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Unexpected Retreats

Life is so quirky a good way. I recently signed up for a Tibetan Singing Bowl course for no particular reason other than I felt wholly compelled and completely drawn to do it. I've been experiencing sacred and healing sounds since February and it's no secret that I have fallen head over heels in love with the point that friends ask me about a particular glow I (allegedly) have or comment about how happy I seem lately. I will say this - since beginning this journey, it's so much damn easier to smile.

I don't remember having many expectations of the 3 day course that happened this past weekend. Each day to me kind of runs into the the point where it's 10:36 pm right now and I'm kind of just now really delving into "What do I have tomorrow?" I guess that's either the life of a freelancer, the life of a wife or the life of a work-at-home-mom. Either way I had gotten pretty used to the mundane...the daily design, client calls, client emails, editing, photographing, cooking, grocery shopping, toddler time, check on the parents, check on the friends, how's the husband's day going, get the toddler napping, why is the toddler having a meltdown...I'm about to have a meltdown...there's no time for a meltdown...I have a deadline..need to cook dinner...and we need towels to dry off with tonight - does everybody have clean underwear for tomorrow...and the cat just threw up...okay what's wrong with the cat ate know...the every day. Until lately...

Since my meditation journey and attending sound baths with sacred healing sounds I see things clearer..with the blinders my peripheral vision expanded in outward directions. Now watermelon tastes sweeter, songs are prettier, running my fingers through my daughter's hair feels like silk running in my hands. It's amazing how your life can change in a short time. And then this weekend came.

I attended the course with about a dozen other women, led by my Yoda as I like to call her, although she most certainly would scoff at that. Between Friday and Sunday these new women simply had names. Then names became faces...and faces became energies...then energies became spirits and spirits became beautiful least to me. We were women from very different backgrounds...with different different books - and where some of those books may have never even been in the same library. There were women who didn't know much about what exactly the class would teach, to women who had been introduced to sound, to women who are eager to give the gift of sound to others. We had the proverbial mix bag.

The week prior was a bit stressful for me and Saturday my monster decided it needed a walk. Anxiety filled my bones to the point where I could almost feel my teeth chatter. It had nothing to do with the course and everything to do with my mental spiraling down a rabbit hole when something in my life is amiss. And my monster wouldn't take a break for this course. So instead of waking up invigorated and excited, I was very much in hermit mode, looking hard for a smile to hide behind. Nonetheless I got dressed and headed to class, hoping I wouldn't come across as crass to I merely had a battle going on in my mind.

So against every fiber in my being, instead of hiding and shying, I decided to tell the class how I was feeling...totally raw and like an absolute embodiment of those showing-up-to-the-classroom-naked dreams...and I can honestly say that I couldn't have received a better response. I felt no judgment, no pity, just pure strength radiated towards me...for me to absorb...and nothing but well wishes and nods of understanding. It was quite profound and lovely and felt safer than any space I could have chosen that day.

I would also say that the day was the biggest day of transformation that I felt personally, and collectively. We finished up the note-taking portion of the class and were able to practice sound on each other in pairs, some never having any type of sacred sound experience. Everyone branched off and the group of givers carefully set their work stations as there's a lot that goes into the flow of the practice that they were about to perform. I was to be a receiver first. So I lay my head and body down and got comfortable waiting to be washed with vibrations from these sacred bowls as a complete stranger practiced on me, gently, with care and concern and such a good energy that I could feel how good she wanted my session to be for me. And never before...I fell into a deep trance of relaxation...and before I knew it, I was awake from a long slumber, with a smile brushed across my face. That's the power of this practice. I felt whole, and right, and centered, and all the things needed to pick up the pieces of the woman that walked into the door that morning. And it was magic.

But here's the thing - the magic didn't stop 6 inches from me - you could feel it in the room and you could feel the energy shift between these dozen souls. It was transforming and beautiful and almost made me want to cry. After everyone had some time to come back to our space fully and talk about what we just experienced, the second group got to receive the sounds and the receivers got to be the givers - and my soul was invigorated to do so. So I set up my bowls and had my diagram, rolled my pant legs up to have less clothing swaying back and forth, and began to practice giving sound to another beautiful soul. And I felt alive. Alive with sweat and purpose and intention. And I knew it wouldn't be perfect, but I wanted to do the best that I could to be able to give the best experience that would manifest since I had just received that same gift. And then, the whole room was in orbit - and the sounds felt like a symphony and I felt like a dancer, doing a solo, but still on stage with a whole troupe of these other beautiful souls just wanting the same thing that I wanted - to give an amazing experience.

Transformation happened then. It happened when we all collectively saw the power we hold when intention and love and energy are channeled and when all you want is to be good to the human next sitting to you.

We got to know each other more over those next 2 days and shared experiences and back stories and honestly, just scratched the surface. We were all aware of this whatever it was enough to each proclaim on the final day that what happened this weekend went way beyond simply attending a course. We experienced an amazing dynamic and togetherness and if the energy that flowed around that room could be bottled, we could sell it for more than heaps of gold.

I know life gets busy and calendars get muddled, but I do hope to stay in touch with these women, and feel that sacred bond the next time I run into them and know that in a hello embrace, we connect again what was shared on those mats this weekend at our completely unexpected retreat.

My hope for you is to have an experience like this one day, because I don't think I will ever forget it.

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