I'm back! The last week has been the most enlightening, empowering experience I have ever had the privilege to participate in. I week of intense learning, training and facing the world in a new way! I am not becoming a soap box preacher as a result, but the experience has allowed me to view each day in a new light without the coloured glasses that design the world that we live in.
As I am now in the home stretch to the Wisconsin start line my decision to 'miss' a week of training was not an easy one to arrive at. I weighed my current physical level, the 'cost' of not being in my 'program' for the week, the opportunity cost mentally following the week and feeling confident that I have not lost fitness. A million reasons why I should not have participated in the past week. Then I looked at the other side of the balance? Why not, I am at a point that allows me the time to participate, I have experienced yoga in a manner that has been a huge part of my physical development along the way, I have found a mental edge in practicing, I have a level of training that was not going to disappear because of the level of practice that I would participate in each day. Weighing one against the other, I reached a decision that I should follow everyday of my life! If not now, when?
The past week I attended a Baron Baptiste Level 1 teacher training bootcamp. It was held at a Buddhist Mountain retreat in the Catskills Mountains of New York. It was an opportunity to develop my skills in my own personal yoga practice, as well as apply my skills towards sharing my passion with others through teaching. I had heard from many that it was a great experience in many ways, however, I allowed myself to go to the event with a totally open mind to what I could learn of gain from the time there.
The past week has turned out to be a physical, mental and spiritual enlightenment beyond any level that I could have expected.
I arrived at the retreat last Saturday to begin the journey that the week would bring. It is high in the Catskills with no phone reception, no red meat, limited internet and no hidden agendas. I registered for the event with an anxious wonder of what the week would bring. Others around me smiled as we walked by each other with a nervous acknowledgement of 2 people who are about to meet. We enjoyed the serenity of the peaceful surroundings of nature and sounds as we imagined what we were in for. Then we made our way to out hotel to check in to our home for the nest week. I registered quite late for the event, so I was housed at Emerald Resort and Spa a short drive from the bootcamp facility. My room was over the top beautiful, it was almost the size of my house. But, I was not there for a spa I was there to learn!
Saturday evening the activities started with a review of the materials for the week and a short 1.5 hour yoga practice. It was done without direction or intention, just a way to start the weeks activities. I did not think much of the material reviewed as it sounded like some other training that I have done in the past. I focused on being there and beginning the learning process. It was a good start point with some introductions of ourselves and a break the ice kind of time.
The next day was a little more intense! We started each day with a meditation and then evolved the meditation into a yoga practice. OUr first practice was nearly 3 hours long! My yoga mat and towels were soaked, I was practising on more sweat that I have ever experienced in my life. The physical event was tough, like the end of a marathon with your legs cramping and you singing the song to yourself that you should stop and walk! However, we made it through with big smiles and looking forward to the next event. The afternoon was spent beginning the process of learning! I wont get into the finer points of what we did, I will leave it at a week long lesson of learning to be present with yourself so that you can be the best teacher and student of yoga, people and life!
Each day was made up of 4-6 hours of yoga practice and 8-12 hours of 'mental' learning. If I was to summarize the of the entire week it might be made up of the following points;
- we do all that we do to satisfy the deep need to look good to others
- most of the world is not present in themselves or the environment that they are in, we are 3 steps ahead of looking back to figure our why?
- we all have a deep need to 'know' that pre-occupies our being
- our failures are not based on our abilities, they are based on the stories that we make up to justify to others why we quit so that we can continue to look good!
It was a week that started with 130 total strangers from around the globe, scared of each other, scared of themselves and somewhere other than the room we were standing in. We finished the week as best of friends having shared our true individual selves, learnt from those we were with, opening up to the possibilities of what we can do if we don't limit ourselves to satisfy others. I feel that I have made 130 soulmates from around the world! I may never see most of them again, however, I will see each of them every day in our actions, our words, our presence and our lack of fear to be the best that we can be!
Although I have not specifically 'trained' in the disciplines of IRONMAN for 7 days, I am back! I am stronger than ever with the fitness that I maintained through the intense physicality of the daily practice. But, more important I am back with a mental presence and strength that will allow me to move beyond my self perceived physical and mental limits over the next 5 weeks. I am present in the adventure that I started over 300 days ago and ready to kick this IRONMAN adventure in the ass with a smile on my face, a pride in my step and the knowledge that I am in control of this step of my life! BRING IT ON!!!
Thank you to all my friends who have motivated me on this journey and been there to share it with me! I hope that you all know how awesome I think you are!