Whole & Happier

The universe does this thing where it aligns you with the people, places and situations that match the vibration of energy you put out. The more you improve yourself by listening to your own truth, the more you will begin to notice all the things that are beneficial to your well-being enter your world. Like magic, doors will begin to open, Angels will unexpectedly float to you, and (before you can even believe it yourself) all of your wildest dreams become an incredible reality. 

It was almost one year ago that I made the decision to book in for a seven-day yoga and meditation retreat at Hariharalaya in Cambodia. Looking back now, it was one of the most momentous and pivotal moments in my life to date – however, at the time I was merely looking for a week of reflection and relaxation. Those days of retreat gracefully merged into a three month yoga teaching internship alongside some of the most inspiring and influential people on the planet. For months our worlds collided into one, and like a big family, we began to explore the trials and triumphs of living and working in unison. I have nothing but overwhelming love in my heart as I reflect back on the whole experience, and there’s no question I departed from Hariharalaya a completely different woman from the one who entered in large part to the wonderful yogis that surrounded me. However, if I’m being completely honest, there was no greater gift that came out of those three months than that of meeting Rosie.

From the moment I met her in the communal dining area of the center, I felt this unexplainable comfort; as if the two of us had known each other our whole lives. Even in those early introductions, I could feel her special energy; a radiating halo of happiness that encompassed everyone within a few feet of her being. Over the course of the next week, the two of us would get lost in conversation after her beautifully orchestrated yoga classes, and it wasn’t long before I was her biggest fan. Oddly enough, Rosie was acting cheerleader for me as well when it came to my position at the retreat. And she would tell me months later how, before she even knew me, she vouched to our boss Joel in order to secure my position at the centre and dramatically alter my life. I can only assume that she, too, could somehow sense early on that our meeting was for bigger purpose. 

And thus a beautiful friendship was born. Our days on the retreat were light-hearted and fun; spreading the love of yoga (Rosie as my mentor), riding bikes to the village for coconuts, and nurturing connections with guests from around the globe who would constantly tell us we were like sisters. She was my pillar as I transitioned through the somewhat painful finalities of my life in Canada; providing generous hugs and gentle reminders of how this new, improved life was inevitably going to cost me my old one. Our days off were all about balance; filled with poolside lounging, Soul Train party nights, and delicious roadside noodle bowls at 2am. We laughed often and much, befriended most everyone we met, made the effort to practice Khmer with our local drivers and, most of all, we dreamt about a future in which we would be teaching yoga together in paradise. It was a blissful few months in Cambodia, and when the time came for Rosie to leave the retreat, I said goodbye with a certainty that I would see her again. 

The months following Hariharalaya led the two of us in very different directions; Rosie heading to Thailand and then Laos for work, and myself to India for training. We stayed in close contact over the phone and through text messages (a somewhat challenging feet in a world of constant uprooting, poor internet connections and time zone conflicts). I remember Rosie gushing to me early on about the magic she felt at FaaSai. She been connected to the eco-resort in Chanthaburi, Thailand through one of our Hariharalaya guests that had a feeling she would get on well with the fellow Kiwi owner. She described her incredible two-week stay in detail; waking early to practice yoga poolside, picking peanuts in the resort garden with the smiliest humans on the planet, and eating mouth-watering Thai cuisine made with love by the in-house chef, Sura. And then, with what seemed like only half seriousness, she suggested working together to develop and host a week-long yoga and meditation retreat on the stunning grounds. Even as I recall this conversation now, my skin becomes covered with tiny goosebumps and a silly smile plasters across my face. In this moment we had absolutely no idea of the magic we were in the process of creating. We were about to go from light-hearted fantasizers to masters of our lives; moving confidently in the direction of our dreams.

Months later, in an serendipitous twist of fate (and just as we were both full to brim with Asian living) our paths brought us together in Amsterdam, Netherlands for a two-day summer reunion. I was over the moon to introduce Rosie into my world of lovely Dutchies and felt so much happiness to witness the blossoming of what I can only describe as a network of pure goodness (confirming that I am most definitely surrounding myself with the best people on the planet). 

While enjoying cheese alongside a crowded Amsterdam city park we finalized our plans to meet up in Thailand at FaaSai in November – whether we believed ourselves ready for it or not, this retreat was happening! 

The next months of planning were a challenge to say the least. And although every ounce of struggle was worth it, I had seriously underestimated the amount of work that went into orchestrating something of this magnitude. There were no doubt moments of self-doubt; or as Rosie jokingly called it, “feeling like a small child in a big kids world”. Could we really pull this off? And with both of us putting our whole heart into this venture, would our guests experience the enchantment we knew this retreat was capable of creating? 

Looking back now, more than a month post-retreat, I can say with certainty that we needn’t of worried about a thing. The universe was never going to allow us to fail; not when we were acting from a place of such authenticity and love. The daily yoga, lush natural space, organic food, and sincerity of the people that came proved to cultivate a peaceful energy beyond our wildest dreams. 

Every day of the retreat effortlessly built on the seemingly perfect day prior – and by the end of the week, we were a glowing family of shiny, happy people. I walked away from those seven days feeling incredibly inspired and deeply fulfilled. It was as if every decision I’d ever made had led me to this moment; completely present, heart-burstingly happy, and with an intuitive confirmation that this is exactly what I was put on this planet to do. I can never recall having so many moments of pure bliss in my whole life; constantly having to pinch myself to believe this was real, and that I was (in fact) manifesting every one of my most heart-felt dreams alongside a partner I admire so fully.  

Weeks later, I’m still riding the euphoric high of feelings, relationships and experiences that were created during those magic moments at Faasai. With at least two more retreats set to take place in 2017, I can’t help but feel sparkly and full of purpose. The planning process is once again underway, however, this time something feels different; I’m with ease. If our first retreat taught me anything, it was that of the power of surrender. Yielding to the process, not resisting what is, and having faith that something wonderful is always about to happen

I’ve learned that although the universe may not be providing me everything I want or expect, it is ultimately it’s providing me everything I need. And if nothing else, this has been a beautiful reminder to never stop gravitating towards anything and everything that sets my soul on fire. I have exactly one life to do all the things I’ll ever do. To leave this planet a better place than the way I found it. It’s time to act accordingly. 

Dream. Believe. Create. Achieve. 

**Join Rosie and I for our Whole & Happy Spring Retreat starting March 17th, 2017 in Chanthaburi, Thailand. Details, pricing and availability can be found here

***some photos contributed by the incredibly talented Sarah Schu Photography 


2 thoughts on “Whole & Happier

  1. Incredible blog Nat!!! I love hearing how happy you are….even though I miss you! I look forward to reading more and hearing how the rest of your retreats go…I wish I could try! Lots of love! Bets ❤


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