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Walking up to the yoga shala for the first time, we waited in line as Camille greeted us at the entrance, one by one. It was our opening ceremony, and I was bursting with excitement. The music wafting from the shala was soothing and otherworldly. I knew that coming to this country and to this island, would be magical, but as I waited, I knew we were about to step into something else altogether. Time-stopping sacred and ancient magic.

It was my turn. My flip-flops slid off my feet and I stepped into our sacred temple. Camille and I gazed into each other's eyes. We were reuniting. We've been on a journey before in Costa Rica. I was looking into the eyes of one of my greatest teachers from this lifetime. I could see her ancient wisdom, and I knew that I would be coming home to myself throughout the week.

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We invoked each of the Goddesses that we would be journeying with. Gaia. Artemis. Persephone. Medusa. Athena. Hecate. Aphrodite. Hestia. We invited in the spirits of our ancestors, our spirit guides, angels. Anyone to guide us through this sacred rebirth.

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We danced. Eyes closed. Letting the music awaken the Shakti, the fluid and feminine energy within us. It wasn't me moving my body. My body was moving me. We started low and slow on the ground. We came to stand and felt deep into our bones- our spine, our hips, our knees. We stomped our feet. We moved faster. Stomping with the beat. Stomping all the rage and the anger that has been stored in my body. I let my head go and just shook my body, shaking out all the shit from a lifetime. Exhausted, panting, the music changed. We slowed down.

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The path was cleared for the joy, the bliss, the light to arise. She prompted us, shine, SHINE. And I started sobbing. I felt my heart and my body open, radiating light. Open. Expansive. I was sobbing for my past self, the little Mona who had to stay meek and quiet. The little girl who had to hide. The little girl who wasn't allowed to use her voice. I sobbed for my past self, the woman who was called stupid. The woman who had to keep herself small so that she wouldn't upset the people around her- the ones that weren't okay with her being happier, more successful, or outshining them.

So I let myself SHINE. Tears glistening, sobbing in gratitude for where I am now. Gratitude for the space and the permission to shine, to show up as my full self.

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