Is there something missing in your life? Are you unsure if you’re in the right relationship, the right job, the right place, the right life? Perhaps you’re at a bit of a crossroads, or simply stuck. Is there something you’re striving for but can’t seem to reach? Do you feel as if something is holding you back from taking action? If you have answered yes to any of the above then the Awakening of Love retreat this weekend might be for you.
“My biggest passion, what makes me tick, is leading Awakening of Love,” says Pia Muggerud, life coach, leadership and presentation trainer, and the lead facilitator of the weekend version of the renowned Path of Love retreat. “Path of Love takes you on a journey that requires you to have a lot of courage and yearning for something other than what you’re experiencing right now. Awakening of Love is a gentler version and Hong Kong is the only place we run it in Asia.”
While the retreat is about love, its influence can touch every aspect of your life. “Awakening of love looks at what is in the way for you and love, and your experience of love and whatever that means to you – whether self-love, love of another or of life. There’s no time in our busy lives to stop and feel these days. But feeling is very much part of healing. We offer the space to feel, heal and awaken love.”
Pia came to Path of Love during a journey of self-enquiry and development that eventually took her to Osho, in India. She read about the Path of Love and thought it sounded sweet. “I was guided to it but had no idea what I was getting myself into. It was so intense. So hard. But I’ve been going back ever since and now co-facilitate the process,” she says.
Coming up this weekend, Pia and her co-leaders Samved and Pravas, will be helping a group of newbies and experienced Awakening of Love retreaters to work out what’s not right about their lives and initiate change. “It’s a residential retreat from Friday night to Sunday. You leave everything that is in your life at home and at work and come to be with yourself and your process.”
While it is often women who are more open to this kind of experience, Pia already has two men signed up for the weekend. “Whoever shows up, it is always perfect,” she says. “Our last retreat was the first time it was all women. But I’ve come across the most beautiful men imaginable. They come with equal amounts of hurt, vulnerability and yearning for love as any woman, as men often suffer from horrible conditioning.”
What happens on retreat?
The retreat follows a specific structure, however within that structure is a feeling of total freedom. “If we have 16 people in the retreat we have 16 different processes going on. We give a lot of space.”
The power of exposure
Without giving too much away, as it is more powerful to experience the weekend without preconceived ideas of what will happen, at its core the retreat involves exposure work. This is the sincere and honest sharing of yourself and your truth. Whatever comes up at that moment is what you need to share. It is witnessed by a small group of two to four others who are simply a silent presence, seeing and hearing you. There’s no judgement. No ‘therapy’. No reactions, other than silent empathy and acknowledgement.
“In the Path of Love we talk about, ‘All is welcome here’. So bring whatever is in there,” says Pia. “You may be thinking, ‘I’m the only one that angry’, or ‘I’m the only one in tears,’ but you’ll soon find you aren’t. Exposure work is so healing. You really get to be seen and heard. Then you see yourself in others. You relate. And you realise while we’re all working on different issues, fundamentally they’re all the same.”
At the introductory evening held a few weeks ago I experienced a few sessions of exposure. Initially it felt difficult to put my feelings into words. However a few sessions between the two of us later, and the exchange of truths gave me the opportunity to go deeper, confess feelings I’d never voiced before and ultimately realise that sharing them out loud without any recrimination helped take the sting out of them.
“There’s so much love and compassion in this space,” says Pia. “If you are judgemental, it is probably because you have felt very judged in your past. So to experience no judgement, to reveal your flaws, your woundedness, your imperfections and receive compassion is very powerfully healing.
“Imagine the thing about yourself you judge the most. The thing you find the most unacceptable. The most ugly. Share these at Awakening of Love and you’ll experience the most beautiful eyes of love in return. In that moment of exposure, when you feel so awful, when you expect rejection but are met with compassion from people who recognise something similar in themselves, you realise the things you judge the most are accepted. There’s real alchemy in it.”
The power of meditation
Another element of the retreat is meditation, active and guided. “We start every morning with some form of movement through Osho meditation to integrate what happened last night and help move whatever is inside. We also do guided meditation into the heart to sense what is happening there, to get present in the body. You can sense what is going on in your body through tension, aches, a fast heartbeat or stiff shoulders. And the body speaks strongly about what is going on at an emotional level.”
Active meditation with music is also part of the retreat and again, 16 different retreaters can respond in 16 different ways. “One person will be very still, with everything going on inside. Someone will be moving their energy through dancing, another might be crying…”
“We often have graduates return to do another retreat. Rather than a reflection that the work doesn’t work, it shows that it is part of your journey to go deeper, peel off more layers, work on different issues. It is my personal belief and experience that this is a lifelong journey, after all, new issues come up all the time. Quite often the first time people come with fear. But the next times they come with an open heart and mind. They know what they’re going into and know they want more – more depth, more love. We all come with a certain amount of trauma and wounding.”
Awakening of Love for Pia
Pia calls facilitating the weekend her ‘heart work’. “I see people finding their essence and being able to leave at a point where they can really follow their truth. When I worked with Tony Robbins on his coaching team he used to talk about ‘building your emotional muscle’. The more work we do on ourselves the more we’re building muscle and the stronger we get, mentally and emotionally.
“For me Path of Love is my MOT. It’s my yearly check up. It’s very intense but also so incredibly beautiful. My husband and I both do this work. We remember again why we go through it as we do it. We have a much more intimate way of communicating because of what we’ve learned through this work.
“I don’t think there’s an end destination. Fear will somehow always be there. As harsh as you can be about others you’re not nearly as harsh as you are about yourself. Am I more at ease now than last year or ten years ago? Absolutely. Can I cope? Am I more equipped? Do I have more resources? Absolutely.
“For me life is about choosing the light, choosing the love, always. It starts with love for yourself. Just think: how much more can I choose love in my day? How much more love and joy can you experience in your life? After all, what else other than love, joy, freedom, is there?”
“It is a tool that helped me make peace with who I am; who I really am.”
“I found that as well as getting insights into ‘issues’ I was also able to let go of a lot of deep seated anger and grief.”
“I found peace and completeness. Also I found gratitude for life, the good life I have! I also got a lot of clarity about what has been bothering me and I let it go by embracing it.”
“The Awakening of Love has given me such a gift of a sense of clarity and enlightenment. It was a tough path, full of unspoken truths and opening emotions that had been bottled up. The circle of women was a very trusting and nourishing environment.”
“The meditations and processes in Awakening of Love were all really powerful to me and it was touching and inspiring to me to witness the amazing transformations of other participants.”
“Anyone who wants to connect more deeply with themselves and others should definitely attend Awakening of Love.”
“Thank you for a beautiful, and at times painful, experience. I felt safe, held and respected. Pia and Samved, I admire how you worked together; your professionalism, kindness, compassion and courage.”
“What a wonderful feeling – the power of having my life in my own hands and no longer being ruled by the judge in my head.”
“I arrived feeling tense, tired, drained and suffocated, and left the retreat feeling at ease with myself and accepting of myself. I felt light, happy and ready for fun!”
“Since Awakening of Love, I’ve had a very open conversation with my husband and the wall is coming down! We have been so much more affectionate this week than we have in several years!”
The next Awakening of Love weekend will run from March 31 to April 2 2017. Put it in your diary! And for more information contact Pia at firstname.lastname@example.org or +852 6103 0809 and check out: www.pathoflove.net/programs/awakening_of_love.
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