The trip that changed my life…
The night before I left for Mexico I was a ball of nerves. I had never left my children before, and I was leaving for 8 days. I couldn’t sleep and I couldn’t eat. I was in such a panic over all the “what if’s” that could happen. I had never left the country before and I just prayed that everything went smoothly as I left the U.S. and it did!
I left my house at 6 a.m. that Saturday morning. I arrived at the airport with plenty of time to spare. I sat down and waited for my flight with a packed gate full of people. I immediately struck up a conversation with two older Jewish women on their way to their time-share for 6 weeks. They made me laugh so hard. Then another couple chimed in and then another. Before long it was as if we were all old friends. I left Atlanta with a feeling that indeed this would be an amazing journey.
Less than 4 hours later I landed in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. There were palm trees and sunshine. I was really excited. I followed all the directions given to me for transportation at the airport. I was to leave the airport alone and not wait for my sister. That made me a bit nervous, but I had to suck it up and go ahead. As all good things do it worked out for the best. As I waited a pretty young girl came walking up in yoga clothes. She and I hit it off immediately and began talking. She was headed to the same destination as I was. A few moments later a man came walking up, he noticed my shirt and said that he was going on my sister’s retreat as well. The three of us waited and talked about what we would do in the coming week. We were about to depart when we were joined by one more yogi, a tall beautiful woman with a Dutch accent. Little did I know then how some of the people I was sitting next to would impact my life forever.
We were driven to a boat dock, had our bags checked, and then handed our life vests. There were 3 more yogis already in the boat. Two more who were on our retreat. A married couple who just days later I asked if they could adopt me. “Goodbye and enjoy your week at Xinalani,” they said. I had no idea at that moment how much I would love it there, and how I did more than just enjoy my stay at this magical place.
I arrived at Xinalani and off we went. We walked through a tiny little village to get to the resort. It was full of animals and the smell of the ocean. This tiny little village was a journey back in time, it felt historic, it felt as if it had real history. One things struck me about this village and the villagers immediately, they were all smiling, they all looked relaxed and happy.
At the end of our walk we arrived at two huge wooden doors, we walked through them and heaven was on the other side. We sat down in the dining hall and were treated with fresh fruit and freshly squeezed fruit juice. The dining hall was jungle on one side and the ocean on the other. My spirit was lifted and I felt that I was dreaming, this place was breathtaking, and I couldn’t believe I was here.
The staff handed us our keys and said please go and visit your rooms. All of the palapas where we slept were up a flight of stairs that was roughly 120 stairs, it was a great tush workout that’s for sure. I entered my room and was speechless. I couldn’t believe it was real. There was a hammock in the center of the room and I immediately sat inside it and just listened. I listened to the jungle animals and the sound of the ocean.
I made my way back down the stairs to wait for my sister. Two hours later she finally arrived with around 20 other people. It was an amazing feeling to give my sister a big hug and say, “I can’t believe we are here in Mexico together” and so began the journey!
Here are some pictures from our trip
There was 11 other amazing people who were on this amazing journey with my sister in Mexico. I wish there were words to describe how phenomenal each of these people are.
There were women who inspired me with their wit and adventurous spirits. There were men who made me realize how it is possible for a man to be both strong and vulnerable. There were mothers who showed me that I can be a strong mother and still hold on to my individuality as “Rachel.” There were women who are going through separations and showed me that you still can smile even while in pain. There were young women who helped me remember what it is like to have fun. There were older woman who showed me that you can be older and have children and still have an amazingly beautiful body. There were people who made me laugh, and people who made me cry. There were people whose smiles and spirits shine so bright you need sunglasses just to look at them. There were people who looked at me and with sincerity told me that I am beautiful and smart and I can have it all. There were so many different personalities in our group, so many different faces that lit up my life during our 7 days together. Then there was my sister. Of course you are expecting me to say how amazing she is because she is my sister, but it’s TRUE! My sister has an uncanny ability to allow people to be in a space of love and acceptance. She can not only give you an amazing workout but release you of your emotional bondage all at the same time. I watch as my sister interacts with people, she looks into their eyes. She is attentive, present, and open. She has a rare gift, it is amazing to watch. I must have said over 100 times that week just how lucky I am to have her as my sister, my best friend, and my inspiration. When I am around my sister I feel that anything is possible in my life, that I really can live my dreams. She reminded us time and time again to thank the universe in advance for all that we dream of in life.
Jen said many times this week that “like attracts like.” It is such a true and powerful statement. I can’t imagine a more perfect group of people than the 13 of us. I have never laughed, cried, and released so much in my entire life. I didn’t do it alone, I had my new family to lift me up along the way.
The retreat itself was magnificent, the resort was amazing, the ocean was divine, and the jungle was mysterious. The real beauty of it all was the people I shared the this journey with. The amazing people who bring a smile to my face just to think of them. We shared in the beauty of whale watching and the giant manta rays’. We spent days hiking together and sharing our lives in those quiet walks. We climbed those ridiculous stairs together every day and night, many of us laughing the entire way up. We had the most beautiful and powerful yoga practices together. We shared in the struggles to make it through the most painful physical and emotional poses. We watched the beautiful sunsets together everyday. We all took in those sunsets as if we could feel them all the way down into our core self. It was magnificent. We ate the most amazing meals together, shared captivating conversation, and many funny jokes. We had dance parties and sang together like we were the only people in the world.
What more can I say. It was life changing. I was out of my head, I wasn’t consumed by my own self, I was filled with love for others.
I wish I could put it into words how I felt that week, and how I still feel. So empowered, so alive, so ready to manifest my dreams.
I couldn’t be more grateful to my sister Jen for this amazing birthday gift. I was myself on this trip, just me. I wasn’t Rachel the mom, or Rachel the wife, or Rachel the mother of special needs child. I was just Rachel. I felt as if a huge weight had been lifted off of me, as if I had shed 20 pounds in one week.
This trip has inspired me. I have courage. I am love.
Guess what. Not only were my kids fine while I was away, they were well behaved and happy. I came back and my kids looked like they had been loved on all week by their grand mom. They had a glow about them. I realized that I can go away, I can leave and they will be fine. I can’t use that as a crutch anymore. This is a good thing 😉
My 3 words for today are
COURAGE, LOVE AND FORGIVENESS
I encourage you all to have time for yourself. I encourage you to take some alone time to reflect on what matters most in your life, to relax and recharge, and to spend as many days as possible learning how to love yourself again.