What a fabulous 7 day retreat in Santa Fe New Mexico! Co-hosting with Carmel Calcagno, Anusara yoga teacher for over 20 years and Kirk on the drums. We offered breathwork, chanting, singing, conscious movement, sound baths. excursions and one of my favorite experiences was an authentic Sweat Lodge. It was built on the premises of Blue Sky Retreat Bed & Breakfast in Taos, NM by The Red Willow Nation Pueblo Indian Tribe.
As with any breathwork session, we were invited to create an intention for the ceremony. Intentions communicate a vibration that is perceived on a non physical level by ” All There Is”
Personally, my inspiration comes from people who step outside their comfort zone (of which I am one) especially if some level of notoriety or success is not achieved. Hey, it’s great to celebrate ourselves when we excel and I would not take that away from anybody including myself. I find it much more evolutionary to treat myself with tender, loving care when I am deeply steeped in increasing discomfort. That very act supports integration of suppressed and repressed emotions and promotes acceptance of all experiences. What a glorious opportunity to expand my capacity to love myself, and offer myself the experience of self-compassion. So, this is a practice of dialoguing with my inner being and giving space for her vulnerability to flower.
THE SWEAT LODGE
This is a sacred ceremony of purification and communion with our Creator. It is purposeful and divine. We were cleansed initially with sage. Then fifteen of us crawled into the small, dark space awaiting the hot rocks to be placed in the center soon after to be doused with water filling the space with hot steam. There were four rounds of prayer and chanting with more hot rocks and water.
The first round was to honor our ancestors and All There Is, The Creator
The second round was to honor and pray for all beings including nature, animals and the elements.
The third round we prayed for specific people, places and things i.e. natural disasters, people suffering and for the animal kingdom’s displacement
The fourth round was for self prayer and support to bring the light to our shadow and find the treasure in the experience
The breath is the only part of our autonomic nervous system that we have conscious control. We can self-regulate and shift the chemical secretions in our body so that we rest in a state of homeostasis. A slow self-regulated breath supported a calming of the nervous system as we sat in this dark, crowded, hot space with loud chanting. Tapping our bodies, clapping our hands and chanting also acted as an embodiment practice to stay right here right now. Instead of drifting about in the mental plane where all fear lives, we stayed present. Also, the breath raises our awareness for a more expanded perception of ourselves, others, animals, nature and the universe at large. It supports us on a physical, emotional, mental and spiritual level. For example (physical realm): I had insomnia over this trip due to the high altitude and the night of the sweat lodge ceremony, I slept like a baby…. all night long!
We were told to keep an eye out for a spirit animal to come to us the next few days. Spirit animals like all things embody a kind of energy that might act as a support, indicator or guidance of your pathway. Lo and behold, a tarantula walked right across my path as I was hiking down the mountain the next day. It was not a typical thing to spot. Nobody saw it but me. I called Kirk over to enjoy it with me immediately! What are the odds!
THE SIGNIFICANCE AND SYMBOLISM
I googled the significance of the spider and its spirit. Do you know what it said? Aside from artistry, manifestation, ancient wisdom, balance, interconnection, female empowerment and patience, the spider is there reminding me of how powerful my imagination is and creating something beautiful and irresistible is the most natural thing in the world. Even if the internal confidence has not been actualized yet, keep stepping outside my comfort zone and watch what blossoms. I’d say that is pretty on target with my intention. As far as the patience, well, I call on her to support me in that. LOL
THE SPOTTING ON VIDEO
Set an intention
Take a hot bath or hot shower.
Breathe for 30 minutes
Await for your spirit animal to present itself to you.
Stay open and curious