“To be whole I have to be able to say I am both shadow and light.” ~Parker Palmer
This October, my dear friend and business partner, Meghan Toups, LPC and I guided our first Inner Journey Retreat at the Inn at Serenbe. Bonded by what feels like a sacred contract, Meghan and I co-created Inner Journey Retreats, a wellness travel business focused on holistic healing. Together, we believe that each one of us is a healer within, that connection to ourselves and the Universe is the underpinning of joy and that, ultimately, love transforms.
Our experience this weekend at Serenbe was transformative, as we were all held in a womb of radiant light. Our retreat was a powerful example of this truth: In order to bask in the blissful light of our spirit, we must be courageous enough to embrace the pain that keeps us constricted. This pain is rooted in our fear. It is this very courage that fuels the compassion we need to own our stories, in turn, stepping into our light-filled path. To look within is to accept that we will falter, stumbling into the shadows of our inner landscape. But if you dare to take this journey inward, the result will be a deep connection to who it is you are in this lifetime, a sense of belonging to the world and the spiritual capacity to choose joy.
Here, I share 3 ways to return home to the self, igniting your gifts within and allowing your inner light to lead.
be still and see
Pico Iyer says, “In the age of constant movement, nothing is so urgent as sitting still.” Busyness is our modern day epidemic. In order to unlearn our way back to a sense of connection with our lives, we must find stillness. It’s through the portal of stillness that we sense the deep truth that we’re not defined by the fear that keeps us constricted and unable to claim the life we’re meant to live. Meditation creates space for us to forgive ourselves for being imperfect, unhinging us from deeply entrenched beliefs such as “I am unworthy of love and connection if….” Fill in the blank with hundreds of expectations we cling to (I am not a size 6, I don’t have a home cooked dinner on the table each night, I didn’t get that promotion). Sound familiar?
Stillness is the sacred medicine we need to return home to ourselves when we lose ourselves. The ocean of our consciousness is a constant ebb and flow ~ the ocean surface dictated by our thoughts, moods and external circumstances. But despite any turbulence at the surface, the depth of our spirit is always there when we pause and muster enough bravery to journey inward.
Courage, compassion, connection
I used to believe that cultivating compassion was all about immediately softening around the heartspace, but I’ve begun to experience the clarity that courage is a fundamental ingredient to creating a compassionate heart. This truth was alive and well at our Serenbe retreat when our group sat in meditation, journaled about their barriers and released fear at a bonfire burning ceremony. Courage was omnipresent. Brene Brown says “courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.” To allow ourselves to truly be seen is an act of shedding our social and professional masks, coming home to our imperfectly perfect selves.
Compassion is feeling moved by the experience of another’s suffering. As we begin to embody who we are under the identities we cling to in a safe and supported environment, compassion for ourselves and the world around us naturally arises. And through this portal of courage, we have the opportunity to blossom through the heartspace, reconnecting with the inner light of our existence.
In order to let your light lead, you must reconnect with the energetic vibration that uplifts and rejuvenates your being. We all come from Source Energy, the spiritual energy of the Universe that’s always available to us. A compassionate, open heart is more receptive to receiving this infinite source of energy that our existence is grounded in. Rumi illustrates this beautifully by writing, “we aren’t a drop in the ocean; we are the ocean in a drop.”
I sensed this deeply the last morning of the retreat, when our group journeyed through the Serenbe labyrinth at sunrise. As the fog lifted from the pond below, we were nestled underneath the forest canopy, going inward. Passing over familiar paths we had traveled before, sensing that we were collectively bonded on this journey, but yet, traveling it alone, we belonged to the world. And as the sun began to cascade through the treeline, cocooning our group with living light, an undeniable truth emerged from that expansive, boundaryless moment ~ we are all intimately, eternally connected through love.
To learn more about how to let your light lead, I extend a warm invite for you to join me on my next Inner Journey here.
Light & Love,