If you are someone who is always busy, often doing things for others, or perhaps you feel like YOU get lost inside your life at times. Then it’s time to press pause, hit refresh, and give yourself permission to practice just being. Come away with me…
….. this invitation brought together a beautiful group of like-minded people to Siargao Island in the Philippines in July, 2019.
It was an amazing ten days for all of us, and an experience I am sure we will always cherish.
There was an unwinding that happened on the island in a way I had never experienced so profoundly before. Maybe it was the idyllic location, maybe it was the way the people lived and loved nature so purely, maybe it was hospitality …. but certainly, the kindness and connection was palpable. And it was eye opening to experience this feeling of being “held by nature and her people” during our retreat.
It was an incredibly unique experience. It was unquestionably the most beautiful place I have ever travelled to in my life. And I have travelled to many beautiful and exotic locations. This island by far has been my favourite.
The theme of the retreat was based on the idea of creating balance. Throughout our daily yoga practice, we explored various yogic ways of doing this. Off our mats the metaphor of balancing ease and effort was reflected in the structure of the retreat. With days oscillating between ease and effort days. One day we would “go out into the world” effort days – exploring islands, swimming in rock pools, beautiful lagoons, hiking, bike riding and the next day was all about ease and “just being”. On these days, people enjoyed massages, lingered a little longer over meals, sat in a deck chair, by pool or on the beach front, read, journaled, strolled. (A few of the men folk even used this time to “fill their boots” at a local shooting range).
The second aspect embedded in the retreat is the importance of being here and in the now. Each day the brief for the following day was revealed – holding all “retreaters” in a 24 hour time frame supporting the feeling of unwinding and letting go …. allowing for the settling into presence.
This invited a sense of trust and letting go of expectations. Expectation management is incredibly important skill which really has the power to shape our happiness. Sometimes we must let go of the picture of what we thought our life would be like, in order to create the space for joy in the moments of the life we are living.
A good analogy can be found in a plate of eggs benedict I ordered in Siargao ….. Stay with me on this one ?. To set the scene we first need to remember that Siargao is a tear-drop shaped island in the Philippine Sea situated 196 kilometers southeast of Tacloban in the province of Surigao del Norte. It has a land area of approximately 437 square kilometres. It is predominantly jungle. It is characterised by waterfalls, rock pools, caves, underwater caves, dive sites, surf breaks.
Surrounded by these majestic land formations and the powerful ocean, the islanders are in constant commune with the essence, spirit and source animating life. It is expressed in their ways, the order of their days, and their language. When you come to the island and initial experience coming in contact with this Nature— your mind silences and the ego dissolves into the infinity that her beauty suggests. This way of BEING is constant for the people of Siargao and it is an experience they so willingly share with the world outside theirs.
On retreat the restaurants you will eat at source their food locally and sustainably grown food. It is so local in fact, you will even get to experience a local, organic farm who supplies the places you will eat. You will see the crops in the fields, meet the growers and talk to them about sustainability and the organic cycle on the island.
It becomes so obvious to you when you order something, and they say … “I am sorry we don’t have any spinach” you can say “oh yea that’s right I was at the farm and I saw the field”. It’s THAT close to nature. Of course, delicious alternatives are arranged.
Like the time, I ordered eggs benedict. In my mind, I held a picture of what I expected this too look like…. Some nice freshly toasted muffin/ bread poached eggs, hollandaise sauce and spinach. I didn’t really have consciousness around this expectation until my meal arrived.
I surprised to see an artistically arranged apple sprinkled with sesame seeds on top of two poached eggs on delicious homemade toasted bread.
Had I held on to the idea “this is not eggs bene” I would have missed the opportunity to think… “Oh wow! That’s pretty…. I have never had sesame seeds on apple, on eggs, on toast before…. This is something new”
Being somewhat of a postmodernist. I deconstructed the masterpiece and experienced apple and sesame seeds for breakfast for the first time – it was surprisingly delicious and then I enjoyed a familiar favourite poached eggs on toast.
But you see the wonder was only possible by letting go of “story” I had about how eggs benedict “should” be. See, this is the trouble with expectations sometimes, if we don’t allow ourselves to be free and go with the flow we miss the opportunity to be open to change, and instead feel sadness, disappointment, hurt, anger if moments in our life are not what we expected.
And of course, this relates to all sorts of things – not just apples and eggs ?
I mean how could you be open to more change, more possibility, more wonder, by letting go of some the old stories you have been telling yourself about you expect to happen in your life. How much joy? How much adventure? Opportunities, growth? Maybe you had an old story around travel and winter holidays, stories and expectations around relationships, work, body image …. We are all filled with stories and truly nothing has meaning until we give it meaning — it is what it is…. and you write the story.
Come away with me next winter and experience this wonderful island for yourself. I promise you, your expectations will exceeded in unexpected ways and you will have some amazing memorable stories to share. To find out more, simply email Tonya firstname.lastname@example.org to book you your FREE discovery call. Or click here to view the itinerary.