How do you write about something that can’t be explained in words? Do you even try or do you leave it? Those are thoughts I’ve had when thinking if I should write about my experiences in Teotihuacan and the retreat we visited a few weeks back. Detaching from any expectations and practice writing from the heart and beyond, I’ll give it a go. A story that few have heard from me this way.
I came to the pyramid ruin site of Teotihuacan outside Mexico City for the first time two years ago, following an inner voice telling me to go and at the same time being absolutely terrified about going. Standing in front of something I knew would have a major impact on my life but not knowing how yet. The reason for going there in the first place was the teachings of Gary van Warmerdam at pathwaytohappiness.com. I had found his website during a desperate google search a few months earlier. The kind you turn to when all other sources are emptied and when you’ve realised you don’t have the answer – no matter how badly your ego mind want’s you to. My google search was about jealousy and how to overcome it. I had found myself digging a deep hole of insecurity and anxiety in the relationship I was in. I considered myself being self confident, strong and independent and the feelings of jealousy I experienced created a huge conflict with how I saw myself. I felt that this wasn’t me, the real me, that felt this. I had the sense that something was going on that I couldn’t quite grasp and I couldn’t find anyone who could give me a satisfying answer of what it was. The state I was in had a long history to it but at this point I was suffering from anxiety, depression and panic attacks. I was later diagnosed with PTSD and my alarm system was constantly on, looking for danger and protecting myself. I felt very few pleasant or happy feelings. At the same time denying much of what I was feeling and going through because I didn’t want to identify with this “negative” image of myself. It was one of those rock bottom moments in life when you often turn to desperate measures. In this case I’m glad it was a google search.
My desperate search for answers to what was wrong with me and how to fix it brought me to an article that explained what was going on underneath what I was feeling in a way that resonated with me. It was like a tiny spark of hope that had been tucked away deep inside lit up, and I started reading every single article on that website. And listen to the podcasts. Every moment I could spare the coming weeks I had this stranger talking about emotions, awareness and belief systems in my ear. Then discovering his self mastery program with practices you could do to make changes. The cost for the program was a fraction of what I had spent on therapy and behaviour related to feeling like shit. So I started it and a few sessions in I could already see results but most of all I could see a path ahead for the first time in a very long time. This was a tool, a practice to become aware of what was causing me suffering and change it, from someone who had done the same journey.
In October 2015 I arrived at the ancient ruins of Teotihuacan for the first time. Because I had signed up for a retreat with the man I had found from a desperate google search. I had never been to Mexico, never traveled alone and never been to a retreat. Now, two years later, I’m currently living a nomad life with my daughter and creating an unforgettable journey called life. Panic attacks? Last one was two years ago. Pleasant emotions? Every day, most of all gratefulness and trust in life itself. Unpleasant emotions? Sure, but now I don’t add to them with layers of judgement or denial which I was quite a master of before.
I keep coming back to Teotihuacan, as one of my favourite places on this planet. This year for the third time, sharing the experience with my daughter, two of my sisters and all of the old and new friends I’ve met there. You know who you are and I love you all dearly. What I’ve been practicing and experiencing there has simply been working for me. With that not saying it’s easy.
There are a few things that I learned that first year that I’ve been practicing ever since.
Where I put my attention and my faith
Normally we are not very aware where our mind wanders and what kind of thoughts we have. Becoming aware of our thoughts and what kind of reactions or emotions they trigger is a necessary step. Honestly observing them without judgement. Becoming skeptical of stories we have reacted to as true and question what is real. This is a muscle that needs exercising.
Letting go of things I don’t want
When seeing that the thoughts we have believed in might not be true and detaching from identifying with them we have created room for change. Now we can identify which of them are causing us suffering, what beliefs that is the root for them and let go of them. This can be done through different exercises, ceremonies or simply by observing them without engaging.
Bring in things I want
When letting go of things we don’t want there’s room for what we want. Practicing both listening to what you really want, beyond structures of society, ego and attachments as well as creating it is skills that we don’t learn in school. Not knowing how to do this leave us feeling powerless, as victims to circumstances beyond our control. This couldn’t be further from the truth of what we are capable of.
Being in an environment of sharing with others and acceptance is powerful. Mainly because we are not used to it and instead are practiced in hiding what we really feel, adapting to social norms or our own beliefs of how we should be. During these retreats there’s no need to fix or change anyone. We practice honesty about what we feel and the expression of that unconditional love we all have a deep longing to receive and give.
And there’s more. The story tells that Teotihuacan is a place that people have come to do exactly this type of work for a long time. The name means ”where human awakens from their illusions and realize their divinity”. If you ever have been to a place where you feel moved from what have taken place there before you know what I’m talking about. A church, a memorial monument, the concentration camps from the holocaust. You can feel it, the emotion that people have expressed there before you. In Teotihuacan there’s an intent to help you grow and evolve, supporting you along the way and taking the journey in directions you didn’t know you needed.
The journey is continuing to unfold and deepen in ways I couldn’t imagine. There’s much more to this than I’ve mentioned here – both with my life and struggles that took me here and with what I’m experiencing now, on the other side of suffering. I might write more on this, another time.
We are indeed stardust.
Ps. I borrowed the title of this post from a song that I’ve held in my heart lately – The wind by Yusuf/Cat Stevens. And the answer to how you listen to the wind of your soul, if you ask me, is to remove whatever is in the way of you hearing it. It’s there, you must clean the belief systems, the programmed emotional reactions, the identity you’ve put faith in – all that’s in the way of your true essence. You can also practice accessing it through other sources of expression than the analytical mind – music, nature, meditation, craft or whatever calls you. Don’t fall into believing these things have no meaning compared to all the practical, achieving things on your to do-list.
A few lines from the song describe this in a wonderful way:
I’ve been listening to the wind, to the wind of my soul
Where I’ll end up, well I think, only God really knows
I’ve been listening to my words but they fall far below
I let my music take me where my heart want’s to go