To the part of me that is a Novice Businessman and an Expert Host.
Blessings and curses of a culture, right? I knew in my veins how to welcome and host people, how to serve people. But the curse? It is to sell to people. But if I wanted to serve, I had to sell.
To serve this, I had to spend my own money to make a deposit. No certainty but belief, trust, and a burning desire to serve. To serve people the hidden treasure that they carry within their heart. I set an intention and set forth.
Then I made a flier, gathered some photos, and posted it on my website. I sent some emails. People signed up. I was happy that people were interested in my offering of a retreat.
Thereafter, I started to think. Why are these people signing up? Is it the yoga, is it the mindfulness? Is it just that they want an escape from the noise of the city? I wrote on the site: "Escape the city noise, tune in to your own voice.” It was easy to escape, but how do I tune them in? I was starting to make some bold statements.
Some time passed and it was the end of November, I had a tentative schedule. The most concrete plan was to be so present as to see where they were and serve them exactly what they needed. I had to be like water. Clean, clear, pure, and familiar. Like the first sip you take after a long day in the summer heat.
I made that intention to be present. Fully present. Not for one class, not for a few hours, but full on for 3 days; sunrise to midnight and overnight. For that, I prepared well.
There came the last week before the retreat. I did some last minute arrangements, got some fresh flowers, and made a little gift bag to welcome everyone to their weekend “home”.
Prior to my arrival, I was excited and nervous, I had planned as much as I could and it was the time for the rubber to hit the road.
People started to show up. Meeting all the lovely faces and dealing with the beginning was actually easy. When I do not script everything, just have outlines and some points in my mind, I do better. Writing down everything makes me try to read what I wrote which makes me not as much in the flow or open-hearted; or makes me nervous. But rather than remembering what to say, I used that energy to be present and to speak from my heart with the guidelines of my mind.
Before I walked into the first meeting, I assured myself that I was the best person to do this and I was. I had to be the best because they deserved the best. With that conviction, I walked in and said hi! I shared my intention and ask that of everyone’s. I asked everyone to have high expectations and I promised to exceed them. Everyone followed the path that my open heart carved. They opened their hearts.
Fears, worries, judgments, insecurities all surfaced, but I didn’t let anyone drown in them. I was adamant to remind them of the vast deep ocean beneath the cloudy foaming surface. The deep ocean was cleansing, pure, and clear. I drew from it myself and I let others mirror.
We forgave the past at the first night and foresaw the future at the second night. A lot of steamy classes to mix the sweat with the tears; as well as much ice breaking in between. We broke through the literal ice as well as the ice-cold walls of many minds. The only way to melt them was through the warmth of the heart.
At the end, the expectations were gladly exceeded.
How did I really do this? My schooling and education, decades of experience teaching, guiding and caring for other people, my impeccable executive skills? Yes and no. It was mostly me listening to my heart. It wasn’t despite the fears or the worries or the concerns that I had, it was because of those, it was with those. I don’t have to protect my heart from those sensations or emotions or feelings. I saw that I just need to make my heart face those, and as I did, my heart encompassed them all, and more. There was so much more room left that I could allow everyone in and within, everyone could witness their hearts doing the same thing.
Some people loved it because it was heart-opening, some people loved it because it was mind-bending, and some people loved it because it was body-breaking. And some people noticed that they had love all along.
Can I read minds? Maybe. Can I read hearts? Maybe. Can I look directly into someone’s soul? Maybe.
Can I speak with the best words? Sometimes. Can I hold silence? Mostly. Can I contain what this thing, life is about? Absolutely.
I smiled a lot, I rolled my eyes at myself a couple of times, I might have made a silent stare, I laughed a few times. I sweated a whole bunch, I shivered for a while. I hugged and got hugged. I made a lot of eye contacts. And I made many hearts connections, so much so that some people didn’t know what to do, but their soul followed suit, and their spirit cherished. I spoke a lot and I was silent a bunch. I might have one little tear drop.
I saw many things and I oversaw some things as well. Some, I wasn’t ready to see; and some weren’t ready to be seen. But everyone got exactly what they needed and I am happy to be a part of it. I’m happy I thought of it, I’m happy God gave me that thought and allowed me to persist.
Dear reader, some of this is for me and some of this is for you. You will only see the parts that are for you and I will only see the parts that are for me.
In reality, I didn’t have 17 clients. I didn’t cultivate 17 different relationships. In reality, we had one relationship and we just had to be true to that one relationship. And that one relationship included all of the 17 yogis, that one relationship included myself and my heart, it included all my flaws and perfections.
Gratitude and Intention
I am beyond words grateful. My intention is to have more heart-inspiring, mind-sharpening retreats like this. My intention is to bring this service to companies and corporations as well since there is no better way of building a team to move towards a common goal. The most common goal each individual harbors is to be a good individual belonging to a good community. As one of our yogis said during the retreat "a place of unconditional love and belonging" is what we all deserve. This was my contribution and my persisting intention to keep serving to everyone in the best way possible.
Vahid Coskun, MS
Author, Mindfulness Specialist, Human-Being