The Gaunlet Is Real!: My Journey from Mind Hell to Leading An Awesome Retreat
This last week I went through hell & highwater to arrive at a place where I felt confident and ready to lead people through what turned out to be an incredible meditation practice over four hours (ease up y'all, it's not (always) the tortuous hellscape you may be picturing lol)
***What Came Up For Me Before This Retreat***
-feelings of extreme unworthiness
-trashing my credibility and preparedness
-debilitating fear (mostly of what others, some phantom audience, would think about me)
-nauseating confusion/obsession of thought
-the mind fuck of deep doubt
-overwhelm that makes me so tired
-anxiety that I felt mentally and physically
-withdrawal, apathy about everything
-the experience of jealousy and judgement toward people I felt were more successful or qualified
-about 6 million reasons to cancel
-the thought that no one cares or thinks what I'm doing is dumb or “hacky”
-the thought that this will be “just another failure”
-the fear of how badly I was going to Kick My Own Ass, mentally, after the retreat....
You know, just ALL the lessons that usually come up when it's time to kick things up a notch and step into your power. The Gauntlet is real y'all!!!
I GET why it's been a slow journey toward what I feel is my career/purpose/calling.
**I've been in my own way. Big Time.**
Crappy, de-energizing thoughts and beliefs were in my way, like a damn barricade blocking my path, begging me to pay attention. Slowly over the years I had let these thoughts start to creep in and build up until I actually believed them more than any other truth. How did it happen? Cuz this meditation teacher went a long time without practicing meditation (like months and months y'all).
When I meditate I maintain an awareness of the thoughts that float through my head. Because I know what’s going on up there, it’s easier to tell the healthy, uplifting thoughts to stay and tell the restrictive, old and damaging thoughts to get TF BACK. When I stopped meditating, I stopped checking in on my thought patterns. Left unchecked, shit went off the rails because humans are currently wired to think more negatively than positively (truth). I've been living in the reality that I was kind of a POS adult for some time now…No more, ain’t nobody got time for that!!
***The week before this silent retreat it all came to a head. I was in a mental battle for my path and self!
So what did I do?? I called in HELP!!! We're allowed to call in help!! Why do we insist on suffering alone, so deeply and roughly for so long?!
-I called in my Spirit Guides, my beloved Ancestors (the strong & loving ones).
-I asked my earthly friends & family to hold space for me, I told them where I was at (INSTANT relief there).
-I moved my body to help the old energy move out, even when it felt forced
-I ate foods that boosted my clarity and energy
-I slept even when I wanted to lay awake and obsess or grind
-I practiced daily meditation even when it felt like I chore
-I chose to stay curious rather than exasperated and judgemental about where I was at
-I wasn’t a huge dick to myself when I felt like I failed at one of these things
I fought HARD for my myself!! I had to learn deep patience as I clung to the ancient wisdom of knowing that EV-ER-RY-THING PASSES. I wasn't going to be in this state forever so might as well get curious & learn right? Trials make us stronger as they PREPARE us for what lies ahead! I kept telling the rough thoughts to leave me alone and slowly the good thoughts began to win over, return to my thought process more often then the bad thoughts. As I began to breathe through this rough patch without so much kicking and screaming, I began to gain ground.
My breakthrough happened when I got clear about what a successful class really Felt like to me. I'd been so ready to measure the success of my class by the attendance (why do we do that!?!?!) and not the actual point: To provide a juicy & supportive place to practice meditation. The night before the retreat I knew I'd won this battle when only 1 person was signed up and I just couldn't wait to hold beautiful space, to bring forth universal wisdom, to keep a clear channel as the singing bowls sang and Spirit moved through the class. I would have held the class with no people and considered it a smashing success if I just simply DID that damn thing with a happy and open vibe. And it turns out 11, ELEVEN, friggin people said YES to their own personal health and happiness right alongside me.
And I SLAAAAAAAYED ya'll!! No like it was WON-DER-FUL!!! (omg Even as I type this, thoughts of "Omg I need to be more humble" are popping up! NOPE! Byeeeeeeee, I rocked the Urban Retreat and that's the truth!). I had so much love to give. I felt confident and sure of myself and in my element. I am excited for the future and can feel my creativity surge. The barricades are beginning to shift off my path and I’m feeling an ease as I move forward again.
**I’m also not afraid of future barricades that will, as goddess is my witness, move into my path once again. They will return, ready to slow me down, wake me up and teach me even more juicy wisdom and insight right before I step into something new and amazing.
ALCHEMY: Turning the barricades on your path into your best teachers
***My Final Warrior Move: I took the day after the retreat to be in Nature because I felt it would be a wonderful gift for mind, body and spirit, A Celebration. I also went because I thought maybe feelings of doubt or regret would pop up, just some extra parting lessons from spirit. And where better to be than in Nature, where the beauty and presence is so REAL that the mind quiets in awe quickly and with ease. What a gift the Hoh Rainforest gave me, the ability to complete the journey with gratitude, excitement and deep appreciation.
I AM SO GLAD I was present and aware on this particular journey, the shit storm AND the “Rocky On The Steps” moment. How rich, how victorious, how nuanced this has all been. I'm truly a new person. I'm so excited for future journeys and events. If there’s anyone out there on your path, and what I’m doing resonates, Let’s Compare Notes!!
More details on future hangs soon, keep an eye out!
I love me and I love you - Heather Ace
A special Thank You to my incredible partner Justin who creates home & an easy silence and provided a loving refuge through the storm (and a ride out to the WA Coast) @ridensj and Fellow Warrior Spirit Sis Faith who just returned back into my vibration at the perfect time offering wisdom, support and space to expand.