Setting your intentions
On the New Year’s journey for setting intentions and greeting the new year, I start my personal ritual with the Earth element.
I head to Gouverneur and its famous cave where for many years, alone or in the company of family, friends and students, I go hunting for silence.
The cave is divided into a few specific spaces that each require moving past inherent obstacles. First, there is the 3-meter drop. Some kind soul attached a knotted rope to a rock years ago so that cave explorers can ease their way down and back up the rock wall. The little patch of sunlight at the bottom of the cave is like the beam platform on the Starship Enterprise where crew members must materialize and de-materialize to acmes new planets.
You have to get low and dirty in this cave, crawling through spaces barely large enough for adult shoulders and hips to squeeze through. The ceiling is too low to stand, so for the first 2 antechambers, you are hunched or on all fours. Your body must twist and shimmy through a second aperture, head first or breach, and it is impossible not compare the process to a dry birth.
Finally, with a bit more maneuvering you can actually get to the chamber large enough to stand in.
The innermost chamber glistens as if alive.
The crystals encrusted into the cave walls shine and twinkle when my head lamp turns to light them. The stalactite and stalagmite formations are nothing short of awesome. I hope everyone who visits understands this incredible geological history the cave has preserved for us and takes care to preserve it for generations to come.
Having reached the largest chamber of the cave, we can stand up fully now. In less than 20 minutes, it is as if we have teleported ourselves to an entirely new universe.
The rear end of the cave once again narrows and flattens. Once my companions and I have all settled into our spots, on a count of three, we simultaneously turn off our headlamps. We plunge into the darkness and the adventure begins. It is here that I lead the meditation.
The feeling is as close a thing to absolute darkness as I have ever experienced on earth. Here, in the very womb of the Earth, as the outer sense of sight is suspended, all of the inner senses spring to life, much like the crystal fairies peering at us from the cave walls. But, in total darkness, even they are still.
The body disappears. The silhouette and contours all vanish. Eventually, when the astonishment of being in total darkness subsides, the breath becomes quiet and the body still.
We can’t see ourselves or each other, and yet, there we are, consciousness and energy reunited in this invisibility.
Here in the depth of the cave, I experienced my profound thirst for silence.
It was so dark and so quiet in the cave that my thoughts stood out like neon lights. My mind was the only thing making noise in the cave. It felt so loud. So unbelievably chaotic in the relative stillness that I felt momentarily embarrassed.
Eventually, the mind settled down. What stretched before me and arose within was a state of profound silence. I experienced nothingness. An emptiness that was healing and soothing beyond what words can describe.
I experienced this emptiness as the root ingredient for all creation. In the quiet of the darkness, new visions gather, but they need the calm and the quiet of peaceful abiding to arise .
It is in the emptiness that I heard my deepest intentions arise, and I felt myself ready to embark on a new year that I had taken the time to experience and personally greet.
Because a cave is a cave, oxygen begins to run low, so the meditation ends and we make our way back out, filled with our personal visions.
Emerging into the antechambers, crawling through the same tight spaces and then making our way to the cave opening and the shaft of light that connects the outer world to this inner one is a rebirth. A profound experience of having been somewhere important and meaningful.
That first breath of fresh moving air is as sweet as any I’ve ever tasted.
Even if you have never been in a cave, by simply closing your eyes, feeling your way into the breath and moving into stillness, you, too, can create a container of deep space from which to experience your own New Year’s intentions.
If you haven’t taken the time to create your new year, it’s a really useful and enriching practice to undertake, and one that will help set the tone for the months ahead.
Let 2020 be your year.
If you need support for your meditation or yoga practice, here are a few suggestions.
Call me for a transpersonal session. In a therapeutic space, we create a safe container for personal growth through deep internal navigation and exploration. It’s a wonderful way to grow and evolve towards the highest version of yourself.
Book a private yoga class with me. Whether I see you on location or you book a session with me at the Movement Space at Spa Excellence des Sens by Christophe Marchesseau at the Cour Vendôme in Gustavia, we’ll take the time to materialize the intentions and the health you seek for your body by practicing the Art of Self Care.
Spa manager Sophie Arnaud can put together a wonderful treatment module that includes yoga, meditation, transpersonal work, body work, massage, gyrotonics and beauty.
If you are on island, attend the free meditation circle at the Anglican Church in Gustavia which is held every Thursday at 7 pm. In this 60-minute circle of quiet, we explore different meditation techniques and themes every week, all year long. When I am not on island, the group is led by guest teachers and practitioners. Our specially dedicated WhatsApp Meditation group allows us to communicate and share news about the circle.
Greg Bosc’s wonderful Sound Healing sessions are held twice a month on the new and full moon. Sound is another tele transporter for exploring your inner landscapes and frontiers. Contact me by whatsapp or on my website, www.theartofselfcare.com, for more details.
I wish you all every happiness for the coming year, and hope that your personal evolution contributes fully to the evolution of our entire planet.
Keep in touch, keep learning and growing and embracing both the creative darkness and the vibrant light.
Founder, Art of Self Care