I recently attended Gabrielle Bernstein’s annual Spirit Junkie retreat at Kriaplu. In January I read Gabrielle’s latest book, May Cause Miracles: A 40-Day Guidebook of Subtle Shifts for Radical Change and Unlimited Happiness, and on the last day of the book I said to Andrew that I really hoped to attend one of Gabby’s in-person workshops. The next day I got an email about the May Cause Miracles retreat at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in Stockbridge, MA. Thank you universe! Before letting my fear of the unknown set in I registered. Leading up to the weekend I was filled with a mixture of excitement and the nasty four-letter word…fear. The materials about the workshop said that there would be a dance party and I was obsessing over this fact. Dancing is so not my thing and causes major anxiety. I’m glad I ignored this F(alse) E(vidence) A(ppearing) R(eal) and went regardless of the threat of dance.
I got to Kripalu on Friday afternoon and had dinner before my first session. The food was insane. It was the first time I didn’t have to carry lactaid around with me or ask if dairy was included. Quinoa, kale, and freshly baked bread…oh my! I may have hit up the buffet line more than once. #sorrynotsorry My favorite was the Buddha Bar filled with vegan deliciousness and the plethora of teas.
I entered the room for our first session and was struck by the number of participants. There were 250+ Spirit Junkie’s in attendance and the energy was overwhelming. Gabby had us jump right in with meditations and Kundalini yoga. The theme for the night was truth: Gabby sharing her truth, getting us to witness and acknowledge our truth and Spirit Junkie’s sharing their truth with the group.
“Don’t dance around the perimeter of the person you want to be. Dive deeply and fully into it.” -Gabrielle Bernstein
We learned two great meditations in this session: Ego Eradicator and the Meditation to Prevent Freaking Out. Amazing. Gabby encouraged us not to worry about getting anywhere. This is so true. I go into most situations with a clear outcome expected and this can block life from actually happening.
And then my fears became reality. It was time to dance. I had already decided that as soon as people started to get their dance on I was going to sneak out and go back to my room. In a sea of 250+ people, no one would notice, right? I was getting up to make a run for it when Gabby turned the music on and the first song was Raise Your Glass by P!nk. Um…was this a sign or what?! So I put my bag down and went up to the front of the room and started to dance. Really dance. Totally free and uninhibited dancing. Then the lights went down and the music got louder. And 200+ people were singing and dancing in celebration. It was energizing (and hot – no air conditioning!). Gabby invited people to get on the stage with her and dance and no one moved. So she grabbed my hand and pulled me on the stage with her. Excuse me, what? Dancing on stage in front of 200 strangers. I could have retreated but instead, in that moment, I stopped dancing around the perimeter and dove in fully! This may not seem like a big deal but it was a HUGE deal to me. Letting go and truly being in the moment was pretty radical. And freeing.
I’ll recap the rest of the weekend in an upcoming post! In the meantime:
Photos from Gabrielle Bernstein on Instagram.