Photos by the incredible Stephanie Hamilton
I just came back from a 10-day retreat to Costa Rica feeling totally enlightened, renewed, on purpose, and whole. And then reality smacked me in the face within a few days of being home.
I kept up with my mediation and yoga practice, but I was having a hard time trying to fit it into my life. I easily went back to having a glass a wine at night and slipping into old habits, especially as stress started to resurface.
I was back—back in my world, and it was exactly how I had left it. My retreat made me feel like a changed person but how changed was I if it was that easy to slip back into my old way of being?
Here’s the problem: I had been trying to escape my reality in some respects. We all do this from time to time. We are seeking more joy, fulfillment, and happiness. We find it in the jungle or wherever, distanced from our day-to-day distractions, with people who love us and allow us to explore our inner demons. And then when we get home, we have to face them all over again, without the massive encouragement our retreat facilitated for us. Our family, our friends, our work, our society doesn’t relate to the “retreat us". It relates to the Do-er not the Be-er. It relates to the norm and not the exploratory. It relates to the us it has known and not the us we are creating. And so we slip, slowly, back into the shadow of ourselves.
What are we to do? How are we to ever change in a lasting way?
I am currently sitting with this question. I’ve been encouraged to “keep going after my calling”, which I will. I get feedback like “Keep doing what you’ve been doing”, “Hire more people”, be more this, be more that…But little by little, I find it’s easy to lose my heart’s call.
And so I wade through the chaos again. I ask the questions one more time, and the answers don’t come. On retreat, it’s so pure, raw, and tangible yet the minute I sink back into my familiar life I can’t remember what I felt like I knew then.
But this is what I think…
I think an important question to ask is, “What do you really, really want?” Also, “What do you really, really care about?” These answers can manifest in many ways. And daily I need to make it my mission to assess my life to make it what I want it to be. This is all I can do. This is all you can do too.
Some moments will be challenging but try to tap into your “retreat self” and BE that person throughout these times. Keep reaching for what you truly want and what you truly care about. You have brought your “retreat self” to reality. And this is all you can hope to do, unless you live in “retreat land” fulltime.
What might that look like? You might need to give up the idea of wanting or needing anything. Your basic needs will be met, you will live a rich life, and be seen always for who you truly are. And you won’t be playing the game that the rest of us play. New iPhones, homes, travel, toys. A sacrifice worth making if you choose to lead the spirit led life. Or can you live the spirit led life but have these things also?
This is where I am at in my questioning. I haven’t met anyone yet in business “making it” (big bucks, money, philanthropy, business etc.) who leads a truly spirit led life.
But if you’re out there, I would love to hear from you. I wouldn’t mind knowing how you do it!