I’m sitting on my flight back from San Francisco to Heathrow. I’ve just about got over the disappointment of a BA vegetarian meal (note to airline: being vegetarian does not mean I am on a diet – yes, I do still eat proper dessert!) I’m not fully over the incessant snoring of the guy sat behind me, but I am grateful for a half empty flight, which has allowed me to set up camp quite nicely for ten hours.
I’ve been in California for three weeks and as I’m sure many of the people reading this may already know, the main purpose of my trip was to attend the “Ignite your Brilliance” retreat taught by my teacher Ana Forrest and Heather Tiddens. It was truly an amazing week, and I am so grateful I was able to attend and spend nearly a month in California. I think this is my most favourite state I’ve visited so far in the US and the timing of this trip could not have been more apt for me.
I know that everyone is keen to hear all about the retreat and my trip and there’s so much I learnt, was re-reminded of and got from it, it’s hard to know where to start, or indeed which bits of it I’m willing to share.
It’s funny how we often need to keep re-learning the same lessons. I really do sometimes get sick of my internal rackets – it sometimes just feels like it really is the same old sh*t – the not being good enough racket, and the ensuing struggle: if I haven’t struggled to do it, it’s clearly not perfect or good enough. It’s a vicious circle indeed I can tell you. The thing I’ve come to realize is this – that whatever our self sabotage default is, we kind of get so used to it, so much so that we don’t even realize we’re doing it. Alarmingly enough it maybe even comes to feel like the ‘norm’ – this is just how it is. Period.
I stated at the start of the retreat I was there because I was exhausted and needed some time for myself. This indeed I have given myself over the past three weeks, and not just on the retreat. What I hadn’t really given much thought to is how I allowed myself to get that way in the first place.
“Make the quality of your life and sanity a priority”
Ana Forrest quote taken from Mantra magazine.
The retreat gave me the chance to realize the various ways I make things a struggle for myself – not getting enough sleep and not making enough quality time for myself being two of them. It’s actually quite hard to write these things. On one hand I feel like I need to write them to really hammer home to myself how important they are to resolve, and because I know I’m not the only person out there (yoga teacher or otherwise) who’s in/been in this boat. At the same time I also feel like admitting these things makes me less of a teacher. And hereby kicks in the ‘not good enough racket’, and the struggle and the self-perpetuating cycle ensue.
I’ve decided I’m changing up my perspective on this though now; I’m taking the ‘it’s pretty damn cool that I know what (at least some of) my rackets are because this means I can change them up’ kind of attitude. The retreat was a great reminder of how great I feel when I have time for myself. I realized that I need to make the effort to get some of this quality time in every single day, rather than waiting a year for it and ending up burnt out. The fact that I’ve even published the fact that I let myself get burnt out seems like a good step towards embracing being imperfect – although publically admitting this stuff is pretty freaking scary. But there, I’ve said it and so I hope that this will help others to feel happy in their imperfections too. As an aside – I’m noticing that getting more comfortable with my own faults is making me a lot more tolerant than I was previously of others – it’s easier to cut other people slack when you are not so hell bent on getting everything 100 % perfect yourself.
Being in the beautiful surroundings of Mayacamas Ranch was also a great reminder that being in nature makes my Spirit sing and so I need to factor this into my life more too – making it a necessity not a luxury. I’ve also written out a description of my ideal schedule – not so I can strive for perfection this time however, but so I can see where I can find this crucial “me” time. I think better time planning will help make things seem like less of a struggle too. And it’s also made me think more closely about fulfilling what my Spirit truly desires versus having to make do with second best.
I know from comparing how I felt at the start of the retreat to how revived I felt by the end of it that these realisations and changes will be significant – not just in keeping my energy up but also in connecting with my wiser self and keeping on creating the life I really desire. I’ll keep you posted on how I get on!