I have an announcement that I feel somewhat vulnerable and tender about.
I am no longer going to lead a retreat in Costa Rica in March. I’ve been enthusiastically sharing about Rise and Shine, an upcoming retreat with Chantal Russell for the past couple of months.
And while the enthusiasm has been genuine, what I’ve left out has been the quiet, grating resistance. It just doesn’t feel right. My ‘no’ isn’t loud. It’s been quiet and perhaps that’s what feels vulnerable about my pulling out- it goes against my ingrained habit to override the quiet ‘no’ and push through.
Sure, this makes me a kind of magnetic personality. I get a lot done. I make stuff happen. I connect with many people, stay on the move, have a ton of incredible experiences and offer a lot. I also wear myself right out.
Despite all the strengths, being a yes person can be tremendously painful. It’s one of my failings. It’s what’s led me to take on more than is healthy. It’s led me to stick with things that aren’t aligned; it’s led me to develop a masterful way of positively spinning my experience such that I muscle through.
My affinity for YES, has had me override my gut more than once.
My gut said no to this retreat from the beginning. But here’s the thing with the gut, (in my experience anyway,) there’s no reason. It’s just instinct. I think many of us find that easy to distrust. To our peril.
When I checked in, my immediate, bodily response was no. But when my mind searched reason to make her decision, and since the strongest impulse in my mind is to find a reason to say yes, the adventure and experience junky came up with this…
Why the hell not? What could possibly be better than getting paid to fly to a luxurious and relaxing environment, spend intimate time with a bunch of awesome people who are interested in and wanting what I love doing? As I named off all of the elements that it brought together, it felt obvious that I should do it. Also, we had a great time last year, I stayed for 5 weeks, my new love met me in paradise, I flew out my son and mom and had a blast. This year, we could do a dive trip, my boy could learn to surf…You see…you see how seductive ‘yes’ can be? What am I really saying yes to here? A holiday or my best work?
We were originally three of us. When Christine pulled out because it conflicted with her growing family, my gut screamed to call it off. Then I spoke to Chantal, and we talked ourselves into how great it would be.
But every word of content was laborious to write. Every mention felt like I was ‘selling something’. Maybe you’re thinking ‘of course it should feel like you’re selling something, because you are’. No. I don’t ever feel like I’m selling my one on one coaching programs. I don’t feel like I’m selling my group program. Those are simply deeply aligned work that I offer that’s available to those who want it. No hustle. Ever.
Every time we’d check in and try to uncover what our mutual resistance was, one of us would be more positive about it. We’d take turns in struggle and in pep-talking.
One of the questions I get a lot is ‘how do I know if my resistance is my intuition or if it’s fear of going where I must go?’ For me, in this situation, it’s obvious…
My first instinct was no. It doesn’t fit with my deepest call. Also, I’m not scared, this isn’t a stretch into a new identity. When I imagine being there, it all looks and feels pretty easeful.
This retreat has many elements I love, brought together. But is it my ideal retreat? No. There’s nothing wrong with luxury, tropical holiday retreats, but I’d rather lead an intensive. Not a couple hours a day sprinkled through surf and sun. But a real, gritty dive into the depth of what wants transformation and liberation.
Would I like to be a student doing a retreat like this? For sure. But this isn’t my work.
This became very clear to me when I would actually recoil when someone would register. When designing my new website, the retreat page was the one I avoided. I’ve got several people waiting for contact to complete registration that have come in the past couple of weeks and all I’ve felt is dread.
My ‘no’ has been getting louder. But I haven’t wanted to let Chantal down; I haven’t wanted to let participants down. Even though we both felt that it was off, each of our conversations circled back to yes. So I got clear. I called her. I called it. We were both relieved.
What’s cool is that Chantal is actually going ahead with leading a retreat then. On her own. Which is SO RIGHT for her. So for those who are registered or are considering registering, you certainly have the option of going and I encourage you to jump on it if you’re moved to. As a new Desire Map facilitator, it’s going to be a yoga and desire mapping retreat. Check it out here.
If you wanted to do it to be with me, I am sorry for any disappointment. Truly. You’re welcome to join one of my January Be Cause group-coaching programs. It’s nothing at all like a retreat. But you’ll get far more of what I do best.
And are there retreats for you and me in the future? Probability is strong. But the context will not be that of me saying yes to an opportunity, it will be intentionally designing what I’m most called to bring to you.
The part of me that’s having a difficult time writing this is the very same part of me that tends toward yes. I don’t want to miss out, I don’t want to disappoint and since I’ve been pretty transparent already, I’ll let you know that cuddled up next to my relief in saying ‘no’ is a lot of grief. It was a sweet vision that I’m letting die. I do feel sad about it.
For me personally, even more important than the mental and emotional space freed up, is actually the practice of weeding out what has a tiny whiff of ‘no’. And doing so rather publicly to boot.
It feels like it would be far easier to keep going, to make it happen, to give and take the good parts and not concern myself with the subtle gnaw that this isn’t what’s needed of me.
But I’m up to a different game now. I’m not willing to waste time. My future is packed and sharpening my discernment is my practice. It’s not easy. But it’s right.