Guest Post by Kate Schuyler, Collective Circle Member & Retreat Attendee/Mentor
Have you ever wondered why circle members come back to 4-day Heart Foundation programs season after season? It’s so the deep transformation we experience in a circle has a chance to anchor in our daily lives. As we build onto a strong foundation, we can continue to evolve the practices and deepen our understanding of connection for embodied living.
After attending 4 Heart Foundations, some of our members wish to learn more about shared leadership in the Way of the Circle. We offer a mentorship pathway to experience these retreats in a whole new way. Here Kate shares about her experience attending Heart Foundation retreats and entering the mentor-in-training as a new pathway to self-discovery.
As I sit here under these trees, supported by the buzz of locusts above, I recall a life prior to joining the heart centred path I am now on. Lack of connection (with others and myself), low self confidence, a plethora of unhealthy coping mechanisms, and an overall desire to remain small, were part of daily life. The transformation I have felt has been unmeasurable, and I fear writing this will not convey my gratitude for the love and care that I have felt at The Edge.
Although my healing path did not begin at The Edge, as I had been seeing mentors and practitioners prior, the Heart Foundation retreats helped catapult me in ways one-on-one mentoring, self reflection and practice could not.
Every retreat was “coincidently” exactly what I needed at that time. Whether it was being seen and heard by a group of compassionate beings, held by nature when I needed the extra support, a giant belly laugh, a magical moment or gently being coaxed out of my comfort zone, I found it at these retreats. Perhaps, with ease and grace, those moments found me.
Following the retreats, I found little by little, I would notice the synchronicities around me. I would see my reflection being mirrored in people, places and things, my inner voice would grow louder and slowly but surely, I would begin to listen. This has been a path of finding out who I am. Like, who I really, really am.
Seemingly, my time at the Heart Foundation retreats could be categorized into ‘retreats where I was a participant’ and ‘retreats where I was a mentor-in-training’. But in actuality, I feel it has been a seamless process throughout. That making the move from “me” to “we” as a mentor-in-training was a natural part of my progression. It’s a building process, starting with the foundation.
Now let’s not be fooled though, that jump from participant to mentor-in-training, for me, was a very scary one. I was sick with nerves for weeks prior. One of those “Don’t think about that!” sort of anxieties. I pushed through it and was so blown away by my immediate internal shifts that I was on my email a few days after the retreat signing up for the next one.
One of my fears during the retreats as a participant was that I would get quite tired. I would use my breaks to lay on the ground, or in bed, and just rest. As a mentor-in-training, I was worried I would not have the energy to fulfill my tasks. To my surprise, there seemed to be a secret reservoir of energy in me, reserved and available for this role. I realized my fears had been stuck in the old paradigm, that work was a sacrifice, that work was hard and depleting. Instead I found the fulfillment of being in service energized, excited and filled me up.
One of the greatest honours of the role of mentor-in-training for me has been being part of the weaving that happens when the mentor pod is deciding what the next activities will be. I love symbology and ceremony, and at the last retreat I felt privileged to be at the table with a group of strong facilitators. At home, I have been conducting ceremonies for a number of years in private. But at these retreats, each participant brings their own piece, whether it’s something they mention in passing, or something they consciously add. This group dynamic creates such a powerful brew when each person is adding their own flavour to the pot.
Throughout my time attending Heart Foundation retreats, my inner voice has grown more and more pronounced. And with that, my behaviours have changed. One example, which may seem small, but was life changing, was an intuitive knowing to put my hand on my heart, at night in bed, and say loving words to myself. To sink into the feeling of each word and feel which exact phrases sparked emotion. At first, I couldn’t feel much (let’s be real, I felt nothing). But I knew to keep practicing. I practiced this nightly, only about a minute or so per night, until one night, I felt something. A spark. A connection. I was hooked! I extended the one minute to about ten, as the feeling I felt was brand new and highly welcome.
Fast forward a month or two later, I attended a group connection building workshop. One of our first activities was to stand in a circle, with our hand on our heart and connect in saying loving phrases to ourselves. In that moment, I was blown away. This was the exact same activity my intuition guied me to practice. And in that moment, I realized, if I had not been practicing, I would have maybe felt like I “couldn’t do it” or “it wasn’t possible for me” during the workshop. But instead, I saw how continuous practice helped me make a monumental step. I was then able to share this practice with those at The Edge. And that is only a part of how the beautiful ripple effect can work, from “me” to “we”.
Heart Foundation seasonal retreats are open to participants of all experience levels. Each retreat has a guiding theme that explores different aspects of building a strong and sustainable foundation of heart-centered living. Find out about upcoming retreats here
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