Inner Dance retreat – last day

July 14, 2009 at 1:47 am | Posted in GuaGua adventures, The journey within, The Miracles | Leave a comment

(written on 9 July)

In airport waiting for our flight. Quite a backlog of stuff to write abt since I didn’t have time to blog for the past few days. Let’s see… the next memorable event since the volcano trip would be the Inner Yoga facilitated by Daniw. I was expecting the traditional yoga session where we just follow the facilitator in doing the asanas. On the contrary, Danil guided us into meditation and then told us to let our bodies move into its own asanas, that would heal our own bodies. I found myself twisting my body into very unorthodox postures, and a couple of times, Danil came to guide my body, and her warm firm hands expertly nudged my body into postures that stretched my muscles even more. A couple of pple had really intense catharsis during this session. One lady cried, and another one was screaming the whole place down, followed by Red Indian style hollering. At one point, I was just too curious and had to open my eyes to look, and by then, she was hugging a pillar and sobbing. Weird… but oh well, it’s healing, and she told us later that she had healing sessions before and the one thing she could never do was scream, cos she was so concerned about frightening others. But in this session, guided by Danil, she decided that other people could very take care of themselves, she let it all out which was quite a breakthrough for her.

In the afternoon, we had another healing session facilitated by Joemar. The instruction was to do the following: during 1st song, we need to exhale quickly and sharply, taking only minimal intake of breaths in between, and aside from that, we could do anything we want e.g. sit, stand, march ard; during 2nd song, we are free to express ourselves in any way; during 3rd song, we need to jump on the spot with both feet together, hands stretched in the air and shout “ho ho ho” from the diaphragm, and during the 4th song, we stay in silence.

This session was held in darkness, and lemme just say that if an outsider were to walk in, he would think that it’s a loony bin. Especially during 2nd song. The moment it started, I found myself screaming at the top of my lungs in a shrill high-pitched voice, and walking ard like a lost soul. By this time I was skilled in putting aside my conscious mind, and just let myself “go”, breaking through all remaining inhibitions. Others were also shouting and yelling and shaking their bodies, etc etc. In the midst of it all, I suddenly had a déjà vu, and realized that when I first experienced this scene in my mind, it felt like I was in a mental hospital and it was a very scary experience cos I didn’t understand what was going on. Now I understood, and as crazy as it may seem to be, it’s a darn good clearing. By the end of it, I felt very whole and integrated.

In the evening, we had another Inner Dance, and I was privileged to be paired up with Sister Rose, and I was the facilitator. It was my first time facilitating another person’s Inner Dance. While a little anxious initially, I learnt to flow with my intuition and feel another person’s energy. At times, I opened my eyes and saw that our actions synchronized with each other perfectly, as if we were having an Inner Dance together. While my movements were similar from the previous session but it felt as if that session was preparing me to clear energies from Sister Rose’s energy field. There was no thinking involved and I don’t receive visions or feel energy, but it just FELT like that was what I was doing. My hands were brushing away, pulling out, spinning, blending, weeding… once again, very busy and efficient movements. My hands just took on a life of their own and went to “work”.

Towards the end, I was on my knees in front of Sister Rose and my arms were stretched outwards, as if smoothening the edges of her aura. Sister Rose may be this petite old lady, but during this moment, I felt like I was at the feet of a huge towering angel, and my heart was filled with awe and a feeling of being blessed. Later Sister Rose told me she was sending me healing energy too.

One of the ladies K had really bad mozzie bites and her legs were covered with angry pus-filled sores, so when my session with Sister Rose ended, Mr Gua Gua suggested for me to do EFT for K. Another lady was doing Angelic Reiki for her, and K was more than happy to be worked on by me as well. She looked so happy receiving all this healing. J I was happy too, working with another healer who is using her different healing modality. This is the kind of synergy and harmony that I would like to have in my healing centre in future, where healers and practitioners can work and synergise together albeit their different healing styles and beliefs.

In our last night, we went to Manila and met other Inner Dance folks in a healing studio. Pi said that some of them flew over specially for this Inner Dance gathering, and this was the largest by far, about 40 of us in a circle. The studio was beautifully decorated with rainbow coloured fabrics hung over the windows and on the floor. There were mandalas on the floor, delicately made with flower petals, twigs and pebbles. We were privileged to have a percussion band who played along with the music. When the music started, there were only a few people who were moving. At first I was feeling a little self-conscious being in a room of strangers, except for those of us who came together. Then I told myself to let go, so I closed my eyes and let my body respond to the music. Then I really started dancing, moving around the room, stepping across the mandalas with legs wide open and arms moving non-stop. The drumming really spiced up the atmosphere, and I found myself, once again, dancing like some Native Indian. There was a very brief disco dancing period in my life, but never have I danced like this, with my feet stamping furiously along with the drums, and my arms shaking wildly like they were gonna break (v good for toning my arms I must say). Wouldn’t be surprised if I was an African in a past life (that would explain why I so much wanted to go to Africa with this group in university, and alas, was not allowed by my mum and Mr Gua Gua :/)

After about 2 to 3 hours of continuous dancing (of cos, you could take breaks to rest or have some light snacks whenever you want), we finally settled back down in a circle, and some pple started toning, much like what we did in the convent during the 2nd night. This time I was even less inhibited than before (yup, turning into quite a shameless person by now!) and I let my voice ring out loud and clear. I felt like I was singing my heart song (Happy Feet) and I felt my voice flow from my centre, rich and resonating with my beingness. There were a couple moments where I started feeling shy and didn’t sing when I had the urge to. Each time I just decided to go with the flow, and let whatever needed to come out, come out. I felt like I found my true voice!

However there wasn;t the same synchronization of voices that we had in the convent, and I suppose that’s expected, since this was a larger group and we were mostly new to one another. Well, halfway through, I heard Danil’s voice, announcing “The Divine Mother is here. She is hurting. She is crying. She wants to know why are you here. Why are you here?”

I thought that it was a soul question, designed to stimulate the toning even further, and I found myself singing even more, wanting to answer that question with a song from my soul. But suddenly Danil said, “Silence!” – and I was like, oops, time to shut up now! 😛 The next part was a little strange, and later many from my group commented that they didn’t really resonate with it. There was a guy in tribal costume who was supposed to be the channel for the Divine Mother, but he could only express himself in sign language. Danil and Pi were trying to interpret his gestures, but with great difficulty, and as someone said, it was all very “inconclusive”.

Something magical did happen though. There was supposed to be some form of healing for the whole group, and suddenly, rain started to pour very heavily, and the sounds of the rain echoed all over the place. It stopped as sudden as it started. Later, someone mentioned that this was a very special session, even for the local Inner Dance folks, so we were very privileged indeed. I also saw the photos that Lee took during the night, and in many of them, there were orbs all over the place, indicating that there was a lot of spiritual energy. Well, I enjoyed this session v much, cos it brought out aspects of me that I never knew. However it is on the pagan side, so a couple of Catholics in our group didn’t connect with it at all. I totally resonated with it, and I’m beginning to wonder if I also have certain affinity with paganism and even shamanism. Whatever it is, a whole new world has been opened up for me.

The session lasted till 11 plus pm and we reached our hotel at midnight. There were only a few of us who made it to the next morning session of kali arnis at 7.30 am. It was good though. Joemar demonstrated lots of cool moves, astounding us with his agility and grace. I’m definitely liking kali arnis more and more and it seems like I have a natural flair for it. Cos I was picking up the movements so quickly, Joemar even taught me an additional step where I push the attacker’s arm away and use my weapon to slash an X across his body. I picked that up too, and Joemar was quite impressed. He said I must have been a kali arnis master in a previous life. Haha… needless to say, Mr Gua Gua wasn’t very pleased to hear that, and I think he would have to think twice about agitating me on purpose from now on. 😛

Mr Gua Gua and I totally adore Joemar, cos not only is he very wise, he’s also very fun loving and humorous. Mr Gua Gua bought him a shirt and Joemar held it up against his body, pointing out the pictures “Oh there is a dragon on the left, a spider on the right, and look, a birdie right down there!” which marked the spot of his… well, “birdie” as well. And he went around showing the shirt off to everyone else, especially the birdie. 😛 Then I was eating a banana, and he said, “Do you know banana is very good for pimples?” I was surprised of cos, and was asking him how to use it for pimples, so I missed his next sentence and he said it a 2nd time, “Cos monkeys don’t have pimples.” Hmmm…..

Then today as we were having pancakes for breakfast after the kali arnis session, we started talking about the weird channeling session the night before. Joemar joked, “Oh there’s channel 1, channel 2, 3, 4… you have to choose which channel you want. And this channel (the one last night), there were a lot of commercials.” And my reply to that was, “Ya, yesterday’s channel very commercial.” Joemar liked that one, and he repeated it to others at the table. Haha… he’s a born joker I think, and he really delights in making everyone hears his jokes and get a good laugh. He sure reminds me of a Zen master, who is wise, yet always cracking jokes.

I was also very privileged to receive a special healing stone from Joemar – a black longish little pebble, and he had a name for it. But he told me to give it a new name, so I named it Kali, which means fire, and while it’s the name of the Goddess Kali, it would also remind me of kali arnis, and hence, Joemar as well.

It was with great disappointment that we missed saying farewell to Joemar cos we thought he would go with us at the airport and he didn’t. Oh well, I do hope we get to see him in Singapore, if he should decide to come over.

All in all, this was a fabulous retreat. The place, the food, the people, the spiritual experiences… wow, I feel blessed that the universe had guided me to come for this retreat, and interestingly, the 2 payments I made for Mr Gua Gua and myself were $1140 and $1440, both of which are magic numbers to me. Philippines is such a wonderful country. The people are beautiful inside out with hearts of gold. There was this lady who came to stay at the convent because her husband was abusive, and despite her sad background, she was so grateful for having the chance to join in one of our Inner Dance sessions, that she got our birth dates and bought all of us our special guardian angel as a gift. What a lovely lady. Mine is Archangel Uriel, who is the Angel of Justice – very apt for me I think. This statue will definitely have a special place at my healing space in future.

The shopping here is great too, btw. The shopping mall is even larger and more beautiful than the ones in Singapore, and the prices are relatively much lower. I got books and a whole bag of avocados – one avocado is the size of a mango and costs only 60 cents in S$ compared to a small avocado in Singapore at $1.50. We also tried the local fast food – Jolibee, which is way better than KFC. The chicken is super crispy and juicy with hardly any oil. Geez, just writing about it makes me drool again (yes, the 4 days of detox diet just brought out my gluttony even more!). Mr Gua Gua and I also caught a movie at only S$4.50 per pax. Not only is it free seating, they even provide you with a food tray if you are bringing food in, so I had the total enjoyment of watching Transformers while munching on the yummy Jolibee chicken. Ahh… the best joys in life are really from simple things like this!

So Mr Gua Gua and I have decided to come back to Philippines again, where you can get such a richer experience with the same amount of money. We had no idea that we were gonna spend on so many things during this trip, and we kept on getting money from our banker who is none other than Lee (who doesn’t charge interest somemore, haha). Oh well… now tt we know, next time we will come back better prepared, with much more cash in our pockets!

So as you can see, this was like a trip with spirituality and materialism combined. But hey, that’s balance! Hehe… and I’m returning back home a new person. I feel like a few more layers of me have been removed, and I have connected with even deeper, purer aspects of myself. I feel like saying “Hello Lena, it’s good to see you again!”(which reminds me of the local dessert here, called “Hallo Hallo”).

But as Pi said, during our closure meeting, “After the self healing, comes the healing of the planet. We will just keep moving on to larger and larger things…” Hence, the journey never ends. But the great thing is, once you have found yourself, the rest of the journey is so much easier, and I feel fortunate to be surrounded by like-minded companions so we could share the work and add on to the laughter. The 14 of us connected with one another really well, and I know that the next time I meet them in Singapore, it would feel like I’m meeting old friends.

Next Inner Dance retreat is in Penang, in September 09. For those of you who have been wanting to attend spiritual retreats, this one comes HIGHLY recommended, with two thumbs (and big toes) up!

Inner Dance retreat – 3rd day

July 6, 2009 at 8:06 am | Posted in GuaGua adventures, The Miracles | Leave a comment

Oh cool… there is wifi even in the garden, which means i can type this entry while sitting on the chair swing in the retreat garden which overlooks the lake and smaller volcano. It’s such a beautiful morning. The sun has been up since 6 am, same time as my waking time (and it felt so bright i thought i overslept till 8+ am!). There was a slight mist over the garden earlier on, and now there is still a slight haze, which gives the place a romantic dreamy effect.

Yesterday was 3rd day and we had a crystal workshop in the morning. Riza who is a truly grounded and funny lady full of grace and wisdom gave a short powerpoint presenation on crystals, which was followed by hands-on for doing chakra testing and balancing with the use of crystals. I paired up with Mr Gua Gua and we tested each other. Not gonna talk about his results, except to say that he was quite miffed when he tested mine, cos mine was ALL open (which was err… kinda in contrast to his? :P), especially heart chakra and crown chakra. Yehh!

Lunch was salad – yummilicious crisp leaves and turnip slices. After that we went to this lovely place with 2 hammocks and had a nice post-lunch nap. Rocking in the hammock, with amazing scenary around me and the cool fresh air on my skin, didn’t take me too long to go into la la land!

After that was the kai arnis workshop where we learnt the Philippines martial arts. We learnt how to hold the stick that indicates we want to combat (basically in any posture, EXCEPT holding the stick in our arms like a baby) and did warm up by swinging our sticks at different angles. Then the fighting began!

Mr Gua Gua was my partner AGAIN… and we had great fun beating each other up. LOL! I was really happy swinging the sticks at him. Reminds me of the time when i used to play tennis and would get a high lashing at the ball with all my might. At one point Mr Gua Gua went to the loo and Joemar, our facilitator, came over to practise with me. Wow… it’s so different doing it with him. His strokes are light and graceful. Our “fighting” became faster and faster, that everyone in the room heard and stopped to watch us. Joemar even added some footwork as he swung at me, and he encouraged me to do the same. I felt so natural doing this. Later someone told me i looked like i am in the flow. Hmm, maybe i really used to be Xena in the past (a nick i used to have)!

Dinner was…salad again. People have been finding different ways to spice it up with the condiments avaialble – sesame oil, cayenne pepper, lime juice, and this interesting sap from coconut tree which tastes just like honey but apparently is very digestible. I found balsamic vinegar, haha, so got yet a different taste for my salad. Sounds like i’m complaining but i’m really enjoying the food so far. Have always been a veggies person anyway, and the veggies here are wonderfully fresh, so i’m happy. 😉

Last session was Inner Dance again, this time without any partnering so all of us did it on our own. Tonight i was a dancer from different cultures. I felt like i was doing ballet, free-style, tribal, Indian… i have never taken formal dance classes before and always had the wish to do so. This night, i confirmed for myself that i have been a dancer before, because i twirled around and moved my body like i knew the steps, and just needed a little reminder and practice to get into it again. I danced and I smiled, cos i never knew my body could move in this way, and i allowed my body to take over my brain. I danced till i sweated, and then my body went into lying position, where i slowed down a little, but still twirling my wrists, and stretching my legs up in the air. Then a nice song came and i got up to dance somemore. At one point, i felt like i was dancing with an invisible lover, and my heart ached for him. Most of the time, i was just dancing with Spirit, in Spirit, BEING Spirit.

Finally it was time to stop and i came back to my meditation mat. They played Song of Metta, and i felt the love washing over me. Then someone started Om-ing, and cos that’s something i was so familiar with, i spontaneously joined in. We had this impromptu orchestra of voices, and I merged my voice into it, Om-ing in choral tones. Daniw, Pi’s partner, was singing in this hauntingly lovely tone, and i instinctively coordinated my oms with hers. Others joined in in their own way, and the result was mesmerising. If only someone recorded it down… it would make a lovely cd gift for everyone!

Later someone asked Daniw about her singing and she said she didn’t know the words, and she usually doesn’t sing. This was the 2nd time she was doing this, and the last was 2 years back. How lucky we are to be able to enjoy such wondrous sounds that felt like it came from the stars in the universe!

Ok, time for morning taichi, which is led by the senior sister here, Sister Mary. Will write another time.

Inner Dance retreat 2nd day

July 5, 2009 at 6:41 pm | Posted in GuaGua adventures, The journey within, The Miracles | 4 Comments

It’s the 2nd day of retreat and as Pi said, I did wake up surprisingly early though we were given the liberty to sleep for as much as we want, after a long day yesterday where we had a 4 hour flight in the middle of the night (and too noisy and bright to sleep properly) and power naps here and there.

Though it’s 6 am, the sun is already up. For those who don’t know, I’m in Tagaytag, Philippines, and we are staying in Maryridge Convent, which is located on a volcano. The interesting thing about this volcano is that it has a very large crater which is filled by a lake, and in the middle is another smaller volcano. Fire, water, fire. Yang, yin, yang. The fact that this is a place of great spiritual energy and many spiritual teachers have chosen to come and teach or even live here was one of the reasons that drew me to this retreat. I told Mr Gua Gua, “If you don’t go with me, when I come back, we are going to be very far apart.” So he came, partly cos of what I said, partly cos HE was drawn to the ancient Philippines martial arts that would be taught in this retreat as well, I was interested in all the other parts – raw food detox diet throughout the retreat and different workshops that teach crystal healing, sound healing, body movments, inner dance, past life regression, etc.

The 14 of us, including Lee who organized this trip, arrived at Maryridge Convent yesterday at about 6 am. We were all stupendified by the amazing scenery from the convent, and of the serenity and beauty of the convent itself – a simple building that is surrounded by much flora and fauna. Wooden signs with excellent quotes can be seen everywhere – one of my fave is “If you want to be a contemplative, you need to learn to mind your own business.” (roughly quoted). J

The first thing we started off with was a body flush. Recipe: 5 freshly squeezed limes, 1 teaspoon of salt, warm water. We made our own cups and some decided to go with less salt. Being gungho as usual, I put in a full teaspoon. Then I spent the next half  hour forcing myself to sip it down. It was only a little more tolerable when someone told me it reminded her of preserved plums, and I told her, “yeah, I like it too but this is the first time I’m taking it in liquid form.” And even that slightly increased tolerance lasted for a few min. Finally I had Mr Gua Gua finish the rest for me cos I was starting to feel like puking!

Thank goodness that was the most horrible thing we had to ingest that day. The juices were SO yummy, since they have the freshest fruits. Our first juice was a mix of spinach, apple, ginger and lemon. The 2nd was pineapple and orange – and it’s the sweetest concoction I have ever tasted in my entire life. So when there was a chance for seconds, I jumped at it. Nature‘s goodness at its best!

Pi, the main facilitator of the retreat and founder of Inner Dance, knew that we would be tired and so organized a spa treatment for all of us. I have received full body massages perhaps 6-7 times in my life. This one wins hands down. Every single muscle of my body was well kneaded and stretched… by the end of it all, my body was in total bliss. The spa place is also beautiful, and we had our lunch at the spa restaurant, where we had DIY salad, DIY pasta and tiny slices of chocolate cake and spring rolls with banana slices inside. We all thought that salad was going to be the main course and so stuffed ourselves with the food. So when the pasta came, we were like, “Oops!”. Thankfully I have a very stretchable stomach (*grin*) and because the foods are so fresh and natural, I felt full by the end of the meal, but in a very pleasant and satisfying way.

Onto the workshops! We had a little intro to the martial arts, facilitated by Joemar, a witty and friendly Filipino with very dark eyebrows and bright eyes. He was also our informal tour guide on our way to the spa place, and I learnt a no. of interesting facts from him e.g. Tayagtay actually means something like “drink it up”, the local word for toilet is “CR” which stands for comfort room, the term for the local language is Taglish (similar to our Singlish!) and if you ask a Filipino for directions, he would point not with the fingers but with his mouth pursed in the direction you should head towards! Joemar is a really fun and interesting fella. He shared with us that martial arts is the highest form of meditation and combines the flow (feminine) with the intention (masculine). To him, it is less about self-defense, and more of self-expression. And if you are truly in harmony with your sword, you can strike yourself with the sword and not get hurt, since the metal in the sword is no different from the metal in your blood. To me, this is yet another practice of oneness – so now I’m looking forward to the hands on workshop!

We also had a body movement class led by Riza, who is a renowned crystal expert and wrote many books on crystals. She led us in feeling different types of music in our bodies and moving in ways that we normally don’t move e.g. sideways, backwards. My most memorable experience in this session was during the C-U exercise where she taught us to first lean over, with our heads and arms loosely hanging and feet up on the heels. In this C posture, we need to shake and vibrate our body, as if emptying out all the garbage in us (reminding me of turning a ketchup bottle upside down and shaking all the ketchup out). Next we stretch our bodies backwards, hands up in the air, as if opening up the abdomen, heart and throat, and in both movements, she encouraged us to make any sounds we liked. When we have tried this exercise a couple of times, she asked us to do 6 consecutive rounds at our own pace.

In the past I would have done this exercise only half-heartedly cos I would be feeling self-conscious. Thanks to my newly developed thick skin (a result of walking around like a female pirate for the past few days), I was probably one of the loudest in the class. And my body really responded. By the 2nd C-U, I was crying with sadness and loneliness from an unknown source, and when I stretched my body backwards, I was softly wailing with grief. By the 4th C-U, I was coughing and making regurgitating noises. I was all sweaty and my throat had a sea-water feel, as if I have just thrown up sea water. By the last C-U, my left eye was stinging and itchy, and my whole body buzzed with energy and life.

That was the most amazing experience for me, yet, I had an even more amazing experience during the Inner Dance session, the last part of our day. I have experienced Inner Dance only once, and it was mostly swaying my body and arms in circular motions. Today I decided to let Spirit just take me, and the part of me that was still very much conscious, was observing my motions with a mix of surprise, amusement and interest.

First it was my whole body moving in figure 8s, then my partner guided my arms up to join the dance, and that’s when the action started. My arms, hands and fingers took a life of their own and started a whole series of movements: weaving, gathering, kneading, spinning, blending, moulding, brushing… and what you may ask, well I don’t know. Energies probably. I was just letting my arms, hands and fingers do what they needed to do, and it felt like work to me. Joyful work. I say work because it felt very skilful and professional, and PURPOSEFUL. Yet, while there was this efficiency feel to it, the movements were also delicate and graceful. At certain times, I was aware that my fingers were positioned like mudras, or what you see in Indian dancers. The whole time, while my conscious mind was observing with great interest what I was doing, the other part of me was in total bliss, as I could feel energy running through my body, and it was almost as if my soul was saying, “Yes! This is what I have been wanting and needing to do.”

When the lights were switched on, I was forced to open my eyes, worried that I was the only one still doing the Inner Dance… otherwise, I would have been happy to go on like this for the whole night. I wondered if my “performance” was the most interesting one, cos I felt a lot of camera flashing in my direction, but during sharing, it seems like everyone went into his or her own space and experienced something equally mystical and amazing. So next time, I will allow myself to completely forget whatever is going on around me and be fully involved in the Inner Dance.

And that was just the 1st day! I get this feeling that I’m going to return back to Singapore, perhaps looking a bit different from the detox program, but being a completely different Lena on the inside. Let’s just see… J

PS: We had very interesting dessert for dinner – a pudding like mixture of avocado, cocoa powder and honey mixture, that tastes great with banana. Very yummy, and of cos, very healthy too. Gonna try this out at home!

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