A week ago, they almost left me behind when departing Panama City. Yesterday, they left me behind on purpose, as they headed back home and I remained behind for another week (at least…).
One one hand, it’s hard to believe that it’s only been a week. At the same time, it feels like the week passed in a blur.
The trip had come together in such a whirlwind — booked just 4 days before I left — that I hadn’t had time to formulate expectations or worry about things like who else would be on the retreat and what they would be like and whether I would fit in.
I hadn’t really given much thought to the fact that there would be other participants.
As much as I came to Santa Catalina to get out of the cold, to escape the conditions of the seasonal winter, I also came to honor what remains of my personal winter — the energetic season of winter.
The Winter Energy
Winter is a time for dormancy. It is a time to release what no longer serves us and to grieve the losses.
Winter is a time to rest; to pause from doing and allow ourselves to BE.
Winter is a time to dive into the emptiness that holds the seed of possibility. It is a time to venture into the darkness to find our inner light.
The week of yoga and surf appealed to the part of me that thrives on activity. But I knew that I did not come to this remote fishing village just to do yoga.
My intention in coming to Santa Catalina was to honor and embrace my winter. I came here to connect with myself, to go within, to reflect, restore and renew. To nourish and nurture myself.
I came here to take refuge in the sanctuary of my own heart. To “luxuriate in my heart space” as my mentor Margaret Nichols so poetically suggested.
I came to hear the sound of my breath, the stirrings of my soul, the still, small voice of my inner wisdom and what is being called from me at this time.
I didn’t come for a social vacation.
Life Gives Us What We Need
Nature is self-regulating. It takes care of itself when we stay out of the way.
In the same way, life delivers to us what we need — if we are open to receiving it in the form it wants to take.
I never fail to be amazed by the higher. cosmic forces at work that bring the right mix of people together in a specific place at a specific time.
For a week, we ate three meals a day together. We did yoga twice a day and surfed daily. We snorkeled the untouched reefs of Coiba Island, swam together in crystal clear turquoise waters, explored the shores and waters of Santa Catalina Island, sang, laughed, and discussed everything from Netflix shows to deeper issues of life.
Within the span of a week, we were family.
My downtime was more external, involving play, conversations, learning about others. And in that learning, it became clear to me that we were all brought together in this place at this time for a specific reason.
It was unexpected, and not necessarily what I most wanted going into the week, but it was clearly in part what I needed. As much as I needed solitude, I also needed connection.
In its own way, it nourished and nurtured me. This new family was exactly what I needed for that first week, and their departure catalyzed what I needed to bein my second week.
Diving Into the Emptniess
After hugging everyone goodbye, I turned around and walked down the little hill to the yoga shala. I didn’t want to watch the van pull out.
As I walked away, the tears flowed. I got on the mat in child’s pose and cried.
Throughout the day, the sadness came in waves. Every corner of the hotel held a memory of my friends.
A week ago, I didn’t know them. Now their absence burrowed as a hole in my heart. It’s a hole that can be filled only from within.
This is the energy of winter. I lean into it. Embrace it. I honor this season.
For the first time in a week, grey clouds rolled into the afternoon sky, as if to remind me to stay in the energy of darkness.
It may be 90° and sunny here, but I am still in the energetic winter. I dive into it, choosing to stay.t
This is why I came here.