Everyone has been asking me about my time in New York and usually I just say, it was life changing, it's beyond words, I highly enjoyed myself. It really was so good that I simply cannot put it into words, even doing so here, I still feel like I cannot convey the profound life changing experience that occurred. I know those are hefty words too and I'm not trying to throw them around lightly. I seek out profound life changing experiences in my life, so that part should come of no surprise. I do find it quite challenging to find exactly what little bit I want to include each time someone new asks me how my time on the east side was. Hopefully, this will give you a good taste. I truly am excited to share this with you and I hope you enjoy reading about it just as much!
First, I spent five days in Philly (yeah, I'll blog about that soon too) so I didn't fly straight into Ithaca. I took a long eight hour bus ride that ended up being a long twelve hour travel day. I have to laugh thinking about this, because I've traveled a lot now and still I forget that travel arrangements never go as planned.
When I got off the bus two girls that looked about my age were there to greet me. They didn't just greet me either, they looked ecstatic to see me and gave me huge warm hugs, like we'd long been friends and it had been years since we'd seen each other. What a homey feeling.
I was escorted to my bungalow, number 17. "Am I rooming with anyone?" I asked, "Oh, no, girl. You get your own space. We all get out own space. You'll want it when the retreats start up." Again, total awe. My own space?! With understanding, respect, and encouragement for needing and wanting to take time away for myself? Heck yeah! I got comfortable, I settled in and allowed myself to fall into complete wonder of being surrounded by a new and magical place.
It's the little things
The first night was challenging to adjust. I admittedly had my first ever sinus infection that was radiating down into my teeth and jaw and hurt so bad it had me laughing and crying because of the pain and kept me tossing and turning all night long.
I became totally engulfed in gratitude. I was thanking the sun for rising, my bungalow for holding my things, as well as a comfortable space for me. Every singe morning I woke up the greenery and fresh smells that surrounded me brought smiles to my face, but the morning I saw the first lotus flower bloom, I was literally brought to tears. I got into a morning habit of soaking everything in, getting tea, and walking around the beautiful flower beds. I was headed towards an orange-yellow rose when the lotus caught my eye and I bee-lined for it. I had never seen one up close. Yeah, I guess you could say I was pretty high on life. The utter simplicity of life. When you let your mind go and can truly immerse yourself in the beauty that surrounds you, it gets a little easier to let things slide off your back and be brought to your knees by the sheer gratitude of living. Everything else seems small and pointless in these moments.
I was also dubbed the task of lighting the sauna's in the morning and periodically checking them throughout the day. I was responsible for cleaning the yoga studio and stocking the bathrooms, I assisted in handy-man duties, and at one point was also on breakfast crew. Which, included making fresh green juice.
I've never, ever "detoxed." Not intentionally. Now that I know a little about it I would definitely include nutritional resets as a type of detox. However, in this instance, I'm talking about your classic fasting protocols, purposefully leeching toxins from your body with the intention to flush them out and become an all around detoxed, individual.
Like I said, I had never even heard of the word enema before my pick-up car ride to the retreat center. I still laugh about the phone call to my partner, saying,
Any space that allows me to feel completely happy and in pure delight of myself and my life will always hold a very special place within me for as long as I am able to remember. It also allows the space for me to feel pure delight and happiness towards the people I got to share it with. This essentially includes an entire giant blanket of non-judgement that I wrapped myself in for four weeks and through that I was able to experience love.
I often spent time to myself, as did many other people. I liked this perspective switch, as in our "normal" daily lives and society, we are not encouraged to take time for ourselves. It's all about doing your best to please others. We continuously put others first - work, family, partners - before we stop and allow time with and for ourselves. We've created this sense that we will not be loved if we do not succeed and success comes as a different definition to each of us. In that scenario, there is no end. You'll be constantly chasing "one day" or "when the time is right." Just a reminder: your time is now and your life is what you make it.
Throughout the retreat some of the cooks were playing with keto meals in preparation for the keto retreat. These were very decadent meals, as the owners want to get across that this can be a long-term lifestyle choice where you feel absolutely no deprivation whatsoever. Pictured here is a flax+almond flour crust pizza topped with seed pate and pesto. It was delicious!
Ultimately, I know that everything in life is my choice. If there is one thing I re-learned and remembered during my time in New York, it is that life is so utterly, stupidly, down right disturbingly simple. Don't get it confused with easy, because obviously it is anything but easy, yet the simplicity can still prevail, and that is my goal.