After the Bart Smit meditation retreat in Puerto Vallarta – A participant letter with love and grace
Hello my dearest Bart,
I have attended my sixth retreat with you this year and this is the first feedback email I am writing to you. I suppose I have now overcome my inferior mindset since I am writing to you now (finally).
I had a sense that this retreat would be very different in the months leading up to it and my suspicion was confirmed. This being the seventh one, I believe, was very auspicious in itself. For me, it was a truly healing experience that was an aggregate of all the work I have done, all the education I have had, all the dark places I have shed light on.
When I was in the retreat, my mind was telling me that I had learned all of this and it was just review. My mind was telling me that I should be bored and that I was 'above' all of this. I soon learned this couldn't be further from the truth. I have been downloading and downloading so much information in the months following the retreat. I have also simultaneously been dumping and purging all kinds of baggage. It's been an amazing process, but man, it sure wreaks havoc on the body! I am having daily 'a-ha!' moments, but my skin has all broken out. I have a smile on my face but can't sleep at all. It is this dichotomy of growing and purging that is so new and strange, yet feels totally normal. My inner self is telling me that it is a transitional phase and it will pass, so I am choosing to stay in it until it is done, no matter how uncomfortable I become. Dr Williams tells me that I am integrating all of my teachings on a soul level now. Instead of just having an understanding on a rational or logical level, I am now processing everything in a way where I am truly "getting it".
I know this because I am seeing the world with new eyes. Just like Neo when he could see the codes in the Matrix, I can now see things for what they are. I see the manipulation and agenda of the reptiles and will not get caught up in it. I can see the drama and anger in a friend who overreacts when I tell her the truth and can stay completely detached. I can stay in the moment when I am uncomfortable and just be aware of the discomfort, instead of pushing it down or medicating it. All of these concepts I have been learning for many years, but it is with a new groundedness that I am able to take all these concepts in. The one thing I have noticed is how uncomfortable all of this is for me, because it is so new. I have surrendered control to God, but part of me still waits for 'the other shoe to drop'. The difference is that I don't take that control back at any point, I let go and let God and that's it. I know that the anxiety will slip away as the practice of this concept becomes my reality. It is in this phase of transition that I recognize my bravery and in times when I don't feel brave, I chant and chant and chant. All of this I have learned from you, Bart. You say that you can't teach consciousness but you have and you did. I see it in myself every day. I know this because there is no turning back. The light inside of me cannot be snuffed out or dulled or even dimmed now. It is there to shine whether the rest of the world likes it or not. I am me and -for the first time- proud of it! Dr Williams encourages me to celebrate my ability to be aware of it all, which is also new for me.
In terms of the structure of the retreat, I would have preferred another day of chanting. It felt short to me. I am truly a mad lover of chanting and my body now craves the bliss that the retreats bring. Maybe if I hadn't planned on staying for the weekend afterward, then I would have appreciated the extra free time at the end a bit more(?). I recall a moment in the last meditation where my inner self said to me 'hey – this is your last chance to let go of some baggage', so I started to unload a ton of stuff like I was unloading a moving truck. I find it funny how I can turn it on when I want to. Another skill picked up during the retreat, perhaps?
I enjoyed the simplicity of this retreat. How the Sevites were more in the background ensuring everything ran smoothly. How the chanting was just to our own recordings and not a big production of instruments and people. I absolutely loved the improvisation during the chants! I can chant in Sanskrit all day long, but when it came to saying things like, "I am enough" or "I am grace" the words would often get stuck coming out. This indicated to me that I still have some work to do around this. The repeated exposure to those words allowed me to take it all in and make them my own. I had such a fun time with "I am sexy" and "I am tantric" that I felt my heart -literally- smile. It was amazing to watch everyone unfold and open up with all the humour in the music and light-heartedness of it all. I am so glad that you sent the recordings of these two chants to us. It's amazing how listening to them brings me right back to that place when I hear them. Sometimes they make me smile and laugh, other times there are tears rolling down my face. I am grateful to have such a powerful tool to use whenever I feel I need some grounding or am processing some event or emotions. No matter what I am going through, I always feel better after listening to them and chanting along with them.
The fact that my husband not only accompanied me for this retreat but was a willing participant, was a wonderful experience. It was amazing to watch us both respect each other's space over the week and really just focus on ourselves, which was truly a testament to the work that we have done over the last few years. I am proud of how hard he has worked to get to where he is and the commitment he has shown to his journey. Through no direct intention, I believe we showed our fellow retreaters the full potential of what a relationship can be. We raised the bar of the limits they held in their minds and what was holding them back. It is nice to have the fruits of our labour reflected back to us. It's easy to forget how far we have come and it was really nice to celebrate it with so many loving souls.
I'm glad you liked Angus' t-shirt joke. We had a lot of fun with it. It makes my heart swell with joy to see my husband open up to you over the years and begin to build his own relationship with you. For as much as my journey has been so integral with you, admittedly it is much easier to bring that into my daily life now that Angus has a better understanding of who you are and where you come from. Now we listen to Dr Williams together, sharing our experiences and feelings about what comes up and growing as a couple every day in ways we never imagined possible.
Bart, thank you so much for being in my life!! I have no idea where I would be in my life if it weren't for your love, patience and guidance. Your dedication to offering us access to the spirit and enlightenment of Dr Williams is a true miracle and a gift of the highest honour. The more I let go of my old ideas and habits and truly know who I am, the more I feel a greater sense of connection to the world around me. I know that I have always admired sunsets, flowers and the splendor that mother nature has to offer. Now I am awestruck and often rendered speechless by the tiniest flower or insect. I lose myself completely in the moment, humbled by its grace and feeling the oneness with God. We are so delicately interwoven with everything around us and even more so with all the stuff we can't see. I am grateful for the power I have taken back for myself in all that I do and I know deep down that no matter what happens, I will be fine. This is a completely new concept for me. I do find it interesting that the more boundaries I set between myself and the rest of the world, the more my actual self disappears. We are one with everything all the time. To understand this at a soul level is so liberating. It is such a relief to be able to go through life not taking on the guilt, shame and general misery that used to be a large part of my daily life. Dr Williams says that Happiness is a merit that must be earned, and I am happy to say that the dividends are paying off. The seeds I have sown are starting to sprout and even blossom. It's amazing how much credit I gave to so many things that are truly irrelevant. Now I get to recycle that energy into parts of my life that need it, instead of being a drained battery that never fully recharges. Life has felt like one giant movie for the last year or so. Now instead of just sitting back and watching it all happen, I have the knowledge that God is the director and nothing is random. Feeling that sense of purpose in everything without needing to know the "how" or the "why" is still very new, but to me it is the definition of what liberation is. I feel like I was let in on this secret that I wish I could share with everyone, but I know they need to discover it for themselves. I had no idea how much I took away my own permission to enjoy life, to feel good and to be happy. Now I give myself permission to let my light shine in ways that are so much bigger that I could have known. I will not let myself be small for anyone – ever again, and I owe it all to you.
It is with deepest appreciation and the greatest gratitude that I can express to you from the bottom of my heart (and it's pretty big now) this Thank You. Thank you to you, Robert, Dr Williams and all the wonderful people I have had the honour of sharing company with during these retreats. Thank you.
With love and grace,
The next Bart Smit Puerto Vallarta Meditation Retreat will be on February 22 to March 1, 2013. The detailed information will be on Bart's web site soon.