Several months ago I took part in a Woman’s Spiritual Retreat weekend at the Buddhist Retreat Centre in Ixopo, South Africa. It was one of those monument building moment in one’s life. I had no clue what to expect when I arrived. In fact, the only type of retreat’s I had ever been on had been christian church camp retreats heaped full of uncomfortable situations and guilt. I was in for such a treat and surprise during this retreat.
It was a beautiful weekend full of peace – something I had been desperately lacking in my mind and physical space especially throughout the last year and perhaps longer while living in South Africa. The weekend was structured with group meditation three times a day, breakfasts held in silence, vegetarian meals (almost everything grown on the property), and workshops led by a very lovely, gentle and beautiful woman who was skilled in clinical psychology as well as sensitive to a greater spiritual aspect to life. We worked through various activities that weekend which really began to open my eyes to the unrest I had been holding deeply inside around my own insecurities of being who I was really born to be and not being worried about how others viewed me – particularly around my own religious beliefs. Ending a retreat like that is hard, scary and intimidating. So much is revealed in such a short amount of time in a very safe and peaceful space – now I had to go live in the chaotic world and try to take pieces of that peace with me. At the end of the workshop we took some time out by ourselves and were asked to write our future selves a letter of encouragement. We then sealed it in an envelope and handed it to our leader for the weekend – she would mail it back to us at some random point in the future.
Since then I have left that address in South Africa and landed in a new home and space in Colorado. But some of those same insecurities and unrestful spaces have followed me and I have been wrestling with them quite intensely over the last few weeeks. And in the midst of all of that, I opened my mail box the other day to discover a small brown envelope forwarded from our tenants in our South African home – my letter arrived.
I write to you from a deep sense of connection – especially as I sit here on the grass looking at the valley below the BRC. This weekend has been a lot things, and has brought some big realisations that I hope you hold closely in your heart. I hop you are living out of a freer place – you have been flighting a lot within and without to find your space. But fighting wont make you free.
It’s ok to be angry with the spiritual constraints that you were raised in – but forgive those that you believe judge you for who you are becoming. Don’t let what you think others think keep you in bondage. Be free, and and if that means taking a path that may seem rebellious to your family – it’s your path – and if you authentically take it, then it’s right.
Christy, you are beautiful, you have many talents, and you are loved by an incredibly supporting husband who has walked a difficult journey alongside you. Be grateful for what you have and who you and then in that security BE FREE to BE you! Continue on the life long journey of finding yourSelf – and don’t let that anxious space in your heart hold you back from becoming who you truly have the potential to be.
You are on the right path, right now.
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
Today, you ran through the hills (got a little lost), climbed the rocks, jumped into an icy dam all alone and laughed at the thrill of it all. That is how you want to live – getting a little lost, finding new ways, being connected, living adventurously, loving life!
Keep creating the nature loving, carefree, joyful person that already exists – she just needs to be encouraged from time to time to Be.