Something glorious is happening, and I am blessed to be a part of it. An idea talked about on a bench along the walking path of English Bay in Vancouver has burgeoned into manifestation. I’ve teamed up with the illustrious leadership coach DelaneyTosh of SquarePeg Leadership to facilitate a series of transformative workshops and retreats that incorporate the best of coaching and yoga. Together, we created Phoenix-Hearted Woman.
Personal transformation does not happen solely in the head. We can understand on an intellectual level exactly what we need to do to heal ourselves and our lives. We can plan, read every last book, listen to inspirational lectures–but until we embrace change in our hearts and bodies, our resolutions and intentions fizzle before the month is done. That’s when we realized how beautifully the somatic experience of yoga integrates the lessons the brain absorbs to assist in freeing us from habits of limiting thoughts and behaviour.
The first in the series, called Recognize, launched last October. It was a single-day workshop at a yoga studio on Granville Island, attended by ten wonderful women of various ages, skills, and yoga experience. Something we recognized was the need for more time and a venue that can become a holding environment. That’s why next month’s Revitalize retreat is going to take place overnight at Wisteria Acres, a beautiful farmhouse near Ft. Langley with a yoga space in a loft above the horse barn.
We took the phoenix as our symbol for its embodiment of transformation. It has been used through the ages as a symbol of alchemy–and not merely the transmutation of lead into gold, bit the transmutation of the heavy, leaden parts of the soul to golden, shining liberation.
Furthermore, we appreciated the grace of the avian imagery paired with the ferocity of fire. We set the imagery in the heart, the symbolic seat of trust, compassion, authenticity, and courage.
There is alchemy in the season, an alchemy we kindle in our hearts, burning away the dross of our own limiting beliefs to let our genuine selves radiate outward.
The cycle begins in autumn when the fiery bird is consumed in the flames to become ash. In winter, the ember of life smolders under the ashes. Then, in spring, the spark ignites and the bird unfolds from the ash. In summer the phoenix takes to the sky in its full blazing glory.
The correspondence with breath cycle also places autumn at the start: the inhale. The movement is inward, like the ebb of life in fall. The energy of the trees is pulled in toward the trunk, the leaves are surrendered because the energy of sustaining them through the cold would kill the tree. On a personal level, autumn is a beautiful time to take stock in what might need surrendering so that which is vital may be preserved.
Winter, then, is the pause between inhale and exhale, when life is held completely within. For ourselves, we tend to the spark that matters most. We nurture the truth of who we are at our core: a compassionate, wise, peaceful being. Here is a wellspring of personal energy, confidence, and resilience. That’s why we’ve titled this next retreat “Revitalize”.
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