I recently attended my second Manifestation Yoga retreat at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health with Jennifer Pastiloff.
I wasn’t sure how much I might take from this experience a second time, or what I might bring to it. Last year I brought so much. I left with so much. “What am I bringing? What will I leave here?” I silently asked myself as my friend and I drove up the snow covered road toward Kripalu.
Last year was the catalyst for much self-love and exploration in my life. I uncovered a self-loving perspective, long covered by doubt and fear. Like the snow that covered the trees and the Berkshire Mountains, I found that underneath my cold, fragile covering there was green, lush beauty waiting to emerge. I just needed to make it through winter.
“I’m different now,” I told myself. What am I bringing? What am I manifesting? What am I leaving?
I wasn’t exactly sure.
An Open Heart Is An Awakened State
It didn’t take long to awaken my hunger for expansion or to open my heart.
As I sat there, something truly amazing happened - my heart cracked wide open once again.
I experienced an awakening.
I awakened to myself and my desire to dig deeper for an experience and emotionally-rich life. Like an excavation project, I searched for remains. What remains is exposure- only a heart that is exposed can grow lighter. We hide our hearts to protect them because, for some, they are marked. I was marked; my heart scarred to match the scar that runs down my spine and above my right eye. We don’t even realize the thick layers of cold barren landscape that surround what once flourished and grew. A rumble in my core began.
I remembered who I am, who I want to be, and who I was. A convergence of focus and healing met in a stream of consciousness like old friends. I know them well, but often forget to sit with them and catch up.
We Are All Mirrors
I sat, attentively listening to each beautifully strong woman speak.
I was truly captivated by each story of strength and hope. It was like walking out of a stuffy room and out into the fresh air. Something remarkable happens at Jen’s retreats- women heal. At times, they show up not always knowing that they need healing, but they show up. They dig deep.
One woman, in particular, began to tell her story- one that had been living in her soul, and coursing through her veins forever. She began to release, yet was still resistant; trying to put her finger on the garden hose of her fears and doubts. She was trying to hold it in and show strength.
Resistance is our way of staying in our comfort zone. Many of us are so afraid to be in a space of allowance. We know what we are resisting, as it pulls at us; the hair in our eye that we just can’t grab but can feel maddening. Yes. We know exactly what we are in resistance to; however, we never ask ourselves what we are allowing.
Up until that very moment, this beautiful woman thought strength meant to keep her finger firmly pressed on the flow of her heart; her true feelings and the story inside of her held prisoner. I know that imprisoned look behind her eyes. I felt it. She is me and I am her.
I hold such a familiar space with that look. My eyes met hers and I wished to set her free. In that moment I began to long for my own freedom.
Words Can Heal
Then, Jen said three words. Just three.
She looked this woman right in the eyes and said, “I got you.”
It was then, that true strength emerged and she let her story flow out of her. She took her finger off the garden hose and let it get messy.
I got you.
I took a deep breath. I wanted to inhale those words and keep them forever.
What does that mean?
We all want someone to “get” us. We want to be caught, to be…got. We want someone to hold our hand or our soul and say, “I got you.” I began to think about when a baby learns to walk. We scurry behind them, hands held out, ready to “get them” when they fall.
Babies aren’t afraid of falling. They just get back up and waddle away. We follow them still.
I got you.
I’ve said this to my own children countless times. I played it so safe for a decade of my life. I created a box of sameness and desperately tried to fit inside of it. I tried to ignore the sweaty, breathless panic that would shake me awake in the middle of the night. I want my children to be fearless, or at least to fear less. But still I walk behind them with arms out... “I got you.” I want them to feel it but not use it as their crutch.
Keeping An Open Heart
For some reason, as we grow up, there is this disconnect. We no longer trust. We learn that there are people who we expect to hold out their arms, and crossed them instead. Like a mirror that has been broken, we can be glued back together but the cracks remain and our reflection will always look distorted. We can never go back to being unbroken... or unscarred.
Some of us are never trusting again. We walk carefully, one foot in front of the other, examining every crevice in the sidewalk to ensure that there is nothing we can trip over. If we do fall again, we vow to be more careful next time, putting another metal bar on our prison cell.
I got you.
We all need to hear those words. We all long to feel supported. Sometimes, those three words remind us that we are alive, and we awaken to life a little bit more when we hear them. Faith in humanity awakens with these words, as well.
In that room at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, this beautiful young woman was reminded what it was like to trust again- to trust herself and trust that if she falls, there is someone, or many who will walk behind her with their arms out and say, “ I got you.”
After hearing those three words, I had the courage to speak my own truth. I revealed my story, exposed my scars and allowed my markings to show. I thanked the man who tried to take my life. I thanked him, not for him but for myself. I thanked him, in order to release him from my veins, and I thanked him to get one step closer to the end of winter. In that moment, I saw the green meadow that waits for me.
I am her and she is me.
What is that saying? “The grass is greener where we water it?” Yes. First you must release your finger from the garden hose of fear and doubt. Trust yourself. Water it all, even the weeds. Let it flow out of you and release it. Develop tenderness toward yourself and recognize that when you imprison yourself, you’re denying the world a beautiful gift in your own expansion.
If you are not there yet...
Search for those people in your life who you can trust. If you can’t find that person, go to one of Jennifer Pastiloff’s manifestation yoga retreats. Take your finger off of your garden hose. Let it get messy. Beautifully messy. Spring will come. You just have to make it through winter.
I promise you will trust again. I wouldn’t steer you wrong.
I got you.Image credit: IntentBlog / Jennifer Pastiloff