Do you ever have those moments in life, where you hold a concept in your mind, one that you know is true, but despite your best efforts, you struggle to feel it on a visceral level? You know it’s truth, but you’re yet to feel it in your guts? Until one day, like a gift from the heavens, it finally penetrates and makes itself a home right inside of you!
I had a pretty significant, and relevant moment whilst I was on retreat in the mountains of India late last year, and I think it’s worth sharing!
2017 was big for most! Personally, I achieved a lot… mostly through suffering! It was a year full of painful lessons, patience, sacrifice, and lots and lots of tears.. so taking myself to a mountain top retreat nestled high up in the hills of India to reflect and cleanse it all away seemed like an appropriate way to finish.
India is a country I think I will always re visit, it touches me in a way nowhere else does, even when my heart feels so contracted, it still manages to weave it’s magic and beauty on me, inevitably cracking me right back open again!
So I packed my bags (rather last minute) and set off, arriving on the mountain with a reasonably open mind as to what I would get out of my time there, and to be honest, was pretty happy to simply skip all the Christmas hoo-ha if nothing else!
On arrival, I was sent to see the doctor to discuss my presenting issues. I shared my goals to get my digestion working smoothly, and also with the hope of getting some serious shut eye whilst I was there!! So the doc wrote me up my treatment plan, and sent me on my way…
Back story: most of my life I have struggled with gut issues and skin conditions – the consequence of being an asthmatic and a bit of a sensitive soul. I have also suffered with ongoing bouts of insomnia for over three years now, which can be torturous at times, alas this is what I work with!
The experience and daily routine felt easy.. I was asleep by 8pm and awake by 5am. The mornings were close to zero degrees when I got up for sunrise yoga, and by lunch I was stripping down to my Summer clothes. I spent a lot of time basking in the sun on a rock, over looking a valley watching Eagles, and laughing. I laughed ALOT, sometimes about nothing at all, often at inappropriate times!! I felt so light and joy filled, like a child again!
For those of you who don’t know me personally, I am a bit of a serious type, I have a sense of humour, but the sort of elation I was experiencing was fairly out of character for me!!
When I looked around, many of the other guests were on all sorts of intense fasting regimes (involving drinking liquid ghee and soup for days on end), and apart from doing my scheduled Sunday purge (think self inflicted gastro), it appeared to me, that I was maybe getting it too easy..?
So I confided in my lovely travel companion Lauren that I wasn’t sure if I was detoxing enough… and it would be a good idea to join the rest of the fasting crew… to go harder, to lose weight, and to feel like I was achieving more!
So I was going to sleep on it, and then go tell the doctor the following morning!
That night I did some journalling to dig a little deeper and make sure it was coming from the right place. The whole weight loss justification kept coming up – it felt old and tired… and like it was going to put a big wet blanket over all the joy I had been feeling.
So I asked myself “what would losing weight do for you?” Did I actually need to change the number on a scale in order to feel better about myself? and would I be more respected, and accepted by clients, peers and lovers for it?
Will losing weight actually gain you more love? and if so, will it be from the right people…?
I was so used to going hard for everything, for work, love, for health, striving for perfection… and the truth is, I was tired of it… I wasn’t carrying too much weight, in fact, physically my body was pretty healthy, yet I was still attached to a “goal weight” that was so outdated, and clearly no reflection what so ever of the state my physical wellness.
The joy I was feeling reflected more, something far deeper, and as foreign as my child like high was, I knew it was more on the right track than the deprivation I was about to (unnecessarily) sentence myself to!
So I decided to let the fast go, and just allowed myself to simply receive all the care, to be nourished and nurtured by the experience (and to eat lots of yummy food). I didn’t go hard like old Candice would have, I just decided to give up all the trying!
Ever since, I have felt a whole new layer of peace within me, that goes far beyond doing a three day fast and dropping a couple of kg’s! It was certainly worth traveling 17 hours across the globe for…
In my experience, trying to pigeon hole myself in to a perceived image of what I believe those around me will find acceptable and attractive is crazy making, and rarely gets me genuine connections… It takes courage to move away from looking for approval from outside yourself, to be authentic and to also recognize that we actually can’t control who shows up and decides to love us in this life time, which can be painful when things don’t go our way, but is also incredibly beautiful when the right people do step in to our world, for however long that season lasts for!!
Looking outside yourself for love is a slippery slope indeed, because when we look for proof of anything (that we are more loved for a number we see on the scales, or that we aren’t) we are sure to find it eventually!
It’s a practice that takes awareness, and a conscious choice, every day! But it’s a soft, self loving one… and I am in it for the long run… I hope you are too.. x