Saturday, 23 June, 2018 — Finca Agroecologica La Flor, Cartago, Costa Rica — Yoga & Mindfulness Immersion
I sit straddling the drum, rocking forward with each beat—the only way I know to comfortably play this instrument.
My knee has slipped off the mat and onto the hard studio floor, but the pain dulls in the background, my focus absorbed in rhythm. Driving rhythm. Holding rhythm.
As I relax into the drumbeat pattern, I am able to expand my awareness to the people in the circle with me: One has moved to the back of the room to dance; others lie down, motionless; and others sing, sway or clap in conversation with the music. A web of sound makes our many points of connection nearly-tangible.
I should be exhausted after co-facilitating our first “Yoga & the Art of Listening” retreat at Finca la Flor, Costa Rica, but I have wings.
Maybe it’s the cacao we drank, still sharp and bitter in my throat. Yet, this sense of inspired-ness—of in-purpose-ness—has been building since day one of our five-day experience.
Eyes closed to hold onto our rhythm, I see the room in my mind’s eye instead: low light, candles at the center of a rainbow of yoga mats, faces glowing—transformed.
“I did this!” my ego wants to shout, claiming for itself all the credit for this transformation, but no… there’s something truer beneath this voice:
At my core, another, wiser self is in awe. I am in awe.
In retreat, as in ceremony, we have each held space for one another to delve inward and to expand outward. I am in awe of the sheer beauty and courage and power of each individual who answered the call and co-created a unique container for accelerated growth. I am in awe of the journey that brought us to the selves sitting together in our closing ceremony, expressing and blessing with joy and freedom and grace.
My ego, of course, is wrong. I didn’t do this.
I didn’t make this transformation happen in the space of five short days. That would be madness. An impossible task.
Each participant was responsible for their own growth and (dare I say it?) transformation.
I—as a co-facilitator, co-creator, and co-learner—may have shared movement and mindfulness practices. I may have designed a schedule. But I am not responsible for the scene tonight, which makes me (rarely sentimental) feel like tearing up.
This is why I prefer the term “facilitator.” A facilitator facilitates individual and collective self-inquiry and development through invitation, sharing, and loving support. A facilitator does not presume to have any monopoly on knowledge—or potential outcomes.
After this experience (the first of hopefully many to follow), I feel grateful, blessed, honored and inspired by what I helped to create. But I do not feel the pride of ownership, because I don’t own this outcome, laid out tonight in my mind’s eye, dancing over drums and twining with the taste of cacao. I recognize that our collective effort, love, and generosity made the experience what it was.
I didn’t do this; we did.
And I am in awe of that.