Continuing Education @ The Art of Living Retreat Center-Boone, NC September 2019 TaijiFit Retreat-
What more could you ask for-A room with a view. An environment filled with peace. And, plenty of time to seek stillness.
In that stillness I could pause…breathe…pause and notice.
The 1st time I was at this retreat center I was overwhelmed by emotions and energy. Closing off from everyone. The waves would rise and come at me all at once. I found safety in the rocking chairs and spent much of my free time watching the rain skim down the tall panes of glass while rocking.
I recall sitting with my teacher-he asked, “How are you?” and then there was a long silent pause.
Sometime later I said, “I feel everything until I feel nothing.”
His now distant voice invited me to “tell me more.”
I explained, “I am here. But I am not here. I don’t feel, see or hear what is going on around me. I go away. The world melts away.”
My teacher worked with me several times during that 1st visit to the retreat center.
My take home assignment was to get words to come out of my mouth.
The guidelines were straight forward…
Answer this question.
In this moment I feel_____?
I was not allowed to say: fine, good or I don’t know.
I was allowed to say: at ease or uneasy
I have returned to the retreat center for the 2nd time. I found myself drawn to the same place that brought me so many gifts during my 1st visit- the room of windows and rocking chairs. This time it was different. Instead of the nervous leaking of energy-rocking continuously, I found myself seeking stillness.
So, I sat—the fog slipping into the crevasses of the Blue Ridge Mountains the drops of water merging to become one. I closed my eyes and looked inward to the breathe and beating of my heart. I placed my awareness on feeling the support of the chair. I thought I was “relaxed” but in a single exhale felt my body let go -what felt like dropping through the seat of the rocking chair. A settling.
Is this what it feels like to let go of the branch and fall?
Could the journey from head to heart truly begin with a single exhale?
Later that day, I had just finished leading a session and was moving quickly to the exit when an invitation to explore and reflect with my teacher was extended. An opportunity to move from a place of worry toward love.
My teacher stopped me and asked, “Where are you going so quickly? Come and sit with me.”
A long pause followed as I sat feeling the activation scale tick up even higher. Even though he was sitting next to me- I was far away and his distant voice once again found its way to me.
He asked, “How did that experience feel?”
A longer pause followed in a heavy fog of silence. Feel something. Say anything…let go of the branch! Suddenly, the words “I have to kick its butt!” rose like fog lifting from the crevices of my heart.
He said, “That’s interesting. Can you tell me more?”
I don’t remember what I said or if I said anything. Another long pause from a not so distant, distance.
His words called me home saying, “What if you reframe that energy. Instead, welcome the energy as a friend vs. an adversary- its presence a precursor that is letting you know something beautiful is about to happen. I will be there to catch you…just let go of the branch.”
And then we walked out together.
When I returned home this essay found me:
Name It and Claim It-BY MADISYN TAYLOR
Whatever the nature of your feelings, carefully define the reaction taking place within you.
Our feelings can sometimes present a very challenging aspect of our lives. We experience intense emotions without understanding precisely why and consequently find it difficult to identify the solutions that will soothe our distressed minds and hearts. Yet it is only when we are capable of naming our feelings that we can tame them by finding an appropriate resolution. We retake control of our personal power by becoming courageous enough to articulate, out loud and concisely, the essence of our emotions. Our assuming ownership of the challenges before us in this way empowers us to shift from one emotional state to another–we can let go of pain and upset because we have defined it, examined the effect it had on our lives, and then exerted our authority over it by making it our own. By naming our feelings, we claim the right to divest ourselves of them at will.
As you prepare to acknowledge your feelings aloud, gently remind yourself that being specific is an important part of exercising control. Whatever the nature of your feelings, carefully define the reaction taking place within you. If you are afraid of a situation or intimidated by an individual, try not to mince words while giving voice to your anxiety. The precision with which you express yourself is indicative of your overall willingness to stare your feelings in the face without flinching. Naming and claiming cannot always work in the vacuum of the soul. There may be times in which you will find the release you desire only by admitting your feelings before others. When this is the case, your ability to outline your feelings explicitly can help you ask for the support, aid, or guidance you need without becoming mired in the feelings that led you to make such an admission in the first place.
When you have moved past the apprehension associated with expressing your distressing feelings out loud, you may be surprised to discover that you feel liberated and lightened. This is because the act of making a clear connection between your circumstances and your feelings unravels the mystery that previously kept you from being in complete control of your emotional state. To give voice to your feelings, you must necessarily let them go. In the process, you naturally relax and rediscover your emotional equilibrium.