We are just back from the Desert U Chakra Flow Retreat in the Sahara Desert and it was quite an experience (as always!). Many things happened on the retreat, physically, emotionally and otherwise and the desert showed us again, what a powerful, untouched place on earth it is.
The desert is a transformative place and not everybody is prepared for it. The more often I come here, the more I get the feeling that the desert irrevocably shows us our shadows, no matter how hard we try to avoid them. There is no light without a shadow and there is no enlightenment without some thorough shadow work. I´ve had a few hard times here, but keep coming back for the good ones. And the more often I come, the more I feel I´m shedding old skin, old traumas, old shadows, old old that doesn´t serve me anymore. It took me a few rounds to see the working behind it all, but it feels like the ripples are smoothening.
Silence is a tough Job
While for some people it is pure bliss to be in a place with very little distractions, very little noise and very little to do – when do we ever have that privilege to be so free of everything? – others find it utterly hard to be with themselves in such a setting. Nothing to do? How?
For some people silence is relaxation, for others silence is shear horror, so they drag their city, their friends, their work, their family, basically their whole life along with them, introducing them in every conversation, not leaving a single second to silence, just to not be – with themselves. With nature. In the desert. In the actual place where they are right now. All the wonders and the beauty of the desert pass by unseen, as the mind is full with everything from before and after. It goes so far that, despite paying a decent amount of money to come all the way to Morocco and all the way to the desert, they don´t set a single foot into the desert (leaving the camp), if not to move a few meters for a class.
Finding what´s inside the packaging: The Self
It´s an unconscious process most of the time. People are wrapped up in their lives in such a way, that they can hardly be anywhere in the world without this wrap, as if feeling naked without the whole packaging. But in the end, every packaging is just that, packaging. It´s not what is inside and it is also not really necessary. And it is a boarder between what is here right now.
In yoga, or in any spiritual practice, it is often said: ‘You have to overcome the self, to find the real Self’. In order to connect to the real Self, you shed some layers of conditioning and let go of attachment. Meaning you learn let go of attachments to status, origin, position at work, personhood and everything you think defines you, to un-define yourself and hence connect with that which is beyond all of these outside manifestations. The Universe, the Higher Self, God Consciousness. The freedom that arises from making yourself free from all of this is tremendous, but it needs a little practice.
You are the Desert
Desert U Retreat is called Desert U, because the desert is you. In whatever way you come here, it reflects back to you. Very often there´ll be a few shadows creeping up. The only question is how you deal with them. Any type of emotion that shows up, be it anger, boredom, anxiety, sadness, happiness, bliss or fulfillment can only show up, if it is inside of U. You can choose to accept and embrace it, so it can move on, or to reject it, so it stays. Anything you experience here, like full rejection or full embracing of everything, or something in the middle, is just what is inside. Since there is nothing in the desert (apart from sand), you can only project your inner world to the outside world. This actually happens everywhere we go, and also in a regular yoga class when emotions come up, but in the desert the effects can be slightly stronger. However, anything that shows up is an opportunity to become lighter. To let it move out of the body, of the mind, of the system, to be here fully. In the now. So what would you choose?
“We seem to have started to feel that the busier we are the more value there is to our lives. Let´s step away from that for a moment. Begin to realize that we don’t need to always be busy, because we do need to steep and percolate in the silence to really sit with ourselves to design the type of day or type of life we want to have. And that is all within each and everyone of us. We have the power to execute that. We want to redesign what our lives look like, but also what our days look like.” ~ Holland Haiis
Energy Work works
When it comes to chakra work it is interesting to observe how people get along with the energy that starts moving. Some embrace it, knowing that change is on its way, accepting everything that might be involved, such as energetic or physical reactions (diarrhea, feeling dizzy, feeling like being on a boat, sneezing, running nose, increased thoughts or emotions – anything that can basically move), while others choose to leave a few classes out here and there, thinking that these were not so important to them, or simply dismissing physical reactions as food issues. Turns out that in most cases in classes, workshops or retreats the ones that are being selective with the content are the ones that actually could have a deeper look into exactly these chakras or life themes. Unfortunately, the old trickster – our ego – always protects the part that most need to heal.
Nonetheless, the energy of the desert keeps working. It´s almost like Reiki. You don´t know what it is going to do and on which chakra it´s going to work most, but something is moving. Always. Every single time. Either in the body, or in the mind or energetically. And what moves helps to transform and ultimately to make you feel lighter at some point. You don´t always see or feel the effect of the desert right away, but if you stay present and observe yourself, you see the changes. For me it was with asanas the first, but it started being deeper changes on deeper levels the more often I`ve been coming here.
Each retreat is a journey in itself like a Kinder Suprise Egg. You never know what you get, it’s just depending on where you are at. Gotta love the desert. No better place in the world to become lighter and free, even if it means there is a few trials to be passed. But didn´t God send Moses to the desert to face a few trials, too?
It´s all one.
And on that note I’m off to the desert. See you next time nomads!