I would say the last few months have been up there with the toughest of my life. Entanglements of soul destroying proportions that have pushed me to the edge and almost had me believing I was someone I’m not.
Not that many people would know, I’ve done my best to go about my business and continue with my work. In the end it was the intervention of spirit and one of my guides that broke the spell I was in. Without him, I’m not sure if I’d have ever climbed out of that dark hole.
Necessary, as it came just before the July retreat I was leading people through. It’s a work often underestimated by those that seek to guide others through the challenging and overwhelming experience of a plant medicine journey.
With all the hard work that had been done beforehand I was still feeling rocked, and yet it became one of the calmest, rewarding and trouble free retreats I’ve ever been involved in. Of course there was much work done with the plants but the retreat itself flowed better than I’ve ever known a retreat to flow.
Helped of course by the magical setting that supports the works so well. The ceremonial space has been holding medicine ceremonies for almost 20 years and the womb like nature of the valley it’s set in, makes it the perfect sanctuary for healing and transformation.
The mix of participants was truly international, Croatia, Switzerland, Belgium, Finland, Portugal and the UK. Something I really enjoy about these retreats is people from different countries coming together and finding deep connection. Seeing through the disguise of culture and finding a shared understanding.
To work with the plants is to level up, you’re saying you want to know more, you want to see more, you’re ready to take a deep dive down the rabbit hole. You’re ready to take a glimpse behind the curtain of existence. It’s not a decision to be taken lightly, it’s not always pretty and the waters can get stormy. The plants know where and how we need to heal in a way that often exceeds or own understanding. It’s why so many people find it difficult to fully articulate a meeting with Ayahuasca or Huachuma. I honour each and every soul that showed up to work with these plants, and the commitment they made to themselves.
Something important that continually came up over the retreat was people fearing the opinion of others. So much so it was stopping many from being who they are, or more importantly, letting go of what they are not. We live life in fear of what people might say about us, how they might feel if we live a certain way. In that sense we’re all just imprisoning ourselves.
Judgement is a debilitating thing, whenever we judge we harm ourselves as it’s really an affirmation of how we feel about ourselves. When we spit poison towards another person with our words, again, we only harm ourselves.
The time for playing small is over, it’s time to be who we are. You may face judgement, envy, anger hate, all for simply being who you are. None of those things are yours, don’t take them on, stay true to yourself:
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness
That most frightens us.
We ask ourselves
Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small
Does not serve the world.
There's nothing enlightened about shrinking
So that other people won't feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine,
As children do.
We were born to make manifest
The glory of God that is within us.
It's not just in some of us;
It's in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
We unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we're liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others
Watching people leave with a renewed love for themselves and all life around them threw into context the power of the work we did together. As one guest put it:
“It has been so amazing after the retreat. Like soooo amazing. I find myself singing all the time, everywhere. The whole world looks so beautiful, there is so much colour and life, I just get lost staring at all this beauty. I feel happy. Like not wanting or needing anything, just content and so grateful.
Being grateful is the number one thing I feel. I cannot believe how great my life is and how happy I am.”
Now the challenging part comes as the lessons learnt are tested over and over. There will be failures, but a failure that is learnt from is a beautiful failure. So fail, fail beautifully, dust yourself off and go again.
As always I provide guidance and support for the weeks and months following a retreat should it be needed. And of course the plants are now ever present, just close your eyes and ask.
You can see more pictures form the retreat here.
The next retreat is in November and you can reserve your place here.