The following is a gorgeous post by my dear friend Sara Lieberman of the upcoming The Handbags Tale. I met Sara last year when I taught my Manifestation workshop in NYC (where I am heading next weekend again) and she joined me on my Italy retreat this past July. This post is a testament as to what goes down at one of my retreats. I could not have written it better myself! It’s such an honor that she wrote this. Thank you Sara. Thank you. See you all in Italy!
Awe & Wonder 2012 by Sara Lieberman
It’s just about two months since I returned from Jen’s Manifestation retreat in Tuscany, and as summer 2012 officially comes to a close, I find myself more frequently reflecting on the sweet, sweltering days of the past season. Among the other activities I participated in and experienced during these always-long-awaited dog days, the week I spent in Tuscany is among my most treasured. When I see Chianti Classico on a wine list back here in the West Village, I am instantly transplanted to our first day of wine tasting at the rolling vineyards of Chianti. When the sky turns pink and orange and the sun is going down, I am reminded of the nightly sunset at Ebbio, when all of us would hoist ourselves up to the roof and watch as the sun slinked behind the cypress trees. But mostly, these days my memory is triggered in yoga.
When I close my eyes in pigeon pose, I take an inhale and there I am, hot and sweaty, roaming the streets in Siena with Elyse and Regan, where we eventually stumbled upon a mysterious-looking delicatessen.Two hours later, we left having indulged in prosciutto, porchetta, salumi, formaggios I can’t pronounce, and two bottles of house red wine. We were hungry and thirsty for new friendships and left hooked on each other.
When I close my eyes in a seated spinal twist, I take an inhale and there I am at this wacky medieval festival in Montereggioni across the street from Ebbio, where all the girls purchased flower headdresses and the men silly jester hats so we could fit in with the costumed locals as we drank sweet (and cheap!) red wine out of ceramic goblets.
In supported bridge pose, my favorite, I inhale and I am happily cooling off in the Tyrrhenian sea with Jen, getting to know each other as we wade in the clear waters just before a big jellyfish kisses my arm causing us to swim a shore in a nervous frenzy.
As I inhale and expand my breastbone to the sky in upward dog, I am in San Gimignano waiting online at the World Champion gelato shop, salivating from an orange creme cup of goodness and laughing hysterically with Stef over something neither of us probably remember.
In forward fold, I inhale and there I am on a bike, huffing and puffing up yet another Tuscan hill, the glaring sun at my front, back and side, with Rich encouraging me to “keep going; it’s not that much farther, really!”
I close my eyes in tree pose, trying to keep balance at the silly thought of playing Connect Four with Andrew late at night in the common room at Ebbio. “OK, just one more game,” we’d each say after one of us beat the other, and then we’d continue to drop the red and black pieces while going through my iTunes library, playing favorite songs.
In Warrior two, my eyes open and gaze forward, I sink deeper into my hips and smile as I remember belting out “We Are Young” during Kylee’s class; The joy was infectious as I caught a glimpse of relief on her face and the pure giddiness in her movement after realizing she had created a real “moment” during one of her first group classes.
And as I lie in savasana, and my breath slows, I see us all navigating the sunflower fields, trying to avoid the bumblebees, wiggling in between the tall, sturdy yellow flowers to stand still with them, a smile growing from our faces for the click of the cameras.
The common theme in all these memories is people. Wonderful characters and personalities that I feel so lucky and blessed to have met. When I signed up, as an independent single gal from NYC, I anticipated the week being a more solitary journey where I’d read and write and practice yoga and read and write some more. While I did enjoy some time alone, and the group was such that if you wanted to go off and do your own thing, it was always respected, I continued to feel a pull toward being an “us” as opposed to a “me.” It was an unexpected “adjustment” from what I know and live, and will forever be thankful for the friendships I made, and the manifestations I set forth with Jen in Tuscany. #Awe&Wonder2012