I just returned home from leading my first Shift retreat in Costa Rica. The experience was rich, important and utterly game changing. It sold out. Everyone got what they came for and much more. The feedback has been incredible. Beyond incredible really. It was more than I hoped for in every way. Some of the participants were former or current clients, one found me via Google search (thank you Mr. Google!), some were brand new to my work and all now feel like chosen family.
I’ve been trying to put the experience into words and I trust that you will find what you need in here as I share. The very fact that you are here reading this means you are exactly where you are meant to be. Thank you for showing up! You are right on time.
Last year I did a health history with a women who did not become my client. As I answered her questions about packaged cereal bars I knew that our purpose together was being served. I will forever carry what she taught me in our brief exchange.
I could tell by her voice and demeanor that she is a strong, proud and rooted woman. She took herself seriously asking questions with such conviction while inquiring from a place of gentle strength. She was full of uncertainty about what to actually eat to nourish her body but she was clear and unashamed about not knowing. She unknowingly changed me by simply being herself.
I remember talking with my sister after the call telling her how struck I was by this women and that starting NOW I would no longer dismiss myself in big or small ways. I would honor my desires and most of all my gifts. I would not shrink even in moments when I did not know what to do. I would be myself. I would continue to live more and more authentically. I would be rooted in transparency and give up the need to struggle. One baby step after another I have come back to those intentions.
As I reflect on what unfolded in Costa Rica I’m recalling moments like that one on the phone with the women who did not become my client. I am seeing themes and threads in my life with such clarity that looking back they all seem like well worn paths leading me to the next chapters. I believe that the past is not who we are but that is shapes who we are becoming.
So there we all are in Costa Rica on day 1. We sat together in a circle propped up on cushions and Mexican blankets on smooth teak flooring. It was humid + hot but not in an oppressive way. The weather felt intentional as if to invite us to begin the feeling process with sticky skin and beads of sweat rolling down our backs. The room was open to the jungle via two walls of sliding glass doors where Howler monkeys jumped from tree to tree. Yeah. Jungle. Monkeys. Magic. It was the perfect backdrop for doing transformational work.
I asked, “Are you ready to step into your new life?” and as I looked around the circle I saw beautifully eager eyes full of uncertainty. Someone spoke up saying, “Umm even hearing that I just had to swallow really big and I feel a little scared.” Nervous laughter followed and then a “Yes, ready.” And we began.
What happened over the next few days was miraculous. Break downs. Breakthroughs. Tears. Laughter. Inquiry. Energy moving. Contrast. Breath moving. Time seemed to stand still. Old wounds were healed. Old beliefs shed or transformed. We ate clean food. We listened to each other. We sat in joy and discomfort and celebrated it all. We meditated our brains out. We Shifted.
I watched their faces change as the week progressed. I watched my face change as each person in the circle held me with such love, trusted my guidance and listened to my voice chanting through the chakras. We were each others teachers, friends and confidants. We entered into a sacred circle and healed together.
One woman said, “There’s a difference between making changes and being changed. I AM CHANGED.” and she then went on to say that she knows now that she is not broken and the physical pain that used to live in her feet and ankles was gone from her body. Gone. I asked her to repeat herself and as she said, “I AM NOT BROKEN. I AM NOT BROKEN. I AM NOT BROKEN.” I knew once again that I would never be the same, that another thread in my life was coming into focus.
This is work I am meant to do and I show up humbly to do it feeling more gratitude than I’ve ever known. It’s wild you guys. Freaking wonderfully wild. While it’s true that I can tell you about each of the chakras, what foods are best to eat in particular situations and even some of the science that is happening in your body when you’re in meditation — I know that what I’m bringing to this work is my own special alchemy.
I spent a decade with serious breathing issues and now I use my voice to share what I know. I have healed my throat chakra by continuing to take inspired action in my life like moving into an RV, going on soul journey to Bali, leading this retreat… Some days you can hear me breathe, some days you can’t and all the days are perfect. I don’t worry about it like I did before. I know that one can not fully heal until they feel the fullness and the truth of being whole health. As that dear woman said over and over I AM NOT BROKEN it resonated and reverberated through my entire body as truth. None of us are broken. We never have been and that realization may be some of the most worthy work of your life. The truth is, I am whole health. You are whole health. And being our authentic selves not only heals but it helps to give each other permission to be true and it ripples out into the world.
If you are ready to do this work, if you are feeling called then please join us in Calistoga July 31 – August 2. All are welcome. You only need two things… 1. The desire and willingness to change and 2. an open heart. The rest really will take care of itself.
Thank you for witnessing this journey. With my whole heart, thank you.
p.s. This. Watch this.
Tremendous gratitude to Ashlie Woods for all the images.