champagne quartz: softening in telluride
by victoria larkins
This weekend in telluride was magical. raw. real. playful. an evolutionary leap for me on the path. Held in the valley between the mountains of telluride, I felt myself let go. This letting go wasn’t of any one thing in particular, it was a release of the need to hold on in general. A surrender of living life in terms of expectation, and out of this a discovery of how much I am supported in living the life I dream of.
S o f t e n ... this word encompasses the intention I have set with my champagne quartz naked gem necklace. My intention to soften came out of seeing the ways in which I was forcing my way through life and resisting the knowingness I felt inside. I knew that the only way I would evolve further was if I stepped into the unknown. But finding the unknown doesn’t really happen out of a plan.
What excites me more than anything else is to evolve into higher states of consciousness. I knew that I couldn’t force my way into a more expanded state, but that by letting go of everything that I attach my happiness and my sense of safety to outside of myself would bring me deeper into myself. The obsessive working out, the rigid food rules, the ideas of how I wanted the people in my life to behave in relationship to me… all these things were coming out of force. So I decided to try something other than that. I decided to soften.
A couple weeks ago, one of my teachers Kia Miller asked if I wanted to come and assist her classes at the Telluride Yoga Festival. Later that week a friend of mine from India, who also has a jewelry company, asked if I was going to get a booth at the festival. I had never been, and never really heard much about it, but somewhere in my heart I had always felt a faint pull to go there. It felt charming to go spend time in a new place in Colorado and with people I truly loved, so I set a loose intention to go if it all fell into place without a lot of effort.
Looking into getting a booth, I found that there wasn’t any more space. I punched Telluride into my GPS and discovered it was a seven hour drive away. I didn’t know anyone else going, and all the hotels were well over $300 a night. It didn’t feel like it would be all that profitable with there not being a concrete avenue to sell my product in. Yet somewhere in my heart I still felt a desire to go. So I asked my roommate E if she would want to drive up with me and pitch a tent somewhere nearby. E has a line of herbal elixirs and I figured she could come too and perhaps end up selling them in some retail stores in town. She was open. The two of us had been traveling this summer leading workshops and setting up pop ups for our products. It felt like another fun opportunity, and also an unknown. We could go either way. With just a few days until the festival, we decided we’d just go and try out camping. We both felt the pull to follow our hearts into more expansion, and the joy in the sounds of another adventure together. “Why not?”, we thought.
Nature heard us. The night before we left, E got a text from our friend Jeff asking if she wanted to come to the festival and help him cook the presenter dinner. He said the festival had booked him an apartment and we could stay the weekend with him. My friend with the jewelry company said she had gotten herself a booth after all and that I could set up a small spread of my necklaces in her booth too. It felt like we were being supported to go. The next morning we pulled our favorite dresses, yoga clothes, stocked the back seat with lots of sankalpa necklaces and E's elixirs, stocked up on all our favorite snacks at whole foods, and punched in Telluride to our GPS. Into the unknown we went!
We twisted and turned through the gorgeous colorado terrain, listened to our meditation teacher Thom Knoles podcasts on repeat, fantasized about our futures, rolled the windows down, laughed until we had permanent smiles on our faces, and felt the freedom that we have been making motions to establish in our careers really activate on yet another level. We were tasting a life we had always dreamed of, and we knew it was all because we kept showing up and saying yes.
From the moment we arrived into Telluride, I felt her. Her vibration was so high, so nurturing, and immediately I felt this timelessness take over my sense of the moment. It was both our first times in Telluride and we had no idea what to expect. We arrived at the apartment complex to find a valet service waiting for us. They brought our bags and clump of dresses on hangers up to our apartment door, and Jeff greeted us in the entry way with freshly picked flowers. Our first steps into our place for the weekend and our jaws dropped. High ceilings, massive dining tables, marble countered kitchen space, a fridge overflowing with farmers market fresh produce, a lavish lounge, outdoor porch leading to a natural spring hot tub, a giant white bed with extra poufy duvet covers, and a knowingness that this was the abundance we had been calling into our lives. Definitely a step up from roughing it somewhere in nature (which also would have been cool but this felt like a majorly expanding moment). E and I laid out under the stars that night with tears in our eyes and a swelling in our hearts with gratitude. For so many months we had been working away to grow our businesses, and that night we sunk into the knowingness that we were so supported on our journey.
We woke up to find a view outside our bedroom window like nothing we had ever seen before. It felt like a dream. The vibrant densely packed evergreens were jumping out at us. The prana emanating from the mountains was almost too brilliant to take in. There was a crispness in the air that instantly expanded my lungs and brightened my eyes.
We all walked to the festival and got our passes, and headed to the Bhakti tent where Kia was teaching that morning. Jeff and Erika set up their mats and I greeted a radiant and joyous Kia with a long embrace. Embracing her it was like no time had passed, and we were still in India, where I had taken her teacher training a few years ago.
After assisting the first half of class I entered into the kriya meditation portion on my mat like the others. I sat on my mat and instantly felt her, Telluride, embrace me. Her vibration was so high that I instantly began to purify anything that was no longer relevant in my nervous system. There I was practicing this simple breath meditation that Yogi Bajan in the Kundalini tradition said would foster control over and a moving beyond attachment to our five senses.
The kriya involved holding our breath in and out. I witnessed the way in which my mind feared what would happen next as the holding of the breath really does invite the death of the ego and attachment to the known. I saw it, and because I was present to it, I could be there for myself and all the versions of myself throughout my life where I had ever been scared of the unknown. I held myself in a space of unconditional acceptance and compassion and telluride held me. It was a very liberating multi layered process of purification, yet so gentle and so subtle.
This experience prompted my ability to really see with a much widening scope and brightening clarity the ways in which I would attempt to hold expectations all weekend.
I came to telluride to sell my jewelry at a yoga festival, so logically I came with a plan. But telluride had a different plan for me. After the yoga class, I discovered that I couldn’t sell my product in the booth with my friend. The store owner I approached about carrying Sankalpa wasn’t into it. The way I wanted things to go was not the way nature was organizing. It felt uncomfortable to see that. I didn’t want to adapt. I was disappointed. I found myself not knowing what to do. I found myself not knowing why I came to Telluride anymore. I knew that nature has always been in support of me, but this time I couldn’t figure it out. And that is when I realized. It’s me that is creating this problem. Nature is always organizing for us, so why am I resisting? And there I found myself in the middle of my pattern.
I came back to our place were were staying in and changed into my swim suit. I got into the hot tub and immersed myself completely in the water. I closed my eyes and decided not to be upset, but to be grateful. I knew it was me, not nature that was creating my own suffering. Here I was in the nicest apartment I had ever stayed in, surrounded by the most prana I had experienced since living in India. And so I observed my mind. Awake to the layers of my experience, I saw how my mind was very much attached to a specific series of events that had to happen but that had nothing to do with what was actually happening in the moment. I saw the preoccupation and the repetition of the need projecting again and again and again. It was such a broken record, so I let it play. I let it play and let this whole intense desire to hold on to this version of reality spin its way out of head and out of my awareness. Softening activated, for it wasn’t just an intention anymore, it was happening in the moment I needed it most. In the midst of letting go I started to find relief in the unknown, for the space I was softening into was simple. It was all knowing. It was presence.
I let this newfound liking of letting go of trying to control the moment take me into the actual moment. This moment was far more expanded and far more subtle than before. This moment had within in it all the knowingness I could have asked for.
I saw what else was happening besides my disappointment that things weren’t going my way. There was a dinner at the apartment we were staying at happening in a couple hours, a journey through the five elements through food. When I got back to our place, Jeff had asked me to take part in the dinner. He asked if I could run the whole night so he could focus on the food let me do the talking.
That night I showed up to a new version of me. I welcomed each guest and taught them a chant that we sang before our meal. I infused stories about the gods and goddesses that are the embodiment of each element as Jeff served each course. I related the elements to the chakras and invite them to connect to their bodies and each other. I observed the conversation elevate. People were infusing these concepts into understanding more about their lives. E infused her Lunar + Bliss cardamom rose elixir into a yummy dessert drink that supported opening of the heart and I saw how I could lead everyone through an intention ceremony to close the night offering the guests an opportunity to take something away with them to integrate into their lives. This was everything I had been wanting to create and I had almost missed the opportunity because I had been so attached to a specific outcome. If I hadn’t softened, I would have resisted and missed out on the abundance that was literally being handed to me.
The weekend continued to spill outwards with more and more evolution and collaborating after I shifted. Collaborating with E in more of Jeff’s workshops. Solidifying plans to lead a retreat. Roaming the streets of Telluride with my tribe of people from all around the world, that are all walking the path. I stabilized a new knowingness that true living can only be experienced by being on board and being willing to adapt to what the moment is presenting.
It sounds so simple, being present. But I see on a whole new level now that to be truly present, we must be willing to surrender our expectation. I see how much energy we use up just to maintain an idea, and how blind this makes us to the fact that we are actually keeping ourselves in the ever repeating known.
What I found when I softened was far better than I could have imagined. This experience changed my life. It taught me that nature is always moving me into a more expanded and more evolved state of consciousness, more opportunity, and more joy. The key is not to resist it, not to force something else to try and happen. Be open. Show up to the moment and love it. See it for what it is: your evolution in the making.