My retreat journal Part 2 of 6: Into the labyrinth

I experienced a life-changing weekend as I co-facilitated Creativity and Connection Retreat October 17-19, 2014 on Bowen Island with Laura Mack at Xenia Retreat

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Here are some journal excerpts so you can get a small glimpse as to how powerful the experience was for me.

Recall: PART 1 October 17, 2014 FRIDAY INTO SILENCE

Part 2 October 18, 2014 SATURDAY MORNING:

Photo credit: Xenia on Bowen Island
Photo credit: Xenia on Bowen Island

6:30 AM The darkness did not overwhelm me last night.  The porch lights from next door were enough to illuminate to make me feel calm.  At times my heart wanted to race but I breathed through it.  Amazing.  

My sleep was like skipping stones though.  Perhaps tonight I will feel safe to fully fall asleep.  

Laura woke everyone up with a GONG!  We are still in silence.  The breath I felt in the sanctuary was one of the best moments of silence- felt like the deepest heart-est breaths.  

Laura just came back with a surprise cup of coffee. Bliss.  

At 7 am we have breakfast in silence then at 8 meet for walking to the labyrinth (still in silence) then to the yurt for opening circle…  

Before breakfast I walked with my coffee to the yurt.  I keep being pulled to it.  Set up the archetypes using iPhone compass to fully align with NSEW directions.

I then stood for a long time leaning on the fence looking out over the meadow, feeling Mamma and Pappa.  

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Ready to let go of pain and unhappiness.  Just allow the joy of my childhood to be what now lifts me.  I am loved and I am deserving.  I am a daughter.  A woman in very aspect.  I am “the mother.”  There is no power or fear in that.  I full step into me.  Let go and start fresh yet carry on.  To be in this childhood summerhouse-type setting is powerful.  I have a ball in my throat and tears behind my eyes that need to burst forth but sitting at breakfast now.  

Kitchen in the lodge.  Photo by Laura Mack.
Saria at work in the kitchen in the lodge. Photo by Laura Mack.

Recalling dinner by Saria last night.  Exquisite.  Shepherd’s pie, mixed salad (with everything from the garden), beets in orange juice and vinegar… baked glazed pears with whipped cream, fresh muffins.  I just want to keep writing but I need to pause.  Grab a cup of coffee and make sure I eat.  The breakfast spread: everything including grilled avocados with egg.  I had muffins, granola, yoghurt, fresh fruit.  A participant sits beside me.  Voraciously reading about the history of the property.  I love her curiosity, and tireless quest for knowledge.  A kindred spirit that needs to ingest, to feed on life through research.  

This experience is intensely safe.  Comforting.  Excited about the day ahead.

"Xenia Retreat. Feeling full. Awed. Peaceful. Expanded. On purpose." - Laura (Walking to labyrinth, we paused at Opa.  Photo by Laura Mack.)
“Xenia Retreat. Feeling full. Awed. Peaceful. Expanded. On purpose.”
– Laura (Walking to labyrinth, we paused at Opa. Photo by Laura Mack.)

The labyrinth walk in silence.  Profound.  The walk in, I had scattered thoughts, breathing into this early morning musings by the meadow.  In the centre, I felt peace and clarity and white light.  I cried throughout the walk outward, grieving, mourning, letting go.  Holding, releasing, allowing.  

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 “The poet Marianne Moore famously wrote of ‘real toads in imaginary gardens,’ and the labyrinth offers us the possibility of being real creatures in symbolic space…In such spaces as the labyrinth we cross over [between real and imaginary spaces]; we are really travelling, even if the destination is only symbolic.”
― Rebecca Solnit, Wanderlust: A History of Walking

Photo by Laura Mack
Photo by Laura Mack

I picked up two mottled leaves as I started to walk outward.  They represent Mamma and Pappa as they entered the last few days before their hearts stopped.  

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But did they stop?  Did the family not just pick up the beat as we synchronized with them?  I had my ear to mom’s chest as her heart stopped.  But I beat with it and carried it on for her.  

How could I not consider this life that I have truly miraculous and worth living?  Truly miraculous and always worth living.

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Opening circle and breaking silence in the yurt at 9 AM.  We reflected on our dreams, our experience in the sanctuary and at the labyrinth.  Laura introduced the Symbols Way and the 4 archetypes that we will focus on this weekend- encouraging us to ask ourselves: 

Where are you now?  

What archetype are you not so in touch with? 

Our first art-making session included mark-making and revisiting the labyrinth by tracing our steps on top of my drawing.  Delicious.  

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“Show not what has been done, but what can be. How beautiful the world would be if there were a procedure for moving through labyrinths.”
― Umberto Eco, The Name of the Rose

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Stay tuned for Part 3: Saturday late morning- Cyclops Goddess and the Matrilineal question to set the stage for Symbols Way…

“THE MOTHER-DAUGHTER RELATIONSHIP is at the headwaters of every woman’s health. Our bodies and our beliefs about them were formed in the soil of our mother’s emotions, beliefs, and behaviors. To become optimally healthy and happy, each of us must get clear about the ways in which our mother’s history both influenced and continues to inform our state of health, our beliefs, and how we live our lives. Every woman who heals herself helps heal all the women who came before her and all those who will come after her.” – Dr. Christiane Northup

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And for information on more workshops and retreats!

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Sacred Contracts Journal Exercise Part 5 of 8: Throat Chakra

 

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SACRED CONTRACTS JOURNALING EXERCISE SERIES

PART 5 OF 8

THROAT CHAKRA

We are tapping into our calling, our purpose, our joy in this SACRED CONTRACTS journal series.  It is inspired by Caroline Myss.  The journal series is  an experiment on my part, and I welcome you to join along.

Recall Part 1: Future and Present where we took time to look at where we would like to be, and where we are in this moment.

In Part 2: Where are your energy leaks? we focused on our body signals and biography makes biology. 

In Part 3: What Masks Do We Wear? we examined the masks we wear to protect ourselves from being vulnerable.

In Part 4a: What is Your True Nature? we focused on our inner selves.

In Part 4b: Sacred Body we listened to the messages from our bodies.

Today, I challenge you to speak your truth.

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THE FIFTH CHAKRA represents your faith and higher communication. Here is where you discover your inner truth and use your voice to convey it to the world. Organs associated with the Fifth Chakra include the thyroid, trachea, neck vertebrae, throat, mouth, teeth, and gums. Spiritual and emotional issues that can block energy in the Fifth Chakra are the struggles between speaking versus listening, pushing forward versus waiting, and being willful versus compliant… – Dr. Christiane Northrup

 Journal or draw:

Take note of when your voice gets caught in your throat.

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Take note around when and with whom you feel safe to speak your truth.

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Begin the honest dialogue with yourself.  Work towards creating a safe space within your heart and mind so that when you speak your truth with anyone in any context, you allow the emotions and  you simply sit with them.

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The umbilical cord. Mother-daughter journal series. PART 2: IDENTIFY THE FIRST MILESTONE

AS I MOVE FORWARD INTO NEW CHAPTERS IN MY LIFE, I HAVE DECIDED THAT IT IS TIME TO FOCUS FULLY ON ME.

(Hello, me!

IT IS FINALLY TIME TO PROCESS MY RELATIONSHIP WITH MY MOTHER AND ALL THE DELICIOUS, SCARY, INTERESTING, HEART-WARMING, DEEEEEEEEP EMOTIONAL ATTACHMENTS, BLOCKAGES, PATTERNS ETC. THAT COME UP.

FULLY READY.  EXCITED.

THE UMBILICAL CORD

Recall PART 1: ACCEPTING THE TASK

PART 2: IDENTIFY THE FIRST MILESTONE

Draw (or photocopy) a baby in the womb.  Write stream of consciousness in the nooks and crannies on the image focusing on the theme of the first indication in your life where attachment issues, blockages, patterns etc. may have begun.

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My journal entry January 20, 2013 (stream of consciousness):

When I was born I lay between my mother’s legs in the same position she was in.  Legs spread ready to give birth.  I mirrored her and our connection begun in “wound” deepened  [interestingly I wrote wound when I meant to write “womb”].  I was her daughter.  She was the mother and all was as it should.

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Age 1. Watercolor.

My brother was 4 years older and I’m not sure how he felt about my arrival but I am hoping he enjoyed it.

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I was extremely colicky- born with my infamous stomachaches.  For three solid weeks I cried with no response to reassurances or backpats.  I wonder if this affected my bonds or not.  I know my mom loved being a mom and that, with the support of  best friends, she did perfectly.  She was surrounded by the love of her friends.  And she had her mother (and her mother’s siblings).  It was a typical 60’s childhood in Sweden.  Blissful and traditional.

My mother experienced intense sadness though when she lost her mom suddenly in 1964.  I was two.  Mom was only 28.  I can’t imagine.  This was a huge turning point for mom’s confidence.  Her needs for healing and connections were not filled by my Dad.  Certainly all her girlfriends were there for her.  This saved her life.

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Lt. to rt.: My mom (Karin), Anneli, Ulla-Britt, Eivor

But I can’t imagine the internal pain Mom was experiencing.

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The death of Stina (my grandmother) was the turnaround for mom.  Dad pulled away from her when she needed him.  He was not capable to support those needs.  Mom agreed to move to Canada shortly after my little brother was born.

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She did not want to move.  But she did want to escape the pain.  The family became the rooted oasis she needed.

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A woman’s heroic journey always begins in partnership with her mother, the woman from whom she takes the imprint of what it means to be a woman.  Her journey picks up speed when she leaves the comfort of the womb and goes through the process of birth.  From then on, she must travel through a series of developmental stages that can be likened to a series of wombs.

– Dr. Christiane Northrup, Mother-Daughter Wisdom

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