To apply to attend a retreat in Wyoming, Sam and Chandler wanted me to make a video on what I was working on physically, mentally, and spiritually. Instead I made a video of me staring directly into the camera in silence and laughing and smiling during moments of it. It lasted four and a half minutes, and I got accepted.
I feel a little bit like a cop out, and I love it. But I do want to answer the questions that they’ve asked me, because self-reflection is important to me. You can learn a lot from watching someone work through their own thoughts; I think that’s the reason why my posts resonate with people who read it here. I don’t try to sell stuff (at least, not yet). I write without a specific expectation of who will read it, though I always hope for connection to some degree.
A year ago I never thought about improving myself or my own mobility. I was meditating and exercising but it could never really help me comprehend or feel the “deep down” emotions I had. The “deep down” resides somewhere in my heart, and it is where I ask myself questions like, “Why did Calci die early from heart failure?” and “Will I be okay?” The answer to the “deep down” has always been yes, I will be okay. Even when I think I am not, I realize that I need to go deeper down, to not be afraid of exploring the dark places in my heart. Darkness does not always have to be bad; that’s how the stars show up, anyways.
I’ve been trying this exercise coined by Kyle Cease where you speak the future like it has already happened. It’s basically another form of visualization, but what’s different for me is that I learned it in the framework of a weekend where I confessed all of my fears and dreams to my husband. We learned to confront each other and really dig deep into what we were feeling for each other.
Speaking aloud my truth has always been the most important thing to me, even if I didn’t realize it for nearly three decades of life. Part of speaking the truth comes from my experience with trauma, and not being able to physically speak about the horrible things that have happened to me. And part of speaking the truth is about my immigrant background, of having to learn a language in order to increase understanding of an alien world around me.
So if I were to think about one year from now, what would I say?
I remember when:
A year ago Sam reached out to me about a retreat and I didn’t really think much about it, because I was still playing the limitation game of thinking that I couldn’t travel. That I didn’t deserve adventures or new and unfamiliar experiences. That I wasn’t ready for them. I learned to love these feels, to embrace them, instead of changing them. It was then that the fear went away by itself.
And I had been working on mobility every day–doing what I wanted (mobility for the soul) and Controlled Articular Rotations (mobility for the joints). In that I learned that listening to my own heart was the key to everything for me. Or not a key, but a way to see the world more clearly. I started looking more at people on the street, and feeling more connected with nature and those around me. I was less depressed at work, and I could show up every day.
Every time the fears welled up inside of me again, every time the ego awoke and cried for attention, I lovingly acknowledged it and told it that deep down, things would be okay. And that’s how I really lifted my photography business off the ground; really got to know the deepest desires of what I wanted; and got a career change with a job that I was more aligned with. And even though some people I reached out to were not fully aligned, I accepted each interaction as good, and I loved it, for it helped me move from one space to another. It created a space for me to move into and for others to move out.
And then I kept creating. I published a book of poetry, one that contrasted the experience of nature and the experience of the city, for all those lost souls who felt suffocated by the modern trappings of society. It was a book about timelessness, about travel, about feeling like the in-between. And it was about never settling. About staying hungry, staying foolish.
I learned that love could be without pain, and that force could be with love. I trained with more heart than I ever did in my time in martial arts the years before. I got my blue belt from that recognition. I made more friends. I became an instructor for a kids’ program and from there was able to host women’s open mats every week. I brought in principles that I had learned from my own practice and from that retreat and developed and created it into something new. The creation was something that is like a plant; it might take myself to plant it, but it takes more than one ray of sunshine to help it grow.
I saw the stars in Wyoming, and they made me closer to God.
I wore shoes less.
I trusted more people.
I learned that what’s worth learning can’t be taught. It can only be experienced.