Santa Teresa. What a special place.
Kadri and Jill- The retreat. Exquisite. Transformative. Breathtaking.
After settling into my mat on the first day- I had come to this awareness that I was finally happy.
I thought- wow- thank goodness I don't have any hurtles I have to conquer this year. I have healed old wounds with my ex- I have cleaned up all my relationships with other people I had ties with- I payed old bills- I had made amends with my family members... all was well in the world for me. Nothing to really "break through" this time around.
I laid there on my mat - in bliss and harmony.
Until halfway through the class- where it was time for me to trust my two partners with helping me into a handstand.
I was mistakingly unaware of how much this posed as a threat to me. I had to physically allow these two people to hold me up into balancing on my hands.
I was covered in lies. "My body is too long for them to have control over me"- I thought- "They don't have enough experience to hold me up- therefore- I am going to fall hands over feet to my demise" - where I break my neck.. and there are no hospitals for miles and miles.
Bye bye Ashley.
I freaked out. I didn't trust them. Had a mild panic attack and dropped to my knees in fear.
You see- I can get up into handstand by myself. Against a wall. I've done it hundreds of times. But the wall is there to catch me. I can come down when I want. I have my own freedom.
To put myself in the hands of someone else- of people I don't know. Well - that was the major hurtle.
OFcourse- my teacher - had to see me go through this roller coaster. And he OFcourse-as any good teacher would - asked me to try again- but with him this time.
I laced up my yoga pants and tried again. You see this man can lift a person like me with his pinky. And when I flew up for the second time in his arms- I was stable... enough. It didn't relax me- and in truth it only made me feel even more upset.
Why was I having this disconnect? Why can't I allow myself to be cradled? Why can't I trust?
What the hell is my problem?
The day went on. We went zip lining... which was fun.
The next day we had a meditation.
It was called a forgiveness meditation. Now - what I REALLY want in my life is LOVE. And you have to understand that the reason why my last relationship didn't work - mainly is because I sold out on his and my relationship. I cared more about what my family thought about us- I didn't trust that they were going to love me regardless of who I picked. I thought they were going to abandon me. So - I gave up the fight for him and I to love. Therefore nothing he ever did was ever going to be "good enough" therefore- I never REALLY let him cradle me- therefore- I never really let myself go into the bliss of love.
That awakening puts me in a place of pure loneliness. When ALL I've ever wanted is to BE LOVE and to accept LOVE. This is what I had apologized to him for before I left. I had to. Because- I can only imagine what those effects are on someone. And I do really love him- so to imagine him walking around in the world thinking " I'm not good enough" is something I had to free him of. Because he was more than good enough. More than anything. He was love. He is love.
And I had been doubt - insecure - fear - control - uncentered.
This is all that had cleared before I hopped on the plane. I told him this- and for the very first time I felt free. Free to have the possibility of love because I took responsibility for my part.
These feelings popped their little head out from that HANDSTAND man.
And letting myself go- wow. That wasn't happening. Not to those two students. Not to my teacher.
I beat myself up. Ashley. You are this teacher. You are a strong woman. You have gotten through a lot. You forgive people that shouldn't be forgiven. You take responsibility for your actions. You take care of yourself.
SO I sat there. Kadri lead the mediation. The first step is - you apologize in your head to a person who you have harmed. you ask for their forgiveness. Second step is you hear their apology and you forgive them. During these two phases- my throat burned. It BURNED SO MUCH that I couldn't swallow. I felt that my throat was going to close... It was the most UNCOMFORTABLE feeling that I have experienced. The last and final part of the meditation- is where you forgive yourself.
And I was searching for the burn in the back of my throat. I couldn't find it. I couldn't feel it. For the rest of the week - I kept trying to figure out what that meant.
Have I forgiven myself? Have I really let myself be vulnerable with me? Can I look back and be gentle with myself? Can I cradle me? Or am I some deformed individual who can never truly move on.. always singing the same symphony - the same melancholy tune.
How could I NOT have seen this? How could I really forgive myself for not loving someone back as much as he loved me?
What was wrong with me?
And thats where I stood. I stood there not knowing how. or why. or anything. I felt raw. Consumed with this fear that If I am not diligent in my practice- that if I ever have the opportunity to allow love into my life again. I could fuck it up ROYALLY AGAIN. Having to feel this ultimate failure.
This wall. This itch. this pain. This suffering.
The retreat went on- and it wasn't until the plane ride back - where someone asked me - Who would you be if you gave this story up ?
And the answer is Free.
I'd be free. Free from this suffering. From the over analysis. From the mind plunge.
We soared high over the lagoons and islands- the tundra of Costa Rican soot.
And as we landed in San Jose - I let go.
I know I am going to have to continually let this go- its going to be a practice. But I have apologized. Forgiven him. And now- to forgive me. To trust myself again. Well thats me. Thats why I've been so petrified of handstand. Of moving on- because what if I fall? What if I break my arm? What if I have to go through this pain ALL over again?
I don't know if I can do it.
But I am SURE trying. And I am going to keep getting back on my feet. And I'm going to keep throwing myself up against a wall. And I am going to keep forgiving and letting go... because surely in time- after practicing over and over again. I'll be able to have the balance to come up. To trust. And to fly into forgiveness.