Making the decision to become a full-time volunteer at Tara Rokpa wasn’t an easy one. Should I go, and leave my family? Will I miss my family (obviously)? Will I like it there? I know I am a loner, but am I ready for that level of solitude? I know I’ve been on retreat before, but how are the other members of staff going to treat me, now that I am not a guest? These and many more questions about my decision kept rushing in my head. Regardless of my fears, I chose to commit to being a full-time volunteer.

MokgadiDespite the uncertainties; I am certain that my spirit wants to be here. Experiences from the past have strengthened my will to always follow my intuition. However, the certainty does come with a lot of tests. It is good to be strong in who you are, but for me, it also means remaining open to who you could be. Whatever that looks like- most importantly, proceed without judgement. To be certain in the uncertain. It sounds complicated in theory, but in practice it makes perfect sense.

This reminds me of the first retreat I attended last December. Sure, I’d heard about retreating from a friend of a friend, I’ve seen it in movies, and in the occasional search for holiday destinations. It was never something I took seriously, or felt I needed. My perspective changed last December for the ‘Speak your Truth, Listen Deeply’ retreat. I went with my mom, who to my knowledge had never been on retreat either. One of the things that remained with me; harm to self doesn’t always come from an external source, we harm ourselves in thought, action, thus state of being.

‘Attack thoughts’ as Felicity Hart called them, sometimes rise from being stuck in the past or obsessing over the future so much that it blinds us from the present. We focus all our energy on things we cannot control that we lose the grip we have on things we can control. My fear of being a full-time volunteer rose from my obsession with the future, and wanting to control the narrative in the present. Not realistic right? Even after the retreat I am hard on myself. Except now I am more open to seeing that part of myself, accepting it, and believing that everything is going to work out. What I can control is what I am going to pack, the essentials; my toothbrush, toothpaste, underwear, a good attitude and everything else!

I don’t know what journey lies ahead, what I do know is; I will keep documenting my experiences. We all learn through one another’s experiences, it’s the beauty that comes with living!