Honestly, I’m not sure where to begin on this one…a lot happened in one week. I’m not the same person I was before I left on this trip. Every journey is a new experience. It’s new friends, new stories. This wasn’t a vacation, and it wasn’t just a yoga retreat. It was a self-realization retreat. We worked on some serious stuff. Shedding layers and breaking walls. I cried more in this one week than I have in years. This post is going to be very personal. I’ve wondered whether or not I want to share all of it, but I want to be an open book and put it all out there. If you want to read along, cool. If not, cool too. Thank you for being here :) Before we dig in, I just want to warn you this will be one giant ramble on. I haven’t quite processed everything so we’ll just see what happens.
First off, I want to give one giant shout out and virtual hug to Loren Lotus, the amazing creator of this incredible retreat. She is one amazing human being and I am so inspired by her. Half the time when she spoke, I wasn’t even listening because I was in such a trance of how she spoke. Straight from the heart with such passion. The same with Jonatan…but we’ll get to him later. Every detail of this retreat was perfect. The location, Gitana Del Mar, was an absolute dream. We got three meals a day included and they were, I kid you not, the best meals I’ve ever eaten in my life. Quentin the chef knows what he’s doing. Nina and Ryan, the owners of the resort are absolutely beautiful inside and out. All of the employees of the resort and the animals were so sweet! I am so happy I was able to spend time at their paradise. The teachers Loren brought to share their wisdom was perfectly planned. I could learn from all of them for the rest of my life. Each activity, workshop, and yoga practice was planned with love and thoughtfulness.
The first full day, we did the Mendihuaca Sacred Waterfall hike. We were given some coca leaves as an offering. To give to the land and set our intentions, say what we’re grateful for and then send into the water. It was so nice to connect to nature in that way. Swimming in the water, watching the others jump from the top. I’m not a daredevil so I was quite content just watching from the bottom. It was a good way to get us all out and explore together.
We had a schedule everyday. 7 AM yoga, breakfast, an excursion, lunch, a workshop, yoga, and dinner. I absolutely loved having this sort of schedule and structure in my life. It felt really good. We ate all of our meals together at a big beautiful table. Held hands and said a prayer every night. As someone who did not grow up religious, and never prayed, I honestly have been super uncomfortable when people wanted to pray before eating. But now I see it as a way to connect and give gratitude for the food, it doesn’t need to be a religious practice and I think that’s really beautiful.
I’ll probably use the word beautiful a lot throughout this post. That’s the one word I would use to describe it. So many Beautiful people with beautiful stories opening up and creating beautiful relationships in a beautiful place. We still haven’t even scratched the surface on this retreat…at all. I’m feeling like I still don’t know where to start.
One of the mornings I set aside some time to write, I remember looking up from my journal and just being in complete awe. Wondering how I even got there. But I told myself, “Of course you’re here. You deserve to be here, you’re worthy of being here, and you worked hard to create a life in which you’re able to book a trip on a whim and go.” Yes, that was me talking to myself. Your reality is what you create and I made a reality that allowed me to go to Colombia for a self-realization yoga retreat with just a few weeks notice. I just started writing everything I was grateful for in that second. Everything I was observing around me. For birds chirping, waves crashing, water trickling, leaves swaying in the wind, beautiful conversation between two beautiful souls, Mother Earth. For music allowing me to sing and bring me so much joy, for yoga making it possible for me to move my body in a loving and intentional way, for friends old and new, and to be truly passionate about something. And above all, I was grateful for making the decision to go to Colombia. There were so many thoughts going through my head telling me why I shouldn’t go, but I didn’t listen.
Let’s move on to someone else who made a huge impact on my whole experience. JAMIL! His job was to make sure there was never any silence and he definitely did not disappoint. Such a musically gifted fellah. The laugh of a saint and the hugs of Buddha. As I would like to imagine. I had so much fun being able to sing with him everyday. I’ve always had an issue with speaking. I’m more of an observer. Getting called in front of the class, having to go around and introduce myself, those things were the worst things to happen to me. On the first night of the retreat we had a welcoming ceremony. We had to go around the circle and say a little bit about ourselves. I was one of the last ones to go so I had the anticipation of watching everyone go before me. I was shaking from nerves, heart was racing, I don’t remember what I said because I’m pretty sure I blacked out. I couldn’t sleep at all because my anxiety was so high just going over and over that scenario in my head. Wondering why I can’t speak like everyone else. Why can’t I just speak comfortably in front of people? Maybe I’ll get to a point where I can one day, or maybe I’ll just accept the fact that I don’t like to speak…Maybe I’ll clear my Throat Chakra and be a completely different person. Who knows? But what I do know, is that I love to sing. I can sing in front of people no problem and be completely in my comfort zone. It was so beautiful to have Jamil constantly creating music for me to sing along to. Instant friend for life right there! He sings with so much love and passion, it’s hard not to smile while watching and listening to him.
This is Brittney. Hello beautiful Goddess. I had been following her on Instagram for about a year. At first it was just about her travels, then I discovered she had so much more to share with the world! She is a Holistic Health Educator. Spreading awareness about sacred sexual wellness. I love following Brittney because she’s the main reason I started my self love journey. She had made a post saying she would be leading some workshops at a retreat in Colombia. Of course I was interested immediately but had that little voice telling me no. After a few more of her posts I said screw it and made the decision. Booked it before even looking up flights or any sort of research about Colombia or the retreat….I just had a calling to go. We didn’t get to hang out and connect as much as I wanted to, but the last night was all I needed. We had a Cacao Ceremony and fire circle. Raw cacao is a powerful heart opener and helps connect you to pure heart energy. It was my first time and I am hooked! Just the ceremony of it is beautiful. Setting your intention and sipping the cacao. We sat by the fire under then moon and sang together. We chanted:
Om namo Kali Kali om namo
Om namo Kali Kali om namo
Oh great mother we invoke you in this space
Take away the pain and fill us with your grace
Kali burn it all away burn it all away
If it doesn’t serve us then burn it all away
over and over and over. It felt so amazing! I only just learned who Kali was a couple nights before, and this song was completely new to me, but just singing it with Brittney and Loren around a fire was such a great experience. I have so much love for everyone who was a part of this retreat!
I think I’m ready to go into Jonatan’s chapter..maybe…we’ll see. Jonatan is one of the most incredible human beings I have ever met. it’s out for debate if he’s even human. I’m not sure, but every single person he graces with his presence should be deemed damn lucky. He has so many titles, but the main one I would call him would be Teacher…or Healer. I instantly fell in love with the way he teaches. The way he speaks from his heart with grace and passion, I could just listen to him for hours. I think it was the second or third night when we had a certain chakra workshop where we came up with titles for ourselves and thought of what the purpose, fear, and accomplishment of each one was. For one of them I chose Lover as my title. I love love. I’m borderline obsessed with it. I love to see people in love, I love to be in love. I cried during this exercise because either I was just super uncomfortable talking about it, or I was really truly afraid of what I was saying. My fear was that I’d never find someone to love. The Universe was listening and saying, “Hi, Hey, Hello! There is someone right here so worthy of your love who can give his back tenfold!” and cue Jonatan…that night we were able to connect on a deeper level than teacher and student. We sat by each other at dinner and talked the whole time and stayed up late singing together with Jamil. We had so much fun together! We laughed, we cried. Actually, I cried. We exchanged massages and I had an emotional release in my elbow. I learned about those in massage school but had never had or seen one before. I don’t know what I released but it felt really good. On a separate occasion he held me while I cried about my Papa passing. I didn’t think I’d ever cry about it. I thought since I knew it was coming and he was ready to go, that I was okay. I’ve never been a big crier, but I didn’t think I held emotions in. I just thought I was either a robot with no feelings or I moved on from things gracefully. Now I know that I have sooo many bottled up emotions and it is totally okay to cry. It’s amazing actually! I am so grateful to Jonatan for holding space for me to release what I needed to let go of. So much love for that man. He embraced my silly self and saw me for me :) I could go on and on.
This is Gaby! My beautiful roommate. She is just so light and radiates kindness. She brings everyone around her into her love bubble. I loved being in her presence. SO happy to have shared that space with her. I always wondered what it would be like to live in a dorm and have a roommate. I had a week of it with her in our adorable tent and I loved it. Not enough time! We were able to just be completely comfortable in each others space. Just be naked and talk about our days. I loved it so much.
I didn’t have enough time to connect with everyone. It was a pretty large group. I think it took me until day three to fully open up and be myself. As a creature that loves to be alone, it was a bit overwhelming to be surrounded by so many people all the time. Another 3 days would have been perfect but I am so happy about all the new connections I have across the country!
My heart is so full after this retreat. I feel like it could burst. So much gratitude and love. Loren, thank you for putting this together! It could not have been more perfect. Jamil, thank you for letting me explore my musical side with you. Brittney, thank you for being you, babe! You are incredible. Jonatan, Thank you so much for your love. Thank you to everyone else there! Who came to be a part of something so big and beautiful. With an open heart and open mind, we were able to come together and have an unbelievably beautiful experience. If I didn’t have the photos and all the new Facebook friends, I’d think it was just a beautiful dream.
And thank you to you! I am so happy to have a space to share, vent, release, talk and have someone who actually wants to sit down and read it. I appreciate you! Until next time :)