I’m just back from Costa Rica, where I had the great opportunity to lead 17 beautiful beings in a 7-day yoga and dance retreat. It was sublime – the people, the location, the food, our practices. One of the highlights (among many) for me was something that started spontaneously on the second morning.
Due to the year-round long, warm days in Central America, with light filling the sky by 5 a.m. and the crazy moaning of the howler monkeys starting even earlier (often around 4), I was usually awake without any effort by 5:15. We began our mornings in silence, and situated as we were, on the shores of the Osa Peninsula, many of us instinctively began the day by greeting the ocean and the sunrise, dipping our bodies in the warm waters of the bay, bobbing and floating as we watched the colors change in the sky.
I am not a particularly immodest woman. In general – at least at this stage of the game of life – I feel more comfortable covered than uncovered. I am grateful that my 54-year-old form still functions as well as it does, and when I say my Thank you, Thank you, Thank yous to the Universe, I am quick to acknowledge the good genes I was given, and to express my gratitude for the benefits of a life spent in movement, surrounded by healthy influences.
But I am not a “flaunter of the flesh.” (I sometimes wish I had more of that.) However, immersed in Costa Rica’s lush tropical flora, bathed in her humid breezes, and supported by our week’s work of “letting go”, I found myself quite naturally stripping off my layers on that second morning to plunge myself into the water naked and free. And how freeing it was. How delicious.
Almost instantly, another silent swimmer joined me. The next day it was another and another and another. And this practice of our disrobing and exposing ourselves to the ocean, to the sunrise, and to one another became one of my very favorite parts of the week. Silent sunrise skinny-dipping. I don’t know when I last felt such a lack of judgment – and I don’t mean from the group (although there was none of that, of course) – but from myself. I did not pause to tuck in my belly or to check that I was standing tall. I was so focused on the pleasure of immersing myself in the water that I didn’t have time to critique.
As I return to my simple life back here in the reserved Berkshire hills of New England, I will take that with me – the delicious memory of melting away my own layers of self-judgment. And the sigh of relief that I felt from others as they felt free to do the same. (Or not.) I so adored those morning celebrations of community – silent souls meeting themselves, meeting one another, meeting nature – in the flesh. Unmasked. Revealed. Open.
May we each today, in our way, find the freedom to be our naked selves – unmasked, revealed, and open…
Join me in Costa Rica next winter at (yet another!) new, fantastic location – the splendid Pura Vida Retreat and Spa, Feb 29 – Mar 7, 2020. Until April 15 only, enjoy a very special Super Early Bird Discount of $300 off. There are a very limited number of Singles and Special Suites available. Reserve your spot early. CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS