Years ago, when I attended my first meditation retreat at The Chopra Center, it was a somewhat illogical decision. I was on the verge of burnout and could feel myself quickly fizzling out. I was desperate for some peace and knew something needed to change. However, the timing wasn’t ideal. In fact, we were in the midst of a huge product launch for BlueAvocado. But none of that logic mattered, it was as if there was a force greater than me inspiring the action (and in hindsight there was). As most of you know, that event was a game changer in my life and an odd foreshadowing and preparation for what ultimately would help me navigate my cancer journey nine months later. The point of all this, is that I left at a very busy and technically critical time of my business. I took care of my responsibilities and made sure everything was covered, but at the time it seemed like the worst timing. However, as events would later reveal (just a few days after my decision to go), the product launch actually had to be pushed out due to development delays and in hindsight was the best timing.
I recalled this story recently as I was talking with a friend about a retreat I had committed to months ago, before I knew the date of my book launch. Some would say that leaving all the demands to launch a new book just weeks before the publication date is crazy. Once again, it felt like the worst possible timing. In fact, I sent an email to my teacher and retreat leader seeing if there was any way to attend a different one. While I usually pride myself on articulate and efficient email communications, this was a dizzying compilation of excuses, justifications and admittedly a bit of self-sabotage. I was desperate for her to tell me what to do. I sent that email on a Friday. And over the weekend, I realized that all the things I thought I was controlling were really outside of my control. Perhaps some perspective and connection in nature is exactly what I needed. Once again, I felt that deeper pull that I just had to go. My teacher responded on that Monday apologizing that she did not have access to her email all weekend. We laughed as I told her to please disregard. Needless to say, once again I realized that what looked like the worst possible timing was probably the best.
In the midst of all of this, I was preparing for a keynote speech following the retreat. I would be speaking about resilience and sharing that topic through the lens of my own journey and how I came to realize that the events of my life had been cooking up a recipe of resilience with some key ingredients (ie: mindfulness, compassion, acceptance, etc). Those ingredients were literally the unofficial themes of the retreat and I was able to connect with each one at such a visceral level. As we spent time in stillness, shared connection, and solitude in nature as everything was newly in blossom with the hint of spring on the horizon, I realized I was embodying my entire journey in a new way.
The only requirement for the retreat was that we were not to share what we did for work. So throughout the week I was free from the expectations I had created around being a new author and was invited to share my story in more genuine and intimate connections. My retreat colleagues were unknowingly like book doulas helping me to reconnect with why I wrote it and why I was ready to share.
While my spiritual connection to my cancer journey is obvious, it was also quite relevant to my writing process. But I admittedly have not felt that connection with sharing my book in regards to the “launch.” Thankfully the retreat tethered me back to that divine connection.
I’ve always thought that timing is everything, but is it? Divine timing, yes. But admittedly, I’m often guilty of trying to control some outside circumstance to reveal what the perfect time is to do something versus really trusting that there is divine timing for everything. I know when I’m feeling resistance, frustration, or fear in regards to timing, it’s an invitation to take pause and a gentle reminder from the universe to loosen the “control” reigns and trust the unfolding:-) However, if I’m in alignment with divine timing, it is a reminder that this moment, right here, right now is when our lives are happening and we can choose to stay present versus ruminating in the past or projecting into the future. Guidance and inspired action are always available with this present-moment awareness, it just may be in a different form than we would expect. This was the true (recurring:-) lesson and takeaway from the retreat and reminds me of one of my favorite quotes.
“It is simple. We are where we should be, doing what we should be doing. Otherwise we would be somewhere else, doing something else.” – Richard Stine
I now feel ready for my book baby to enter the world in a way that I can feel connected each step of the way, stay anchored in gratitude that I get to share my story with so many people and to celebrate this dream coming to fruition. Thank you for being part of it!
ps. Check out some of the pictures and reflections from that keynote here.