Change of pace + change of place = change in perspective.
I didn’t know how I was going to pay for it, and I didn’t know anyone else who was going, but last fall I paid the deposit and booked my flights to Guatemala for my very first yoga retreat.
I frequently hear about workshops, weekend getaways, and international yoga trips, but I’ve never felt compelled to attend one. This time it was different. As soon as the instructor made the announcement at the end of class, it was clear: I was going on this trip.
Before I left I prayed about my goal for the week. I felt like God had a special invitation for me, and I didn’t want to miss it. We’d be in nature for 8 days – free from the Internet, social media, and e-mail. I wanted to soak up all the goodness I could.
It came to me clearly: Trust yourself.
On the first morning I wrote in my journal on the dock as the sun rose over Lake Atitlan. God, how do you want me to trust myself more? What does that even mean? Thoughts about my yoga practice began to flood my mind. From my handstands, to building deeper flexibility, to just showing up to my mat consistently, I’ve been working hard to take my practice to the next level. With that desire has come an unexpected battle of fear and insecurities. The conversations in my mind sound like this…
I’m not strong enough.
I don’t belong here with these people. They’re better than me.
I should fly under the radar.
What if I fall?
I’m going to fall and get hurt.
If I fall, I’m a failure.
If I’m a failure, people won’t love me.
I’m alone in this. I have to figure this out on my own.
It took me a while to become aware of all these fears. As I sat at the water’s edge I was surprised by the intensity of my thoughts. Then I began to wonder, what if fear was no longer part of the equation? What would it look like if I trusted myself?
I feel scared, but it’s ok.
I have the wisdom to know when I’ve reached my limit.
I am strong. I belong here.
I can ask for support.
I’m not alone.
Falling propels me to the next level.
Falling never means failure.
I am loved.
I am accepted.
I trust myself.
It dawned on me that the invitation to trust myself is about more than yoga. I’ve learned that what I experience on my yoga mat is a metaphor for every other area of my life. The same doubts and fears of failure and rejection also bite at me with other goals and dreams:
Am I good enough for the type of man that I long to partner with?
She’s more successful than me, so why am I even trying? I’ll never be where she’s at.
Does my perspective matter?
If I play small I won’t get as disappointed if things don’t work out.
What if I write a book, and no one reads it?
What if I want to be someone’s friend and they don’t want to be mine?
What if I fall in love and get hurt?
Will the fall, the heartache, the rejection, ruin me?
Will I end up alone?
Can I trust that I am able to hear God’s voice?
I felt an invitation to trust myself in the new friendships I was about to make, in my relationship with God, and in my dreams for my business.
It would be easier to stay on the surface and have a fun vacation. To trust myself felt vulnerable and risky. But I accepted the invitation. And I’m so glad I did.
That week we woke up with the sun, meditated, practiced yoga, lingered over our meals together, explored markets, hiked, kayaked, cliff jumped, swam, sang, played guitar, laughed, read, and rested.
I felt a shift in my willingness to trust myself, and I felt so free. When I came from a place of trust I easily got up in handstand longer than I ever have before. There’s nothing magical about Guatemala or a yoga retreat; being away simply gave me time to rest and reflect. I had everything I needed before the trip started: I am loved by God, made whole through Him, worthy, and enough. I get to actively choose to believe these things that are already true about me.
Learning to trust myself more deeply on this trip made me wonder what the possibilities might be if I trust myself in all areas of my life. I think they may be endless.
PS Thank you Will + Zander for leading such a beautiful retreat. I can’t wait for another!