I have officially made it three weeks into my stay at Bali Silent Retreat, the halfway point. I am just now beginning to blog about my experience because the first few weeks were just so filled with emotion, I needed some time to process and sort through some of that first. Don’t get me wrong, I am still processing it and everyday is a completely different journey of emotions. But I am finally starting to feel as though I am “landing.”
As many of you know, when I left Denver I also walked away from a three-year relationship. And a good relationship at that. The past three years have been some of the best times I have had, filled with silliness, laughter and a lot of love. But since I completed my yoga teacher training and began teaching yoga two and a half years ago, my life has taken a different turn than it ever has before. I found a spiritual connection and began moving down a path that just seems to be getting deeper and more intense the further I move down it. Unfortunately, this path has led me in a different direction than the path my former partner is on. We still loved each other very much (and still do) and these differences didn’t really affect the happiness of our relationship, but I have found myself craving a spiritual journey, and one that I don’t think I could have experienced had I stayed in Denver. Since making the decision to take this trip over a year ago, he stuck by my side, loving me and supporting me through all of the planning and preparation, the roller coaster of emotions and the inevitable “break-up date.” It’s very strange having a set break-up date. And let me tell you, it was one of the worst days of my life, just thinking about it brings hot tears into my eyes and and a deep ache into my heart. But we are still very close and communicating on a very regular basis, which I am so incredibly grateful for because I don’t know that I could handle losing my best friend during this time of so much change and uprooting in my life. Who knows what the future will bring, but we are both opening ourselves to whatever the universe has in store for us.
That being said, this has been a difficult transition, much more difficult that I imagine it would have been had I been single leaving Denver. And being at a silent retreat that is very secluded from the rest of the world has really forced me to confront all of the emotions that are coming up. There are very few distractions and really no place to hide from it here. I am not practicing silence as I am here teaching and I am able to speak with the other volunteers and staff, but this is the most silence and solitude I’ve experienced probably ever in my life. Aside from teaching and practicing yoga and meditation, I spend most of my days alone, reading, walking and watching movies (I brought a hard drive full of my favorite movies, best decision ever). There is no Wi-Fi at the retreat but luckily I did purchase a phone and a SIM card with data so I am able to check emails and use Viber to communicate with my friends and family. However, the time difference is 14 hours which leaves only a few hours a day to communicate and I have been trying to keep myself away from my phone and social media as much as possible.
I have been in one relationship after another for the past 11 years so this is essentially the first time I have been single since I was 22. I am glad that I waited until my thirties to take this journey because I am more confident and connected with myself than I ever was in my twenties, but I am finding that I am getting to know myself all over again, this time as a single adult woman. Some days I feel amazing; confident and proud of myself for taking this leap and excited for the adventures and experiences to come. Other days I feel completely empty, disconnected, afraid and alone. And this is a different type of loneliness than I have ever experienced before. I can’t snuggle up with my dog (who has been such a sweet companion to me for the past nine years, another REALLY hard goodbye), or call a friend to hang out when I’m feeling down or even go to a coffee shop or bar to just be around other human beings. Everyone and everything I know is thousands of miles away.
The one thing that is still familiar in my life right now is the yoga and I am actually so grateful that I am teaching right now. I have been teaching seven days a week for the past three weeks and honestly I haven’t felt like I needed a break. Even on my bad days, it is sometimes the brightest part of my day and really helps me to feel better. And this is some of the most rewarding teaching I have ever experienced. I have had many students already thank me profusely, telling me what a difference I have made in their lives in just the few days or weeks that they are here. Many of the retreat guests are brand new or fairly new to yoga and/or meditation and it is amazing seeing them diving right into the practices. I suspect that many of the guests here are also processing a lot and who knows what reasons led them to a silent retreat in Bali.
But these were emotions that I knew I would inevitably have to confront. I walked away from A LOT when I left Denver. I keep reminding myself that everything I left behind is still there and will be there if and when I return. That this is an experience that I will never forget and will likely change my life in many ways. And really, what better place to process all of this change and emotion than a gorgeous retreat full of incredible energy and love? Even through the muck of it all, I am so appreciative that the universe led me here before going to Thailand and jumping into a new job, new life, new everything.
And I had an incredible experience this morning. I woke up in the early morning to go to the bathroom but while I was still half asleep before really waking up, I heard a voice repeating to me, “You are exactly where you are supposed to be. You are exactly where you are supposed to be.” I cannot tell you how comforting it was, I felt like I was being hugged and held from the inside out. What a beautiful reminder that we are NEVER alone.