Last weekend I partnered with a dear friend and fellow spiritual teacher, Dr. Alice Bandy, to host a weekend retreat. The event was titled Navigating Personal Transformation. The plan was to expand on a successful workshop we ran at Camp Good Life Project.
We created this experience in my family’s home in Northeast Ohio.
During meditation a few weeks back, Alice had a vision for the framework of our weekend. The second she discussed it with me, I felt full-body ripples. I knew it would be powerful, since it perfectly summarized the different “gates” I needed to pass through to create my new life this year.
We would be helping our attendees honor, align with, and leverage 4 Miracles.
I think of The 4 Miracles as pillars, that must continually shift to best support our expanding impact in our lives.
- The Miracle Behind Us. We must honor and release our stories of what got us here. This can be painful at times, but dropping old stories is crucial. It’s impossible to move forward when we’re tethered to the past.
- The Miracle Around Us. We must focus daily on appreciating, and becoming more aware in our abundant surroundings. Everything we need is available to us right here in this moment. Every person is surrounded by the miracle of their circumstances. In our clarity we can actually see what we’re working with. We are the accumulation of all we’ve ever lived.
- The Miracle Within Us. We must consciously amplify our singular gifts, and bring them forth in the service of others. In meditation we can sit each morning to experience the sun rise inside ourselves.
- The Miracle Ahead of Us. We must work the first 3 Miracles so that rather than needing to run away from our current reality, the Miracle Ahead of Us pulls us toward it. It will always stay out ahead of us unless we begin to know it as we know the other miracles. Each miracle has been a gift we didn’t always have to “earn”, so why would this distant sunrise be any different?
Many of us sign up for these events to skip ahead to #4. We want life to be different, but aren’t often willing to make the necessary upgrades in ourselves to experience those levels of positive transformation.
But here’s the thing. Like everything else in life, transformation comes in 2 shades: Light and Dark. This year has manifested many of my dreams for how our family would live, while creating the impact I always envisioned for organizations and individuals. Money has miraculously showed up, and I’m busier than ever doing work I choose to do every day.
Sounds rather “Light”, right? It’s because this side of the equation is. On my better days I’m fully awake in the dream of this new life. Seeing our home fill with 15 incredible people from all over the country definitely felt like a dream.
But we are all navigating a dualistic physical experience, where in every moment we can slip into our personal hell, or consciously reorient toward Heaven.
In losing my job while building our dream home, the relentlessly humbling circumstances of building a business from scratch, navigating the terrors of the U.S. healthcare and insurance industries, humbly engaging every new client with a Learner’s Heart, and on and on… In the end, I can only be grateful for each opportunity to learn what I’m needing to learn.
Back in January I would’ve gladly Tivo’d my life forward to November 15th if given the opportunity. I was too scared. Too unwilling to process the high ambiguity.
But now in November I can see every little miracle of the last 10 months. They are strung together with my daily practices that honor those 4 miracles (Behind, Around, Within, Ahead).
Experience, learn, release, repeat. Transformation seemingly showed up all at once, but I can see now it’s been a process of refinement.
We need to be patient with ourselves. We also need to clock-in every day to support our ongoing transformation. Alice and I created the environment for our attendees to align their 4 miracles, but sadly they can’t take us home.
In every one of these levels, transformation occurs. From our first-person physical perspective, the shifts may seem subtle. Maybe we’re a little more grateful, a little slower to throw a tantrum when we’re pissed off. But consistent practice creates a fly-wheel of Right Action and positive refinement until our outward experience changes in profound ways.
Comedian and satirist John Oliver aired a very funny “F*ck 2016” segment that inventoried many of the sad, or tragic events of 2016. Yesterday, as I reached for a t-shirt to wear, I opted for a bright yellow, rather ridiculous shirt I had custom made for Camp-GLP. It reads “Best. Year. EverRRRrr.”
I stand by the goofy, prophetic shirt. (And weirdly, I AM publishing this after the U.S. election insanity.) No doubt all the positive changes this year have been balanced by an equally Dark foreboding. Fear has become a new companion I’m willing to dance with. Anger and judgment, whether it’s with myself or with others, have become aspects of my personality I’m determined to refine, and eventually eliminate.
Every spiritual teacher I’ve spent time with since the election, from Dr. Alice Bandy, to Panache Desai, to Paramahansa Yogananda, Michael Lennox, to my little self out on the trails…
We’ve all been communicating
a consistent Truth
There are no lasting, positive changes without a peek into the darkness. Every test and trial stimulates growth, and refines our offering. The bigger the perceived threat, the greater our potential for growth. Yes, it requires greater effort, both on our internal levels, and in the outer world.
If you can’t tell, staying complacent is not an option in such a fast-moving stream. If something inside of us is telling us to “become More”, there aren’t any sidelines.
Letting life events push us forward and backward doesn’t feel sufficient either. These circumstances, more than ever, are an unprecedented opportunity to embrace our darker aspects, and use them to navigate. Onward. Upward. Outward. The geometric expansion that transcends linear growth.
Alice had me lead a guided meditation on using our heart as a compass. Our great big, honkin’ Soul whispers to us through the heart. If our little bodies are conscious, we can listen and adjust as needed.
Witnessing shifts in the retreat guests, particularly within the walls of our home where I’ve needed to make similar shifts, is something I’ll always hold in my heart.
Many of us arrived in shock, and left fully in our power. Alice and I remarked how everyone looked a good 10 years younger on Sunday.
For the first time, I was able to fully facilitate the creation of the most powerful “Lens Statements” I’ve ever heard. This process was first outlined in my Full-Life Integration Manifesto 4 years ago. Earlier this year when the icebergs in my life were cracking loose, I wrote and recorded a new Lens Statement. I shared my intimate recording with the group to inspire their writing process.
Once they had multiple drafts done, we edited them down and recorded each of them in my studio downstairs. These will be mixed with binaural ambient music and delivered to each attendee. I couldn’t think of a more powerful tool to arm them with in their determination to create and sustain lasting transformation. I listen to mine daily, and every time it completely IGNITES MY FIRE.
Hearing theirs brought chills, tears, and a deep sense of AWE.
As they deepened their perceptions of these miracles in their lives, the space expanded. Everyone worked collaboratively to pull the weekend way beyond anything Alice or I could have cooked up.
I’ve come to know the greatest hope of a teacher is for people to leave the learning environment changed, in some small way. I guess I had no idea how much this experience would impact our guests, or myself.
My friend and teacher Jeff Zayda ratcheted The Vibe sky-high after morning meditation with restorative yoga, chanting, and dancing. He’s such a beautiful toy of a man. He stuck around for energy work as well.
An attendee left this beautiful collection of treasures from our silent nature walk. How nice to see Ohio through Californian eyes.
How can you see leveraging Alice’s 4 Miracles in your life? How can I help accelerate that process? Would love your thoughts or reflections below. You should absolutely consider joining us next time if the timing is right!
We’ll be offering the Navigation Personal Transformation retreat twice in 2017. Dates are TBD. If interested, comment below and we’ll circle back with you. Much love, -kc