Anger went into the ocean and fear burned up in a fire. New seeds were planted in Mother Earth, and the wind took what was no longer needed. In a shamanic ceremony, a fellow retreat participant performed a cord cutting for me, allowing regret and grief to be replaced with forgiveness and love. The warm waves of the Pacific Ocean rolled in and out, and with each new cycle something old washed away and something new was called in.
The Divine was all around as 18 of us prayed, meditated, chanted, danced and sang together for a week in the exquisiteness of Mar de Jade—a beautiful retreat center in Chacala, Mexico. On a 17-acre farm, at the base of a dormant volcano where the jungle meets the sea, new friendships were formed, exquisite meals were shared and profound joy emerged.
Everyday of the retreat was guided by a specific chakra and its corresponding element. As a group every morning, we shook our bodies, called in the directions and spent time chanting, spinning chakras, in meditation and connecting with Mother Earth, Doctor Fire, Mother Ocean and the vastness of the wind.
Shanti and Scott held beautiful space as they guided us through this profound work.
Every evening, we reconvened after plenty of time to play and process, in a ceremony of song and dance. It was a perfect balance of time spent in community and time available to swim, body surf and soak up the sunshine and beautiful richness of the retreat center.
While on retreat, far away from the demands of everyday life, much healing occurred. I felt so much love within and around me as Shakti energy emerged and a lightness and shear joy took hold. Every morning, sounds of the sea and the jungle in this place of magic greeted us. And, every evening as the sun set over the Pacific, a sense of calm and ease spilled over the center.
Throughout the week, so many beautiful connections were created, and profound insights and a deepening connection to the Divine and all of the elements emerged.
On a boat on the Pacific very early one morning, we saw a pair of sharks—a first for me in the wild. On fire day, we spent hours in a sweat lodge praying to Doctor Fire and asking for what now longer served us to be offered up, purified and transformed. And there were excursions to caves and a local market.
And, the food. Oh, the food! Served buffet style in community, the food was so fresh, innovative and fabulous that I heartily looked forward to what each meal would bring. And there were hot tubs and hammocks, yoga classes and paddleboards, great conversation and plenty of time to just be, which pretty much everyone could use a little more time for.
As I left the retreat, already making plans to return in 2020, I felt slightly sad to be leaving Shanti, Scott, new friends and this place of magic. However, as our shuttle drove away, I felt both light and full and inspired to bring the experience home. Motivated to carry forward this joy—as well as some magic fairy hair thanks to another retreat participant and gifts purchased at the local market—I truly felt a new sense of being.
Both Mar de Jade and the Embodying the Elements retreat so beautifully orchestrated by Shanti and Scott had (re)awoken something in me. For weeks after returning back to Colorado, everyone I encountered noticed it too. I brought the glow home.
Feeling fully awake and alive, I was able to share a little bit of with others, even if that was simply beaming at someone I passed walking down the street or the increasing sense of gratitude I felt for my family and friends. I’ve engaged in a lot of ceremony and personal and spiritual work, but nothing I’d done before or have done since accelerated the healing of lingering wounds and elicited such profound growth.
At risk of sounding cliché, the Embodying the Elements retreat was powerful, profound and life changing. I left behind old skin, tapped into a lightness and moved forward feeling fully refreshed and renewed. I have so much gratitude to Shanti, Scott and the beautiful people I was blessed to have spent time with in in the truly sacred space of Mar de Jade throughout that week of bliss. And, the dates for next year are already on my calendar. After spending time in that place of magic, so beautifully held and guided on a weeklong journey, I cannot image ever not going back!
I wholeheartedly recommend this retreat for anyone looking to immerse themselves within a space of healing, grace and joy, as well as to rest, recharge and renew connection to the beautiful magic that makes this world go round.
Written by 2019 Embodying the Elements participant, Jessie Lucier.
Learn more about the 2020 Embodying the Elements retreat here. Jump on the Equinox Sale by September 23, 2019.