I don’t want to word vomit on y’all here, but wow – it’s been a month since Holy Yoga Retreat – and it was SO, SO rich and powerful that I just have to share. I’ve been sitting on my experience for a bit because I really wanted to process and internalize the moments before trying to explain them.
And, that’s likely where the biggest fault in all of this will rise. I’m trying to explain something that must be experienced. Even still… this was too amazing not to try and share.
I knew going in this would be a pivotal, life-changing experience. And I desperately wanted to have this breakthrough moment snapping the chains of anxiety while I was there.
So, to no surprise, my trip started off with the most awful plane ride I’ve ever experienced. The turbulence was near non-stop. The flight attendants were told to take their jump seats no less than 5 times. People were actually screaming through some of the bumps and drops – it was that dramatic! At one point, they started handing out free wine because it was just so unsettling. A latch must have broken in all the bouncing, because even as we landed, a cupboard in the back opened with the sound of crashing dishes and breaking glass! It. was. crazy. But at least we finally made it to Phoenix!
I met my friend, Ronda, for the first time in real life at the airport before we got on our charter buses to head north to the Lost Canyon Young Life Campground. She and I had connected during Clare Smith’s Living and Active Challenge last fall, and through our online communications, she encouraged me to go to Retreat. (She did the Revelation Wellness side; I did Holy Yoga. They are sister organizations that share the Retreat experience).
And then I got to meet my small group for the first time in real life too! For 9 weeks in January and February, we had a Monday afternoon Life Group call where we focused on God’s word and prayed for one another. While I’ll honestly say I didn’t feel like I had really connected then (to no one’s fault but my own – I was depressed and distracted by the accident), once we met in real life, it was amazing! I’m an introvert for sure, so the idea of living with 9 practical strangers was intimidating – but one of the last things we had talked about on the phone together was —
If you don’t let God take you out of your comfort zone, how can he be your Comforter?
So, we chatted for a bit as we began our three hour bus ride up the mountain, and just as I laid my head back to get some rest, I heard gasping and felt a large thud. We had just come around a curve as a car accident had happened, and our bus ran over the remaining car parts still in the middle of the road. I saw cars in the ditch…. People running….
And I started crying…
Thankfully, my small group, knew exactly why I was having such a reaction, and they were right there with hugs and prayers – and lots of deep breathing and hand holding. Clearly, when you vocalize you’re ready to deal with something, you’ll get lots of practice!
Our small group leader, Sarah switched seats to sit with me – and our conversation was just full of too many “coincidences” not to share.
Sarah grew up in Denver, Colorado, but now lives in Charlotte (like an hour away!)
When I mentioned I spent two summers working at an Easter Seals camp, she told me her parents were the Easter Seals camp directors out in Colorado!
And, upon retelling her the story of how I had not even heard of Wake Forest until the confusion when I told Chris that my friend played at Lake Forest, she surprised me by saying her husband went to Wake! What?!
And so – we finally arrived at camp. While not a resort by any means, it’s definitely the most beautiful campground I’ve ever seen. Doesn’t hurt that it’s on a mountain top in Arizona. Perfect blue skies. Lined with pine. And the cutest double-decker cabins (with bunk beds!), dining hall, recreation building, theater room – oh! and a coffee shop! (that opened at 5AM just for us!)
(PS. I rotated this picture and it looks upright on my screen…I don’t know why it’s still sideways in the live view!)
Generally speaking, just imagine five days of nothing but Jesus and yoga. We started most days with Bible study and meditation, then experienced the different styles of Holy Yoga classes and learned posture breakdowns. We had small group discussion times and the evenings were more yoga and powerful teaching and experiences. Plus the bonus of no cooking or cleaning for a week, and super-healthy, (all gluten-free!) meals too!
The opening prayer was that we would find transformation. To come open minded and open hearted, and that we would not stay the same. And not just be changed for that one week at Holy Yoga Retreat, but forever transformed.
And even further – that because of our own transformation – that others would then also be changed as well.
In Judges 5 : 7, Deborah realizes she needs to step up in order for others to change as well.
“Village life in Israel ceased, ceased until I, Deborah, arose, arose a mother in Israel.”
There are people who will not awaken and arise until you do.
So…. I, Dawn, arise. I arise. And I hope you will be changed too.
There’s more… but we’ll save it for next time. Until then – be transformed!
Live well! Love life!