By Molly Patrick
Aug 11, 2018
We’re back from the retreat and it was utterly amazing. There were some glitches. There were some injuries. There were a few hurdles. And it was STILL utterly amazing.
You know what made it amazing? The 30 Dirties who flew to Hawaii and participated in the retreat, and the bonds that were created over the course of the week. If these 30 amazing people are a reflection of the bigger CFDG community then this is without a doubt the best community on the planet, online or off.
It was a privilege to meet everyone and get to know them. We hung out, we laughed, we told stories, we cried, we swam, we ate, we moved our bodies, we held space for each other, we farted, we danced, we walked, we meditated, we played cards, we sang, we rolled around on balls, we questioned the choices we have made in our life, we forgave, we hugged each other (there was a lot of hugging) and we formed lifelong friendships. It was a week I will never forget.
I kept a notebook handy and wrote down things that I wanted to remember and reflect on when the retreat was over. I thought it would be a good reminder for the Dirties who joined us and insightful for the Dirties who did not.
1. Do whatever you must to make your body priority number one.
Our bodies might change with time, but we only get one. From the time you are born to the time you die, your body is the container that so gently holds your consciousness, your awareness, your spirit. When we treat it with the utmost respect, kindness, love and compassion we start inching our way to our potential.
Part of making your body a priority is eating healthy on a regular basis, but it’s not the only thing. Getting plenty of sleep, moving your body, keeping stress to a minimum, staying hydrated, this is all part of it too.
2. To all the women out there: Be nice to other women in your life.
Of the 30 participants, 28 of them were women. As a side note, the two men were a pleasure to have at the retreat, and I am so glad they were there.
I was chatting with a Dirty on the last night of the retreat and she mentioned that over the course of the week she never once felt judged or experienced anyone being bitchy or mean, and how refreshing that was from a group of women. I agreed with her wholeheartedly, and then I got bummed that women judging other women is so much the norm that we notice when it doesn’t happen. Let’s not do that anymore.
Let’s do a better job of being genuinely kind to the women who cross our paths. The grocery store checkout women, the mothers-in-law, the sisters, the friends, the daughters-in-law, the colleagues, the daughters, the strangers on the sidewalk. Women go through enough, the last thing we need is other women being shitty with us.
Be so sweet. Lend an ear. Offer a hand. Listen, really listen. See yourself in her. Voice that compliment that ran through your head. Have her back. Treat her how you want the woman you love most in your life to be treated.
3. Accept others exactly as they are.
It is not your job to change anyone, it’s not even your business. Don’t cling to your thoughts that the people you love need to change, and definitely don’t flatter yourself by thinking you will be the one to change them. The best way you can help someone change is by fully accepting them without judgment, and allowing them to figure stuff out for themselves. In order to unconditionally love someone, you must accept them. Full stop.
Accepting someone doesn’t have to be dramatic or hard, it’s just a choice you can make.
4. Accept yourself exactly as you are.
Here’s a little hint: accepting others is even easier once you’ve worked on this one.
A question came up during the retreat about the struggle to fully accept yourself when there is still work to be done on the body and mind.
There are two ways of looking at this. Let’s say you have high cholesterol, high blood pressure, 50 pounds to release and a wee bit of jealousy that you are working on.
You could push away and fight self acceptance, because if you fully accept yourself that means all the things you are working on (cholesterol, blood pressure, weight and jealousy) get a green light to remain just as they are and your progress stops.
You could choose to fully accept yourself for exactly how you are in this moment, regardless of your imperfections or things you need to work on. It’s totally up to you. One is fear based the other is love based.
Before you choose, it’s important to know that acceptance is not the same thing as settling or stagnation. Just because you accept yourself does not mean you stop working on bettering yourself. It’s actually the opposite. By choosing to accept yourself you are choosing to love yourself without judgment. You are choosing unconditional love.
And when you have unconditional love for yourself, you create the space and the healthy inner environment that will support you in living the most happy, healthy life that you possibly can. And all of a sudden, working on your challenges isn’t a big dark cloud, it’s an opportunity for growth and learning and accomplishing something that you will be proud of for the rest of your life.
Every person on this planet has their share of stuff to work on. And when one issue gets resolved, another issue pops up. This is the nature of being human.
Self acceptance fuels positive changes in your life. Not the other way around.
5. Put yourself first, always.
We get super caught up in helping everyone around us and giving ourselves what measly time we might have leftover at the end of the day. There is a better way. If you have a baby or young kids, obviously they need to be taken care of because their life depends on you, but as soon as they are old enough to do things on their own, you must let them. And if it’s your partner, your siblings, your parents, your grown kids, or your friends that you constantly fuss over and sort out, it’s not helping you or them.
When you do everything for everyone you rob them of the gifts that come along with figuring shit out on their own. AND you rob yourself of precious time and resources that you could use to better you!
Now, if someone asks for your help, then you get to decide if you can or want to help them. If you don’t have time or it’s something you would rather not do, then the answer is an unapologetic “No.” You don’t even have to explain why you can’t do it.
As a wise Dirty said at the retreat: “The word “no” is a complete sentence.“
Where we often go wrong is helping people sort stuff out when they don’t even ask for our help. I’ll be the first to admit that I am guilty of this. And now that I have awareness about it I can make adjustments.
Here’s an example:
My mom was at the retreat with us (I was so happy she joined us) and I was in her yurt one day before we went for a walk. She was having trouble opening her water bottle. My auto response told me to go over to her, take the water bottle and open it for her. But I caught myself. She didn’t ask for my help so I had no business helping her. I waited as she struggled to open the bottle, until she got it open. For me, it was a baby step, which is how change happens. For my mom, it told her that I know she’s perfectly capable of sorting herself out. And at 75, that means something to her.
Put yourself first, make sure your stuff is sorted, and then if someone asks for your help decide if you can or want to help. And repeat.
6. Play and laugh, we need more of this.
One of my favorite parts of the retreat was all the laughter and playing. At any point as you walked through the courtyard of the retreat center you could hear bursts of laughter and silliness. It brought joy to everyone’s soul. That silliness and laughter has inspired me to laugh with my friends more often.
7. Never underestimate the power of community.
Online friendships and groups are powerful and real. Because of the CFDG private Facebook group, everyone at the retreat felt like they were all friends from day one. But as the week went by and we really got to know each other in person, friendships deepened and by the time we all said goodbye, it was like saying goodbye to family.
There is a special place in my heart for online communities, but getting together with a group of people in person, looking them in the eye when they speak and feeling the warmth of a hug creates a bond that you can’t get online.
Find your community online, yes! But also, go out into your community and find your people. No matter where you live there are awesome people out there who want new friendships and who want to get involved in like-minded things. So leave your house and go find them! (ehem..Molly, I’m talkin’ to you!)
8. Nature: it gives you everything you need.
We live in a world with too much pavement and buildings and not enough trees and green. We mustn’t forget to connect with nature often. Go find a park, a lake, an ocean, a tree or some grass. Take off your shoes and feel the earth beneath your feet. Listen to the birds. Look up at the sky. Feel the sun on your face. It will bring you peace, warmth and healing. It will ground you and remind you of who you are. Most of us are so far removed from nature that we forget that this is our home.
9. Go to your sacred space everyday.
This is a space where you can sink into the present moment. This might be a meditation space, it might be an altar, it might be your porch. For most everyone who attended the retreat, this space is now their yoga mat.
Whatever space you choose, go there every single day and spend some time. Emotions will come up and it isn’t your job to fight those emotions or make them go away; it’s your job to accept those emotions so they can pass through you and be released. You don’t have to spend two hours in this space, you can spend 10 – 15 minutes if that’s what you choose. The key is to go there everyday and just be. Again and again and again.
10. Bring compassion to everyone you meet.
During the retreat we were reminded that everyone has a painful story, unimaginable struggles, and heartbreak in their life. We don’t get to know these things about most of the people we meet, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Whether it’s your kid’s teacher, your sister or your mechanic, every person you come across in this life has a story that, if given the chance to be told, would break your heart wide open and create space for compassion and love to flow out of you and touch their soul, without even thinking about it.
The Buddhist nun and Author, Pema Chodron says this about compassion:
“Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It’s a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.”
Whether it’s online or off, be tender and kind to each other. Compassion will never go unnoticed, unfelt or unappreciated.
Thank you 2018 Dirty retreat peeps, it was so good.
Today’s recipe is a Hawaiian inspired pineapple salsa recipe in honor of the retreat.
- 3 cups pineapple, diced into 1/2 inch pieces (485g)
- 3 small / medium tomatoes, diced (425g)
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 cup jalapenos, seeds taken out and minced (30g / omit if you don’t like spicy)
- 1/4 cup diced red onions (30g)
- 1/2 cup cilantro (8g)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Juice from half a lime
First make the Pineapple Bowl
- Cut the pineapple in half, across the middle.
- Take the bottom half and cut around the circumference of the pineapple as close to the edge as possible. Don’t cut too deep because you don’t want to puncture the bottom of the pineapple.
- Cut a line through the circular section (again, not going too deep).
- And then cut in quarters. You will now have four sections of pineapple in each half that need to be taken out.
- Use a large spoon to scoop out all 8 sections. Don’t worry about getting out the chunks neatly, it’s more important that you don’t puncture the bottom of the pineapple.
- You now have your pineapple bowl ready to go.
Now make the Salsa
- Mix all of the ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.
- Scoop salsa into the pineapple bowl and serve with oil free corn chips.
Wishing you a happy week. May it be filled with walking bravely towards your lessons.