I am freshly back from a week in Costa Rica. It was my first time in the rainforest and it affected me deeply.
I was on a retreat which is part of a year long program called Flight School with Jennifer Hough. We spent the week letting go of identities that we have lived our lives from. Perspectives were shifted and we connected through our hearts to the truth of who we are.
I had so many new awarenesses come to me but there is one that has impacted me the most. Stay with me as I need to set the scene for you first.
During the past 5 years of my life, I have felt drained, overwhelmed and cut off from the love and beauty and joy that I knew was all around me. I knew it was there but I didn’t feel it. So of course, I felt like there was something wrong with me, something that needed fixing.
What I now know to be true is that I was in survival mode, checking off the boxes on my to do list, getting things done and making sure it was done “right”. It is a reflection of the identities/patterns I have operated from which is “having everything handled”, “not needing anyone and doing it all myself”. These are protective mechanisms I took on as a child to keep me feeling safe.
Aliveness and Vitality were not part of my vocabulary. I sure as hell didn’t feel that way and I had no idea how to bring those sensations into my life. Aliveness and vitality are part of thriving and when you are in survival mode, you are not thriving and you definitely don’t feel them.
This past year I have been in inquiry of how I can bring those feelings online for myself. What has presented is to start thriving by letting go of those protective mechanisms, changing my habits of behaviour and ways of being and opening my heart to let love in.
I am in a space of not having everything handled and needing people to help me so that I am not doing it all. It feels very unfamiliar and a little uncomfortable but also very freeing.
I have noticed my energy levels have increased and I am starting to feel my zest for life return and excitement for the new opportunities that are showing up for me. I am happier, more relaxed and willing to let go of the reigns as I take a stand for love instead of fear.
I am no longer willing to make my choices from fear and I understand that EVERYTHING that shows up in my life is for me in some way. That is the dance of life – taking one step at a time that is responded in turn by the Universe. It is not easy and it requires courage but it is the way to thrive and feel expansive instead of shut down.
Now, back to Costa Rica… Every morning I would get up early and walk to the top of the mountain we were staying on. It was a very steep climb which I called the “Flight School Ass” walk because our gluts were definitely getting a good workout.
The road was flanked on either side by the most amazing plants. Take any plant you have ever seen and increase the size 10 fold and that is what I saw. Bamboo the size of tree trunks extended way up in the air. Birds of paradise flowers towered over us.
And the sounds!!! Oh my goodness! The sounds of the rainforest are amazing and almost deafening at times. The aliveness was so uber apparent and all my senses were being bombarded from every direction. It was aliveness on steroids people!!!
You couldn’t help but be in the present moment. There was so much to see, hear, smell and feel. My body buzzed with the energy that surrounded me and as I opened to it, I felt the aliveness within me as well.
It truly was intoxicating and as I took in the view from the top of the mountain, I felt moved to tears as I felt so much expansion in my being and love for everything around me. The beauty was breathtaking and it touched me deeply.
Not a bad way to start the day, hey?
So I was immersed in that aliveness for a week. I had nothing pulling on me, no one needing anything from me and very little responsibility. It was easy to relax and let go of control and just focus on myself. It felt amazing.
As I made the journey back home, I began to ponder, how can I bring that aliveness home with me? How can I feel the way I did in Costa Rica back home in Edmonton? After all, I have a family and a business and friends and and and….
I can’t just hide myself away in Costa Rica forever (or could I?;)).
I don’t have a complete answer for you at the moment but I will share what has come into my awareness so far.
Every morning, I am taking time by myself to remember my experience in Costa Rica – what I saw, how I felt, and what I learned. I bring that experience into my body and can duplicate those feelings of aliveness and peace. What you can do is remember a time when you felt your desired feelings, whatever they may be – joy, peace, aliveness, excitement, etc. and see if you can reproduce those feelings in your body by remembering them.
I am moving my body every day, whether it be walking, yoga, cycling, dancing. It doesn’t really matter how. Especially if I feel stuck or something is really bothering me, I stop what I’m doing and get up and move. This moves energy throughout my body and often that is all that is needed for me to move forward again. So I am listening to when my body doesn’t feel good and shifting the energy through movement.
Another important component for me is being out in nature. I went for a walk after dropping off the girls at school this morning. I took in the beauty of the fall leaves and the blue sky and tried to stay present by tuning into what my senses were receiving. I start work later in the day so I can take that time but if you are off to work in the morning, you can get outside at lunch or on a break or after work. There are ways to incorporate being in nature into your day if you make it a priority. I find it so incredibly grounding.
We all learned this in school but this perspective really shifted things for me. The trees are literally breathing out the oxygen that we breathe in and we are breathing out the carbon dioxide that the trees take in. We are in relationship with the trees whether we realize it or not and it has increased my appreciation for them even more.
Nature is such a great example of harmony. It is wired for harmony and because we are made from particles of the universe, like everything in nature is, we too are wired for harmony (even if it doesn’t feel that way!).
So that necessitates that we aren’t in go go go mode all the time. We are not in harmony in that state. It is how we get drained. Harmony is a combination of doing and being. It is giving and receiving. We can’t receive in survival mode. It shuts of our receiving capacity. It involves times to slow down and look after yourself. It requires getting off the treadmill of to do’s and taking some breaks. It requires listening to what your body is telling you. It is always telling us when we are not in harmony by not feeling good.
And you may be saying, that’s all fine and dandy Glenda but there is so much to do and not enough time to get it done. I hear you as that thought often runs through my mind. So what is the answer?
Well, maybe there are some things on your to do list that are really not necessary. That would be the first thing to look at to see if there is anything you can cross off. And the next step is to ask for help.
Getting ready for school didn’t go so well this morning. So I had a conversation with my girls about what we can do differently, how they can help more so that the morning isn’t rushed and we can enjoy it more. They were quite receptive to it. These little things all add up and it frees up my energy to be more present, to connect with them more and live with more aliveness instead of operating from the fumes at the bottom of the empty gas tank.
It is an ongoing inquiry of my path to more aliveness and vitality in my life. I will keep you posted…
And if you want to deepen your own inquiry about how to move from burn out and overwhelm to thriving, drop me a line and let’s get you moving down that path.
Until next time,