What I Learned on a 5-Day Meditation Retreat

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Reflections by the Sea

Earlier this month I embarked on a 5-day meditation retreat to Mexico. Taking up the offer from a dear friend who had previously attended in years past, I jumped at the opportunity for some girl time, sun, and exploration all while exploring my passion for health and wellness. I have been a longtime meditator but admit my practice these days are often on the vibe bed, a moving meditation or sitting out in nature, mountain-top soaking in Mama Gaia. A regimented daily practice wasn’t always my cup of tea, but I figured a deep dive might reignite the routine. Interestingly, this retreat required you to “apply to go” with questions like, “why would other retreat goers find you interesting” and other accolades or social media handles that would garner you a spot on the retreat. Curated to say the least, my curiosity was spiked so I quickly filled out the application and decided to let the Universe decide for me. A few days later I learned I was accepted and booked my trip.

Going into the retreat, I tried to keep any expectations at bay. I love learning and more than anything was excited to branch out and explore what a retreat of this caliber and outside my normal circle would entail. I also believed it would push me out of my comfort zone, not one for small talk, I knew the retreat would force me to branch out. I’ve been lucky enough to attend lots of retreats over the years, some exotic and others more mundane, but this would be my first strictly focused on meditation.

What I learned on a 5-day meditation retreat. Cosmic Mother. Silent retreat.
©Ashley Drody Photography 2023

Arriving at the gorgeous resort a couple months later with my girlfriend, I was excited to be lead. The endless student, I love learning and it felt good to be back in my favorite role. The first evening offered a lovely backdrop dining on the sand by the ocean, with curated conversations with intellectuals from across the States. Having a massively heavy Scorpio chart, this is what my soul craves, so I relished at the opportunity to have discussions that revolved over deeper topics and the reflections of people whose lives had little resemblance to mine. I left that evening with anticipation for what was to come.

The next day started early with morning meditation, yoga, breakfast, more meditation, classes and curated conversations over lunch and the afternoon. The day required loads of energy, not in a physical way,

Mela meditation retreat. yoga, 8-fold path
Pictured above: Kelly Klein, Susan Drumm, Kim Roach & Pinky Ghuman

but energetically being attentive to other participants and teachers. As the day evolved and with more the following, my enthusiasm curbed as the depth I had so relished on the first night squandered into networking and topics that felt more geared towards busy executives just approaching mindfulness. As the days and trip progressed my frustration grew so  I turned my intention inward and reflected on my own practices, daily life, and ability to share with others and here’s what I discovered.

The daily meditation practice, taught me that sitting a little longer, would strengthen my practice and I received insights that brought tears to my eyes. It also taught me how much I crave silence. Many of the meditations themselves I found very distracting with too much coaching interrupting my own insights and peace and noticeably pulling me back into Beta brainwaves. It reminded me to seek more silence returning home, rather than always reaching for a podcast or other form of education or entertainment.

Ultimately, following the texture of this silence allowed me to connect back to the Cosmic Mother, realizing she is always waiting for us. Just like a baby in its womb, we can feel her vibrations, her subtle language guiding us forth.

And just like a mother must let her children grow to find their own way, stumble, and fall to learn their own strength and power, the Cosmic Mother knows that the fall is equally as important as the rise.  She is always waiting for us to turn to her, to love her in return and to allow her embrace to renew us.

The retreat also highlighted to me how much I live my life as a ceremony, not always gracefully or perfectly, but approaching it with mindfulness and curiosity about myself, my relations, and the Cosmos. Sharing with others, I accepted what had been reflected to me so often over the last several years, that I am a catalyst to others. This role quite often isn’t pleasant. Some people warm up and resonant immediately with me, but more often I can trigger others. Teachers especially. This has been hard for me, as I have always been extremely sensitive and was often surprised as my intention has always been deeper connection. Observing myself in this role once again, this time I came into new relationship with my feelings. Instead of feeling rejected, I understood that the Universe was showing me to rise and embrace the uniquely divine human I am here to be. That not only am I a student, but I am a teacher and to have more confidence in my experience and wisdom. The journey is never over, and as anyone on this path knows, the more you learn the more you realize you’ve barely scratched the surface. Nonetheless, I am now willing to stand in my power and move with more confidence with what I am here to share with the world.

To KNOW I hold a unique frequency and that those that need to hear this message will.  Conversely, I attract in those teachers and kindred spirits here to be my own catalyst of Becoming.

Thank you Mama, thank you for the reflections. Here’s to a life lived in full spectrum color.

Meditation reflections. 8 fold path. Buddhism. Yoga. Mexican Retreat
©Ashley Drody Photography 2023
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