(I know it’s not technically January anymore, but I’ve got one more January that wants written and the last week has just been so crazy, I couldn’t get it done until now).
Pssst. Kate. Lean in closer. I don’t want to raise my voice in case Mind overhears and starts to freak out…. But you know the life you always wanted to live? The things you always thought you’d do someday… when you were smarter, better prepared, more experienced, more worthy? Well… don’t look now, but…. you’re already doing them. And you’re not perfect and you make mistakes and you’re human so you still sometimes feel hurt, angry, disappointed. But that hasn’t stopped you. And everything you do is better because of it. Keep going. I love you.
As I lay in bed on the second night of my first weekend-long retreat, this message came to me. And I did freak out a little. And I cried a little – some of it happy, some of it fearful. You see, living a life of total accountability for yourself is scary as sh*t. And it’s also mindblowingly amazing.
This last weekend at the retreat, I did make mistakes. I realized part way through the first full day that everything I had planned was totally wrong for the group I had in front of me. So I threw it all out the window, admitted I didn’t quite know where to go from there, asked them what they wanted, and started over. And because I was nervous, when I started over, I threw too much info at them in a way that wasn’t organized for ideal effectiveness. But this isn’t Ideal Land – it’s MessyLovingBeautifullyAuthentic Land and in this land, it’s all OK. In fact, it’s better than OK. It’s perfect.
You see, when I planned the retreat, I had an agenda and it came from my head. Luckily, I’ve been practicing speaking and listening more from my heart, so when I was advertising for the retreat, I attracted the people who wanted the exact message I was most passionate about. Which means that when I asked them what they wanted, their answers were what I am most suited to give. And so, without knowing that that’s what they were doing, they brought me back to myself. And in that moment of true, heartfelt connection and vulnerability, I found more clarity in my voice and my purpose.
What an incredible gift to be given.
There is a Sanskrit word adikara, which Deborah Adele explains as meaning “the right to know or the right to have.” She fleshes this concept out in conjunction with asteya (non-stealing; the third yama laid out by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras): if we want something, we need to build the competency to prove we are able to handle having it. In order to practice non-stealing in our lives, we must be capable of holding what we ask for and receive. Although not as many people signed up for this retreat as I would have liked, if looking at it from a monetary/abundance perspective, I knew that this experience and these trusted women, were meant to happen for me to feel safe building competency.
There is still refining and training to do with my voice. And I will make more mistakes. And I will get better each time. But I left with an unbelievably powerful gift and I am unbelievably grateful for these three women who generously gave me their love, their belief in me, their patience and constructive feedback, and their willingness to go deep – with authenticity and vulnerability. And I acknowledge myself, for a generosity of spirit and love that cooked delicious meals for us all, taught five varied and genuinely responsive yoga classes over the course of the weekend, and facilitated conversations about our lives’ challenges and lessons and how we can put our yoga into action, to meet them with deeper grace and acceptance and love.