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  • Writer's pictureAlethia Austin

Costa Rica Being Retreat: The Review

A little over a week ago the Costa Rica Being retreat finished and all the incredible guests, my partner Dalie and I parted ways. In these days since leaving Costa Rica I've had a busy schedule of other life activities and it's only now as I sit alone in quiet that I begin to really process the takeaways from that beautiful experience.

Takeway #1: Jungle Life Must Be Experienced. At Finca Exotica Eco Lodge, where we held the retreat, you're nestled in the wildness of the jungle where it meets the sea. It is here that you witness macaws flying in pairs across the tree tops, boa monkeys resting in bunches in trees or playfully hanging by tail to grab a tempting snack on a nearby limb. It is in this stretch of jungle and sea that you can catch a sunrise and a sunset set to the symphony of the myriad sounds of life. One should experience sleeping in an open air room and falling asleep to the sounds of earth and life. And, showering in an open air shower under banana trees and birds. It is in this experience of deep nature life that you start to truly remember how supported we are by mother nature, and how symbiotic nature is and potentially we could be as a part of that.

Takeaway #2: When you show up as yourself, you receive truth in return.

It was a privilege to witness strangers coming together and committing to our invitation to be as they are, to take what they need and not take what they don't need, to rest if they need to, to sleep longer or cry if they need to, to not follow any social order or self-made expectation to fit within any boxed identity while on our retreat. And in so committing to these obligations to honoring their truths minute by minute, a general ease was felt. An ease felt when guards are down, when anxiousness to please is put to rest; an ease felt when everyone is focused on honoring themselves. This ease of truth allowed for a sense of honest connecting. When one guest would be moving through something, whether through an emotion or through physical densities, it gave others the ability to respond to them in truth. Versus, when we show up covering up our truths, we receive responses to what is not really our situation, and this false response further isolates us or blocks our healing.

Takeaway #3: We need a lot of healing. But the smallest step in this direction already yields such a great return.

One thing I'm faced with often when I'm at my retreats or in ceremony communities is how deeply connected we all are in simply that we all have a story and something to work through. Countless times I've been witness to someone doing deep work on a painful piece of their living experience. And countless times I'm reminded that everyone is going through something. In my retreats I'm able to witness and understand more intimately people's current work. Sometimes people show up with years of work already behind them, quite familiar with this path of healing. While others show up brand new on the journey to healing themselves. In the smallest of steps towards a more whole, healed life, there yields such great return. I witness such an immense shedding that happens already in the decision to start the work. And in the steps that follow, the momentum of healing powers up and it's clear that so much can come from the consistent work to heal and free oneself from pains. That first step, it's the most important. To decide for yourself that you deserve healing, that you deserve clear energy and a deep, meaningful relationship with yourself and others. Take that first step.

Takeaway #4: Everyone is a teacher.

Another thing so beautiful about gathering a tribe of strangers together from around the world at an event catered towards deep physical and emotional rest and healing is that we gather as such a variety of ages, sexes and experiences. It's really in these mixed settings that it becomes apparent that we can all truly learn something from everyone we come into contact with. The easy lessons are those where we glean information shared with us by another. The lessons that are not as obvious are the ones that we gain from simply experiencing people who challenge or trigger us. Those can be revealing to us of what's happening in our inner story. They can also be a learning opportunity wherein we are given the opportunity to exercise compassion & love, patience and kindness. I approach my retreats on a level basis, where we all recognize our roles as teachers and as students. And in doing so, we allow the opportunities to teach and be taught to flow in freely.

Takeaway #5: The work is back at home and it's day by day.

We had an hour of 'office time' available each day for anyone who wanted to have a chat and work through anything. On one of the days where I was booked for an appointment, my guest said to me something along the lines of, "It's so easy here to really eat well, do my yoga and meditation and feel everything, feel like I know what I need in this moment. But, when I go home to my kids and my partner, I just don't know how to bring everything home with me." That's such a valid confusion. If we look at implementing big changes in our life all at once, there's a good chance we don't quite get it right 100% of the time. If we're not used to having a balanced healthy life, we could easily interpret those moments we don't live out those changes as failures. And when we feel a failure, if we're a little on shaky ground internally, that failure can be monumental in setting us back even further. What we're aiming for is a healthy, whole life. That includes days where we're not getting it right 100%. That includes days we feel that we have not been our best self. Because a healthy life isn't a life where every day is perfect (that's simply not possible as we all know), but it's a life where the majority of our days are healthy emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually. So, back to the original question of my guest: how do we implement big changes into our life? Day by day, little by little. That way, over time, those big changes are your lifestyle. Slowly you adopt these small changes as your own. New energy replaces old. New practices replace outdated practices. And suddenly over time your life is a reflection of all of the tiny changes you made day by day. Suddenly your life is a majority of positive, healthy, mindful actions. Your relationships reflect this. Your work reflects this. Your relationship to self reflects this. Your body and mind reflect this. Day by day, little by little, over time.

Want to join a yoga healing retreat? 2024 dates out soon. Contact me in the meantime for any questions. With love, Alethia

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