Three Tools for Self-Discovery

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This week I am off in the Amazon jungle, returning for a third time to a healing center for some spiritual exploration. About once a year I find a way to do a deep reconnecting with myself, and it seems that the farther I can get from my familiar surroundings, the better.

I might even say that the experiences find me. It feels that way, the more I open up to the conversation that the universe is constantly trying to have with me. As I journey inward, to the rooms of my heart that have stuck, creaky doors which I normally dare not enter, the signs and nudges that have urged me to this place all become evident. It is this type of experience that has given me great faith in my path; in its poetry, in its promise, and also in the challenges and “defeats” that I experience along the way, too.

In preparation for my journey, I did a few things to support myself in having the most impactful experience I can. And I think they are universal tools in the process when seeking to reconnect with the self.

  1. I set an intention. When the universe calls, and we answer, the next step is always to identify why we have said ‘yes’ to the call. For many years, when I have composed an intention, it has turned out as more of an ask, or a hope to change or fix something about my life. My shaman here, however, suggested a new definition. He says “your intention is a mission statement for your life.” We often think granularly and focus on areas of lack or dissatisfaction when we embark on a retreat or step onto our yoga mat for a class. But, if we can identify the macro mission; the great, big WHY that we are here, and proclaim it lovingly in our connected moments, everything else falls into place as the universe seeks to support you in it.
  2. I took great care of myself. I love wine. I love traveling. I love Mexican food. And I love giving myself beautiful, delicious experiences.. regularly. But, every now and then, like any machine, the body and it’s mind need a purification- an oil change, a battery recharge, some TLC. When it comes to an investment in the self like a trip to a treehouse in the Amazon, I didn’t want to take it for granted and show up with caffeine cravings and achy joints from my typical frantic lifestyle. I cut out coffee a week prior to get the withdrawal over. I paused all alcohol, went to bed at the same time every night, and consumed a healthy diet: low in wheat and sugar, easier to digest, and high in nutrient-rich vegetables and healthy fats. In Peru, this preparatory cleansing is called the “dieta”, meant as more than just a dietary cleanse- it is an act of devotion made before going into spiritual work. But, it reminded me that, trip or no trip, it is always beneficial to periodically serve the goddess inside. I got fresh air, and went to yoga almost daily. At the end of my last yoga class before departure, the instructor said, “remember why you are here.” That stuck with me, and has stayed with me all the way to the hammock I lay in here in the treetops. It’s hard to stay diligent in a reset period, with so many delectable reasons to throw in the towel. Focus on your ‘why’, and it will keep the fire lit.
  3. I got still. Transformation and self discovery doesn’t have to be found in a jungle, on a beach, or at a mountaintop. The reason we often go to such great lengths to heal and know ourselves is because it takes us out of distraction. But, the inner realm is always with us, and always inviting us to visit and explore- we just need to get quiet enough to hear the invitation. I can’t opt of out work of course, but I took a break from most social interaction for the preceding two weeks to spend time with myself. I connected with my inner artist, free-writing daily journals and picking up my sketch pad for the first time in literally years. I went to an art show, alone. And I consumed books and podcasts that helped me stay focused on my personal expansion. I created an environment, internally and externally, that fostered personal growth and a relationship with myself. 

This adventure is still unfolding but, as in all undertakings of this nature, the medicine of its healing and awakening began when I said ‘yes.’ When we answer any call to bloom in self discovery (be it a trip, a yoga certification, a challenging new opportunity, or simply a new goal) it takes hold of us and brings magic into our lives even before ‘Day 1’. And we never have to wait for that call to go into our toolkit and start creating our own magic.

In love, Caitlyn

Caitlyn HoweComment