As you are

As you are

At the end of September, I had the absolute privilege of being on the Rock Steady retreat with a group of phenomenal yogis. What a rich weekend with nourishing food, majestic mountains, fall colours, mindful meditation, spirited asana and deep practices. And, there was one thing that particularly stood out for me this time -the power of each person’s individual contribution to the collective.

Facilitating a retreat requires coordination to ensure that things go as smoothly as possible. However, logistical preparedness only goes so far. The real magic happens when the ingredients of participants show up to mix, simmer and cook together. Every single person comes with their unique personalities, talents and gifts to offer, and it is these textures and flavours that creates deliciousness throughout the weekend.

At opening circle the first evening, I asked each person what brought them to the retreat, and also what they have to offer to the group. The responses were varied, from heart-felt, unsure, eclectic, and some, hilarious!  It ranged from:
“I love going deep into philosophy”
 “I create art” 
”I am really comfortable being quiet and am a great listener”
”I’ve got a charming and hilarious personality” 
”I’ve got great mothering skills” (lol – I’m still waiting to be tucked in…)

What I witnessed this weekend is that when each person shows up, just as they are, it is in service to the greater collective. Your worth and contribution to a group can take on many forms and often, you may not recognize that your gift is a tremendous offering to another person. One’s ability to be ok with silence creates an opening for everyone to be more still. One’s ability to mother, ensures that morning coffee is brewing before yogis get cranky.
When we show up as we are, and allow others to do the same, this creates a rich and delicious stew for all to enjoy. (Did I mention our potluck dinner was incredible?). Being authentic is greatest contribution you can give.

As we enter into (Canadian) Thanksgiving weekend, I invite you to make it your practice to appreciate yourself as you are, and those around you as they are.

with warmth,


Alice Hong

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