On Devotion to the Inner Voice
I knew within seconds of opening the email that I would be going on this retreat to India; it was a "big fat yes". Over the past two years, I have become increasingly obedient when my inner voice speaks with such a clear timbre. This has meant learning to listen to the cues in my body with an increasingly vigilant attention. Once, my newfound vigilance led me to ask my lover, while making out in the front seat of a car, "Wow, this is fun, do you also feel like all your cells are leaning in the same direction?" Getting a "big fat yes" from my cells, it feels like a more diffuse version of making out; it's like I'm making out with my life, rather than another person.
That's how I felt when I read about this retreat, that excited yet calm knowing. Like I know the end of the story that someone has just started reading, yet I don't have the words to tell them what it is.
Many friends have asked me to "explain" this retreat, why I am going, what it is about. It feels like a way to follow my curiosity about the wisdom of my body. My body is the most intimate portal I have to the mysteries of nature, and learning her language. The phrase "feminine embodiment" seems to be a label for those of us who are curious about sensuality as a modality for learning this language. You can read more about the retreat here.
So yeah, I'm clear that I'm GOING on this retreat. I'm not nervous about making that decision. Yet I am anxious about packing. About preparing, about not having a plan for after the retreat... so many other things I can do in India, in Asia, while I am over on that side of the globe, how will I decide where to go or what to do after the retreat? Do I pack warm clothes and go on a trek up north? Or do I head for warmer weather? I've never taken a trip this far from home by myself. My friend Elizabeth sent me this quote that was deeply comforting:
"Packing light doesn't mean you simply take enough for yourself; it means that you don't worry about having everything you need, and you pack with others in mind. Packing light means that we rely on other people to meet our daily needs. One benefit of packing light is that there is room in our bags for something new."
I've been carrying a background level of anxiety about this journey for months now, I'm embarrassed to admit. People ask if I'm excited, and yet, I can't even access that feeling, because I'm too busy with my anxiety.
What am I really afraid of?
I'm afraid that, as I have so mysteriously many times before, I'll get what I really want. I'll find a deeper level of devotion. Devotion, this beautiful and pure quality that has felt unattainable and maybe undeserved. To be devoted to something, that sounds like something reserved for the few and the holy. And yet, I know this is what I want. I want the simplicity of faith, the beauty of offering my purest intention, the courage to release all the excuses and the defenses. Devotion is as naked as a flower. What's the shadow side of devotion? What scares me about it? I'm afraid I'll lose myself, I'll lose my ability to resist and hold myself separate from the universal. I'm afraid that devotion is a one way door, and I'll never be able to go back... to what?