I never believed in any sort of retreats.
I was being judgemental – as they all seemed so overrated and commercial.
But I always believed, every encounter in life is not a coincidence. Whether “good” or “bad”, in any sense, they are meant to happen, and subsequently triggers the next encounter – and when I say “good” or “bad”, they are relative to our own judgements – what we thought was bad, might turn out to be the Good, and lead us to the Better, and end up with the Great. The energies around us is always flowing and evolving.
SO. What has brought me to a retreat? Blame Pangkor Laut.
I first knew this place exists, because one of my favorite Malaysian actress Lee Sin Je (@sinjelee1234) got married at Pangkor Laut 9 years ago, and since then it has been on my bucket list, with a sense that it has something to show me. It never happened for many reasons, but when I saw this event on my feed, my guts made me signed up immediately without knowing what to expect.
Here. Encounters are correlated, there is no coincidence.
Undeniably, it was a dream come true this past weekend and I am still processing how much change this Retreat has brought to my life – not because I physically made it there, but because I went ALONE, joined 30 other women that NEVER knew each other, and developed the deepest bonding we would have never imagined – we call it #BetterTogether – the power when women unites.
To be honest, it was truly-madly-deeply the best surprise I’ve ever gifted to myself.
I appreciate how Racheal (@rachealkwacz) reminded us about Fear vs. Guts, Vulnerability vs. Strength, as we often automatically categorise them as positive and negative phrases in our heads. Yet without Fear, you would not know your Guts; without feeling vulnerable, you would not gain courage. And here, Racheal asked me to replace the “vs” with AND, “that you can be vulnerable AND have strength. You don’t have to choose. You get to be both. You get to be you.”
In Asian culture, we grew up apologetically that we are never good enough, we carry over the society’s values as the guideline to our scores. We have many roles in our lives, yet we find it hard to define our own social identity and find a true sense of belonging. We think we are to be rewarded if we are tough and strong, yet knowing how to surrender is the fundamental faith of having the ability to reborn.
It applies to every individual, in one form or another, at one time or another.
Women are intuitive animals, I recall all the biggest decisions I had to make in my life so far, 90% were my guts and intentions, but it was that most important 10% of the intuition, that shed me the ray of lights and led them forward. Be it a job, be it a divorce, be it at parenting, be it a relocation, be it a relationship, be it a retreat.
“Flow like water, because we are water”, Hannah (@hannahpatricialo) said, and guided us to move freely with our body leading our minds – YES, drop the thoughts, interact with the earth, and roll like a baby. Whenever we have an emotional blockage, it is biologically recorded in our body, and thus left as a wound. Our emotional digestion needs to flow, needs to swift, needs to shift, out of us, absolutely because major cause of the indigestion were external, those emotions were enforced on us, and we have nothing to do with them.
Be like water, let emotions run through your body, watch it flow, and let it pass.
There was a saying, the cure for everything is salt water: sweat, tears, and the sea.
We had it all, at the Angel Walk, it was beyond the words of Powerful.
The wet marks on my tee are not splashed waves, they are all the tears that touched by the “angels” while walking through them, like how we walk through life.
When we often think we are at the most insane crossroads, we are the only one dealing with them alone; by sharing other women’s stories, our fears suddenly became trivial – imaging we are just a human being standing on one point of the earth, and the earth is just a tiny planet in the whole universe – if the universe can embrace us, we are part of the reason why we exit, and thus we have our purpose.
My FIRST EVER yoga session was unforgettable. This was one of the activity that I was most in fear of before coming to this retreat – although I do stretching exercises everyday, I’ve never done yoga due to long-term issues with my back, shoulder and neck, but I was curious and looking forward to it because it was at sunrise and sunsets.
Woke up at 5am in the morning, it was pouring on the island, and we ended up stuck at the conference room. Unexpectedly, the sound of the heavy rain made it an exceptional therapeutic background for the session. Dian (@dianwithlove) made us choose one card from her matt and put it next to ours and meditate into it through our yoga poses and movements.
The experience of sound bath meditation with crystal bowls was so unique, that the calmness and the power of natural precious stones overflew through our veins, into our heart, touched our back, and supported our sides. It was a true relaxation and a reset to our body, mind, and soul.
Before I wrap up this piece of writing, I want to talk about friendship, and honor this woman (@jane_malibu) that I just got to know for a few days – yet we felt so close like we’ve known each other for years. How funny, that our first interaction started with an eye-glazing activity that we had to keep looking into each others’ eyes. It was awkward enough within the digital world of today, that we even get nervous answering calls and just hide behind texts. Two days in, we are like peas and carrots.
How extraordinary human connections can possibly be, I wondered.
I kept asking myself what if IF. If her wounds here was to have lost friendship, then I hope I am the one who’s destined to give her the love of friendship that she deserves, without any hesitation, because right now my heart is so full to give.
Last but not the least.
Thanks to this amazing crew that made all this happen – you are so beautiful, your wholeness, your dedication, your unconditional love – that has touched so many women, held them up and put them back together. You will always have our back too.
This blog space has left empty for one year and half, and now I have the best reason to pick it up and fill it with bigger love.
Till the next spiritual journey.
– J x
@Supparetreat @PangkorLautResort #BetterTogether