I recently returned from a Darkness Retreat in Lake Atitlan which is located in the highlands of Guatemala.
I spent 5 days and 6 nights in complete darkness without the distraction of social media, a cell phone, schedule or having to navigate other human beings.
I was completely alone with myself and my dark surroundings invited me to surrender into a state of silent presence. Presence with my thoughts, my awareness and my own essence.
I shared my intention to do this retreat with others before I left. Of course the typical response was “why would you want to do that?”
“The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.” – Joseph Campbell
As part of a routine check in with myself at the beginning of the year, I found that I was physically, mentally and emotionally tapped out.
Years of pushing myself to ever greater levels of expansion had finally caught up with me.
As they say, ‘Just because you can doesn’t mean you should’.
While I have the capacity to live a very full life focused on success, achievement and growth (all states of doing), my Soul has been inviting me to explore Voluntary Simplicity and the art of being.
A concept at odds with where most of us find ourselves!
We feel time hastening its speed as we all try to keep up.
We are surrounded by the allure of more, bigger, faster and better.
Our world continues to feel increasingly chaotic as we collectively search for some kind of equilibrium within our political, religious, and educational institutions.
Our planet calls out to a deaf audience for greater awareness in how we use (and misuse) our limited resources. We all timidly watch to see who will step up to solve this insurmountable issue while crossing our fingers that someone will!
And within each of us, we feel a strong desire to find our own sense of calm within the storm as we navigate a reality unlike any other time in the history of human kind.
So yes – I answered the call to find some stillness within the busyness of life and get a much needed energetic reset to take home with me.
“We evolved as social animals, and we dedicate a lot of energy to worrying about how our words, actions and appearance will be interpreted by our peers. One of the most profound effects of a dark retreat is the elimination of this distraction. Without anyone to judge you, movements, sounds and even thoughts which would otherwise have been automatically repressed manifest spontaneously. You shake, you groan, you laugh and cry. The expression of who you are flows uninhibited. If you can allow stillness, there is no need to search for yourself because there is nothing to separate you from yourself”. – Jyotir B
The silent and darkness retreat beautifully delivered the reset I was seeking.
I found light in the darkness.
Our brains respond to absolute darkness by projecting a golden glow into the room. However, I knew it was not real because I could see the glow whether my eyes were open or closed. Throughout my time in darkness, the colors would change from white to a golden yellow, orange, red and blue. I could see the details of the room, although imaginary, again whether my eyes were open or closed.
I found a level of gratitude that I had not known before.
We say we are grateful for what we have in our life but we often do so from a superficial place. When you are in a part of the world where indoor plumbing and clean water isn’t just a ‘given’ – you become very connected to the amount of abundance you possess in all areas of your life.
I felt the gratitude deep in the core of my being. Gratitude for who I am. Gratitude for all that life is. Gratitude for this beautiful journey we are on as we move together through the sands of time.
I found a heightened level of acceptance.
As a transformational coach focused on change – upgrading, transforming and making things better comes with the territory. In my retreat, I was stripped of my habitual focus on improving the things around me and instead spent time meditating on ‘loving what is’.
I found a softening of my personality.
I admit I have an intensity about me. A desire to advocate for others to step into their higher potential. With acceptance comes a softening of the spirit and a deeper understanding that all is as it should be. We are all whole. We are not broken. Everyone is on their own spiritual journey and there is no ‘right way’ to climb the summit. Eventually we all reach the peak and we have infinity to get ourselves there.
I found time for deeper healing and integration of my Shadows.
When you are in a retreat with nothing but time, you can connect with your Soul for assistance with healing. I asked for a smoothing of my rough edges, a more loving and open presence with the people in my life and a focus on befriending the parts of myself that I’ve made wrong or disowned.
My Soul and Guides were happy to assist me and I brought the light, gratitude, softness and acceptance into the healing process.
“People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own souls. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.” – Carl Jung
The darkness retreat gave me an opportunity to more fully embody my Divine essence as I walk my spiritual path.
In the end, I can’t say that I found myself because I was there the entire time.
But I can say that I found more love, presence and light – which exist in all of us if we will just take the time to connect in with it.
My love, stay here.
Going in search of Self (as a goal) is illusion;
You are already the One Self.
You will purchase the map,
Only to find you are already Here. ~ Mooji
In love and Gratitude,