Back to Balance Breathwork and Rafting Retreat
Traveling to Utah with Inner Light Revival was an incredible experience, allowing friends to blur the lines between work and play in a seriously goofy week of exploration.
Although I barely helped out with the planning stages in the past few months (let's be real, Lindsay has been plotting this for years), I did get to witness in the week prior how much effort it takes to get some boats down a river. Because it's so much more than that. We joke sometimes that rafting is just a sequence of packing, moving, unpacking, rinse and repeat, but what happens REALLY?
Before we even get to rigging at the put-in, there is a boatload (oh ya, those jokes are gonna keep coming), of to-dos. The permits, the group spreadsheets, the endless shopping, the checklists scribbled on everything, the texts, the emails, the social media promotion, more errands, the borrowing, the receipt collecting, the begging, the late night food prep, people dropping out, people signing up, searching for lost gear, finding random crap you didn't think got packed, driving through bizarre summer snow, the tired bodies and exhausted minds--this is what shows up to the river. And she doesn't mind; she flows around our stresses and unnecessary bickering until we remember, we breathe and remember, we allow her in to cleanse and clear, and suddenly we're all giggling again, choosing to play Tetris with TOO MUCH STUFF instead of packing essentials only. We're free styling everything in an attempt to get it all going, even though it’s already been in motion and this --this pile that needs to get down the river-- this is exactly what the raft trip is about.
It's actually hilarious when river rats try to rush, because where we are going matters little compared to what we are doing in the moment. The life lessons that show up, I tell ya! I caught myself multiple times playing with impatience and frustrations, letting negative judgements creep in, until I consciously chose again to enjoy the process. My conclusion is that what it looks like to be organized is relative.
My version of what "should" have been done "better" is simply an opinion of differences. Instead of focusing on and feeding that thought, I breathe into that, too, and let my breath dissolve emotional holds until I become a better partner, friend, and ally for the journey.
And then, the voodoo really starts to scheme in.
Our retreat was of epic proportion. We had 17 beautiful souls on the A, B and C section of the Green River who committed to sober, mindful engagement, including eating vegan, setting up altars and shaded areas for yoga and meditation, playing music 20 hours a day, practicing self care, and moving symbiotically through a series of storms and sunshine. Our schedule was loosely designed for healing, with memorable group exercises and meaningful time in light and shadow sides. We prayed to mother earth, sipped cacao with heart opening intention, supported tears and encouraged togetherness. Enthusiastic "YUMS" sounded before each delicious family meal, and when silence deafened our circles, it was respected and appreciated by all. Our guided meditations systematically prepared us to deepen connection with life force, and we tried on Yoga Nidra, Kundalini, Wim Hof, Conscious Breathwork, Hatha Yoga, Eye Gazing and Plant Therapy to nourish every cell of our beings.
As always with retreat space, the shared experiences that evolved in between our organized classes and workshops were perhaps the most beautiful. The drum circles, body painting, cuddle puddles, dance parties, and fireside chats are the moments which facilitators can't advertise, because there truly is no way to predict dynamics ahead of time. Flutes sung with dedication to bald eagles, and cold currents recharged our faith. Our energetic applause for the wizards on guitar and didgeridoo was interrupted only by our desires to chant and grove alongside their magnetic vibration. A gorgeous cloud cover permitted us to draw Osho Tarot cards in the dirt, massage and cup one another's sore muscles, and spend precious moments linking our divinity.
I've tried on multiple hats in many different retreats, playing the role of teacher, participant, chef, cleaner, planner, guest relations, and location manager--almost all the pieces of the puzzle--and no matter what my position is, I lunge for opportunities to be involved in these territories for this exact reason: the emergence of beauty which we cannot calculate.
A group of humans have limitless potential for collective growth, the variable for which no one can prearrange.
This is the truest revival of our inner light.
A simple explanation of "free time" doesn't come close to justifying the hours allotted for creative purpose, just as this blog post is merely a suggestion covering how joyful I became while building our community. I jabbered like a pirate, I sobbed while reciting poetry, I let my skin absorb pure love, and I fused with gratitude. I gained sisters and brothers with whom I cannot wait to collaborate out here in the non-river world, and I remain to be in awe of ALL of the awakened monkeys who co-created that magical time.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
And if you're interested in joining us on a future retreat, be sure to find more at Innerlightrevival.com