What the fuck… Is this what it feels like?

I’m at work. And I should be working. It’s a deadline day and I’m full of angst and anxiety as I try and imagine how the hell I’ll ever get everything done.

But, I’m feeling something in me that I haven’t felt in a really really long time.

And I’m terrified.

And I feel like I could vomit. And cry. And scream. And run.

And turn to mush.

Tears are coming as I type, and I’ll sacrifice sleep later to finish my work… Because right now, this is my work.

To feel. This.

At the risk of being too open, too vulnerable, and utterly ridiculous in the eyes of anyone who knows me (or doesn’t), here I go.

I don’t want to fall in love.

I don’t want to risk saying goodbye to the fire in my heart, to the dancing queen in my soul, to the get-up-and-go that makes me who I am. I don’t want to leave behind all the things that make me the me I love the most. Free spirit. Artist. Unconventional bohemian babe who teaches yoga and heals with her hands, and also swears like a badass sailor bitch with a shot of Jameson, another of Patrón, and a sweating Busch light on the bar before me. I want to climb those trees in the furry-filled fuzzy Northwest, and those mountain peaks in the sacred Himalayas.

I don’t want to make decisions using my left brain.

I don’t want to say I’m sorry, and really mean it, when I realize I was less than considerate of the man waiting in the truck.

I don’t want to cry when we’re an hour away from our departure point.

I don’t want to have nausea, those fucking butterflies that come, or the weight gain or weight loss that accompanies an emotional experience us humans aren’t blessed to have enough to make sense of within our minds.

I don’t want to fall. Fuck. I don’t want to fall.

I’ve been running and running and running, with fear of falling, and I don’t want to stop.

Because stopping hurts.

Really. Really bad.

Because stopping means staying.

And that’s not my style. Or hasn’t been, on a heart-level, for 6 years since my heart last broke, which broke bigger and bolder than I’d hope any heart could break.

I want to cling to my path, one that has no rules, that believes everything is gray — never black and white, ever — but is a foggy gray filled with regular doses of tye-dye and psychedelic hippies and EDM. A path that sings to Bieber and Johnny Cash. That is full of naked swims at sunrise in the Sawtooth mountains, and naked golden-hour dips amongst canoers and fallen birch trees in the Upper Peninsula. It’s a path that lights my life up bigger and bolder than any path I’ve tried ever could…

But damn it. DAMN IT. Damn it.

“What’s the worse thing that could happen?” he asks.

I roll my eyes, and laugh at how silly it sounds, but I tell the truth…

“For me, honestly… fuck… The worst thing that could happen is he could be my forever person and I could change course and get married and have some babies and live in the woods amongst the fawns and fairies…” I laugh. I cry. So does he.

So while I sit here, typing away, and the texts and messages from the other fellas greet my morning, I cringe… Oh but, them… I like them too, don’t I?

But they don’t make me slow my roll and cool my jets.

I’ve feelings to feel, that I’m feeling, that I haven’t felt in a very very long time.

This hurts, so I know it’s not a crush.

This hurts, which tells me if I want to see what this life thing is all about, in a way that may satisfy the dreamer in me, maybe it’s worth looking at a bit longer…

This hurts, because it’s so not me.

I’m not vulnerable. I’m strong. I’m willful. I’m free.

And, if I’m being honest, I know the reason I’m most terrified is because this is truly uncharted territory. So much so, I’ve no clue how to put one foot in front of the other.

How does one do this, really do this? How do you just be, without a heady head spinning and swirling with option and adventure? How do you just let go of any agenda, any roles, and not keep one foot out the door?…

You just be, I suppose.

And let life happen, I suppose.

And feel the feelings, I suppose.

And cry and vomit and let yourself be sick.

In love.

Damnit.


“To know Godliness one has to be defenseless…, one has to drop all armor; one has to be vulnerable. And it is not only the condition to know Godliness; it is the condition to know all that is beautiful, all that is poetic, all that is musical, all that is  contained in the word “love”. ” -Osho

Tears of joy! Overwhelmed with love and love and love.

“Wear gratitude like a cloak and it will feed your entire life.” – Rumi

Just one year ago, I sat with tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat on a comfortable, puffy, oh-so-spoiled striped yellow bed at my best friend’s house. The two of us and another girlfriend of ours, and my much-too-furry-and-fat golden retriever, shared a one-bedroom apartment in a hip suburban-Detroit neighborhood. In theory, this was perfect (two broke girls + 1 even-more-broke girl(me) + a dog? We were in made-for-television heaven!)!

You see, I had just returned to Michigan, unplanned and unprepared, after four months abroad, and decided to weasel my way into this cozy home and create a fun, bohemian life for a few months. Well, that didn’t turn out so well.

Within a few weeks of living with this blonde yogi/PR-impassioned/pretty princess and uber-motivated/fiery ginger/goddess pair, I was more lost than ever before. What the fuck was I doing? Who were these women who had somehow transformed from my friends into enlightened beings who were living lives that were somehow sooooo much better than mine, who had it all figured out, who were taking me in just as they would a lost, sad, cute curly-haired little puppy? (Turns out, they weren’t purposely making me jealous, but rather they were just regular, albeit amazing, humans with direction and ambition in a world that seemed to have lost all cardinal points to me.)

So I left. I backed out before things had a chance to get better. I went north. I took another fruitless job in an isolated place, openly allowing myself to wallow and wither away…

But it’s not a tragic story in the end, you see. It’s actually an amazing, enchanted tale full of love and luck and magic!

What started just over a year ago as a period of complete confusion and disappearing dreams turned into a year of trials and tests and grace and absolute blessed goodness!

Who started just over a year ago as a lost child grasping at stranded strings has turned into a focused, inspired, ambitious, balanced woman living on faith and intuition, and loving each moment!

Tomorrow I will be leading my first set of yoga classes in Michigan.

What?! I have somehow transformed from a lost soul looking for guidance, to someone who will be providing guidance and hope and (hopefully) inspiration to sister and brother souls looking for peace and happiness — the same peace and happiness I was looking for, the same that I would never find out there, but rather the kind one can only find within.

So today, I sit sipping mint tea. Happy. In this moment. There’s a set of centering stone rings on my tan fingers, a streak of henna in my hair, a sparkling gem in my nose, and a big smile on my face…

Today, there are tears in my eyes but my throat is free, and my voice is strong, and I can proudly say I'm happy to be where I am
Today, there are tears in my eyes but my throat is free, and my voice is strong, and I can proudly say I’m happy to be where I am.

A year ago, I had tears in my eyes. Tears of sadness, depression, anger, confusion..

Today, I still have tears in my eyes. But now, these tears couldn’t come from a more beautiful place. These are tears of gratitude! Tears of strength! Tears of passion and power and hope and honesty! Tears of joy, and tears of truth.

Today, there are tears in my eyes but my throat is free, and my voice is strong, and I can proudly say I’m happy to be where I am, to have experienced all that I have, and to be headed toward a mysterious place that can only be full of blessings and exciting, welcomed challenges.

Life is good, you know. And life is ever-changing. And anything is possible, always.

Give thanks today for the blessings of yesterday, of now, and of each tomorrow to come.

Thank you, Universe. So very much. xxoo

And thank you, above-mentioned soul sisters for all the kindness and love you showered on this curly-haired puppy left out in the rain on her own (truth be told — she let herself out and then stubbornly refused to come back in. what a silly puppy she was!). I love you, so very much! 

 

Four birthday wishes

Today, I turn 27.

On my walk home from work, with Mother Nature in her glory (wind howling, snow racing across the pavement and icy white lawns, the last bundles of leaves still clinging to trees cracking and crunching against each other), tonight I thought of some things I hope to draw into my life. A few birthday wishes for the year…

I have a list of goals I want to accomplish too, things from developing a daily meditation practice and sponging up less of other people’s problems, to paying down my student loans and remembering names (I promise I’m not as rude as I sometimes seem – my memory is just awful!). However, I hope the wishes I developed this evening will subtly morph me into a better person, transforming me into a better me, and bringing me closer to my natural, most complete self. Which hey, has got to be a pretty great thing right?

Here they are.

1) LOVE – I want to love myself, and be in love with myself.

For so many years I’ve let myself be my own worst enemy instead of my biggest fan. Judging, nit-picking, self-destructing… This year, I want to love myself like I love my best friends. I want to respect my body and mind, my wants and needs, and I want to have fun and ENJOY the time I spend with me. “They say” you can’t really love another until you love yourself. I’m not 100% in agreement with this statement, but I know I’ll love another better if I first love and like myself.

2) BRAVERY – I want to be bold and have the courage to take chances.

I’ve always been pretty adventurous, but I’m rarely overly brave with regard to trusting my gut and putting logic to rest in favor of faith. This year, I want to unabashedly run after the things I want, that I feel to be right, that may be scary or unknown but that, if I can muster the courage to take the first step, may help me get to where I need to go.

3) VOICE – I want to speak up, asserting my turn to talk and tell my truths.

Most of my relationships have been 70/30 — I listen more than speak, I sit shotgun more than drive, etc. I’m an empathetic person who wants to soothe and comfort others, always putting my thoughts and feelings aside in exchange for hearing another reveal those very same things, in their very own voice. But this year, I want to speak up and turn the tables and make sure my voice is heard clearly in every situation. In friendships, in initial encounters, in my career. In everything.

4) SOFTNESS – I want to soften my heart and release control.

For at least the past 10 years, I have maintained sole control over my happiness. Even when making plans or daydreaming about the future with another, at some space within myself I never fully bought what we were selling. I was never fully able to trust another person with my future and my happiness. Even on the surface level, with common events, I’ve kept walls up around my heart, always on edge, quick to leap from a situation when the potential for disappointment crept in. This year, I want to soften and allow others in, if they deserve my heart space. I want to make plans that I intend to keep. I want to fully wander into an unknown with another at my side… If and when the time is right.

I’ve asked the Universe to help bring this all into my life. I know she’ll do her part and we’ll work on me together.

I’m a happy birthday girl! 27 is bound to be the best year yet — cheers and positivity to all!

Finding home…

A lot has happened since I last posted… I flew to Texas, stayed with my sister and then an old roommate for a few days, went on a Caribbean cruise to Jamaica, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel, roadtripped north with my family and stayed in Tennessee for a few nights, and then made it back to Michigan and picked up my puppy and checked in on my cats. Then… nothing really happened.

I decided I still really didn’t know where I wanted to go or what exactly I wanted to do. I kept waiting for some grand idea to present itself to me, and although many options were good, nothing felt fully right. I did some odd outside jobs in below-freezing weather at my parents place (sleet and snow days in April… this is Michigan…), slept in my childhood bed, ran my dog, learned how to drive a stick shift, started updating my resume, signed up for some freelance writing sites… I did so many random things just waiting for a sign or a pull from within.

Then, while shoveling chicken shit (literally), I had a mini breakdown and collapsed on the frozen earth outside the henhouse. I laughed and cried and looked at Jax and said aloud, “It’s all cyclical, Jax! Everything! I’m a mess and I’m flighty but THIS is exactly how I am when things are great or when things are shitty — everything is just fine and I’ll be smiling again soon!” I laid there on the ground and laughed, dismissing the nervousness and anxiety that had been building inside of me for weeks. I realized yet again that everything, at any given point, really is just fine.

The next day, in a burst of caffeine-fueled excitement and unwillingness to polish above-mentioned resume, I got in the car and drove to my best friend’s house near Detroit. I had to see her — I had to see a familiar face that wasn’t needing grandiose tales from Central America (although there are plenty) or asking me countless times just what comes next.

After a few long, warm hugs, Annie and Didi (her roommate) and I went to yoga. What happened in this class was remarkable — I felt at home. I surrendered to the moment and felt so much love and light and comfort.

At the end of the class while closing in Savasana, I started to weep. I held my best friend’s hand and cried — tears of joy and peace and love! I looked over and she was crying, too. I was sharing this beautiful moment with a person I love so much, who loves me without demand or expectation, just love.

That night, I decided to focus my efforts on getting a job in her area and hopefully sharing a home with her and Didi. Would it be tight? Yes. Would it be a bit silly having three girls and a dog in a 1.5-bedroom apartment? Yes. Did it matter to me? No. I want to surround myself with love and freedom and have welcoming hearts fill the space I rest my head each night.

So, about 10 days later, here I am… Sitting on Annie’s bed, ready to leave for my first job interview since returning home.

I feel right and good and content.

Everything really is just fine.

And I’m not quite sure what comes next, but that’s just fine, too.

Let’s start with three little things.

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.

Take time to care for yourself and to find solace and peace on this precious planet.
Take time to care for yourself and to find solace and peace on this precious planet.

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.

This view…

I want to borrow the eyes of everyone on the planet for just a few moments. For just these few moments…

I see layer upon layer of green, brighter in the foreground and fading to a steely gray blue as my gaze meets the horizon. Each layer is jagged and uneven, peaks and valleys shaped from the Earth’s inner movement over thousands and thousands of years. Trees of lime green and chesnut brown, of forest green and a bright, bold emerald, and even a red the color of Costa Rica’s clay soil. I see the occasional cow pasture or coffee field, and even a handful of paths cut from the mountainsides for us humans to traverse. A swallow-like bird descends, then rises and glides gracefully across the heavens. She meets two others and together they fly. A breathtaking and tear-inducing dance intended for no one but themselves, but gratefully, I watch.

In my 26 years, I’ve never seen a more beautiful place. I am on top of the world at around 1,500 feet, observing Mother Earth live and breathe all around me. We are one, and we are together just as we were meant to be. This is truth. This is life. And my friends, this is paradise. Welcome.

Mountaintop paradise.
Mountaintop paradise.

Just do it! Taking chances and living fully.

What is it you want to do?

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.

Here I am. Now. Happy. Grateful. Blessed.
Here I am. Now. Happy. Grateful. Blessed.

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.

…just do it 😉

A week on the beach – grooving with the good life.

If you’ve never done morning yoga on the beach, nearly each morning, just after waking, I suggest you do it. And then, after a good yoga session to get the blood flowing, go for a swim in the ocean. Clean your suit and your soul, and then waltz back to breakfast of fruit and agua dulce (hot water, splash of milk, sugar = yum). Relish in this beauty, and then start your day.

Life is amazing! 

This life is possible, and being lived by so many people in this beautiful little Costa Rican city (Uvita). There are plenty of Gringos living alongside Ticos, and everyone seems to be living the good life. Flowing with the sun and moon, we’re living with the heat by staying out of the sun mid-day, by taking naps if we need to, by going to bed early and waking up early… and by simply taking it easy.

Everyone finds a way to work here and get by — some more successfully than others. But everyone seems to live the same way — happily.

Once I’m done with farm life I just might come back to stay for a while. As in, indefinitely.

xxoo.

Some shots from Uvita:

Recognizing our body cycles

“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.

Putting into practice — trusting my heart.

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.

My intentions for 2013

Closing of a year… Opening to a better life.

This past year was full of confliction. About half the year was spent worrying about what the hell I was going to do next (or trying to forget about the inner urge to figure it out), then about a third fretting about and gearing up for the final third which would require action and change (which scared the shit out of me), and then the final third was spent cleansing my life and laying some groundwork for some longterm lifestyle alterations.

It was a good year, but it’s been a year which could have been lived better.

So what about 2013? What do I want to happen in this year? What is my intention?

I’ve spent several months asking the question, “What is it I’m meant to do in my life?,” and then in the most recent couple of weeks, I’ve started asking, “What is my gift that I can offer the world?” and have been hoping that this kind of phrasing may lead to a more direct answer.

So far I have many ideas, but not so many decisions.

However, during a recent energy surge session a few nights ago (it was my turn as the Fairy again), I felt I received some answers.

Instead of worrying about the greater plan for my life and struggling with whether or not I’m on course, I need to focus on doing the things that bring me happiness and that I know are positive, sustainable, and energy-sharing. Things that I enjoy, but that are also geared toward the greater good.

So what does that mean? Well, for starters, working on this permaculture farm is definitely something I “should” be doing. And, taking care of people and animals, creating gardens and tending to nature, designing and writing for myself, for those I care abou,t and for causes I believe in are positive and make me happy. Lending my ear for others who need someone to hear them out, creating understanding and facilitating compromise, cooking, making things more beautiful, participating in communities and music and literature… so many things! There are so many things I genuinely LOVE to do that are GOOD for this planet and the creatures that inhabit it! I can do these things, and I will be happy. That’s it!

Just do what makes you happy, and you’ll be full!

So, no more fretting. No more confliction. No more self-doubt and insecurity about whether or not I’m fulfilling the greater purpose for my life. My life’s natural flow, lived happily and with intention, IS the greater purpose.

My best friend wrote me a special, secret letter in a journal she purchased for me just before I left the states. She said, “I want you to remember that the purpose IS the journey — not the result.”

The purpose is the journey.

Words of wisdom, right there. (Thanks again for that, Annie! I love you.)

The process of traveling through life wherever my heart leads me IS my purpose. I’ll have experiences and encounter people along that path that will help me make this world a more positive place. To achieve my purpose, all I need to do is live in the now and trust that my gut will lead me exactly to where I’m supposed to be. Everything meant to happen is happening and will continue to happen and long as I trust my heart to lead the way, and to respect and honor the ebb and flow of life. There will be ups and downs. There will be moments of greater confidence and lesser confidence, but no matter what, I need to listen to my heart and make time for reflection and honesty within myself. If I do this I’ll always know when to stay, when to go, and where to walk.

This may not align nicely with the way I’ve always anticipated living — at some point, I’ve always thought I’ll “settle down,” and maybe I still will, but when asked, “So what are you going to do in the long run?,” the answer may not be as cut and dry as I’ve thought it would eventually become. Instead, the answer may be more like “I’m going to keep on traveling through life with a hand on my heart and an eye on the road, and we shall see.” This will be met with some criticism and people may think I’m non-commitable or flaky, but really, it takes all types in this world, and there need to be people who are flexible and open to flow with the changes and go where they are needed. I can be one of those people. There’s no reason not to be if I feel like that’s my role.

So, for 2013 and beyond, my intention is to live in the present, to trust myself and to honor and take action on the callings from within, and to fully live with myself as the only one able to place expecations or criticisms on me and my choices.

We’re given one life to live, people, and it’s up to US to live it, each and every day, exactly how we want. And as long as we’re living with intention and conscious effort, we’ll be doing great things for ourselves, for those we love, and for the greater good of this planet and all beings on it.

Bring it on, 2013. I’m ready 🙂

Happy New Year!

What is life? Firsthand insight into the life and death on the farm…

I just witnessed the giving of four lives — two rabbits and two roosters. It was powerful, peaceful, and intentional.

Everything is cyclical, and therefore where all things begin, all things must end. We’re given a life from the earth and then we’ll give our lives back to the earth. We animals have a heartbeat, and then breath… Then the heart stops beating and the breath ceases.

We’re all energy forms and we all require the sharing and exchanging of energy — humans give energy to the plants and to the animals, and in return the plants and animals give energy back to humans and to each other. The earth has its own natural energy forces — water, wind, air, soil, fire. Each of those are also powerful and purposeful. And oh so very beautiful. Without one element, none of this world can exist in harmony, with beauty.

We’re all one. And we’re all beautiful.

Watching what I witnessed this morning was incredible. Before the animals were killed, I made a morning round to visit all of the rabbits and chickens (the ones that had a potential for death), and I was conscious and aware of their actions. Maybe it was myself projecting calm thoughts toward the animals, but maybe it was an energy in the air. Something was different today.

The rabbits were much more calm, and seemed to move with more direction. The male rabbits were very focused on me. Houdini (the big macho male) was jumping from side to side — a little dance to beg for his life? (Maybe that’s my overthinking lol…) And then the rabbits in the pen were much less frantic than usual and I was even able to spend a few moments with some of them — one of which gave his life only minutes later. The chickens were also less aggressive.

There was almost an air of anticipation surrounding everyone — even us humans.

When the act took place it was done with intention and knowledge. Douwe knew what he was doing and was direct and purposeful in his actions. Two large chickens were collected. Douwe held the breast and body firmly with his left arm and body, and with his right hand he twisted the chickens neck and pulled the head clean off. Then he put the animal down on the ground and held it as still as he could. My tears started to flow. With tightly clenched hands protecting my heart I cried.

Then, Marie placed her hands on the animal and gave thanks for its life and let the world know the life was not given in vain — there was and is purpose for its life and we were/are grateful for the energy provided. …This was so beautiful.

The same was done with the other chicken, except the other chicken’s head did not come off directly and therefore a machete was used to ensure the neck was broken and the animal was dead.

Then, the large white rabbit I’d just been loving on was picked up, and with two strong hands, Douwe held the rabbit’s legs with one hand and the rabbit’s head with the other. From there, all he had to do was stretch the animal. Doing it this way separates the spinal column and breaks the neck. Then, the animal was laid on the ground with care and Marie placed her hands on the animal and pet the fur and gave blessings and words of gratitude.

This is where things got tough for me. The rabbit started flailing – almost as if it was running in mid-air… leaping. Hopping.

Instantly the tears flowed. I was bawling and sobbing and forgetting to breathe. I had to turn away and let it out. I didn’t want to make a scene or spread my energy to the others witnessing the act or even worse, to those who had to help take the lives… I turned away and walked to the edge of the stable area, covered my face with my hands, and cried. I let it all out. I was overwhelmed with emotion — gratitude, understanding, hope, strength, but also pain.

I know now, without doubt, that I will live my life without taking animal flesh. I can live my life fully, in good health and spirit, without eating an animal. These animals lived their lives in peace. They were taken care of with positive energies, by people who love and respect them, with food that is neither chemically treated nor unsustainable… But still, seeing the animal offer its life for us, when I know full well I (and all of us who choose to do so) can live without that energy, makes me realize that I do not want to take in the life of another breathing, sentient being.

But I’m grateful that I witnessed the giving of life. The respect that went into it, and the respect that will carry throughout the full process of cleaning, cooking, eating, and then in turn that will provide strength and more positive energy for this circle of life we live… Beauty.

…Then I went to the waterfall and cried, and gave thanks, and prayed for a blanket of love for all of the beings on this farm and throughout the world.

…Then I sent lots of love directly to Douwe and Marie.

…Then I came back to the house area, and straight to Douwe (who was boiling the birds and cleaning the rabbits) and hugged him as tight and powerfully as I could. I respect that man so very much. And I appreciate the strength and focus he has to do what he must, to provide for others on this farm, and to respect the animals and ourselves.

What a morning. And what a way to end 2012.

Fairy in the Middle

A few months ago, this farm started a tradition called “Fairy in the Middle,” which I think may be one of the greatest traditions ever. It promotes unity and openness, while also helping each person relax and feel more comfortable in their own skin. So what is it? A massive… group… massage 🙂

I was the “Fairy” for the first time last night, and I can’t even explain how freaking amazing it was. But I’ll do my best 🙂

The process

Every other night, one to three people (depending on the amount of people on the farm) prepare a bowl of either coconut or sunflower oil and then choose some essential oils to mix in, like coffee and peppermint (which are the oils I chose). Then, select a playlist, like some soothing Ray Lamontagne (again, my choice), and lay out the massage table and mattress in the yoga studio. Then set a timer for 15 minutes (or don’t, like I chose to do in hopes of extending the goodness), and relax…

Before you know it, there will be a dozen or so hands massaging your entire body… From the crown of your head to the tips of your toes, your stomach, your chest, your back, upper legs, forearms… everything! Talk about an experience to remember… Even the baby, Kaya, helped out on me last night. His baby claws (or um… nails) were a bit much at times, but by having all parts of this place involved really made it special.

There were times I was tempted to open my eyes and see whose hands were where, but then I reminded myself to get lost in the experience and let Ray’s voice and my new family’s hands do all the work. And my what glorious work it was.

I reminded myself to get lost in the experience.

For a couple months leading up to this experience, I’d been saying that I really needed (and wanted) a massage. I kept my eyes open for local massage deals and checked into some newer places that may offer specials because I just couldn’t bring myself to pay the big bucks for a nice massage… But then, FAIRY happened and it was exactly what I’d been craving.

I was a bit nervous about it because how very strange it is to have near-strangers touching your entire body, but as soon as I laid down and the first hand touched my head, all was well. It was amazing — a flurry of love and happiness and compassion surging through my entire body. Blissful, joyous… Truly wonderful.

Experiences like this really bring us together. We’re meant to live in community with one another, and to be open and connected with everyone else. On the farm, we take care of the animals and plants, and they take care of us. We cook food and clean for everyone else, just as everyone else does for us. It’s hard work and takes a lot of time and energy to do these things, so the Fairy in the Middle process helps to revive and refresh our physical bodies, but also our minds and our hearts.

Fairy in the Middle is wonderful. Big smiles in this place. 🙂

The travelers…

How dare I let four years go by without doing some solo traveling! Never again.

For those of you who haven’t strapped on a backpack for at least a few weeks, please, do yourself (and the planet) a favor and do it! It may seem a bit daunting, but really, if you can open your mind and say “yes” a few more times than you say “no,” you’ll be rewarded with a lifetime of memories and new perspectives.

When spending a few days away from the farm this week, I met several travelers who were either making their way through San Jose toward one of Costa Rica’s beautiful beaches, or coming here in search of something bigger than themselves and using San Jose as the launch point. Each time I’ve traveled, especially in Costa Rica, I’ve found there are more people like me elsewhere than back home. There’s a different attitude with travelers, especially with the kind of travelers who aren’t exactly sure where they’re going or when they’ll be there. There’s this openness and excitement and curiosity that mimics what I’ve always had inside of me… a drive to know and do and see more! And I love that part about travelers, and about myself.

In the past 24 hours I’ve shared breakfast with an Englishman who just left an orphanage in Norway where he’d been volunteering for the past couple months, who is now headed to a northern Costa Rican yoga and permaculture center for a few months (he’s hoping to do some cleansing and re-setting of his mind… sounds familiar). I also hung out with an American/Israeli duo who did the 9-5 thing while somehow also working the Burning Man festival for the past nine years, and are now hoping to learn how to start their very own organic farm complete with earthships and communal living… And a Canadian gal working for the UN in New York City who came to Costa Rica to surf for Christmas. And a Swiss girl working reception at a Costa Rican hotel. And a Mexican fella who hasn’t seen his family in nearly three years because he can’t force himself to leave Costa Rica… There are so many types here! And this isn’t abnormal — the diversity of travelers on this amazing planet is huge! And I’m one of them. I have my own experiences and stories to help color the traveling world, and I intend to do just that.

So now… how to do just that, with a golden retriever, and no paycheck… Hmm… Ideas welcome 🙂

Some things are always the same… Like homesickness and joy.

Knowing yourself and all your quirks is an important part of living a fulfilled life.

My mom brought up an interesting point about me today. Despite always having a strong inner urge to explore and to learn and experience new things, I also have a very tender heart which needs the affection of my loved ones to feel complete. And therefore, thinking I can have one without the other and still create a full, content life is foolish. I need both!

In each of my several extended stints away from home (Italy for a year, Israel for several months, Italy again for a few months, and now Central America), I always reach a point where I’m reminded just how much I love my family and my friends, and just how much it means to me to feel their love. Sometimes this happens sooner rather than later… Which has already been the case now. I started having a homesick moment where I really missed my dog, togetherness with my ex-boyfriend/whatever he is now (long story – I’m bad at clean breakups remember?), and chilling on my parents’ couch with the hectic busy-ness that inevitably accompanies a large family like ours. It’s the little things that can really pull you toward home.

I’m realizing, though, that yes I do need to feel the love of those most dear to me, but that doesn’t mean I have to physically be with them. In today’s technological pervasive age, I can find ways to swap the love. And then once that happens, I can continue living life day by day and learning as much as I can, and my loved ones back home can still know I’m here for them just as they’re here for me.

Best friends, never apart. Maybe in distance, never in heart.

I also know that there are times when I need to feel joy, and wonder, and giddiness! It’s hard for my emotions to fully release when I’m with others (especially dozens of new “others” who’ve yet to see me without walls), so therefore I need to find comfort alone.

I’m currently sitting in an air-conditioned auditorium in the bottom level of San Jose’s Museo de Oro below Plaza de la Cultura. Simply being in this museum filled with ancient Central American artifacts, a full art gallery of Lola Fernandez, and a big exhibit on cats (fuck yeah for cats!), I feel joy. I feel content and I feel like Robin. Really back to the Robin I am deep down, without the pressure of fitting into farm life, or the confliction of trying to figure ME out and what’s next… Just me. Relaxed. Open. Confident. Content.

In any city, if there’s a museum and an extra few hours, sign me up. Stepping away from the hustle and bustle and into a calm, quiet home for learning definitely revives me. Art. History. Textiles. Anything!

So, I’m glad I’m here. And I’m glad I’m taking my time.

Day by day. Breathe it all in, and love it all out.

This is a Jaguarundi -- one of the few native wild cats still in Costa Rica.
This is a Jaguarundi — one of the few native wild cats still in Costa Rica. I saw an all black version of this crossing the path on my way to the farm. Lucky!
picture of me talking on the phone.
Talking on the phone with a great friend. There won’t be many calls, but the few I can make are so very special 🙂
A painting done by Costa Rican artist Lola Fernandez.
A painting done by Costa Rican artist Lola Fernandez. This was one of my favorites.
Picture of me wearing a cat mask.
I decided to wear a cat mask 🙂

Learning patience, whether I like it or not.

It’s a Tuesday night. And I’m not getting ready for work. And I’m not making myself dinner. And I’m not doing laundry. Or paying bills. Or bathing the dog (which rarely happened anyway, what am I talking about…) And I’m not stressing about what’s next.

Instead what am I doing? I’m sitting on a patio (seemingly built for one) enjoying a fresh organic banana milkshake. I’m waiting for my vegetarian lasagna and caprese salad, and watching the hustle and bustle of San Jose’s rush hour traffic go by. …and there’s a Burger King next door, but let us forget about that 🙂

What’s important is that I am taking time for me. By myself. To really reflect on the past week of farm life. I came to San Jose to fix my computer (which doesn’t seem like it shall be fixed — but should I buy a new one?), and I’m deciding to stay a couple days to do ME.

The farm is tough work. Physically and mentally, a lot of strength goes into this process. The first couple of days were quite stressful and bewildering with always so much going on and it’s difficult to feel like it’s ok to NOT be moving when there’s always work to be done. But, I’ve had to remind myself, I’m here to learn and push myself, but I’m also here to focus on me and what it is I want out of life. Where do I fit in the big scheme of things?

In these past couple of days I was able to do more of the less labor-intensive work like cleaning and watering plants and checking to make sure everything is in working order… And shredding coconuts for three hours (seriously — what a new thing that was haha). But, I was still helping to keep the farm running and the people fed and happy, but I wasn’t kicking my own ass and wearing down my mind in the meantime. It’s been better. And I’ve been happier. And I love that.

But for me, for now, I’m still trying to put all the pieces together of the life I’ve lived until now and use that puzzle to hopefully make some sense of what I want to continue with and what I want to cut out and replace with better things.

For one, patience. I’ve realized in just one week that in the states we live in a very fast paced, high-production world. I’ve asked several times when learning a new thing, “Ok so how long should it take to do this?” Or “can we do this faster?” And, I’ve always been responded to with a simple, “however long it takes to do the best you can,” and “all we have is time.”  Such a different view, and one that I think we could all benefit from if we kept that in mind.

“however long it takes to do the best you can.”

Also, going from a remote farm in the middle of a jungle to a city like San Jose takes time. A lot of time. First, get a ride or walk (seriously) the 10-15 kilometers to the closest bus stop. Then take a bus about 1 hour to another bus stop. Then another bus to San Jose. Then walk to find a bus stop or a taxi. Then good luck finding your destination because addresses really don’t exist here. But… If there’s a will then there’s a way. And there’s no sense in rushing a process that requires its own pace… So, I’m learning and living patience.

I’ll be writing a couple more posts soon, so stay tuned. And let me know what you think I should do about writing (as in.. should I purchase a way to do that?).

A few of my favorite recent shots

Best friend - the basil plant.
Best friend – the basil plant.
The nicest produce stock picture.
The nicest produce stock picture.
beautiful costa rican view near puriscal
This is what the view was today. Amazing.
The simple things are the best. Like this "crema" I had today.
The simple things are the best. Like this “crema” I had today.