On the weekend, I ran my very first multi-day retreat here in the heart of Central Victoria.
The experience was a deeply enriching learning experience for me – not only as a culmination of 18 months of manifesting this innermost desire, but as an individual woman on my own search for wellbeing and fulfilment.
I feel incredibly grateful that the women who joined me on this retreat – those brave, magnificent women who helped me create a space of sisterhood so sacred, many of us have been unable to share exactly what happened in our bushland retreat.
Yes, we did yoga. And we ate and drank beautiful, local food and wine. We practiced meditation and pranayama. We talked purpose, play and creativity.
But the change happened mostly in the hours outside sessions. Where we recreated – albeit more informally – the circle that we sat in during our workshops and simply held space for each other’s pain, grief, hopes, dreams and joy.
And as the hours wore on, what we were cultivating was a deeply safe and feminine place of healing. Not a place of doing, but simply a place of unveiling who each of us are at our very core.
When women sit in circle – away from the constructs that keep us competing, judging, guilty and small – something profound happens. When we are allowed to drop into the wisdom that resides within – and to hold and contain each other there – true magic happens.
Because underneath all our desires and dreams – we all have one simple hope.
To be loved exactly as we are.
As the facilitator, I opened and held the space initially. But by the end of the weekend it was me too who felt held and supported by this deep wisdom – the pure joy of creating this space magnified by the full body appreciation born from being accepted and loved exactly as I was, too.
Since the weekend, I’ve been relishing this feeling – the magnificent combination of openness, presence and being grounded. Confidence with humility. Connectedness without need.
The tendency when we experience any positive feelings for a length of time is to overshadow it with thoughts of ‘but it will go away soon’.
And indeed it will.
This phenomenon – coined the ‘upper limit problem’ by Gay Hendricks in his book ‘The Big Leap’, should be familiar to you if you are a woman, especially a woman who is on a path of seeking truth.
The unconscious pattern of diminishing positive experiences and feelings by bringing your attention back to something negative.
As Hendricks puts it – we all believe we are have a certain threshold for positive experiences in life. Go over that threshold and the discomfort mounts until we – usually unwittingly – bring ourselves crashing back to earth through acts of self sabotage or negative thinking.
My particular relationship with the upper limit problem manifests in a variety of ways. My tendency when something positive happens is to cut of my connection to the flow of positivity by choosing one of my four favourite soothing behaviours – over-working, over-giving, over-eating or over-purchasing.
And so my focus over the last few months has been on improving my ability to contain these positive things.
As my work has grown in depth and impact, I have felt called to raise my prices. The challenge is to contain the fresh in-flows of money and positivity – both in practical terms and within my body.The work is to keep acknowledging that I am worthy of an ever increasing income – and to understand that only by being myself will my big dreams become a reality.
As I have felt drawn to create new, meaningful relationships with women also following their soul-work, I have had to create a container to be able to hold those relationships in my heart and mind.
As I have become more inspired to make an impact through this work, I have had to create loving boundaries in order to hold the space for new clients – but most importantly for my family.
As I have been more present to the seasons of positivity, growth and expansion, I have had to create a container in my heart and cells to store those memories – knowing that in the winters and contractions I will need to draw on them.
When we feel we don’t deserve something, we will find ways to throw it out as quickly as it has come to us.
Like when we reply to someone giving us a compliment with ‘that’s not true’.
Or when we have a feast or famine/all or nothing mentality to work or money.
Or when our minds immediately choose to find something to worry about when we are experience a moment of pristine joy or awareness.
Or when we expend the energy we have so carefully cultivated for our own needs by over-caring, over-giving and over-nourishing others at the expense of ourselves.
Unless we can contain it, it will leak out like water out of a sieve.
And so in order to contain all of this positivity, I know that the work I need to continue to do is to believe I am worthy of it all.
The more I understand that I am… simply because I am me, the more I can hold it, build from it, and create more impact.
If the upper limit problem is something that is playing out in your life, the most important things is to acknowledge it, accept it and bring awareness to it.
As I always say – it’s not about doing more, it’s about fostering awareness and intention.
Until next time,