I write to you from a tiny village in Yixing, China, known for both tea plants and being the holy land for Buddhism in Southern China. Now, also, it will be known to me as the site of my very first yoga retreat.
I mostly came here to be still; to be with myself and find answers to questions I couldn’t find time to truly ask with so many different voices in my head. I’ve been hearing, and even sometimes listening to, so many external voices in the last few weeks that I have completely drowned in the ever-moving sea of them all. I could hardly wait to get out of Shanghai, away from the noise, to find back my centre. I was suffocating under the weight of expectations and advice that wasn’t mine, afraid to admit that I could no longer tell what were my thoughts and what were the thoughts that were handed to me. It was becoming dangerous, especially since I’ve also had to learn a new country, language, and culture in the midst of it all.
My first month in Shanghai has brought me to several crossroads, and most of them feel like a battle with ego. I wonder if I was called here to truly and finally bring my both neglected and overused ego to a resting balance. There has been test after test. I have broken down in tears in front of complete strangers. I have worked more and harder than I’ve ever worked in my life and I’ve been so drained from both the physical and mental/emotional impact of it all that I’ve slept for more than 12 hours straight on multiple occasions. There have been so many days when I’ve wondered why I came; how I could have left such a high energy place where everyone was passionate and their lives were deliberate to come into such an opposite space. So many times I’ve had to remind myself that I was called here for a reason. I’ve had to exercise patience and willpower in ways that I’ve never experienced before; to stand firmly in my truth despite the obstacles and opposition, and learn how to truly wait for the answers to come to me.
As you guys know, I’ve spent the greater part of the last three years enveloped in an intense emotional, spiritual and divine awakening that has brought me to know and feel and manifest my truth in every move I make. I have done the shadow work required to free myself of my childhood traumas, as well as any that I’ve co-created as a conscious and also subconscious being. I have discovered, amongst other things, that I was not meant to do anything here in this dimension that I don’t fully believe in. It was never my job to play small in order for other people to feel big. And I certainly did not manifest at this time, in this dimension, to play pretend. Now more than ever, I am seeing those spaces I was never meant to fill and looking on them with appreciation and humility.
Still, it hasn’t been easy for me to be. Most days it feels as if I’ve derailed completely and am heading away from myself, but I know on an energetic level that I am still on my path. My experiences here have served to bring every single layer of my being into the light. All of my shadows have been revealed. I have seen myself reflected clearly in every single person who has been sent to me, and after weeks of nonstop movement, I am grateful to finally have the opportunity to sit with it all in silence and in stillness before making any decisions.
More times in the last month than I care to admit, it felt as if throwing in the towel was the best and perhaps even only option. I’ve been preparing myself to go back on my word and break several commitments. But right when I was ready to end it, when I was one more second of thought away from turning the doorknob to the principal’s office and saying “I quit”, it came to me that I am responsible for all of what I’ve experienced here. I was meant to be here, to recognise myself in all of these people and situations so I could learn how to truly love my shadows away. I need to dig deep down to the very root of it and hold its hand. I need to appreciate that it’s been brought into the light where I have no choice now but to see it. Never again will I face myself in this way if I just allow myself the time and space to fully face it this time around.
So I’ve stayed. I’ve tucked away the verbal abuse, the prejudices, the fully launched attacks on my character, and all the plethora of things that raised a flag of “is this a sign” deep into a pocket that I can’t access; where it may as well have not existed at all. Because it doesn’t. I am done attaching myself to my mind and its thoughts. I am done attaching myself to the emotions I observe. I am not here to engage in ego wars. I’ve never had to prove anything to anyone ever. The only thing I’ve ever needed to do is stay present. Thus, I have forced myself to practise even on the days when I barely want to remove the sheets that allow me to sink into a hole where I can hide from myself. I have taken a long look in the mirror. And I have accepted what reflects back to me.
The plan now, is to find all the dark parts that are simply so because they hide behind the light, and move them.