by Bianca Martorella, life coach.
When I first learned about the trip, I was so excited to go. My friend (in order to protect the innocent, let’s just call her …) Sonia, initially told me about the Yoga retreat, led by Jennifer Pastiloff. We had just finished our coaching certification program with IPEC (Institute of Professional Excellence in Coaching) and the timing couldn’t be more perfect. With some initial supportive coaching and a minimal down-payment a day later, I committed. The more I talked about it, one week soon turned into a month away from work and loved ones, as a sabbatical of sorts. In addition to the yoga, I also decided to volunteer at an orphanage. Also referred through friends and with much additional research, I signed up with Volunteering Solutions for a 2 week program in Bali. Fortunately, the timing coincided nicely with the retreat. Planning was easy and therefore meant to be.
As I started to talk more and more about my adventure, I was often asked why I was going. To be clear about my intentions, just in case you’re curious, I thought I would share them here …
To immerse. One thing has become clear to me over the past few years, is that I love immersion experiences. Experiences that will challenge me to grow and learn. Experiences that are so far out of my comfort zone, that I have no choice but to embrace them. Although it may have always been the case for me, it first became clear through my experience at Landmark Education. For better or worse, the experience transformed my life and my way of being. Among many other things, I found a sense of courage and confidence – that again, may have always been there – but wasn’t realized until that time. Next, came running the NYC marathon which took months of focus and training to run 26.2 miles through my beloved city. With that, I realized my humility and ability to commit. And most recently, IPEC, a coaching certification program. Throughout the course, I learned to embrace people fully, love openly and to be vulnerable. A tall order for this type-A, tough and feisty New York’er. Regardless of the experience, there are always lessons to learn when you immerse yourself in something new and different. You never know what it will be …
To give back. This is an obvious one. Life in the big city can get pretty selfish sometimes. I have done some volunteering in the past, but not like this. I always thought about it, but never really had the courage until now. This would be an opportunity to give my full time, attention and focus on to others. Time to not care about myself, what I am wearing, how my hair looks, or if my toes are perfectly pedicured. This would be an opportunity to embrace, support and love others selflessly.
To love and nurture. If there is one that I’ve learned over the years is that there are many sources of love that can be experienced and expressed … first and foremost the love that comes from within. I was never really sure if having children was in the cards for me. I have always wanted a family and children to love on, but I’m 36 – rounding the corner to 37 – and up until recently, very single. I do of course believe it’s still possible and I will never give up on wanting a family of my own, however, this is an opportunity to explore the lover and nurturer from within. A chance to embrace that side of me that seldom gets to be expressed in this ‘cut-throat world’.
To embrace spirituality. I’m no expert … but from what I know … Bali is dominantly Hindu, and being home to thousands of temples and holy shrines, is a spiritual place. The Balinese embrace tradition, are constantly praying, believe in karma and focus their whole existence on worshiping their ancestors through rituals and offerings. Families stick together through thick and thin – love, support and accept each other. Although I believe in God, I never truly embraced my religion and I want to define for myself what spirituality means to me. I want to embrace the act of prayer and really get what it’s like to give of yourself in blind faith.
To heal. There is nothing like a good stretch and some meditation to heal the mind, body and soul. After a few years of some hard running, I realized I needed to take a break. I need a form a exercise that has less impact on the body. Additionally, it’s great to be a able to take time everyday to focus on your health to kick off some new good habits into your daily routine back home.
So, there they are … without judgement and without needing to prove anything, those are my reasons.