Coming Home To Our Heart

Posted by Ani on Dec 5, 2020
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When we were planning for last week’s London Virtual retreat, we chose the title and theme “Embracing Life’s Unexpected Gifts”. It was an experiment that invited deeper ways of personal and collective transformation during these uncertain times. But how can a virtual space hold that energy in the ways held by an in-person retreat? How do we create a virtual safe space with people who do not know one another? How do we create the connection with others without being able to touch their hand in a comforting gesture? How do we create the ambience - without warm welcome hugs - or intricate mandalas or soul filled music? How do we send angels to sprinkle anonymous tags of kindness? These were questions we were exploring as we put our heads, hands and hearts into offering a hybrid, online and offline retreat, which had been inspired by our Moved By Love India family.

What transpired was more beautiful than imaginable - a safe, sacred space for deep connection - a reminder that our connection with others is beyond the physical form - that the immense power of love can penetrate and hold you even within a virtual space of square Zoom cells. Retreats held in physical spaces can certainly hold that collective field of love but virtual retreats certainly have possibilities beyond that. (For somebody who is a technophobe, that takes much courage to say. :))

Coming Home to our Heart

The virtual retreat was held from our homes, from where we were “doing” all the inner work, from where we were “being” our true selves, from where we were showing up to for each other in the heart place,

What became very clear is that the heart IS the retreat space.
You carry this collective field with you. There is no hard landing or transitioning to arrive back home. You have already arrived home.

Insights are emerging about how the creative constraints of physical distancing unfolded beautiful aspects of a sacred virtual spaces.

Tilling the Soil

The 5 day virtual retreat was made up of 3 days of inner service immersion work with a daily prompt for 3 immersion days, concluding with the a live retreat day.
  • Day Zero - opening circle with a special appearance by Nipun :)
  • Day 1 - Reflecting on our Tree of Life
  • Day 2- Prepare a self-nourishment kit
  • Day 3- Write a letter to yourself
The beautiful overriding aspect of these introspective immersion activities was that sharing of reflections on the pod allowed us to collectively hold journeys for everybody, not just a few. Each of us was witness to whatever was arising and emerging from the prompts. There was a feeling of common humanity with participants opened their hearts, becoming mirrors without judgement. Nurturing entwining bonds started creating a fertile ground – allowing love to flow and uplift.
At an in-person retreat one can get a glimpse into somebody’s journey during what is shared in an opening or closing circle, or during a conversation, but it would be extremely challenging to gain the breadth and depth of connection made possible by the reflection online clever pod platform where we could comment and even offer smiling hearts. To read, reflect and comment in our own time. Certainly, to a large extent it is this engagement spectrum of sharing and listening with compassion - the tilling - which enabled our roots to go deeper.

Love knows no borders

Like the abundant rays of the sun, a virtual space without borders can be a portal to gather from diverse parts of the planet. When love is calling, there are no boundaries. Participants from the Far East to the Mediterranean to the USA, as well as love warriors like Nipun who shared his presence during a 30 day solitude retreat and Sacha from Corfu who despite it being her husband’s birthday joined to share a powerful grounding meditation and songs and Nimo who shared learnings from his journey and a new song offering whilst sitting with his young nephew in an upstairs room at his late-uncles house in California. Only love can pull in this way.

Unexpected Gifts

Volunteers virtually tagged people with handwritten heart shaped quote cards every evening with nuggets from what people had shared that day. On the live retreat day, poems were overflowing from hearts which were full. In the afternoon, one-person baked heart shaped cookies and personally delivered them to two other participants who lived nearby during his afternoon activity of a mindful walk. And a week on, the fruits keep ripening. Participants write prayer mandalas for others, connect in solidarity as they grieve together and support each other or record songs to send to a participant's spouse, who is terminally ill.

Life is a Gift

We were reminded on the live retreat day by Satish Kumar that we all are a gift - a divine being. That life is a pilgrimage, a journey with ups and downs. These uncertain times may even be a gift. Here is a full audio recording of his wise insights and a glimpse of what he shared:
“We experience a sense of abundance when we accept life as a gift. Scarcity comes with expectation because when there is expectation, we can become disappointed. Drop expectation. Accept the gifts of life with an open heart."

Deep gratitude for the invisible roots that have entwined and continue to entwine to connect our interbeing. May we continue to embrace the unexpected with open hearts. This Life is a Gift.

You may enjoy this full retreat overview in Trishna's post When Love Lifts Us.

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