Hey all! Welp, just got back from my self-retreat. This is something I decided to do before I started my new job. After some research, I decided to go to one of my favorite places in North Carolina, Asheville! Well, right outside of it anyway. It is a divine location called Mountain Light Sanctuary. It is part hostel, part retreat, part soul adventure. The owner Michael is a wonderful man who opened the donation-based property in the 70’s and has been slowing enriching it since then. Plus, there are fairies and gnomes everywhere 😉
The grounds include amazing facilities including a Council House, Bamboo Grove, Dancing Heart Pavilion, Flower Garden and the Garden of Divine Feminine. The property was the perfect place to unplug from social media and technology, deeply connect with nature, and interact with other souls in a very real way.
One of the first important moments for me was in the Garden of the Divine Feminine. I wanted a moment to myself and after sitting for a little while I just started to cry. I realized I was missing my grandmothers deeply, and even more so I was releasing the some of the struggles of modern womanhood. Ultimately the ending of my prayers and meditation turned into a celebration, an acknowledgement of women’s unique power.
Let’s also talk about where I slept. It was called the Banana Patch. I had my own little hut which was exposed to nature on all sides. Only coverage was some dark curtains. Sounds strange right? But honestly, with the solid firm mattress, I slept like I was on a cloud, just floating in and out of a subtle dream state. Each morning I woke up to the 9 am Gratitude Gong and stepped into the morning light barefoot. It was heaven on earth.
During the days, I took several hikes in Pisgah National Forest. The elevation was about 2,800 feet. The air was fresh and invigorating and it felt like my lungs were growing in capacity. I got adventurous of course, and went and washed in the creek. I also found an amazing old hunters lookout called the Cavern. There was a fireplace, chairs, and a sofa all made of huge stone. I lit a fire and talked to God. Surprisingly, the sofa was very comfortable.
Weirdly, a psychic vision kicked in on my second hike as well. For a moment in the morning that day, the strange thought of reading someone else’s journal struck me. Not sure why, maybe everyone at Mountain Light is a seeker and I was curious to see what others were working through. Well, of course smack dab in front of the creek where I paused my hike later that day, there it was, a marble-cover journal. And yes, I read some. The author and I funnily enough had some common interests, he played rugby, he was into fitness and nutrition, and he seemed to enjoy reading (although he called The Alchemist “a lame storyline”), ummmm hello, that is not okay!
I felt guilty for snooping, especially when I saw the date of his most recent entry, 4-21-21, the day of my hike. Plus I realized that I might have run into him earlier on the trail. But his most recent entry was grotesque, so I won’t repeat it here, but I quickly shut the thing and put it back where it was. In that moment, I realized just how many seekers are actually runners.
We can travel, see, read, and study, but what actually heals and transforms us is what we do, what we face, what we practice, and what we speak. To really find the perpetual beta state, we always have to try, we have to iterate. Unfortunately this person avoided this action- even in one poste, he admitted he was lazy.
This retreat gave me the opportunity to let go of my ego and lean in to my true self, even my dark thoughts, and reframe them. It was so empowering and my own soul became my sanctuary to approach this inner honesty. I absolutely still love Mountain Light Sanctuary, but peace can be built anywhere, even in our quarantine abodes. The green grass doesn’t hurt though.
PPS Was I very wrong for snooping? Tell me your thoughts below!