As the sun rose in the sky, we stood on giant rocks surrounded by the rushing stream that ran through the deep valley below my house. Tall hardwoods and lush ferns and moss flanked the edges of the stream. Our spirits lifted as the sound of four waterfalls splashed white noise all around us. The doors to our Authentic Selves opened quickly in this Nature sanctuary. I always start retreats with a grounding exercise, introductions and goal setting. This was one of the most beautiful ways we ever opened a retreat.
We climbed the hill back to my house, and began the breathwork session that lasted the remainder of the morning. Some people were stiff as boards. Their bodies were so armored from long-held patterns. By the end of the breathwork, their bodies had opened and softened, all within 3 hours. We healed emotional wounds so they would no longer create on-going suffering. We healed sexual abuse. We healed feelings of emptiness spawned by emotionally unavailable parents who were too wounded to give proper nurturance. Our intuitions opened, lighting us up with ah ha! experiences.
These results would have been enough to fulfill the requirements for a retreat called “Activating the Authentic Self,” and we still had the whole day ahead of us.
Next up: We were all excited about boarding a luxury yacht on Lake Lanier. There is something about cruising on a large body of water with a gentle breeze blowing against your skin that quickens inner peace and aliveness. We were so appreciative of our captain who radiated a special kind of love. He was delighted to share his beautiful yacht with us. We were truly surrounded with beauty, peace and love.
The blindfolded trust walk in the afternoon lent itself well to the continued grounding in our bodies and opening of our intuition. I instructed the participants to line up like train cars with their hands on the hips of the person in front of them. The captain had his eyes open, but the others wore blindfolds or kept their eyes closed. I told them to remain silent the whole time. They also wore earplugs to eliminate external stimuli which helped them get more in touch with their bodies. I followed the people train, monitoring their experience and making sure they were safe.
First, we walked along the sandy beach. We had fun splashing in the water, and then trekked up the hill into the forest on the large island. We wandered under a canopy of tall trees that shielded us from the summer sun. Fallen leaves crunched beneath our feet as we walked the gently rolling hills. Although some people initially struggled with their footing in the “people train,” after about 30 minutes they all synced into flowing unified resonance. A deep sense of inner peace was growing in the group.
While still in the middle of the forest, the captain stopped the train. He took each person’s hand and helped them explore the bark of a tree, using their sense of touch. Everyone stood quietly in total silence.
While waiting patiently for them to finish, I glanced up at the canopy of lush green leaves and felt deep peace. I was enjoying the scenery when my gaze drifted off to the left and down toward the ground.
My eyes blinked in disbelief at what I saw. I looked again.
A newborn baby deer lay curled up in a little ball only 10 feet from us! It lay motionless like it was sleeping. While I wanted to shout out with glee, I controlled myself to be very still and quiet. The deer was unafraid of us and continued to lay quietly with its eyes closed.
I stepped gingerly toward the captain and pointed to the fawn. He gasped for joy as his eyes focused on the baby. I whispered to him to interrupt the blindfolded exercise, and to let the participants see this amazing site. As we helped remove their blindfolds, I will never forget the look on one man’s face. I turned his head toward the fawn, and his mouth dropped wide open, and his eyes bulged to the size of saucers. Everyone remained quiet and calm even in their excitement.
After a couple of minutes, we decided it was best to slowly walk away from the fawn. They replaced their blindfolds and the people train continued its journey back to the beach with their hearts glowing.
When they removed their blindfolds for the final time on the beach, everyone finally exclaimed their joy about seeing the fawn. I offered that they had grown so calm while walking blindfolded that their serene energy was not a threat to the fawn. We were in resonance with the fawn’s peacefulness.
I also shared with them the idea that the external environment can be a metaphor for our own state of being. Coming upon the newborn deer was an indication of our new birth—a birth with peace, tranquility and gentleness—a beautiful way to activate the Authentic Self.
When you live from the Authentic Self, you are so grounded, so powerful, so clear, and so peaceful that everyone around you has increased life. It is this state of being that cannot be taught didactically. You have to experience it.
To top off the day, we cruised back under one of the most magnificent sunsets I have ever seen. A perfect ending to a perfect day.
The participants were well poised to return to their daily lives. In my opinion, this is one of the greatest gift we can give ourselves and the world. Their goal was to continue to shine from this peaceful state of being. They had a point of reference inside their bodies now. They could feel it.
Some of the applications people chose to make were: (1) to improve their marriage, (2) to divorce in a mature, responsible, loving way, (3) to heal their bodies, (4) and to increase their business success.
Prosperity, love and health flow when we are connected with our Authentic Self.
“Your Authentic Self” is the secular term I use for our spirit. When we connect with our spirit, we connect with God, and God’s love and wisdom flows through us.
What can you do to connect more deeply with your Authentic Self?
Relax. Breathe deeply. Develop a more intimate relationship with God. Listen to your body. Cultivate calm. Meditate. Listen to the animals. Listen to the trees and plants. God speaks through them, and God will talk to you if you have ears to hear, and eyes to see, and feelings to feel. Nature senses your energy. When you rest in a clear state of consciousness, you connect to God and access your natural intelligence and intuition. You can use this connection to improve every aspect of your life.
Dateline: Summer 2006. Cumming, Georgia.
Copyright. The Esposito Institute, Inc. 2006. All rights reserved.
Retreat Facilitator and #1 bestselling author: Benita A. Esposito, MA, Licensed Professional Counselor
The Esposito Institute, Inc. / Counseling and Life Coaching
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