The SISters asked me to write something for these times where the coronavirus dominates the world. There is already a lot of advice for health and movement, so let me look into the next phase after the initial shock. Now our deeper frustrations and our deeper love can surface.
In our work I am often curious what it would be like for myself, to be a guest at our retreat, receiving coaching and yoga and meditation, good food, walks and a lot of time to sit down for my own musings and processing. This is what I am experiencing now! It is intense and confrontational to not be in my normal structures. I was a bit sick for some days and then restless some other days but more and more I can allow myself to do what comes natural and to arrive at my inner compass.
Now this is yóur retreat, alone or with your partner or with kids. Can you come to your natural flow? What brings you to what you love?! I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away. I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments*.
Your Inner Compass
I wanted to write ‘create a day structure’, because discipline helps, but then I am not so much an advocate of rigidity and many people would then create an image of how they ‘should’ behave. There is much advise on this. I can only say follow that what really calls you… this is the time! It is better to change the word structure into ritual, create life rituals.
Rituals can create a sense of stability, enjoy small things and notice changes more consciously. Make a ritual of how you get up, joyful coffee moments, silent walks, meals are rituals, shared moments with (online) others to move or have fun or discuss, a special health drink that you like making once per day, a relaxation before bed.
So my next advise is to stay close to yourself, to allow emotions. What happens if you allow yourself ‘sleep in-days’, ‘cry about all the future plans lost-days’, ‘bounce around-days’?….you can still hang on to your rituals and let life unfold. What do you really hold dear? Where do your emotions lead you? What are your dreams?
It is your time to look at what you are grateful for and from that pluck up the courage to see the shadows in your self-confidence, in your marriage, in your frustrations.
You can observe a state coming up in you and then let it be there without acting out. If it is very big or scary then only feel the body and give a name to the sensations WITHOUT going into the story and then do a breath regulation. Then you may ask yourself what you need to bring more wholeness in that theme. Can you see it from more than one side? Can you ask someone to reflect or support?
5 minute Breathing exercises for any time of the day
Our breath is always the link between our body and mind. The first stage helps you assess states at different times, the second stage can help your energy up when you feel low or tired and relaxes when you are tight or stressed.
Observe your Breath for 3 minutes just the way it comes where you are; sitting, standing or lying down. Notice some qualities like tight, deep, fast, irregular…and name them for yourself without changing anything.
Then do a Regulating Breath to give your nerve system a message of ‘calm, collected’: Sit comfortably on the floor or a chair, close your eyes, face and shoulders and hands relaxed, then breath 4 counts in, 4 counts out through your nose, counting steadily 10 rounds. Just that….short and very simple (complexity is unnecessary). After some times you can add a whispering sound in the back of your throat, still breathing through the nose, and divide the amount of air very evenly.
Our retreat center is called Sharanam, which means ‘welcome’ and ‘to take refuge’. It is an invitation to stay in one place where you explicitly choose to be with yourself to see your true nature. In these times we offer our guidance online to do exactly this!
* last sentence of ‘Invitation’. Source: https://www.familyfriendpoems.com/poem/the-invitation-by-oriah-mountain-dreamer
Written by Aleid Warmelink
For more information about Sharanam Retreats and their (online) programs, click here