I hope you’ll humour me and bear with me a little as I stray today from my usual “drink more green smoothies” type of blog post. I am writing this post on Sunday morning as I find myself in a rather pensive mood. You see, I’ve spent this weekend with a wonderful group of friends at the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health https://kripalu.org/. Nestled in the Berkshires in western Massachusetts, the scenery and colours were spectacular.
The retreat centre focuses on holistic health incorporating mind, body and energy. When I entered this weekend I didn’t consider myself a particularly meditative person but as I’ve learned a teensy bit more about both the benefits and modes of meditation, I believe I was wrong. One thing is for sure: taking the time to clear your mind of clutter goes a long way towards relaxation, restorative sleep and a sense of rejuvenation.
For me and the women around me, this weekend has been a memorable and very special celebration of friendship and community as we gathered in honour of a good friend’s milestone birthday. But it was definitely also a time of reflection and meditation. I’ve been struck by the number of people who have come to Kripalu (over 700 this past weekend) in search of happiness and inner peace. What it’s opened my eyes to is how much angst is out there. So many people seem to be mired in self-doubt and, even worse, self-loathing. While we all experience moments of insecurity or fear, for some people these feelings dictate their thoughts and actions (or inaction) every single day. What a difficult existence that must be.
After numerous conversations, workshops and hours of reflection here at Kripalu, I find myself wanting to share with you some thoughts about what this weekend has highlighted for me. By no means do I paint myself as an expert, but I do hope that by sharing a little of what I’ve learned I might nudge even one of you a little closer to finding your personal place of inner peace.
My 7 take-away lessons from Kripalu (in no particular order):
- Happiness is a choice.
- Meditation does not necessarily involve sitting cross-legged with your eyes closed. My most powerful meditative experience at Kripalu occurred during a 5 mile run through the gorgeous countryside around Lenox, Massachusetts.
- There is no such thing as perfection. Let go of that illusion and you may be surprised at how liberated you feel.
- Stop worrying about what everyone else thinks. It really doesn’t matter.
- Get out of your comfort zone. This is where personal growth happens. (See above). Inertia guarantees stagnation.
- Nothing happens by chance. Set your intentions and then throw them out to the universe. Who knows what comes flying back?
- True bliss is from within.