#letsgetreal - This began as a post for my Instagram challenge and turned into quite an interesting body of contemplations. For those of you who don't know me personally, I really enjoy depth and getting vulnerable. Since this social media world is quite new and foreign to me in many ways, I realized that my vulnerable side has yet to show up and speak her truth. All of this started with the launch of the #PrettyFullRioCeleste contest on Instagram. The opportunity to host such a lovely offering has pushed me into allowing myself to be seen and heard. Once I was able to sit with the responsibility that comes from being visible, I began to think about the actual days where we will be on site and retreating in the heart of nature in Costa Rica. I felt a lot of resistance. My dear old friend resistance, I know when she drops into my experience, I have some work to do. Our topic of the month is “fullness” and what it means to live and pretty full life. While part of living fully is being grateful for all of our day to day blessings, there is a deeper layer to fullness. With that deeper layer comes the other side of the coin which is emptiness. The intention of our Costa Rica retreat is to guide you gently and safely into all of the spaces where you may feel emptiness and clean them up so we can stretch the feelings of fullness across all aspects of our selves and lives. 


To me, Emptiness is an old friend of mine, perhaps even older than Fullness. In the name of transparency, I must say it is extremely awkward for me to be so open on social media. However, I am a firm believer that we are more courageous than we give ourselves credit for. Our souls and hearts are strong and resilient, ultimately what we want deep down is release our resistances and find balance and peace amongst all of the fragments and aspects of ourselves. I recognize that my resistance to sharing online is masking the fear of being judged by my peers, especially the ones who have never met me. 


But, I love my muddy layers, I am not afraid of my mud, I have spent the last 9 years deep in my shadow trying to figure out why I exist and what do to with my collected experiences in order turn them into the strong and vulnerable woman I desire to embody. So back to emptiness, ..you know, those moments and relationships in our lives that have made us feel grief, fear, sadness, anxiety, shame, powerless, jealous, and guilty. Even if we have made huge strides towards gratitude and fullness, there are still those parts of us that suffered and it is our responsibly to go into the dark spaces and accept them back into vitality and health, even if it seems impossible or overbearing. WE ARE more courageous than we think. 


So a little more on my personal experience with emptiness. For the sake of my story, let us define emptiness as any perceived negative feelings of anger, sadness, victimhood, despair, hopelessness, shame, guilt, fear, depression, grief, etc.. While I can now honor the emptiness, there was a time when my reality was defined by deep body shame, an eating disorder, and thoughts about the desire to end my life that was identified with deep emotional suffering. On the outside, it seemed like I had so much to celebrate, but my experience of it all was far from gratitude. I felt alone and hopeless. I spent my college years binge eating to feel full and purging to feel empty again. I spent several years addicted to being high all day and night trying to pass as a socially acceptable being, but on the inside I was numb. I spent a lot of time hating myself and feeling insecure about anything and everything. I know now that there is a part of me that chose to plunge into the shadows so that I could emerge with my essence intact. I know now that my experiences have led me to this moment where I could offer my understandings to you in hopes that it resonates and you remember your courage and use it to dive into your sticky mud and find all of yourself.  Had it not been for those years of confusion and chaos, I wouldn't have the perspective or loving power that I am proud of today, even if my work is not done. We as a collective are capable of healing even the deepest and seemingly darkest of wounds. So yes, let's celebrate all the reasons why we are so blessed and full. But let's also honor and be with the parts of us that have been lost and need to be loved and nurtured back to its essence. 

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