A couple of weeks ago, Jen Louden and I were talking about the exhaustion and energetic crash that so many of us experience after we’ve finished teaching a program, retreat, or workshop.
You know the feeling. The incredible high of teaching a successful retreat , of holding space for a workshop or class from which people emerge, transformed.
The sheer joy of seeing the folks who participated, radiate the power and fullness of their being.
The rush of love and gratitude that overwhelms you as the work you’ve done with them bears fruit in deep and unexpected ways.
The friendships and soul connections that blossom; the sadness of goodbyes; the afterglow of inner work done in the loving container of community.
And then, it’s over. You board your flight home. And plunge into a morass of exhaustion, self-doubt, depletion – maybe even despair. This is too hard, you say. I can’t do this any longer.
Teaching is the servant of transformation.
When you’ve done your job, as a teacher, you’ve traveled a long way from the person you were when you began teaching that retreat, that workshop, that program.
The folks who participated in it with you are no longer who they were when they first arrived there either.
Each of you has made a journey. For some, it’s been arduous and the arrival into new territory has been hard won. For others, it’s been joyous, or a roller-coaster ride; nourishing, delicious, disorienting.
As you head home to your own bed, you – along with each person who participated in the retreat or workshop you’ve just taught — now face the task of getting to know your newly incarnated self. Of navigating the transformed ecology of your inner being. Of bringing all of your inner selves into harmony and alignment with who you are now.
In the process of teaching this retreat, this workshop, you’ve embodied aspects of your soul that had not been in your life before. You’ve changed the vibratory frequency of your body and energy field. You’ve developed power and insight, wisdom and clarity, spaciousness and a host of other qualities, more fully.
You need time and space to get to know your transformed self. To manage and integrate the energy differentials that occur as different aspects of yourself catch up with the changes you’ve made.
In addition to this, you, as the teacher, the holder-of-the-container in which transformation occurs, have been in deep service to your community. For the duration of the retreat, you’ve given every ounce of yourself – your skills, your energy, your heart, your commitment to the growth and evolution of everyone present.
You’ve orchestrated not just the content of the retreat or workshop, but held its whole ecology in harmony and right relationship — from the subtle energy patterns that are the energetic blueprint of the retreat, to the individuals who participated in it.
It’s no wonder you’re depleted. Such an expenditure of energy requires time and space for rest, integration, nourishing and receiving – to balance all that giving.
These days, I need twice as much time to restore myself to a state of inner harmony, as the time I’ve spent teaching. So, if I’ve taught a three-day retreat, I give myself at least six days to do nothing except take care of myself. I book massages (yes, in the plural!); go for walks if I feel like it; create a responsibility-free zone where I don’t owe anybody anything. I clear my schedule so I can rediscover and return to the rhythms of my body and my heart.
I am able to do this because the ecology of my life makes it possible. I no longer have children at home to take care of; I have a wonderful VA who handles my business so I can take time off without worrying about things falling apart; and I’ve arranged my life and my work so that they support my wholeness.
Depending on your own situation, you can arrange for the kinds of support you need. When you make your own wholeness the central value in your life and your business, you’ll create the support you need, and the means to pay for it.
Once you’ve cleared that space and time, the next step is to take care of your energy body and energy field, both of which can be in a state of disarray after an event like the one you’ve just taught. You can use energy alchemy tools and processes to help you restore inner balance and harmony.