Reflections on Taking a Retreat

Tiina Kivinen Blog

Right now I am living in the jungle at my winter home, The Enchanted Forest in Guiones, Costa Rica. I spend my days teaching at The Nosara Yoga Institute and Harmony Healing Centre, taking classes, walking the beach, floating and swimming in tide pools and waves, watching the sun set over the ocean, and lounging around in a hammock. I also try and get business stuff done; some days it comes naturally and other days I have resistance and a hard time getting to

I have learned that the key to being good at making business happen is feeling inspired, and then letting that inspiration flow into the business. Hence, taking 3 months of the year to focus on healing and inspiration ๐Ÿ˜‰ Here’s what’s flowing today: I’m thinking its about time I tell you a bit about my experience on retreat this year.

Feeling inspired moment to moment takes practice, and it takes really deeply feeling what is present, a willingness to dive in. When we feel fully the experiences of our life we come face to face with who we are. For example, I gave myself the immense gift of going to an ecstatic dance and yoga retreat over New Years this year, less than 3 months after my mother passed away.

Here is a little bit about what it was like to take a retreat, at a time of very potent grief. Thanks for reading ๐Ÿ™‚

I walked onto a dance and yoga floor where the primary intention was to create a space for ritual and healing, led by two people who I adore, Amber Ryan and Kevin Courtney. They are teachers who I admire, and feel a pull to be around, which is a rare feeling that I believe is worth following and celebrating. I was also on board as part of the work team, so I was helping hold the space, which is a huge honour. I love them!

At the retreat, I had to meet myself fully in the pain of losing my mom, and the practices of yoga and ecstatic dance, with sacred guidance, created a container in which I could go into all of it.

For many years, dancing has been a refuge for me, a medicine and something that often led to bliss and high high feelings. I am used to entering a dance floor and feeling like I am just in it, in the rhythm, in the moment, and communicating with the most authenticity, and often having a lot of fun. I have known and experienced dance as healing medicine, and was looking forward to having the opportunity to let go and feel like I have a body again.

I have learned what an immense gift I gave myself to commit to a retreat at a time of major life change.

The inertia of grief is strong.

I have never felt like moving was so difficult. The pain of loosing my mom on this plane of things, combined with the rhythms of daily life being overall pretty full on through the fall, had manifested in some pretty epic layers of physical and emotional tension.

I have a friend who also lost her mom and she said it took her 2 years before she could dance again. I understand that: I can’t put words to how difficult it was to move my body to music at a time of such deep sadness. But I did. And it was so hard. But the fruit of this challenge was that I was able to move some of the pain that was so layered in body, and give it space and form, and really honour the depth of it. Lots of crying, and dragging myself through the inertia for many days until I actually got to the space where I was free and open and feeling a little more one with the divine. (In the 5 Rhythms practice, this is referred to as Lyrical, and it is a sweet sweet experience to actually be in the Lyrical Rhythm). Through the practices I faced my fears of not being able to access my Mom anymore, and I opened up to connecting with her on a deeper level. This is something that has changed my life and will continue to transform me as I commit to staying open.

Kevin Courtney’s mom was a part of the retreat, which was so sweet and really reminded me of the time that my sweet mama attended my retreat in Costa Rica. What an amazing blessing that was, and if you can go on retreat with a beloved family member (or by yourself, go on retreat people! Such an amazing opportunity!) at some point in life, I highly recommend it. Life is short, sometimes shorter than you would hope for, and we’ve got to make every moment count.

Overall, I am immensely grateful to my guides Amber and Kevin, to my family because it’s you who I dance and pray for, and grateful to myself for giving myself the time and space to face all of it full on, a radical act of self love. Infinite thanks to my Mom, who I know is with me in Spirit.