When I feel most in my element, when the things that govern my natural self are aligned, I move! My body naturally starts to sway, to tap, to flow… I dance. The beauty of life swells up inside of me and I’m compelled to dance. In my kitchen, on a walk, in a yoga class, in the shower, at my desk… I dance! This is me and my way of being, but I’ve witnessed others really come alive when they start to move.
So today, let yourself dance. To the music in your head and in your heart. Just dance through your day…
We’re alive and that’s reason enough.
It’s such a funny thing to me how the seasons in our lives play out. Up, down, driven, distracted… We’re always experiencing bits of the same (we’ll never really leave ourselves), and bits of newness (new people, places, food, hobbies). But yet, the changes of mood and ambition and willpower will always happen. We may be headed full force in one direction and something plops down in front of us and we’re forced to stop, to change, to reflect. Or, we may be stagnant and confused, not venturing too far in any direction in fear of failure. But then, something happens, and we start to move again. We give up thinking that we have to KNOW which way to go before we move, and we just start moving… We start dancing… We start listening to that little call from within and we flow, naturally, just how we should. Then, before we know it, we’re headed full force in one direction again. All good things 🙂
So today, regardless if you’re already moving or if you’re stagnant, take some time to pause, to feel, and to let that love well up inside of you, and dance… You’ll experience today a bit better if you do. Try it 😉
The sun was shining bright this morning as Jax and I walked along the lake. The sun reflected on the water in front of me and beamed on my face, lighting the earth and warming my skin. I felt joy and bliss — it was a perfect morning. I stopped on the trail for a moment, immersing myself in the beauty of it all. I let the sun sink in and fill my whole being with peace. I didn’t care about going anywhere. I was there, and life was glorious. I started to walk again, this time with a little dance in my step, light as air. Happy.
But then, unexpectedly, the clouds rolled in and it started to rain. The sky grew gray and the rain turned to sleet. It pelted my face and made me wince and tuck my head to avoid the sting on my cheeks. I tugged at the bottom of my sweatshirt to help protect my waist and I slid my hands further up into my sleeves. I did what anyone would do that moment — I retreated. My dance was now determined — finish the walk and go home.
As I peered into the water before me, I noticed a bunch of ducks bobbing in the waves. Curious as to how they would react to this change of weather, I stopped to watch them.
They stayed in the water, but they lowered their heads and seemed to retreat into their bodies, into a place of warmth and comfort, just as I attempted to do. Then, they did something I’ve never noticed ducks do before. They disappeared! They tipped forward and dove under the water, but instead of coming back up right away, they stayed gone for quite a while. I was so intrigued by this — who knew ducks could hold their breath for so long. But sure enough, eventually each of the ducks came back up and remained on the water, bobbing in the waves with heads tucked.
And then, almost as quickly as the weather turned sour the sleet lifted to a soft rain, and then after a few minutes, it stopped. The sky brightened and the sun started to shine.
The sky brightened and the sun started to shine.
As I look back through this past year, the situation this morning is quite metaphorical for my life. I too felt the amazing sun shining bright on my face this past winter. I felt the joy and bliss that comes from things going right, from doing good things for myself, the planet, and other people. I explored new places, made new friends, and reconnected with the true essence of myself. I felt the sun shine on my face and I basked in it. I was carefree and I let go of all worries, all plans, all thoughts of a potential storm blowing in…
But then, just like today, the weather turned bad. I became confused. I was lost and worried. I didn’t stick to the plan I’d prepared before the sun started to shine, one that may have helped me when the weather was less than perfect.
I retreated into myself. I went to a place of comfort, surrounded myself with people and places that might protect me from the feelings I felt. But sure enough, I was still facing the pain, the bad weather was still there.
So then, just like the ducks, I disappeared. I dove into new things, new people, played out countless scenarios in my mind that may help me avoid the bad weather not just for now, but for forever. I didn’t want to feel the pain and I was aching for something to pull me out of it. I busied myself the best I could, trying to avoid the bad weather inside of me.
But then, I came to a point of realization as many of us do — even a bunch of ducks facing a sleet storm — bad weather will go away when it’s ready but until then, I would have to face it. I would have to resurface and wait it out.
So I did. I came back up, back into myself and back into the world. I made myself calm my mind and be patient. I waited for the sunshine to come back, having faith that in time, it would.
I let myself feel the pain but while doing so, I made notes of things that I love, that I need, that I want in my life, and I started to make little moves to make those things a part of my life regardless of whether the weather (and my circumstances) is beautiful or not. I started to find comfort in myself and not my surroundings. I came to a point of truth where I learned it’s the inside where happiness lives. Who knows, maybe those ducks floated on the water in bliss despite the sleet. Having wisdom that soon enough, the sun would also shine again.
And it did. On all of us.
After many months and a trying, difficult summer, the sun is shining. Life is good again — I’m back.
I am so grateful for this period of pain and uncomfort because, as I’ve said countless times and written about before, everything is cyclical. This truth was proven once again and I’m grateful for having been reminded of it. I’ve also learned to be patient, to take what’s in front of me and make the best of it. To recognize that things aren’t always ideal, but that with acceptance, peace will come.
And that, my friends, explains why I also disappeared from writing. When I’m at a good place mentally — when I’m happy — I write. When I’m not, I can’t. This summer, I didn’t write, I didn’t paint, I didn’t express myself. But now, I’m back, and I hope to continue sharing bits of this journey with you all. I’m learning many things about this beautiful crazy life, and hopefully you’ll continue to join me.
Over these past several months, I’ve written a lot about beauty because I’ve experienced so much of it! However, I’ve also witnessed ugliness and felt it firsthand.
This world isn’t all glory-filled, sunshiney days. There is pain. There is sadness. There is despair and poverty and cruelty and evil. There are unwarranted, confusing disparities that just don’t make sense sometimes. There are people in this world who take for granted the lives they’re given, and there are those who violate others to fill voids inside themselves — the depths of which I’m grateful I don’t understand.
Let me be frank — this world can seem pretty fucked up sometimes. The goodness can seem overtaken by gruesome, awful, anger-inducing evil which can rock us to our cores and really piss us off. I’m a pretty calm, accepting, go-with-the-flow kind of girl — for this I am grateful. But, right now, I’m feeling upset and hurt and just plain mad and it’s been hard for me to feel my spirit shine after being wronged.
This morning, while trying to distract myself from my stress and anger, I stumbled into a church. It’s a couple weeks before Easter and the Latin American world is full of festivties. Antigua, the town I’m in now, is renowned for its celebrations and the town is packed — all hostels and hotels booked and the streets are full. So anyway, I’m in this church wearing flip flops and a leopard print tank, shoulders covered by a little beige scarf (an attempt at modesty), my blond curls looking like a floppy messy mop (which has become the norm for me these days), and I’m surrounded by a couple hundred black-haired, short, beautiful Guatemalans dressed in their finest traditional attire. I didn’t fit in, but I wanted to be there… I felt safe, protected, comfortable.
I wandered around for a while, looked at the multi-colored, insanely ornate sawdust artworks covering the floors near the altars, gazed into a few pairs of oddly content Virgin Mary eyes… I was still pouting. I was still grumbling and confused… I was still trying hard to keep my small beige wrap pulled tight around me, hoping to go unnoticed as much as possible.
And then… something happened. I felt beauty again! The world’s beauty started beaming right out of these people and the paintings and the statues and altars… I was brought to tears simply by feeling the grace of Spirit once again. Despite deciding I didn’t want to be in this country any longer, that I’d had it with Guatemala and Guatemalan people, I was once again brought back into the light. I was reminded that the vast majority of people in this world are good — we are loving, beautiful beings!
I sat down in a pew and before I knew it I was a gringo girl in the middle of a Guatemalan Easter-prep mass. Ok, it was noon on Saturday… Maybe this is a normal time for a Catholic mass but I hadn’t a clue… (Maybe people just like sitting in churches like I do?)
Hearing the priest speak verses and prayers in Spanish, standing and kneeling alongside everyone else, I felt grace. Grace of god, grace of the universe, grace of life’s positive energy… whatever it is, I felt it.
I started crying. I closed my eyes and clasped my hands, knelt, and prayed. I prayed for light and peace to come back into my heart. I prayed for forgiveness for this other person, and strength for me.
Although I’ve been blessed to live a good, happy life, I’ve also experienced quite a bit of pain in the last five or so years. I’ve learned the grieving process quite well, and one thing I know for sure is that it requires strength to really let yourself go through the full process.
So, I prayed.
Living with both realities
How can we live in a world with both Jekyl and Hide realities ever present? With peace and majestic perfectness, but also with madness and grief? I don’t think I know… I don’t have the answer, but I do know that despite seeing and feeling ugliness, I know I have to keep my head high and my eyes focused on the sunshine, and try to fill my heart with forgiveness. Although I may be clouded with pain, I know there is so much joy in this world to compensate for the misery. There is plenty of grace to go around…
So, for everyone living lives in physical or mental pain who have experienced trauma and are victims of violence, theft, abuse, etc., please know that you are loved and that you must keep going. That you must continue to let the light in despite feeling that darkness is all you see. We’re light beings, full of truth and genuinely positive energy, and we must do what we can to spread light, not darkness. Evil breeds evil, but goodness will always overcome if we make it our mission.
So please, let love back in. When ugliness rears its head and tries to throw you off course, stand firm in the light and breathe. Let yourself grieve. And cry, scream, run, dance, go to church… Do whatever you must to expel the bad energy from your life, but whatever you do, don’t let ugliness break your spirit.
I’ve arrived at an interesting space in my journey – I’ve made the decision to go back to the states and work. I’m going to work as much as I can and save as much as possible so that before too long, I’ll be able to set sail again. I’m excited about putting into action the lessons I’ve learned and the self-confidence and determination I’ve gained – which may be a challenge, but it’s one I’m pumped for.
So, I’m off on a new adventure… Living cheaply while making and saving money. Stateside.
But, it wasn’t always smiles.
Let me be honest — when I decided to take this path, I wasn’t really happy about it. I spent a couple hours grumbling and pouting a bit, and then an evening or two (or a week, let’s be real) of slight anxiety accepting it, but now, I’ve made peace and I’m content and even a bit excited. At first though, I really had to remind myself on some of the truths I’ve received recently. Here are the things I used to make peace.
First, we must listen to our hearts.
Over the past several months, even before I left the states, I’ve let my heart guide me. I’ve made it a key point in my journey to really live as authentically as possible. Without that truth I wouldn’t be where I am at this present moment, nor would I even be in Central America probably. We cannot let society, money, our self-imposed timelines, or fear create a life path for us. We need to dig deep inside and feel what it is we need and want to do. Just the other day, a woman in her late 60s looked at me and said, “Here I am, an old woman who has had an amazing life, lived only by intuition. I’ve always lived by my feelings and it’s been great!” So, I’ll take her word for it 😉
We’re only guaranteed this moment, so let’s do what we can to make each moment be the best it possibly can be. Yes, that may mean doing some things that are less than perfect on occasion, as long as we know they’re helping us arrive where we want to be.
Second, we have the power to make things happen.
I believe that when we’re living authentically and from the heart, our soul really does shine through us. We become more attractive to the world — we’re brighter, sharper, more connected to the Earth and to our communities, and we’re able to love and be loved more! Therefore, when we’re living genuinely, we’re able to make things happen because we’re in tune with the internal forces that can make things happen (our self-power), and the external forces we use to help us along the way (the energies which control all things). For example, I know I’m going back to the states to make and save money to help fund something I feel called to do (return to the farm, travel more in Central and South America, travel to India… who knows in which order, and who knows if these things will always be what I’m called to do, and I’m sure other things will come up along the way, but for now this is what I feel). I know what’s guiding me and I’m confident I will find work I enjoy, that will help me save, and that will teach me lessons I’ll need in the future. What will I do exactly? No one knows just yet, except the Universe (but I’m thinking vineyard, wine tasting room, greenhouse, vegan restaurant… any ideas, shoot them my way!). As long as I live from the heart and let my spirit shine, good things will happen and the Universe will help me out.
Third, we must accept and honor the cycle of all things.
Everything that goes up must come down, but also everything that goes down must come back up. It’s ok that I’m going back home for a bit — it’s totally fine because I know when the time comes, I’ll be on my way again if that’s what’s in store for me. Everything is cyclical – there is no straight shot to anywhere.
And finally, it’s all about acceptance and gratitude.
Us humans have arrived at this point in evolution together, we’ve made all these tangible objects together, we’ve worked with the Earth together… everything is just as its meant to be. Which is beautiful. We must accept everything as it is and give thanks for it all. Being alive right now is exciting and wonderful, and we should have gratitude for our life and for the gifts we’re given from Mother Nature. With an attitude of acceptance and gratitude, we’ll be happy wherever we are. And that, my friends, is just what I hope to do.
But going home isn’t a bad thing!
Going home is beautiful! Once someone has spent some time away, home becomes so much more beautiful (to me at least, but I’ve heard this from many others as well). Although I didn’t “plan” on going to the states just now, it’s totally fine because there are awesome things happening everywhere on this planet. And, for some reason above my comprehension, I’m not meant to be back on the road just yet. Which, my friends, is absolutely fine.
But now where to?
So, I’ve avoided saying exactly where I’m headed because I just don’t know… I’m trying to let myself stay open to all possibilities. But this is actually really freaking hard because the possibilities are ENDLESS! I’m becoming scattered and sometimes stressed when trying to nail down just where I want to be. I have great options in Texas and in Michigan, and I have a pull to wing it in say Nashville, or drive to Oregon as I’d planned before leaving, but now just on a lot less cash. So, who knows.
But, one of the things I reminded myself of a few months ago was that when our hearts are conflicted, the wisest thing to do is nothing at all. So, when I know, I’ll know. When the point of decision has to be made, I’ll make one, and I’ll run with it. Then, if I decide I want something different, I’ll run with that! It’s all about accepting life as it comes and going with the flow, and living as happily and as genuinely as possible.
So, head up, heart open, eyes on the road, and trust that every little thing, is gonna be alright 😉
How can we all embrace the beauty of living and make this world a better place? Each of life’s many facets is absolutely perfect if lived the way nature intended. Peacefully, tending to the earth and ourselves, acknowledging balance, honoring cycles, and appreciating the awe-inspiring majesty of the Universe. The majesty of absolutely everything from humans and our emotions to the Earth’s land and creatures, the weather, the sun and moon… everything!
We can start by living a bit more intentionally and respecting the balance all around us in nature. Each bit takes what it needs and gives something back, never draining too much from the harmony preexisting it. When we do this, we live our lives happily! Beautifully! Just as nature intended.
Let’s each do our part. Starting today.
Let’s each do these three things. Today.
First, let’s start with being mindful of our next meal. Choose foods that were grown locally, without chemicals, and prepare them with gratitude and love. Then when we eat, let’s give thanks first. The Earth grows everything we ever need to survive, and we should be thankful for this incredible gift.
And then, the next time we need to go somewhere, be mindful of the resources consumed. This is obviously easier in some locations than others but if we can, let’s choose a method that drains as little resources from the Earth as possible. We’ve already been given the gift of food, so let’s try to take a little less of something else, like gasoline, if possible.
And then, when we’ve finished our worldly obligations for the day, honor ourselves. Take time for YOU, because you are also a beautiful and perfect piece of the planet. We each have a purpose and a place here, so take quiet time and let yourself be. Don’t turn on the television or go to a movie. Don’t play games on your iPad, chat with friends on Facebook, or mindlessly browse the web. Choose to be still. Go outside and look up if you can see the stars or clouds, look ahead if you can see trees or flowers or hills or grasslands, or look down if all you can see is soil. Find some way to root yourself to the Earth, and then, just be. Breathe and let go of everything you’re holding inside. Just be. And just breathe.
Little by little, small bits of intentional living like this can help make the world a better place. She will become happier and more gentle, slower and more peaceful, and overall, we’ll all see a shift in our existence from one consumed with money and the gaining of tangible objects to one of symbiosis and love. It will take time and conscious effort on the part of millions and millions of people, but we can start with ourselves today. And then after some time, we may choose to share our truths with others and our circles of knowledge will grow.
Piece by piece, we can better ourselves and the planet because we truly are all one and all connected, and therefore each bit makes a difference. Now go forward, kind soul, and do what you know inside to be good. Go live life fully, freely, beautifully, and happy. And never, ever look back.
Many of YOU reading this blog post right now have let me know how impressed you are that I tossed aside the path I was on and made a change… made things happen. From so many people over the past several months, I’ve heard these words: Oh I’m so jealous! I wish I could do that.
Well, guess what? YOU CAN!
“That” doesn’t have to mean living on a permaculture farm in the Costa Rican jungle (although it very well could!), but “that” could mean putting aside all the “have tos” and “need tos” and just doing what your heart is calling you to do.
Big or small – whatever it may be, it’s what YOU want to do or where YOU want to go. Travel to India, write a book, practice yoga, learn to cook, plant a garden, become a pilot, open a boutique, volunteer in a hospital, protest against the man… anything YOU want to do!
This world is full of possibilties and opportunities for genuine happiness, but the only way you’ll ever feel truly full is when you dive in, headfirst, and trust the Universe to make the path. But you have to decide first. Then, move foward, and it will happen.
It’s not easy, but it’s worth it
I’m not one of those people who lives without responsibilities and physical and financial obligations, so I understand how easy it is to feel like leaping into the big unknown is impossible.
I have loads of college loan debt and credit cards and three pets in the States. I have ties to life “back home” which made the decision to follow my heart against all odds quite tough — it wasn’t easy and it took planning, saving, and sacrifice. BUT, had I not decided to work against that adversity, I wouldn’t be sitting in the sun, drinking watermelon puree, and watching the world go by in a Costa Rican beachtown.
I knew inside my heart that there was MORE I wanted out of life than what I was experiencing in my mitten state. My life was perfectly well and fine, but inside of me, I knew I wouldn’t be fulfilled if I continued on the road I was on. Yeah, I may have had some cash, and eventually a house and a family, but I wouldn’t have bright, glowing, full happiness! So, I decided enough was enough and I made the decision to change.
How I changed my life
Week after week I sat in my therapist’s office (yes, I’m one of those people…) and gushed about my need for something more. And week after week she’d encourage me to make a change — to listen to my heart and to do what I wanted. And, week after week, I’d fill her ears with “buts” and “what ifs” and unnecessary doubt. She’d laugh a bit and tell me that there is nothing to be scared of and that the Universe will always make a way. She’d tell me that I have all the skills to make my life as perfect as I can imagine. She’d say that a life lived without risks isn’t really lived at all (my translation of course).
And one day, she encouraged me to own my dreams and to tell the Universe exactly what I wanted. She told me to SAY IT OUT LOUD. Put my intentions right out there!
I cringed. I couldn’t. I giggled nervously and told her that I just COULD NOT speak the words.
She smiled, and told me to do it anyway.
So… I did.
I said, “I’m quitting my job and in three months, I’m moving. I’m doing it!”
In that instant, I felt a huge wave of relief rush over me. It was happening! That’s all it took, and I knew deep down that things were changing for me. I was taking back the control of my life I’d lost in the few years prior. I was finally going to own my destiny!
And that, my friends, is all you have to do. …And then tell a couple people who you trust will help keep you accountable and who can share in your excitement. Because taking back your life is sooooo very exciting!
Making it happen
After I made that proclamation last summer, I started generating idea after idea. I decided to move west, so that’s where I concentrated my energies. I knew I was going to need money, I was going to have to tell my job, my roommates, my boyfriend… I was going to have to get things in motion if I was actually going to make a change. So I did. Piece by piece and bit by bit, I started fitting together pieces of my puzzle.
And then, along the way, Costa Rica came to me. Somewhere inside of me I knew that I had to come here, for some reason. It wasn’t the main destination at the time, but it was a stop along the way that I had to experience. I put very little thought into this piece because the majority of what I was saving toward was moving my life to the ocean.
However… For now, for this moment, Costa Rica IS the key point for me I think. I need this place — Costa Rica is helping me figure out some pretty life-changing things: staying in the now, letting plans help guide the path but not letting them rule out opportunity, loving myself first and foremost, trusting my heart…
And so, here I am. Living life happily. Not knowing exactly where I’m going next, but being fully grateful to be where I am NOW, and being perfectly peaceful knowing the Universe has a pretty great plan for me, as long as I keep going with the flow…
So, friends, if there’s something tugging at your heartstrings, do the world a favor and explore it.
Take a chance. Risk it all. And don’t look back.
And then along the way, change the path if you feel like it. Let yourself listen to the wind of your soul (Cat Stevens said it well this time), and let yourself flow with it. If you’re not happy with any aspect of your existence, OWN it, and CHANGE it for the better. Make your life yours and live it your way.
You can be happy. NOW is the time.
Look yourself in the mirror and tell yourself what it is you want. And then, make it happen.
“I’ve been thinking a lot about waves and cycles lately…” -Casper, the Dutchman.
Energy, moods, attitudes — everything has its own cycle. Before I left the states I wrote a note to myself reminding me to honor and appreciate all that my body is. To love the ups and downs and to listen to my body each day to help guide my actions and if possible, my thoughts.
There are days when my energy is low and there are days when I’m in a bad mood and can’t seem to shake it. There are also days when I’m a grump toward the world and feel like I need to isolate myself, separating my mood from the moods of everyone else. Instead of becoming frustrated with these less than pleasant realities, I’m learning to embrace them.
Our bodies and minds are truly incredible — they can tell us so much about ourselves, like when we’re out of balance and something needs to be put back in check. Our diets, our actions, who we’re surrounding ourselves with… When we’re anything less than ideal, we can listen to our bodies and figure out what to do to re-center.
Take, for example, that few days every four weeks that us women just feel off. We’re not quite our normal, happy, productive, light selves. We’re a bit moody, agitated, or sad. We’re PMSing, but that’s ok. In these days, I’ve found that giving my body the love it needs is all it takes to make these off days a bit better. I may not regain all the goodness from a couple weeks prior, but I find a way to appreciate the swings and the energy loss by treating myself with nice food, lots of tea, writing or yoga or swimming if I feel like it, and probably the most important thing, lots of alone time.
Alone time can do miraculous things if we let it. Put me by myself for a few hours and I’ll almost always crawl (or gleefully skip or hop) back to my center point. When given the freedom that comes with alone time, I’m able to naturally flow into an activity that my body craves.
In all times, be kind to yourself.
If it’s just impossible to rid yourself of a bad mood, the worst thing you can do is beat yourself up about it. Being frustrated that you’re frustrated isn’t going to kick the frustration now is it? Having a sense of humor about our moods instead really does help. If you’re pissed off at the world, take a moment to remember that you’re not always pissed off at the world, and that the world is still revolving just as it did before and that at some point, sooner than later, you’ll stop being pissed and you’ll move on to a different emotion — and if you’re lucky, maybe it will be a good one for a few days.
Emotions never last too long — any emotion, even the good ones. So, be an observer of the emotions and appreciate them all. The ups, the downs, the swings, and the lulls. Everything is cyclical, and trust that it’s all ok, and that this too shall pass.
Why do we 1st-worlders insist on making so many plans? It seems I’ve made plan after plan my whole life, which has probably prevented me from taking advantage of many opportunities I may have enjoyed more than the original “plan.” So, despite months and months of planning and saving for this Costa Rican adventure which would so matter-of-factly be followed with an early April move to the West Coast (Portland is where young people go to retire, right?), I’m tossing aside that plan and letting my heart lead the way.
So… Universe, I’m open to whatever you have for this point in my life. I’m open, and I’m listening to my heart.
I still do want and “plan” to move to Oregon sooner than later, but because I’m feeling pulled to extend my time in Costa Rica, I may have to delay the move until I can save a bit more. Or, I may move without as much backup money, which could very well be fine, too. As long as I keep my eyes on the road and my hands on my heart, I’ll be just fine.
It’s a strange feeling — this confidence I have that every little thing is gonna be alright (thanks for putting it so well, Mr. Marley). Historically, I’ve felt this need to prove something to somebody at all times. If I say that I’m going to do something and then decide to change my mind, I feel as if I’m letting someone down, or that I’m not good enough to follow through with the original goal. This is not ok.
It’s totally fine to make goals which can help keep us moving forward, but to limit ourselves from other opportunities simply by planning our lives away is not ok. I’m done with this attitude.
So, Oregon is still there, and I’m hoping that the Universe will pave a path for me to get there if it’s what’s best for me, but… if that happens later than originally intended, that’s fine.
For now, I’ve got my feet on the jungle floor, the sun on my back, and a smile on my face, and life is perfect. I have no need to plan the next step just now…
Looking forward, but being present. It’s possible. And I’m doing it.
I’ve been blown away lately by beauty. Almost daily I tear up just from a gorgeous view, or bird, or river… This world is so beautiful!
The fact that we’re alive and able to witness the beauty and life unfolding all around us is something to be grateful for. We’re beautiful and a part of the sacred cycle of life like everything else. The plants need the earth, we and all animals need the plants, and the earth needs us and the animals. We’re all connected, and we’re all tasked with taking care of each other.
I’m not sure where we all went wrong… Living a full life without taking too much or exhausting ourselves is really quite simple. We need to move away from what we “think” society needs from us, and instead look at the earth and feel its energy, and then use our intuition to determine what it needs from us. Apart from human interference, everything has a natural cycle that is respected. Animals take from other plants and animals only what they need, and usually, this is quite sustainable. The animal kingdom doesn’t participate in overconsumption; animals don’t drink too much water, and plants don’t take too many nutrients from the soil if they’re able to live and grow naturally. Everything in nature has a way of balancing itself out, and there’s no reason to have it any other way. We’ve found ways to commoditize everything. Plants, animals, water… all of it is viewed as a way of making money and spoiling ourselves, regardless of who or what is harmed in the meantime.
But why? Why did we ever (or do we now) think this is ok? Humans are just a natural part of nature’s cycle as well, and it seems like such a no-brainer that we should act as a part of it. We are intelligent beings with the ability to grow and utilize the soil and the animals to help us along, but that also means we have a duty to do it respectfully.
I’m not sure where on the evolutionary trail we diverted from this respect. Hunter and gathering cultures did (and still do, for those who remain) respect the natural balance and the sacredness of all beings. Using each bit of an animal, treating it fairly, and honoring the life it lived and provided for us… How can we get back to that? We’re meant to live like that, NOT the way we do.
Most of us couldn’t tell you where our food comes from. Where our water comes from. These are the two things we cannot live without, but yet we have no idea how our food was grown, where, how it was transported, preserved, processed… We expect everything to be handed to us. Somebody else can take care of the details and we’ll just consume. Well people, this isn’t ok.
In communities, each person has a role. Each person pitches in and each person partakes in the “profits” (in this case, the profits are the food, water, and pleasure items created by the hard work of everyone — each consumer included). This is how it’s meant to be! I may plant some seeds and water them each day until they’re ready to go in the ground. Then someone may transplant these seeds into the ground and water them and weed the soil until they’re ready to be harvested. Then someone may harvest and process the crops and turn it into something we can use for food, clothing, shelter, etc. This is the way it’s meant to be! Everyone has good intentions and everyone does their fair share.
In today’s modern, western societies we are primarily concerned with buying and selling. This consumeristic mindset is not beneficial for ourselves and our communities, and definitely not for the planet. It pins each of us against the other, always in a constant battle to have more than our neighbor… never taking cautions to ensure that all pieces of the system are in balance and thriving… And it destroys our planet. Piece by piece, by having commoditized everything, we’re throwing away the balance that was in place far longer than this new attitude was. It breaks my heart to know that the path we’re on leads to disaster and there’s no way around it, unless of course we change paths.
There are people making it their lives’ work to protect this consumerist attitude. There are people who are silencing voices against this.
Every day it seems I’m finding more energy and drive to fight the good fight and to bring more attention to the big issue at hand – the destruction of our planet and positive communities. Living a sustainable, balanced life creates happiness and contentment. Being mindful of our decisions inevitably leads to respect and balance (in my experience at least, thus far). If we make it a point to think before acting, with both the little and big things, we’ll surely revert to a more natural and beneficial way of living.
So then how… How can we change the course we’re on?
Recently I’ve heard several people say that creating community and togetherness is the only way to do this. By joining together with others who believe in a better, more positive and whole way of life, we’ll be able to share knowledge that will change the planet one person, one day at a time.
At my last job I learned about spheres of influence. By spreading a message with one person, and that person sharing that message with one person, and so on, our influence can be huge. Each of us can share what we know to be true and good, and then eventually almost everyone could be in the know.
… it can happen. But will it?
The only way to know for sure is to try, and we’re in no worse shape by trying. So, let us try! Each of us – let each of us share the good news with our friends and family, our coworkers and neighbors, even a random stranger on the bus or in line at the grocery store! Even if one tenth of those people share the news, our spheres of influence will grow wide and before we know it, we’ll have informed the masses.
I’ve made a decision to no longer take birth control.
For many this may not seem like a big deal, and to others it may seem quite silly in the first place (the taking or quitting). But for me, it’s a decision that’s been long coming. For years (the past four or so especially) I’ve discussed quitting with my partners and doctors and have faced plenty of resistance. I’ve also been assured time and time again that there aren’t and won’t be any long-term side affects from taking the pill; it’s 100% safe for long-term use and it won’t affect my fertility in the future.
My intuition tells me otherwise. Ten-plus years of pumping daily hormones into my body with hopes of preventing my reproductive system from doing something it’s intended to do? No, I don’t think that can be healthy or without consequence when continued for that amount of time. And, as I’ve just written about, one of my goal’s for 2013 and beyond is to fully listen to and honor what I feel inside. So, that’s that. Enough of the birth control for me.
Just another step toward authenticity
I’ve recently cut out prescription drugs for my panic attacks and anxiety issues; I’ve stopped relying on Ambien as a nightly pacifier for my over-thinking mind and underworked body; I’ve drastically cut back on my use of Xanax and other prescription downers; And, I’ve slowed down on the drinking and caffeine. It hasn’t been just the obvious external stimulants things either — I’ve gone 100% vegetarian and choose vegan more often than not; I’m eating organic and locally grown whenever possible (which is super simple while living here obviously, but even back in the states I made this happen); I’m making time for silence, yoga, and meditation; and, I’m tuning in with my senses and my body’s needs to help guide my nutrition choices and energy use.
Basically, I’m making conscious efforts to make my body and mind as centered and healthy as possible. And now, I’m getting the opportunity to remove yet another major roadblock to being the natural me — birth control.
I’m also at a place where I feel ready for the responsibility of loving with intention. It might be time to say goodbye to one-night stands (let’s be real — these things happen), or relationships with men I wouldn’t dare raise a child with. Sex is a big deal, and it’s totally ok for it to be a big deal. I’ve had many moments in my life where I loved the freedom and fun that can come with sex and, having that safeguard of birth control definitely took the worry away and let me jump in (the sack?) whenever I wanted. Yes, as I grew older these moments became fewer and much, much farther inbetween, but the possibility was always there. I’m ok with squashing that — no more free love from me.
Prepping for the process
While I was withdrawling from the Lexapro I took for over two years (I completely finished this process about two weeks before I left for Costa Rica), I deliberately made myself focus on the fluctuations in my mood, reactions, energy, and physical health and sensations. I tried to never push myself into doing anything — if I felt up for it, I’d do it; if not, I wouldn’t. I ate meals intentionally prepared for what I felt I needed at the time and I chose physical activities and exercises that would compliment my energy stores.
I was tuning in, and that’s exactly what I plan to do over the next couple of months.
What better place to go through this process than in a jungle sanctuary where I can make time for whatever it is I need? And, who better people to be with than those who are willing and wanting to help me transition into a healthier, happier girl! I mentioned to several people tonight during dinner that I was finally stepping away from the pill and it was so beautiful to hear the words of encouragement and feel the love and support from the group. If I get crazy for a couple weeks, I won’t be judged. They’re here to help me with whatever I need, just as I’m here to help them… That’s what community is all about 🙂
So, goodbye little pink pills. I’m taking ownership of this piece, too 🙂
What is isolation? Maybe I’ve had it wrong all along.
One of the toughest things of farm life so far has been coming to terms with the isolation. The farm is so far from everything “first world”. I’m so far from everything I’ve ever known. The lifestyle is so far from the lifestyles of my loved ones… So far away. So “isolated”. Which is a bad thing. Right?
What is isolation? To isolate is to, by definition, to be or remain apart from others.
So that means… Farm life is the furthest thing from isolation I’ve ever experienced! This is community living. This is being one with everyone and everything around you. This is being immersed in the natural flow of life: the sun and moon, the animal kingdom, the weather, the plants, the people, and all of the needs of each piece. This is not about isolation, it’s about connecting with the most real pieces of our existence.
Yes, it may be physically far from western comforts like a hospital, laundromat, an Apple store… But it’s so very close to the natural way we were all meant to live… With nature.
The farm is about never taking more than we need and also giving as much as we can. It’s connecting with people on an intimate level and using natural talents and learned skills to create a way of life which is sustainable and balanced for all creatures involved. It’s really pretty great.
If it weren’t for the anxiety and panic attacks which have plagued my life for the past 5 years, the physical distance probably wouldn’t seem so daunting. But, I know panic attacks aren’t going to kill me and aren’t going to require hospitalization, so really, the distance should be fine. Letting this realization set in will probably be quite the key to creating true comfort in this new jungle paradise… So I’ll try to welcome the reality of everything that is, and open myself to the potential power that comes when living this life. This real, natural life.