such a wild way that my dear friend and I were pretty certain that it had been a mystical creature of some sort. A few weeks later, I injured my achilles tendon, and I have been wildly humbled as I attempt to gracefully crutch along jungle roads and cobblestone streets. And, a week after that, my phone was swallowed by the beautiful Lago Atitlán.
These experiences have been frustrating and humbling, heart-wrenching and full of spiritual lessons. Why heart-wrenching you might ask, when I am a blessed Canadian woman experiencing a simple injury and material loss of what was luxury to begin with? My reply: because this release is so much deeper than the physical, the tangible, the material. It is a release of control, a full surrender to what IS rather than how I want things to be.
Over the past year, my career, my home, most of my belongings, my car (and my physical body that sat inside the car), and my relationship to a man that I loved dearly were all turned upside-down. Changed, sold, crashed-into, ended. Some of these changes were choices, most were not; regardless, all of this seemed to stem from one single experience that moved against the current of everything I had wanted. For the past decade, I strived to be an effective school teacher, an ever-evolving yoga student and teacher, and a healthy human in an amazing partnership living in a space that felt sacred and beautiful. Just one of these spokes broke, and suddenly the whole wheel fell apart. I experienced a sadness, a sense of loss, unlike anything I had ever felt before. I still feel it sometimes. Ceremony, meditation and prayer have become my lifelines.
A vision for what was to become Gather Sacred arose through one of my daily ceremonies during one of the darkest nights last winter. I wrote what came through in explicit detail and prayed that all of my decisions be in direction of this vision. Just a few months later an entirely new vibration was beating in my heart. I fully participated in and continued saying yes to the miracles that were unfolding: the offerings, the collaborations, the evolving community that had been the tiniest seed not too long ago. So much goodness, so many blessings!
Which brings me to the current moment.
I am so blessed, I know this. Nevertheless, these challenges have been overwhelming to say the least. I believe this is because the depth of these challenges lies not in the singular events, but in the meaning I've given them.
The loss of my computer: How am I to continue creating and developing this vision that I am so certain was Divinely organized?
The injury of my beloved ankle (please love your ankles people!): I am a creature of movement, conquering goals like it’s nobody’s business. Now, the strength and mobility of both my arms and my right leg are directed towards simply walking - something so taken for granted just a few weeks ago. How can I conquer my vision when I cannot move and work freely?
My phone: The instant that I did not have my tiny little screen, I viscerally felt the loss of connection to my people at home.
And through the practice of inquiry, I know that the depth of my lessons lies not in the singular events, but in the ways that I allow my perception to shift when a convenience is taken away.
I am humbled by the remembering that inspiration needs to rest and revive itself with ever-grounded clarity or we can become lost in the wave of consumerism. The distilled intention in my work makes the loss of technology a blessing.
I am humbled by the way my eyes are reopened to the challenges of others. The man walking with one crutch because of an ailment that will not eventually heal makes temporarily stumbling about a gift.
I am humbled by the love I feel for those who support me unconditionally, and for the strangers wishing me well on the streets of Guatemala. The human connection that becomes so tangible during challenge brings me to my knees.
I thought I was releasing my anthropologie clothing collection and some beautiful furniture! But God took my ritual of release to a whole new level.
Release fear. Faith has many layers.
Release control, which is a byproduct of fear. God’s plan is so much greater than my own. I am one to forget this and push until my own goals are met.
Release any notion that where I am is who I am, or that what I have is who I am. Beliefs are tricky and can hide in little crevices until challenges draw them out. I pray to remember that the nature of our existence is so much greater than I can imagine.
I left on this journey thinking that I was developing a business while also seeking the teachers who hold ancient wisdom. I am now seeing the teacher in every human, I am now feeling the wisdom in every heart, I am now trusting the ebb and flow of inspiration, and I am now called to a higher faith and a higher purpose.