It’s Only Stuff Mommmmmmm!

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stuff

I remember back to one of the first few conversations I had with my mom about how I was planning to execute this transition. I had big ideas of how I was going to sell or donate everything I owned, and how easy that was going to be to do.
My mom kept insisting that I let her and my dad keep some things for me for when I decided to settle somewhere. “That’s not the point!” I told her. “It’s only STUFF mom, I can get more stuff anywhere at anytime, and I don’t want the “stuff” to hold me back, or weigh me down.” It’s so important to me to go all the way, or not at all. She tried again, but she knows me well enough to know that I need to figure out what’s right on my own. However, I don’t have a problem with admitting I was wrong from time to time, which I was.

So far, I haven’t felt remorse about getting rid of my furniture, selling my yoga studios, ending the lease on my less than 1 year old apartment, or leaving the only county I’ve ever lived in. In fact, I’ve been so bothered by the amount of “stuff” I have, that it’s felt good to unhand it. How many drawer organizers, paper clips, pens, spatulas, measuring cups, binders and nail files does one person need? How is it possible for me to forget I have 7 rolls of scotch tape at home in my closet? How many measuring cups can I use at one time? I’m pretty sure that I can only file my nails with one file at a time, so I’m not sure why I have 26.

Last night I moved on to sorting through my closets of clothes, beauty products, and shoes. I narrowed down my nail polish bottles to 16, and my lipsticks to somewhere around 50. YES. 50. You don’t want to know what the original was count before I narrowed it down.

“It’s only STUFF Mom!”, played on repeat as I stared at the ridiculous amounts of colorful tubes and bottles laying on my hallway floor. I tried to choose which colors should stay and which should come with me. I tried so hard! How could I possibly be ok with selling and donating all of my beautiful furniture and so many of my books and clothes, but when it comes down to nail polish and lipstick I am stuck?
My mom and I were on the phone while this madness was going on, laughing, with me admitting I was wrong about the ease of non attachment.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve come to realize that keeping a few things back home isn’t such a bad idea. My Ninja for example. That was an expensive piece of magic that I got for half off! It can’t hurt to have that waiting for me one day, can it?
Someone suggested to me awhile back, that keeping some things here while I’m gone isn’t a way to hold me back, it’s a way to allow me to proceed with comfort. I know that I will either have my Ninja, for example, when I settle down some day, or I will have a very nice item to donate to someone who needs it. Changing my perspective changed my plans.

The most beautiful part of this whole adventure has been spending quality time with so many people, and hearing their stories, suggestions, and experiences. I didn’t come up with this brilliant plan, people I’ve met and taken the time to listen to and connect with have. I’m not the first person to do what I am doing. I just heard a great idea and liked it. That is why my plans change everyday. I can’t assume I know what the future will hold, I have to be flexible and willing to go along for the ride. Like my stuff that I am letting go of, I need to let go of what I think I know, or want, when it holds me back from experiencing a beautiful life.

As far as the nail polish and lipsticks, I’ve decided to deal with that later. The idea of not having just the right shade of gloss or sparkle is just too much stress for me right now.

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Hanging by my Hair, Part 2. This Time, it’s Metaphoric.

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As most of us do, we expect our big life moments to turn out a certain way, through a specific series  of events, and without a hitch. Unfortunately, nothing is ever that simple.

Lately, I’ve felt like I did on that zip line in Nicaragua, like I am hanging on by my hair.

It is now 20 days until the day I leave for Costa Rica. In the past 60 days, I made the decision to change my entire way of life, sold two yoga studios, found a home for my cats, sold almost all of my furniture, found a few jobs in different parts of the world, and my new roommate found us a place to live. In the next 3 weeks I have to prepare my taxes, move into my grandparents so I can clean up my apartment, spend a weekend in Canada, take my cats to their new home, continue to teach and see private clients, have a few more going away parties, have a few more business meetings, and pack for the next 3 months of my life in Costa Rica. 

Yes, some days it feels like I’m hanging on by my hair in all ways good and stressful. 

In addition, there’s been interesting reactions from others I’ve shared my news with.Those who I had expected a negative reaction from were some of the most supportive, and someone I had thought was one of my best friends ended our supposed friendship for good.

Then there’s the strangers’ reactions.  Most get very excited and want to know how to follow along in any way they can, and a very rare few have said something negative.

The other day I phoned my car insurance representative and told him what I was doing, wanting to know what the best way was to handle my insurance. He replied with a somber sounding, “Ya, well the world’s a scary place. I appreciate the United States.”
Hey Mr. Downer, I do too, but I’m not going to let your experience influence mine. I called about insurance, not a dose of negativity!

Last week, after meeting a nice girl in a parking lot to sell some of my belongings, I received a message from her.
“The second I met you I had an overwhelming feeling that I needed to pray with you. Weird. I will have you know that my children and I prayed for your safe travels and my entire church will be praying for you tomorrow. I don’t usually tell strangers that, but for some reason I think you will get it. Lord, please lay your protecting hands around this vibrant soul. Let your light shine through her in her new journey. May her belly and heart always be full. God bless you in your new life.”
That was a beautiful surprise and gift.

Overall, I’ve been surprised at some of the reactions I’ve received, good and fear based, but of those reactions, mine were the most surprising to me. When my furniture sold I felt lonely. I’ve since equated that lonely feeling with the emotions that come along with leaving one life behind to start an unfamiliar new life. There’s been so much heartache and sadness about the friend who I thought for sure would’ve been supportive but wasn’t, and so much joy about the ones I didn’t expect to hear from but did. 

I’m very blessed to have so many loving and supportive people in my life that I can’t find the time to see each one individually before I leave, and to have so many wonderful clients that I am starting to book them for my visits home.  I know that I am blessed and I am always in gratitude for whatever is happening, because I know from my past that each experience is another chance to learn.  Yes, I know all of these things, however, I am human.  I will be completely honest in admitting that I am exhausted! I battle between fitting in another “date” or getting much needed sleep.  They idea of adding one more thing to my schedule, and it could be as simple as paying a bill online, can both invigorate me and bring me to tears simultaneously.

I realized recently I can continue to “hang”, or I can do something about it. So to cope with the anxiety, excitement, joy and sadness, I’ve turned to what saved my life in the recent past.  Yoga, Reiki, a healthy diet, good friends and family, and every chance I can, I call on God and my angels to help out.

I wake up at 5:00 am to take a yoga class before the sun comes up, because I know it will set me on the right track mentally for the rest of my day.  I box to burn off the anxiety, I write to keep my heart open and to heal it, and I take it one day at a time.

I have a feeling that I won’t feel like I’ve released my hair from the rope completely until I am sitting on the balcony of my condo in Costa Rica, taking a breath, and laughing with my new roommate about all of this. That said, I am at peace with knowing that sometimes we have to hang by our hair in order to shake off the old with appreciation for the lessons learned, and make room for the new. 

Everything is unfolding just as it should.

Hanging by my Hair. Literally. Part 1

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That’s me, zip lining in the jungles of Nicaragua, near San Juan del Sur.  Below me there were howler monkeys, blue Morpho butterflies, and tree tops.  Ironically, the tree tops below cushioned my fear of heights.  The view was so incredible, it didn’t seem real or feel like we were as high as we were.

There were 8 chances to fly from tree to tree, If I remember correctly.  The first 3 were scary, but the rest became easier and more fun as we went along.

At the end of the adventure, we had a straight repel down to the ground from God knows how high up.  I’ve been guessing we were about 30-40 feet in the air when we were dropped to the ground.  We were able to let the guide know how fast or slow we wanted to drop.  I thought I had made it very clear that I wanted to drop slowly, but my Spanish may have been rusty.

As the guide was lowering me, he’d drop me quickly and make me scream, then slowly.  I remember hearing people laughing like they thought I was actually enjoying it.  He was alternating as I was screaming for him to knock it off, and then it happened.  I looked down at the ground and just my luck, my hair came out of my headband, out of my helmet, and got caught up in the rope.  Every inch he dropped me wrapped another inch of hair into the rope and gear.  I was screaming, imagining my scalp being torn from my skull.  It was the most horrifying few seconds of my life, (until the volcano boarding topped it a few days later!).

With the help of my friends, I’m guessing they were about 10 feet below on the ground, it stopped.  I was hanging by a chunk of hair on the left side of my head, in the front.  What I remember is every thought I had about how they would never be able to get me out without ripping my scalp off my head.  “Maybe they’d be able to get a knife in there to cut my hair, but that’s only if they can get a ladder to get to me,  and we were in the jungle. Who has a ladder in the jungle?  What if my scalp tore and I had a bald spot in the front of my head?  How long do you think it would take to grow that hair back? I wonder what I’d look like with a bald spot.  Do they sell extensions for girls who have been scalped on a zip line? What is everyone doing?  Why is it so quiet?  OH! There they are… I don’t understand what they are saying… I’m going to have to do this myself.”

I began to swing back and forth by my hair, thinking that if I could get my feet to the tree, I could lift myself up enough to pull my hair out of the tooling.  I tried it.  It didn’t work.  I heard someone say they were getting a ladder and coming for me.

The next few moments were so peaceful. I had no pain anymore, I just relaxed and hung there, by my hair.  I quickly went through all possibilities in my head, and none of them seemed so bad.  I just knew they would get me down and if the worst case scenario was a bald spot, it would grow back, and damn I’d have the best story to tell!

My poor, poor guide.  He climbed down the tree’s vines and somehow got me out of the rope.  He pointed up for me to look at my shredded hair pieces still waving in the wind and rope above.  I felt my new kinky, frayed hairstyle with my hands and immediately checked for blood.  There was none, just a funny new “do”, and then I looked at him.  He was staring off into space, panting, and wide eyed.

I said, “Are you ok? I’m ok! If I’m ok then you’re ok! Are you ok???? Hey… I’m ok!” and I rubbed his arm and kissed his cheek, thinking that would lighten him up.  It didn’t help that much, but he did smile for a second!  I finally had to tell him to get us out of the tree already.  The poor guy was way more traumatized than I was, and apparently I’m a sucker for a Spanish speaking boy with a conscience.  I talked to him until he lightened up, then I called him my hero along with my friend Chris who helped me to the ground.  Our picture is below.

My friends were below me waiting to catch me and comfort me but I was just fine.  I remember them all seeming and looking horrified.  I remember laughing so hard and telling them that if I am ok then they should be too! I really didn’t know why they were so upset, but someone said I was the one in shock.

About 15 minutes after I was released and hiked to our resting space, I broke down in the bathroom, sobbing, and my head and neck really started to hurt! The crying only lasted about one minute, then  I was fine.  I believe my next few thoughts were about how awesome that was and what a cool story I have to tell, plus I got to keep some hair on my head AND had this funny looking chunk of hair sticking out to prove it.

For the next two weeks or so, my hair had to be styled to tame that little souvenir I received on our zip line tour.  It made me laugh every time I noticed and tamed it.  As far as I was concerned, I had just overcome my fear of heights,  and couldn’t wait to do it again!

It took literally hanging by my hair, to appreciate the difference between real urgency and self induced urgency.  Part 2 of this story will explain… stay tuned.

zipline heros

 

The Power of Pigeon

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pigeon

Pigeon Pose, or Eka Pada Rajakapotasana in Sanskrit for my yogis, used to be my absolute favorite pose to get into.  I could lay on the floor with my head turned to one side and  completely let go of life’s troubles.

For the last two years or so I’ve struggled with my once favorite asana.  I thought I was injured, so I saw doctors, chiropractors, naturopaths, massage therapists, I tried resting it and I tried pushing. I even tried reiki.  Nothing helped.  I surrendered to the idea that Pigeon and I were through. It was sad, but we would find new loves.

Over the past several months I’ve found myself a couple of new yoga teachers in Cleveland.  These two were patient, supportive, and new how to massage my muscles in just the right way, for just the right amount of time to get me to the floor once again.  In my Sunday classes, my mini vacation from life, I’d have a big emotional release of breath and tears on the way down.   One day it hit me, I’m not injured.  If I was injured I’d not be able to get there and stay there.  I was full of stress and anxiety.  My hips stayed tight because I was doing everything I could to hang on.  With a loving touch and patience, and that calming, reassuring male voice behind me, I LET GO.

I thought that since I knew what the problem was I’d be able to get in the pose without the help of an assist.  I was wrong.

A few weeks later I went to an intensive training with the very special, Seane Corn.  Seane brings God into her practice and classroom, and I felt a wave of relief and heavenly support when she’d open class with a prayer and end it with one too.  She’d take us through a 2-3 hour hot, slow flow vinyasa, always working us into a pigeon by the end .  On the last day of that training, broken down, wide open, ready to receive and let go of everything and anything, I collapsed into Pigeon, sobbing.  The reasons for my anxiety exploded from my hips and heart and into head. I realized that I had to change my life.  I did not work this hard, thus far, to be back in the same place I started in.  In that same moment Seane spoke to the me.  She was teaching a class of about 100 people, but she spoke to ME, and later confirmed that message from spirit in a private conversation.   I wish to God I could remember her exact words, but I received what I was meant to and something in me shifted that day.

It was less than one month later that I went to Nicaragua to teach yoga on a life coaching retreat.

When I came home, I told my family and friends that I had decided to stop fighting my desire to be free, to travel, and to meet, teach, and learn from more people around the world.  It felt goooooooood.  

I felt good.  I felt ready, relieved, happy, excited, healthier, stronger and at peace, like never before.  It felt like my whole being said, “Finally! what took you so long, Lisa?!”, as if this is what I was meant to do, here for, and deserved for all my hard work.

It was a month before I took my next yoga class with one of my favorite teachers back home. She put us into pigeon without warming us up first and i thought, “NO WAY. Not gonna happen.”

I not only was able to find pigeon, but i melted right into my mat without a pain, grimmace, or fear.  I sat up immediately with a huge smile on my face! “That was it!”, I thought.  I was so excited I wanted to tell the whole classroom! I heard the message right away.  I had to drop the baggage, the stress and anxiety caused by the unnecessary pressures I had accumulated over the past few years.  I had made a CHOICE, took back my life, and let go of the excess.

Since that day, I’ve only had pain in pigeon when I’m not breathing, or staying in the present.  My fellow yogis understand the emotional affects of yoga asana (poses). For those of you who don’t practice yoga, trust us, try it, and see what you can let go of in order to find your peace and truth.  It’s so worth it.

Growing Pains

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“Really?”

It’s New Year’s Eve 2014, and I get to spend it with good friends and in yoga clothes, a perfect ending to a long hard year. This past week, however, I’ve been experiencing what I call “growing pains”. Let me explain.

With each one of you I’ve met with or read a card or message from, I have so much joy and heartache both. I realize how much I love every single one of you and as I’m happily answering your questions about my new plans, I’m realizing I’m going to have to leave you for awhile to live them out.

That doesn’t deter me, or make me question my decision, instead it feels beautiful and sad and incredible and, well very difficult to describe.

I’ve been crying a lot lately, this kind of cry where’s there’s actual pain in my heart and the tears are big, fat, crocodile tears. The thoughts I’m having are memories of my past, all the hard work I’ve done to be where I am, how much I’m going to miss everyone and how what is happening to me right now is a huge shift in my entire being.

Tonight I went from dancing and singing to sobbing within minutes. The painful crying was accompanied by thoughts of the beautiful cards, letters, messages, texts, phone calls and gifts from so many of you. It was for accomplishing my goals with healing my body and spirit, growing my two businesses, having the courage to leave unhealthy situations, and pride in, and love of myself.

As I sell off my belongings, I find myself feeling more lonely.  I find this to be very interesting as well. Why would the absence of furniture cause me to feel a feeling that is usually associated with other human beings, such as loneliness? A dear friend answered that question for me today.  She said that it’s not the furniture I see leaving, it’s the life I know, the familiar, and it’s ok to grieve that.  The moment she said it, it felt true.  I took a big breath and let it all go.  That’s all I really needed to hear in that moment.

Talking to another friend today, I told her that some people close to me were throwing alot of “what ifs” at me, and it really brought me down.  “What if you meet someone?”, “What if you get sick?”, “What if you run out of money?”, “What if a volcano erupts while you’re there?!”

Really? 

So my friend made a good point.  People don’t ask those kinds of questions on a daily basis, think about it.  What if I meet someone tomorrow while sick during a volcanic eruption?  What if?!

This friend reminded me to have patience with the questions, and although I can’t comprehend NOT doing what I’m doing for possible “what if” scenarios, I can understand that their questions come from a place of love and care.  I know that some of my closest family members won’t feel settled until they see me doing well, and I am so lucky to have that kind of love in my life.

The loneliness also comes from the simple fact that I am doing this alone. That’s ok.  I want and need this experience, for me and my own personal and spiritual growth.

Some would feel the pain of change and consider it a sign that it’s not the right thing to do. What I wish everyone could see is that big change cannot be possible without some sort of pain, unless you have no heart.  It’s imperative that you work through it, not avoid it, and stay aware of the feelings and thoughts that occur during the process.

I’ve received several messages from people I haven’t seen or spoken to in years, and they’re telling me what they are suffering with right now and how they wish they could make changes too. There are so many people who feel stuck and afraid.

The best advice I can give is this:
1.  Write down what it is you want
2.  Write the fears that stop you from moving forward
3.  Solve the “problem” of the fear by writing ways to work around the “what ifs”
4.  Acknowledge that you don’t want to have regrets
5.  and that you don’t know how much time you actually have
6.  Make one small move a day towards your goals
7.  Become your best Self
You might have growing pains, but if you don’t try, you’ll never know what could have been.

Let Go and Let God

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“If I’m losing balance in a pose, I stretch higher and God reaches down to steady me.  It works every time, and not just in yoga.” ~Terri Guillemets

I find myself losing balance in and out of yoga lately.  Not shocking.  In the past 25 days I have made a decision to move out of the country, sold one of my businesses and some of my furniture and am working on selling the other, found my cats a new loving home, taught my last class at one of my studios, started this blog, met with over 30 different friends and family members to share my news in person, made plans to teach at another retreat in Nicaragua, and those are just the things I can remember.

I suppose that’s a lot to do in 25 days, but I have so much more!  I am overwhelmed.  I find myself just frozen in my apartment, staring, wondering how I will sell all of my things in the next 5 weeks, and wondering what it is I’m forgetting to ask or do. As excited as I am to go, I am equally as nervous and emotional.  Please don’t misunderstand me; I have zero doubt about this path I have chosen to take.  What’s about to happen has been a vision in my mind for so long, I couldn’t tell you when it began.  In fact, I’m still in shock that this is actually happening. What I do want to share is that I am human, and I’m willing to admit that I am all kinds of nervous.

Like the quote above, I do reach to God and my angels to calm me, to steady me, and to keep me moving forward.  I have felt this kind of force before in my life.  It feels like I am being moved by something more powerful than myself.  Things are moving so quickly that it can’t be anything but “meant to be.” In the past, those circumstances, although painful at the time, all brought me to something more beautiful.  Now, when I’m feeling the “push”, I stop fighting it and I remember to let God lead me.  “Let go and let God”, my mother has always told me.  It sounded so “cheesy” to me 20 years ago.

I finally understand.

I also understand that it’s ok to be nervous even when you’re happy. I understand that I will have the time of my life, while missing my family and friends back home in a way I’ve never experienced.  I understand that it will be so hot I won’t want to move some days, but I won’t have a car or air conditioning.  I understand it’s a third world country, and I will be without the safety of the American Justice System.  I understand there are giant insects that hide in shoes, and dirt everywhere.  I am ok with all of these things because I “let go, and let God”, and I let go of fear.  I also understand that not everyone feels the same.

Some have asked me what the point of this is. or why I want to leave home to live in another country, especially a third world country.  I answer that it has always been a dream of mine to travel, or because I want to LIVE and experience as many beautiful places as I can, and write and teach yoga and meet people.  What I don’t tell them is that I really don’t know.  I feel driven, pushed, guided and led to make this journey.  My past has proven that this drive I have is coming from something much bigger than my little human ego.  I believe I am led by my angels and God, and once I made the decision to go all the doors were opened.

My emotions are running high, I have a knot in my stomach about the work left to do, tears over the people I will miss, and I’m exhausted in every sense of the word, but I move forward.  To those who’ve expressed fear or worry for me and my travels please let that go.  For those who have warned me or even tried to stop me, please let that go.  Don’t even own your fear, Let. It. Go.  There are some who have shared all of the possible horrors that could happen to me on my trip, and I answer them that I refuse to live in fear.  There is no way a possible “what if” situation would keep me from experiencing the world and living my life.

We all have our own paths to take. 

When you don’t know which one is yours, “let go and let God.”  Stop thinking, start feeling, and have faith that you will live the life you love.  See what happens when you reach higher and let God steady you.  Maybe I’ll get to see you in Costa Rica!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The People!

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me  people Tyler

Oh my gosh, the people!

The people are why I am here.  It feels so good to say that.  My mother reminded me last night that I was at one time, not too long ago, feeling lonely, separate from all the other people.  I had forgotten that, but when she reminded me I felt those lonely feelings as if it were yesterday.  For a long time I had felt like I didn’t belong here, on Earth.  I was desperate to “go home”.  Home being Heaven.  I felt like I had no connection to other people, and that was a sad, sad feeling.  The idea of having to pretend I belonged here, for many more years to come, was painful.

Through my work with yoga and the chakras, I was able to work through that desperation and reconnect myself to my friends, family and place I called home, but that’s a topic for another blog.  This post is to share with you the connections I made with the people I met in Nicaragua, and how each and every one of them inspired me to take this chance I’m taking today.

First, there is Penny.  Penny Light is the Life Coach and beautiful soul who invited me to teach yoga on her Life Coaching retreat.  Because of her, I had the opportunity to meet so many incredible people in my short 8 days in Nicaragua. My friendship and connection to Penny was instantaneous, from the moment we first met on Facebook to the ten months later when we met in person.  I felt like I had known her my whole life.

That may be why, on the second day of our trip, I made a joke about moving in with her in Costa Rica and quitting my Ohio life. She turned my joke into an actual offer, and that set my mind (and anxiety) on overdrive.  Could I actually do that?! Sell my two yoga studios I worked so hard for, leave my parents and grandparents, sell my belongings, and what about my cats?!

Not intending to be serious, on our first day of our life coaching workshop, I mentioned the dream I’d always had of quitting work for a year and traveling to see the world.  Penny asked me why I couldn’t do that, so i started to list my reasons.  With each reason i gave, Penny and the group would reply with a solution.  I quickly realized that all of these years I had been listing the reasons and fears that stopped me from living my dream, but I had never gone any further than that.  I had never actually answered, or tried to come up with a solution to those fears or reasons.  That was the day I realized my impossible dream was possible.

From that moment forward I decided to live the rest of my trip in the idea that a decision had been made to never go home, and see how I really felt about making such a drastic lifestyle change.

The first thing I noticed was a lightness that had come over me.  I felt really, truly, happy, free, and powerful.  I felt creative, excited, and I missed my parents.  My cats were ok in my head.  I didn’t think much more other than about how I would support myself and my new travels I was silently planning.  Oh, and then the guilt, the fear of having to tell the people who raised me, befriended me, and my business partner with whom I still owed another 36 months of service to.  I think the best way to describe what I felt over the next few days was torn, excited, alive and tormented.

I know that when spirit is guiding us we feel joyful, positive feelings, and when it’s ego, we feel feelings like fear, guilt and shame.  I seemed to be feeling both at the same time.  So to help myself work through the decision making, I turned to “the people”.

I began talking to everyone I met about my next possible decision. I’d sit next to strangers at the bar and ask them questions like, “What’s your name? Where are you from? How long have you been traveling? Where’s your favorite place on earth? How do you do it?! Does your family support your travel?  How do you support yourself, or make a living to pay for your travels?”

The people I “interviewed” were not only willing to answer my questions, they were friendly, relaxed, and happy to give me all their answers plus extra bits of fascinating stories, ideas and tips for doing it myself.

There was Ryan, the nurse from Canada who saved $10,000 so he could spend a year in Australia, then worked picking grapes to make money for his next trip. Now he takes the entire month of November off every year to travel.

There was Tyler who was in his early twenties, and traveled alone, country to country, journaling and enjoying his freedom.  Tyler would make a good chunk of money life guarding in California, then travel until he ran out, and then he’d start over.  I started talking to him because he had a beautiful Hamsa tattoo on his arm.  I saw him journaling in a giant leather book in front of the 79 foot Jesus statue on top of San Juan del Sur, and thought he looked like he’d be willing to talk.   I could have talked to him about his adventures for hours.

The day we volunteered at the Barrio Planta Project  I met Dyani.  She is from the States, and started the school.  She and I got to talk later that night, and she was such an inspirational, strong woman.  I felt her power just talking with her.  No, it was not the tequila!

The children at Barrio Plant Project were making an impact on me without even trying.  I got to teach them yoga outside and afterwards we had to work through the language barrier to take them on a scavenger hunt through the city.  They were fun, full of excitement and adventure, and I got to feel like a child that day because of their kindness and willingness to do something new and take us with them.  There was so much happy crying and laughter both that day.

There was Stephanie (Chefanie), our chef at Nica Yoga, who showed up everyday with the sweetest of smiles and lightness of heart that made me want to hug her while she prepared the most, not (exagerrating) healthy and unbelievably good food I have ever had.  I would’ve paid any amount of money to ensure her a spot in all of my future retreats.  She was not “just our chef”, she had the heart and soul anyone would want to be around.

DeWitt.  He lives in Nicaragua, but is from Texas, with no accent. That’s an important detail about him.  That’s how we started talking.  He was in our house one day and I asked him where he was from because he sounded like me, no accent.  DeWitt is warm, loving and hilarious, while holding his professionalism steady.  He made sure we were all taken care of, and was a pleasure to be with.  When I wasn’t feeling well, he concocted some magic tea to help me sleep and ordered me not to speak to rest my sore throat. I told him he was special, and I meant it.

I met two young men on our boat cruise who were from Norway.  They both were in their year after graduation from college, as engineers.  They said in Norway they are not only encouraged to take one year off to travel before they start working, they are also in a program that helps them fund their travel!  Americans could learn a lot from them!  If we all saw the world before we dove into work, I think we’d all have minds and hearts more open and accepting of others.

On that same boat cruise, I met two business men from Holland.   They had a month of travel in their plans.  That’s what they do!  They didn’t understand why we would only get 2 weeks off a year.  I don’t understand that either!

Tim, worked at the Brewery.  He and his friends went down to Nicaragua one year during college and noticed they only had one type of beer down there.  Who better to notice that than college boys?  So they put it in their heads that Nica needed a brewery, and a few short years later, they made it happen.

The people on the retreat with me and Penny; Ali, Susan, Christin, Chris, Paul, Teri, Lara, Nick, Kate, and Jen. They all were inspirational to me.  Ali was on her biggest healing journey, Susan was setting herself to find love and financial security in herself, Christin and Kate, my soul sisters whose hearts and inner beauty were big enough to fill a room, Lara who made her fear her profession, Nick the world traveler in search of happiness not material, Chris, my very special friend who would give everything he had to help anyone else, Paul and Teri, the super romantic couple who never hid their love from anyone, Jen was already making the biggest changes of her life when we met, and of course Penny who has quit corporate to live in Africa with the lions – who better to coach me on my next chapter?!

I could go on and on, but the point….the point is coming.

The one thing all of these people said to me that was the same was, “What do you mean, ‘how do you do it?’ You just do it!”

Then I’d say something like, “No, I’m from Cleveland.  We don’t ‘just do it’ there.   We are lucky to get 2 weeks off for vacation, and not always back to back.  We also are taught to work until we die, or retire when we can’t go anywhere. This sort of living isn’t really encouraged where I’m from.”

So the more people I met, the more people I would talk to and converse with, the braver I got.  I realized it really IS possible, and it’s not even that big of a deal.  I realized I was surrounded with people who were not afraid to live.  I was surrounded by people who lived the way they wanted to, and didn’t think that was a big deal.  I realized I wanted to be around more of those people.  people who encouraged my dreams of world travel, and those who instead of feeding my fear, fed my courage, my inner strength, and my desire to really LIVE my life.

The people I was once afraid to connect with, had my attention.    There was no turning back.  I knew I was about to change my life, and I let go of the fear. What I didn’t know was that my people back home were going to be surprising me with their support and encouragement.  I don’t know why I doubted them, but I am ok with admitting I was wrong.

My mother told me she had a feeling I was going to come home and tell her I wanted to move to Costa RIca.  I hadn’t even told her that was my plan, she just used her mother’s intuition I suppose.  She said she’d be sad, but what an adventure, and how could she not support it if that was my plan?  My 90 year old grandparents said something like, “You get one life, you gotta do it if that what you want to do!”

My business partner told me she supported me 100%, and that she always knew I’d go off and do something like this.

Even my ex boyfriend told me that although it broke his heart, he was so happy for me to have this opportunity. He listened to my plans intently, and shared in my bittersweet excitement.  That is real love.

So, one by one, from the day I got home from Nicaragua on Dec 2, to today, Dec 22, I have met with friends, family members, students, teachers, and everyone close to me to tell them my news in person or on the phone, and every one of them has been supportive, encouraging, and excited for me in one way or another.  Even my father who doesn’t understand why i would leave my stable source of income, my studios, is happy for me, although sad for himself.  My parents are the best kind of parents.  They support me living my dreams and are selfless in the process.

The people! The people in my life; new, old, related, strangers, it doesn’t matter.  The people in my life have inspired me, encouraged me, and are supporting me on my own personal journey.  All in their own ways, all in their own perfect ways, and i appreciate every single one.

I am so blessed, and so very happy that I reconnected with “the people”, my people.

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