Hi all! Molly here.
It’s such an honor to be able to share with you all in this online space. I’ve been experiencing a block in my writing lately. There are many reasons as to why. Mostly I’m busy busting my ass in my studio preparing for my final MA (Masters in Art) show. But also, if I’m being completely transparent and honest with you all, I wasn’t sure what to write about.
I’ve been in the winter stages of creation for the last year. Keeping all of my works safely tucked away in my private studio only sharing them with the other artists that come through my program. And I’ve become withdrawn around my creative practice. But while our external seasons shift to cold, snowy weather, my personal, internal winter is coming to a close. I’m deeply feeling this, as expansion quickly approaches.
I’m coming up on a personal cycle of explosive outward engagement. One where I’m being called upon to teach, to share, to step up and offer the wisdom that I’ve learned with my beloved students. When that comes into light I hope to have lots of juicy topics to talk about with y’all, but first I wanted to introduce myself and show you what I’m all about. And the best way for me to do that is to share with you the experience of my 300 hour Yoga Teacher Training.
Below is a piece that I wrote upon my return from that journey. To avoid being completely self indulgent in sharing my own personal stories, I wanted to offer you something tangible that you can use as a tool for yourself. At the end is a guided meditation that you can come back to and listen to as you need. My intention for this blog is to continue to create free meditations for you, so you can experience first hand some of the experiences that I share. Thank you for tuning in to Sixteen Hens. I can confidently speak for all of us here when I say that we honor your path and are so grateful that it has brought you to us. Enjoy.
It’s 9:00 PM on August 30, 2018 and I’m sitting in my studio, which now lives in the side porch of the family cottage. I can hear the sweet sounds of the Northern Michigan crickets. As I close my eyes I can almost find myself back in the Caribbean Jungles of Costa Rica, where a short month ago I spent five weeks with Passion Yoga School. The sounds here, in Michigan, are different. The crickets sing with a gentle pulse that floats between high and low tones. The cicadas in the jungle vibrate with a steady hum that almost makes your ears ring. But I can feel the same, sweet energy of Pacha Mama flowing through my veins as I sink deeper and deeper into the beat of my heart. This vibration, this rich song of Mother Earth, and the intrinsic oneness that we share with Her is the foundation of what I learned – or remembered, rather – during this incredibly transformational experience.
Picture a large, open, wooden platform, resting in the middle of the jungle. Surrounding this platform is a diverse palette of greens, pops of red flowers, and the sounds of monkeys playing in the trees. At the front of the platform lies an altar, showered with plants, photos of gurus, crystals and singing bowls. And before you, in sacred circle, sit 20 women: each dedicated to the rediscovery of Self. It is on this platform that I journeyed with my sisters back into the spirit of Wild Woman herself. It is within this circle that we cried, we shared, we gazed into each other’s eyes and saw into the souls of one another.
We danced, we sang, we laughed, and we howled at the moon, joining hands in the sacred ceremonies of kirtan, cacao, and meditation. In this space I witnessed the fluctuating thought waves of the mind. I challenged my boundaries and broke through the barriers of patterns that have been holding me back my entire life. I shared things that I never thought I’d be able to speak to another. And within all of this I found myself inviting in every breath with such sweetness. A sweetness that allows one to look at even the frustrations – the many, very real, jungly frustrations – that inevitably appear in this world and to be grateful for their teachings.
We lived among the cockroaches and the fire ants. We experienced heavy rain that at times would beat down so hard on the tin roof that you could hardly hear the person sitting next to you. We withstood take-your-breath-away cold showers for weeks, and sat cross legged on the ground for hours, and hours….and hours. We watched as our clothing, our beds, our towels grew mold from the humid atmosphere of the jungle. And I saw my foot blow up to the size of a balloon, compliments of a weird bug that only the jungle could dream up.
We lived this way for 5 weeks, without internet, without phone service, without any connection to our families or the outside world; isolated in our own little paradise of Finca Armonia. And it was so, so good. Even when it seemed impossible it was so, so good. When I felt a longing for dry clothes, and skin that didn’t itch, and a toilet that flushed. Even within these moments, I felt so grateful. I am honored to know what it takes to live this way. I am humbled to have enjoyed the fruits of this land and the company of the people who care for it. It was an experience unlike anything I’ve ever known and unlike anything that I’ll likely experience again in this lifetime. And as I sit here, in Northern Michigan, and try to reintegrate into my life outside of the jungle, I invite in every bit of sweetness that I learned to hold during my time with my sisters.
Have you ever listened to a song that you’ve heard ninety nine times and for some reason when you listen to it for the one hundredth time you notice something new about it? It’s as if you’re listening to it with new ears and it takes on a whole new meaning. This happened to me with Trevor Hall’s “What I Know” on my flight from Chicago to Grand Rapids. I was sitting on the plane meditating after a long day of travel, running around airports, sitting on plane, and clenching my jaw. It was in this moment that I heard these words:
And now the roots are running deeper
All illusion getting weaker
You see the wisdom, it don’t come from reading
It comes from believing
I always understood these words in my mind and knew what they meant, but it wasn’t until after this experience that I truly understood them in my heart. I had been living my life coming from a place of needing to know. I was putting my energy into studying: if I know this thing then maybe I’ll be worthy enough. If I learn how to do this thing then maybe I’ll love myself. If I read the wisdom of this person then maybe I can do this thing. Instead of trusting, surrendering, listening.
The wisdom does not come from the words on the page, it comes from the roots of your soul that grow deep within your heart. The illusion -the maya- of this belief slowly started to fade from my mind and I am now able to “give it all to the call of the unknown.” It’s this deep, raw belief, and surrender that brings a smile to my face and allows me to walk this earth softly; leaving little lotus flowers in my wake as a way of remembering this surrender of the heart.
I have very few photos of this experience. It is not something that can be captured by a camera. I have only rich gratitude. Gratitude for this Earth; for this life; for each sacred beat of my heart. I have such a deep gratitude for my sisters who shared this journey with me. I close my eyes and I can hear their laughter, I see their smiles and I can feel their hearts beating with mine. I have so much gratitude for each one of you reading this right now. And I am so grateful to live each day in awe of the beauty that exists in all that is.