The ride began...after Vipassana...
Wouldn’t it be delightful if things felt light and easy after we sat with our 'shit' for 10 days? Instead it forces us to look at ourselves and sometimes digs into some places we had forgotten about. Personally I feel the challenge began after Vipassana this time. The 3 weeks after finishing have been much harder than the experience itself - it has felt heavy. I felt a sense of failure - I felt defeated to think I'd done such intense inner work for 10 days to come out the other end more disappointed than when I went in. With not a lot of gems to share with my community - you guys!
Two days after my Vipassana experience I definitely began to feel the disconnect start, the internal overwhelm...the 'blur'. I became unable to articulate what I was feeling, had feelings of being lost - unable to communicate my thoughts. This caused me to turn to overeating, coffee daily and alcohol almost daily - in order to suppress emotions. Bonza combo, right?! Best choice ever?! No. The interesting thing about this was it was unsettling (to say the least) having my own high standards of health. However, with perspective this only lasted 3 weeks. Looking back now I realise I just needed to reintegrate all that had shifted internally - which I didn't give myself the personal space to do so. Here's what helped me to get through this chapter...
- The first was to try to not beat myself up over the choices I was making around food and drink. Of course they were poor choices, when in repetition, and not going to aid clarity, but did help me cope. The more consciously I chose and trusted it was a passing phase the less of a struggle it was internally. I win the award I'm sure for beating myself up over what's an AMAZING choice and not so amazing. However, this time something different was experienced. I was aware that each choice - although not necessarily nourishing, was just that, a choice. Each day, each moment, I could choose again. And I did.
- I also started doTerra supplements to boost my mind and body after about 2 weeks ...could have started this earlier. These are potent! Yell out if you want some.
- I would have also started some NAC powder (which helps with addictions) however kept selling it to clients and didn't restock for myself. Part of me knew I had to go through this phase for empathy for my clients.
- Ever so slowly I trusted my meditation practice would come back. One month on it has and it feels joyful, not forced. I think this is important, personally. Even if it starts with 5mins. Set a goal that is achievable.
- I reached out to the knowledgable energy workers around me to assist this process, knowing I didn't have to do it alone. My kinesiologist, continuing my Spiral Dynamics process, chatting to my psychologist and friends - just trying to be in the unknown, without absolute resistance. Some may have chosen meditation, however I couldn't bring myself to do it. There was no joy in it.
Now, exactly one month after Vipassana I'm feeling myself - but it took just over 3 weeks for things to shift and for me to reconnect with myself. I felt incredibly vulnerable trying to climb my way back out and be the person I wanted to be, especially in a new relationship.
For the most part I felt the need to re-enter the world and not talk about my experience. I think this was only due to me not giving myself the required personal space I needed to ‘re-enter’. I hit the ground running in Sydney city and then landed back in Cairns to commitments and the shared space of a new relationship. Emphasising (to myself perhaps) the need to honour one’s own space and boundaries, with the benefit that it has for processing.
Interestingly, before heading in I questioned whether I ‘needed’ to sit another Vipassana - life was sweet before heading in. I simply wanted time to be in silence and reflect. But, I am always open to upgrading and challenging myself - hence Vipassana unfolded. After the experience I actually felt an element of trauma around the experience – I think due to the force and restriction that I felt woven through the Vipassana model this time. The last few years of health and business learnings have all come back to the same message of flow, allowance, letting go, joy, ease and anything that feels like it lights my soul on fire. Apart from the peace I found in the bush at times during Vipassana – staring at the gorgeous southern flora - there wasn’t a whole lot of joy and more importantly, individuality. On the flip side though I do feel the philosophy of impermanence and equanimity plus the simplicity of breath-focus has many merits both on and off the meditation cushion. But why the military like structure? Why the resistance to writing, reading, sunshine, breaks, sleep and joy? Perhaps with this awareness you can choose if this 10 day commitment is right for your journey, learnings and personality? My 2 Vipassana sits were completely contrasting. They are not necessarily easier each time. Speaking to other participants on the final day, this is not a lone observation.
To give you a visual: One of the girls I met on day 1 greeted me on Day 11 and said "Wow, you look like you've been hit by a truck! You were so much happier when you arrived." Haha! That's how it felt inside - I must be that transparent. To add to the emotional cleanse of Vipassana, I did a charcoal cleanse during the 10 days and also had my period during this time - cleansing on many different levels. I know things have and will continue to shift - all in the right direction, as I aim for growth, just with a few minor bumps in the road...
Reflecting on my experience I do feel it's strange that the room was not smudged with sage after each group meditation session. I feel this is important with 100 people meditating many hours a day, deeply processing. Some energy cleansing rituals of the group meditation room would be beneficial.
I feel grateful for the experience 4 weeks on, now having integrated it. Perhaps the lesson in all of this is giving ourselves time...allowing things to unfold in their own time? Whatever that looks like. Unique for every individual - knowing you/I are whole in the process. Everything is impermanent.
To wrap up I am glad I challenged myself and am grateful for the experience. The lessons and learnings continue to unfold. I am also aware though that perhaps I didn't need to throw myself into a deep growth experience - perhaps just being in the moment, sitting in gratitude and life is absolutely enough, for this moment in time?
How does this little reflection resonate for you with where you are with your life? Do you need to always be pushing yourself for the next upgrade, or could you be happy with where you are at present? Do you feel the need to force or are you able to allow a little more? Where could you attach a little less and observe with the knowing of anitcha (impermanence) and equanimity (neither right nor wrong)?
I'll be running Thursday night meditation sessions from a brand new health food store in Clifton Beach (Origin Natural Living), kicking off soon! Join me if you would like a supportive community to begin or continue your meditation practise in.