June 8, 2017
Last Wednesday I headed to a retreat at Mago Sedona Center to replenish my soul and take a break from my hectic life. My husband had signed up for 4 days of meditation with a group. I hadn’t done the prep work- busy with my life, setting up my coaching business, marketing my new book, and I really just wanted 4 days of peace.
The Mago Sedona Center is outside of Sedona, 15 miles down an unpaved road, to a 150 acre reserve owned by the same people that we exercise with locally. It is a form of Korean Dao, and their program is a combination of Tai Chi, stretching, resistance, and aerobic. It feeds my soul, and for a gal that never liked exercise, it was my perfect solution. My husband of 2 years also loves it. We had come to this retreat last November, and it was the perfect break from a hectic life, running a business, going back to school, writing a book, starting a new coaching business.
I had been diagnosed with autoimmune disease 5 years earlier, and fully knew the importance of self-care in my journey to get well. But as I began to feel great again, my type A personality was back in full force, and I was once again so busy, that taking care of me was once again in the back seat.
This weekend was going to be my reset. And, I was really looking forward to it.
These are a couple of photos that I took at the reserve. This little island is called heaven, and it is heaven to be there, contemplate all the things in my life that I am grateful for, do a little meditation, and do a little bit of reading. I was ready to chill out.
Everything was right with my world, right?
Well, actually no.
My hubby told me that it had been arranged that I would have my own master for the weekend. I was not happy with this news, since I had my own plans for alone quiet time. But I knew it was well meaning, so I decided to play it by ear.
Ok, I was to report at 8 AM Friday morning to meet my first master. This remarkable woman and I spent some lovely peaceful time together, walking the grounds, discovering the energy vortexes, and I hugged a tree and it had a message for me (fodder for another post). It was a fabulous morning, and right in line with my peaceful self-care.
I was due back at the center at 1 pm to meet Master Andy, who would be in charge of my afternoon.
Ot oh, I had a complete planned schedule. To my chagrin, my alone time to read and contemplate life was sifting through my fingers. I didn’t want to be planned, but I didn’t want to disappoint my master at home who had obviously gone to great lengths to ensure that I had, in her mind, a great retreat. In other words, I didn’t want to say No. I felt trapped.
I had just written a book about toxins, in every form and level in my life. I had an entire section on toxic minds and a chapter on stress. In this chapter I had written the following:
“Don’t say yes to everything and everyone. This is part of loving yourself and self-care. You are just as important as anyone else, and your needs always should come first. “
“Stop overcommitting yourself. It’s ok to take care of you, and to say NO!
And these comments are followed by this quote-
“You have to learn to say no without feeling guilty. Setting boundaries is healthy. You need to learn to respect and take care of yourself.” Unknown awesomequotes4u.com
I thought I had put these words into practice. But here I was back at Square 1. Why is it so hard for women to take quiet time and stand in our own truth of what we want for ourselves? The pleaser in me was back, whether this was what I wanted or not.
I decided that I didn’t want to disappoint the people who put together this schedule so I would finish the day and then make my stand for a free Saturday.
I did not put myself first.
I have jokingly remarked for years that when my angels want me to get a lesson, the first time, they poke me. If I don’t get it, the second time, I get a little slap on the face. If I am still not paying attention, I get a big thump on my back. Finally, I get hit with a 2×4.
The 2×4 was waiting right around the corner.
Friday afternoon, I headed off on my pre-planned adventure. Master Andy, a college sophomore, who also wanted some quiet time after ending her first year in college, and me.
We went out the 15 mile unpaved road back to civilization and went and rented an ATV. Silly me, I didn’t even know what an ATV was until we did this.
My first clue should have been when I got a bandana, to tie over my mouth, like I was going to rob a bank, and goggles. Then we piled into the ATV. We headed back to the reserve but turned off on a road that was less tended than the regular unpaved road.
About 10 minutes down this road, with the red dust flying, with my bandana protecting my nose and my mouth, and goggles protecting my eyes, I realized I was on Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. (I was six when I went on that ride the first time at Disneyland, and it terrified me. Now at 68, here I was again.) We were hopping all over the road, going over large boulders, swooping into major potholes. I was holding on for life in the back seat. There was a strap to keep me from flying out, but I still held on with all my might, not sure if it would hold my body weight.
After 1 hour of getting everything in my body totally jiggled we arrived at our spot. Whew, I was safe. It was breathtakingly beautiful, and we headed for a trail that would take us to a cave.
The trail went straight down on a 70% slope. And it too was covered with tons of baseball sized boulders.
Now, again, I am 68. I wouldn’t have done this trail in my 20’s. I was never athletic, ever. Once, in high school when going straight up one of our mountain trails towards Mt. Wilson (San Gabriel Mts, Los Angeles) with my buddies, I hiked about 15 minutes and laid down in the stream we were hiking along, and told the group to pick me up on their way down. It wasn’t my thing.
So here I am, tripping and twisting, having a hard time keeping my balance, and headed straight down. It occurred to me, even if I made it down without falling and breaking my neck, I most assuredly wouldn’t have made it back up. And there was no place for a helicopter to hang over the lower trail to pull me out.
So I finally said NO. I sent Master Andy and the college student on their way.
I went back to the ATV, and spent an hour, covered with little tiny bugs, until my Master and the college student returned to me. The college student said it was a good thing I didn’t go, she had to scale a wall to get to the cave (there was no way I could have done this).
The hour waiting was a blessing. I had a long conversation with myself about speaking my own truth and taking care of me, and remembering that my needs and wishes for my own self-care came first. It was indeed a reset; it just wasn’t the way I had planned to get one. It was a 2×4 to get my attention, slammed right across my back. I got the point, loud and clear.
I survived the return trip covered in so much red dust that my skin was red, and my dark hair was no longer remotely my color. I directly went to see my coordinator to let them know Sat was mine. Period. I had come for quiet and peace and alone time, and I was going to get it. Ha.
So I cancelled Sat morning activities. It ends up what was planned for Saturday afternoon, would feed my need to replenish my soul. I drove into Sedona, took myself out to lunch at my favorite Paleo restaurant in town and then I was scheduled at the Sedona Healing Center for a chakra clearing, a quiet meditation looking out at the fabulous Sedona Mountains, and then I had a psychic reading with the Centers psychic. It was fun and it was relaxing. It was just what I needed.
Sunday morning was mine, all mine. I headed for the lake, sat on the island photographed above, practiced gratefulness, did some reading, and relaxed. All was right with my world again.
The moral of the story is that even when we know how critical putting ourselves first is, the pleaser lurks within and the ability to form the word NO continues to be a struggle.
In the end, “I got the message.” It came through loud and clear. I also got a strong sense of my need to slow down and take care of myself again, body and soul, to protect myself from increased inflammation. It was, in the end, the reset that I needed.
Cheryl M Health Muse
Author of “It Feels Good to Feel Good, learn to eliminate toxins, reverse inflammation and feel great again.”