The Vasta programs are very comprehensive and the results and benefits continue to have a profound effect long after your first experience. Most attendees have major positive shifts in consciousness and begin to look at the world and their lives in a very different way of thinking. Below are some personal reflections and experiences submitted by graduates.
I have been ridiculously blessed in my short life with the many incredible experiences I have had, including but not limited to overseas travel, growing up in a beautiful country town, going to an amazing boarding school, having many talented, inspiring and generous friends, and receiving scholarships that have opened doors to my wildest dreams. However, last week I had possibly the most amazing, utterly life changing experience yet – I went on retreat.
As it happens, my mum met John Vasta in February 2014 and in July 2014 they ran the first Vasta Retreat, lead by John. Fast-forward one year and Peta and I finally had the chance to attend a retreat with Mum and John to learn tools and techniques that John has been teaching and mastering over the last 30 years. Even though Mum has been with John through five of these retreats now, I was still very much in the dark as to what it was all about. Vaguely, I knew there was some meditation, brain training and “spiritual stuff” involved, but I had no idea what I was in for…
To explain the transformation that occurred in me in one week would be impossible. To explain how I witnessed other people overcome years and even a lifetime of hurt, pain and grief and then be re-born is equally impossible. The difficulty is that this reflection will be very vague, as there are no words to describe and explain the experience completely. The only you could understand what the power of this retreat is to experience it yourself.
I must admit, going in I thought I might be someone who wouldn’t gain as much from the retreat as others. I thought I already knew a fair bit about spirituality thanks to my yoga practice and I already had a regular meditation practice. How wrong I was… In five short days I learnt more about my brain, meditation and myself that I could ever have imagined.
It was challenging, enlightening, fun and overwhelmingly empowering. By Friday I felt like I was floating on a cloud. I was light and felt freer than I could ever remember feeling. My chest was free from anxiety and my mind clear of hassling thoughts. Everything in my life was running like a very smooth, well-oiled machine. I had released past regrets, hang-ups and relationships that weren’t serving me. The best part? It was all so simple.
The way that John teaches his techniques during the retreat makes them accessible to absolutely anyone. You don’t need a PhD to understand the concepts; in fact you probably don’t even need to have completed high school. John clearly and eloquently explains the beliefs and patterns that don’t serve us and then gives you simple (I mean seriously easy) tools to use to rectify these habits. Each day builds on the previous days, so that by the end of the week you have a metaphorical tool-kit filled with everything you need to create the life of your dreams.
I cannot recommend this retreat enough. Sure, you might think I am biased since it is my mum who helps to run them, but I can tell you that my experience is the basis for all of the praise I have for the retreats. I truly believe, with all of my being, that anyone who wants to change any aspect of their life, who wants to learn to relax and enjoy the journey, who wants to learn an easy and effective meditation technique or who is feeling like they are stuck in a ‘rut’ would love this retreat. Take one week of your life, make an investment in yourself and watch your life transform!
Now that I have returned back home and to ‘normal’ life I have entered the maintenance phase of this journey. Maintenance simply involves regular (but not necessarily lengthy) meditation and use of the techniques John taught us when they are needed. Piece. Of. (GF, SF, DF) Cake.
One Year Later….
Hello Heather, I wanted to share something wonderful with you- it’s been 1 year since I attended a Vasta retreat… It’s been the most life changing influential year of my life. When I left the retreat I was 88 kgs, unemployed, broken and lost…. But now… I’m 70 kgs, have started my own business and signed my first 2 major clients. I know who I am and exactly what my purpose is for the first time ever. I use the tools given to me everyday to make my life stay on track and happy. I share love now and I hug everyone. Hehe the ice queen has melted. Please share with John. I thank god everyday that my beautiful Rose knew what I needed long before I did. Thank you Heather, I’m glad your in my life..xxxxx Michelle.
A Personal Reflection – Birthing Souls
The similarities in being present at a moving physical birth of an infant and the witnessing of a spiritual birth in an adult individual as they merge soul, ego and heart as one is profoundly similar, yet worlds apart. The privilege to have experienced both and having the chance to reflect on each to date has been one of life’s greatest adventures and is an on- going life lesson.
As a midwife in my early twenties, I was passionate – I wanted EVERYONE to have a wonderful birth, I wanted everyone to remember and enjoy the bliss of welcoming a new soul into the world. I wanted everyone to enjoy their labour day and not wish it away – “its only one day” – I used to tell them – “don’t wish it away”, “enjoy your babymoon” I would cry, “make the most of it”, I pleaded.
I fought for ‘moving’ births – I darkened rooms, I talked women out of drugs, I bonded with them as fast as possible to gain their trust, I dragged them into the shower and bath to get them relaxed, I manipulated the doctors to reduce their interference – conveniently forgot to call them, or made sure it was way too late when I did. I worked years of night shifts to avoid interference with what I thought was every baby’s right – a peaceful loving birth. And every woman’s destiny – if she would trust it to be.
I despaired the women demanding epidurals and caesareans, I despised the midwives acting as “obstetric nurses” and medicalising this life changing experience, my heart broke almost on a daily basis as we took the gift of birthing from women and made it something to ‘survive’ and a medical event to share later as a horror story with friends.
There were some amazing births in hospital – many a night, behind closed doors and the details never documented. Nights of tears of joy, tears of pride, tears of achievement. There were nights of grandmothers catching their grandchildren and spontaneously healing their own birth traumas, partners being the first to touch their new child instead of me, nights of leaving couples to ‘babymoon’ for a few hours by not telling anyone the birth had happening to ‘hold their space’, water births, unclamped cords, nights of truly listening to my intuition about what was happening and trusting it, nights of bonding with other midwives who felt the same and the enormous satisfaction of doing our job well despite the ever increasing obstacles before us.
But this still was not enough – home birthing was the ultimate – here we could really create the magic. Birth blessings prior to set the scene and bring in the energy. Homes prepared with love and attention to detail. People present who only loved and cared for the woman in labour. I began my home birth practise after first birthing my first born at home in this loving environment. Determined to practice what I preached.
Every home birth was a challenge, women needed to prepare in such complete detail – to overcome our society views, family views, and negative self-held beliefs that needed to be unwound. The mental preparation was every bit, if not more important than the physical preparation. The sooner we started this preparation the better the outcomes.
The mantras I preached included:
- You have to TRUST
- LET GO – nature will take care of you
- TUNE IN to the energy of all the other woman doing this right now
- GO WITH IT
- VISUALISE THE BIRTH YOU WANT
- IMAGINE THE BABY SLIDING OUT
- GO THROUGH THE PAIN
- CHECK YOUR EGO
- SURROUND YOUR SELF WITH LOVE – PREPARE YOUR NEST
- TRUST YOUR BODY
- LET THE TIMING PICK ITSELF – THE BABY WILL COME WHEN IT IS READY – ALLOW IT TO CHOOSE ITS BIRTH DATE
- DON’T WISH YOUR LABOUR AWAY
- ENJOY THIS DAY – YOU WILL ONLY HAVE A FEW OF THESE DAYS IN YOUR LIFE
Throughout the pregnancy I worked on these principles – knowing that the more work they did the more successful the birth would be. I asked them to make collages of baby’s heads crowning, write affirmations, journal, talk to the baby by allowing the baby to write to them with their non-dominant hand, meditate, play music to the baby, visualise and so on.
All of this worked – I knew it worked with all of my being. I experienced it myself and with my clients and friends. I fundamentally knew if you did the work you got the results – you could have the birth experience you desired. Being witness to these beautiful births was something so special, I have always felt very blessed to have had the privilege to share it and did not think any other human experience could come close to this.
After years of job satisfaction through home birthing it was to be no more due to political control and medical dominance of the birthing rights of women. It was all over for me by my mid-thirties and I sort out a new career out of midwifery.
Fast forward to now in my late forties – I have just experienced what I have termed “birthing souls” – spiritual awareness, enlightenment, personal growth – whatever you like to call it. And to my absolute delight this experience is even more powerful than birthing humans and it’s magnified by seeing multiple people do it simultaneously.
My mentor starts sharing his wisdom and here come the words – the mantras for ‘getting it’ about life, the mantra’s about what “life is all about” and how to become enlightened and in touch with your soul.
- LET GO
- GET OUT OF YOUR OWN WAY AND LET LIFE HAPPEN
- STOP RESISTING
- TUNE IN
- LISTEN TO YOUR INTUITION
- BELIEVE IN LOVE
- EVERY THING HAPPENS FOR A REASON
- HAVE FUN – LIGHTEN UP
- LIFE WAS NOT MEANT TO BE SO HARD
Then I started to see the similarities – he was a “soul birthing” attendant versus a human birthing midwife. But the lessons were the same. And the results were the same – the more work you put in the more you got out.
Throughout a week long retreat we all worked on these messages and mantras, we trusted again, we let go (physically and emotionally), we tuned in, we connected to ourselves and each other, we forgave ourselves and others, we re- wrote our stories in our heads to the stories we wanted in our lives, we practised our new tools to build the life we wanted, we believed in what we were doing and witnessed real evidence that it worked.
By the end of the week each of us birthed our new soul in our own way, time, and space – we did it as individuals, but supported by the energy of the group. Each experience was as unique as we all are but also the same. As spirits having a human experience this seems about as good as it gets and the bonds are real and long lasting.
Once we have found, birthed and connected to our soul, the parenting and nurturing of ourselves must begin. The lid has been lifted and does not want to go back on. We have survived the pain of the birth, felt the initial elation of the meeting of our true soul, acknowledged life as we knew has changed forever. Then we need to have the love affair with ourselves that is just like the love affair with a newborn. Its demanding, urgent, wants attention all the time, needs nourishment multiple times per day, is scary at times, can deprive us of sleep, we question our skills to look after this new being and seek advice and support from others who we hope understand. But just like new parents we are rewarded all the time for our efforts and we feel a kind of love that is truly unconditional and we very quickly cannot imagine our life without it. It makes our heart ‘sing’. This relationship is lifelong, and is a journey without a destination, but the most important one we will ever have and it is how we make the “Rest of our Life the BEST of our LIFE!”
“I have experienced headaches my whole life long, but about seven years ago I joined the ranks of many of my family members and had a migraine for the first time. Though I’ve only had a classical migraine that one time, ever since then I have been getting really severe headaches, at times for days on end, at times quite incapacitating. I would be most likely to get them when stressed, pre-menstrually or if I had been skipping meals. At times they have proven resistant to all treatment – medical and natural. I think it would be fair to say I’ve tried just about everything – herbs, flower essences, homeopathy, osteopathy, Bowen Technique and sometimes, in desperation, pharmaceutical drugs.
All of these would work for a while, or sometimes, but nothing that has proven truly effective. This was rather demoralising given that just about every client who consults me for headaches and migraines goes away mostly relieved of them. While listening to John’s audio, I discovered his “Headache and Migraine Technique”. The next day I woke up with a headache. I was away from home for a few days, had not packed any of my normal remedies and had two full days of teaching seminars in front of me. So I lay in bed, did the technique, got up, had a shower and got ready for my day. By the time I sat down for breakfast the headache was gone. 2 days later another one threatened, so I did it again, with the same relief. Over the following month work was busy, I put my neck out, had a bit of a chocolate binge, got my period and there was a major family crisis – any one of which could have triggered a headache in the past. However thus far, having done the technique just those two times, I’ve not had a hint of a headache.
I am enormously grateful for this technique, the program includes a wealth of additional information and techniques that I know will assist you in mind, heart, body and soul – Linn Wiggins. RN. Dip Herb Med. International Lecturer on Mind-Body Medicine and Natural Therapies. 3/7/2009