Our hot weekend story: Embracing the heat!
We had a very fiery hot weekend. Both of us are having a training course called “The Laughing Shaman” led by the lovely Lieve De Boeck. It’s a few modules spread over a year in which she is basically preparing us for the vision quest (sitting on a mountain in Portugal in solitude, without food, for four days…) Challenging crazy, we know. Part of the training was last weekends “Temazcal”, also known as a sweatlodge.
So what’s a temazcal?
It has its origin from the Indigenous people. It is usually a constructed circular dome. Volcanic stones are heated and placed inside, in a pit, in the center of the temazcal to keep it pretty hot inside! The one we had, was an iglo-like structure build from wooden branches covered with blankets. In the middle there’s a pit, where very hot lavastones are put inside by our firekeeper.
The indigenous used it, besides for detoxifying the physical body… in a ceremonial way to purify the body, mind and spirit. Most sweatlodge ceremonies practiced today are associated with Native American cultures, who used these ceremonies to give thanks, to heal, to seek wisdom, and to purify themselfs.
The body purifies itself from toxins through sweating, the sprit is renewed through ritual. The temazcal is thought to represent the womb and people coming out of it are, in a symbolic way, reborn.
It can also help fight infections by creating a temporary fever state in the body, which some say lessens chronic inflammation.
The heat is also a great remedy for arthritis, muscle pain, and skin disorders, which can be improved by the increased blood flow at the surface of the skin.
We gathered at Kluisbergen in the Flemisch Ardennes for this hot celebration. To heat the lavastones, we had a very big fire party in front of the lodge, organised by our heartwarming firekeeper, Igor. When the stones were hot enough, we entered the lodge one by one. When everybody had their spot, the door was closed. Once that door is closed…It becomes pitch dark. Really pitch dark.
Our laughing shaman decided to spice things a little up and have one in silence and add an extra 5th round. Pretty intense to meditate in a very hot and very dark environment…
(each round can last 30 – 60 min. and that feels like eternity in the heat)
Carmens Sweatlodge experience:
“I always feel so alive and refreshed when I had one so I was really looking forward to the sweatlodge. But this time was different… It was going to be one in silence and silence means there are no voices to focus on, it will only be me and my thoughts in the heat and darkness…
Besides of sweating the shit out of me…I died and was reborn out of a dark safe womb (I don’t like dark places, but this felt safe).
Because of the heat, the only thing to do was to just surrender. It made me realize that there is a cycle of life and death in every moment. To die in every moment, allows me to be reborn in every moment and surrender to whatever there is. By dying I mean, not holding on to the personification, not holding on to me and my stories that created me as “Carmen” and are withholding me from living and experiencing life to the fullest.
After all, there is only the present moment, so why don’t just surrender….?”
“Surrendering brings clarity. A new perspective on things.”
Tim’s Sweatlodge experience:
“I’ve done a few before, but doing one silent was new. It’s quite an intense meditation under extreme sweaty heat. It’s very discomforting, and with discomfort, your mind starts to look for exits. All the stuff that goes around in your head starts popping up. I’ve learned to not focus on thoughts. To just let them pass. If you try to hold on to it, it just becomes unbearable. This will really make you understand what it means to “be in the moment”. You just get to your essence. To who you REALLY are underneath al the cultural, conditioned baggage we usually carry around. But that’s not really us… That’s just a product of life, and we tend to hold onto stories about “who I am”.
So letting all that crap go, we can get re-born with new insights. Surrendering brings clarity. A new perspective on things.
So I learned to breathe through it… just breathing… Time can last forever when you’re under pressure! It’s when you surrender that the magic happens. If life is a river and you try to be a little stone that blocks it… you will find a lot of resistance. But once the stone sees it is actually part of the entire riverbed… It can just let the river flow.
It felt so refreshing once you get out!
The Temazcal really showed me to just let things happen naturaly. Don’t hold on to thoughts. Let it all flow. Dare to surrender, no matter what, you’ll get through it. It’s only when you start resisting that things go bad.
This whole experience actually became a big lesson:
When you surrender to the universal flow, you get your will in sync to the universal will instead of trying to impose your will on reality. Instead you just get to chill and see which opportunity arises, without forcing something, and just ride with it. New opportunities are abundant. Always flowing. There’s always something new coming up. Something unexpected. There’s no need to force something, just surrender and flow with it.”
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