I travelled to Thailand alone when I was 20. It was shortly after 9/11 and the world of travel changed from being luxurious and exciting to anxiety provoking. At O’Hare airport in Chicago all of my luggage was unpacked and repacked before me. Guards with machine guns patrolled the airport. George W was about to initiate his war on terror and travelling so far from home felt tenuous for certain. But I was compelled – a friend I had worked at a bakery with was teaching in Bangkok and it felt like the perfect time and place to liberate my wanderlust. I remember getting to the airport in Bangkok and feeling immediately how out of my depths I was. How my friend and I found one another I’m not sure, way before cell phones or messenger services. There was a moment in the last leg of the very, very long travel (Toronto – Chicago – Tokyo – Bangkok) where I really wasn’t sure I could do this. What if I couldn’t find her? What if no one could help me? I was afraid. I doubted my ability, never having done something like this before, there was a moment I thought I stretched too far. And then…I was through. Like transition in birth, that moment of no-return, when it feels you can’t stretch further and yet you do. These moments of crossing the threshold, moving from what was to what will now be, an in between where you’re nearly suspended between the two versions of you. Uncomfortable, scary, so much unknown. And yet – a trust, a sense of faith, that you will truly make it to the other side. You will traverse the open expanse. And you come over as a new person. A newfound knowing of yourself, your capability, your strength, your resilience. Twenty years later and I still experience this feeling often. Sometimes in travel, like I just did, returning to Canada, a now unknown territory with requirements I wasn’t meeting, as someone who wasn’t playing the game as I was meant to. Knowing my experience would be different than the vast majority, very little to compare it to. And other times – stepping onto stage in front of 300 people. Organizing large scale events. Job interviews. Going back to school. Moving to new cities or countries. Becoming a mother. I’ve had people ask me flat out how I can be so crazy and naive to come back after ‘escaping’. I understand some of you reading this might feel that way and that many of you reading this might be like, whoa, ease up on the drama. If you haven’t felt deeply unsettled by the way the last two years has rolled out in our country, what I’m going to share here may not make sense to you. I’d encourage you read it all the same. Herein lies the crux of all of this, that fundamentally many of us believe different things. And so our actual reality is shaped differently. I understand and honour that now in a way I couldn’t before, I’m happy to share my worldview and know wholeheartedly that it won’t be adopted by many. I’m totally ok with that. And from my small viewpoint, I share the following, I hope you can read it and honour it alongside your own truth.
There has been such a splitting apart in these two years, evident in many obvious ways. Some places seem to have done a better job of not exacerbating those divides, Canada is not one of those places. Anytime you fall into the minority, regardless if it’s perceived as a choice or a privilege or a penalty, there is friction. It’s palpable here. It’s one of the main reasons we left when we did. We saw the opportunity for leaving closing down quickly so we jumped. I don’t regret that, as I’ve shared previously. It felt like an empowered decision, not like I was fleeing. I thought I saw better opportunity elsewhere and I went towards it. And Costa Rica was a safe haven in many ways. It offered a fresh perspective, a general feeling of ease, and a common ground for many others who experienced what I did. One reason finding schooling and housing became so challenging, an offshoot of the mass amounts of expats flooding this beautiful country. Costa Rica is a conventional and conservative country in many ways. They follow ‘science’ and the global narrative as other places do. They have policies and mandates and restrictions. For a time they were essentially completely shut down and shut in. But what I saw was that they hadn’t ever given up was their humanity. They didn’t choose to put their lives on hold. There seems to be a quiet understanding that life would need to go on. And that people would need each other in order to do that. Celebrations and gatherings would continue in some way. The understanding that life was meant for living after all. There wasn’t the sense of judgement, there was an acceptance that not everyone would feel the same as one another and yet they could all cohabitate. The outrageous fear was dulled by the sense of humanity. So the pandemic and all of its trappings just wasn’t even a topic for consideration. We met new people every day, Costa Rican nationals and expats alike, and everyone just went about life with a sense of normalcy. Some chose to do things one way, some chose another. You could simply be in one another’s company without discussion or validation. Just be. Pura vida. We left Canada because we longed for that sense of interaction again. To take our kids to the park or the beach and not wonder if people would worry that we sat too close. Or to not have to have the conversation ad nauseam about symptoms and tests and closures and lock downs. Beyond exhausted by the evolution of how it was going here, we chose sunnier shores. So I get the confusion, why come back? My Canadian friends in Costa Rica looking wide eyed at my IG updates, my friends who felt like they couldn’t leave here but lived vicariously through me shaking their heads. Here’s my unpopular opinion; We are guilty of perpetuating that which we do not want when we constantly oppose and energize it. Yes there is some evil shit happening in the world right now. And I understand more than I ever have before that it’s always been there. We can see and experience it in a different way right now as it tramples on our rights and freedoms, shapes our daily lives, determines for us what is and is not essential. And we can be deeply distressed and angry about it all. We can work ceaselessly to share counter-info, petitions, marches. For some I think that is an incredible and honourable role they have to play in our world at this time. But I know it’s not my role now. I went to the marches. I shared the info. I explored the rabbit holes. And I shook with disbelief, anger, hurt and fear for my kids futures. I spent months anxious and terrified. And then I decided that I wasn’t going to live that way. Whether I bought into the fear they were selling OR the fear the counter movement was selling, I was ending up feeling the same way; imprisoned by fear. The goings-on aren’t new, the tactics are. So if that’s true, then I know that my best option is to continue operating as I always have. Yes – with serious disadvantages (perceived anyway…), with great challenges, with disruption to what I thought my life ‘should’ be like. But I know it’s all actually pushing me further to living more in alignment with how I’ve wanted to. And who I’ve always wanted to be. I always thought I wanted to be a pioneer, who knew this would be the frontier I’d be traversing! Don’t mistake this as a fool-proof prescription for life. I’m no expert, and I don’t wish to be. I wish to live my life in harmony with the earth, with my desires, with community. I desire to create beauty in some way everyday, be it through writing or art or cooking or reading to my babies or dancing in my living room. Yah I’m pissed when someone who has no actual authority over me tries to tell me what I can and cannot do. Yah I feel judged walking bare-faced. Yah I don’t like not being able to know where things are headed. I trust it though, and I trust my heart. There is a big movement of people trying to tell us how to get out, where to go, how to live so that we won’t be forced into massive inflation and food shortages and controlled action. I don’t doubt that some of that will come to pass but I have decided that it won’t be my experience. And I won’t be gridlocked by fear, from any angle. We get so bogged down by what we read and hear we don’t even explore what’s true, like our ability to still move about the world in some fashion. Don’t mistake that for me thinking it’s ok that there are any restrictions on travel and livelihood, but it’s not as impossible as you may be led to believe. When we live by the fear that’s being sold, we’re only seeing one timeline unfold before us. I wrote about this before, and actually what lies outside of the tug of war is all the freedom we need. In order for us to return home in the way we were, without meeting all the current requirements, took massive amounts of courage that I didn’t know I could summon. For all my prostrating to live life on your terms and be wild & free I am still deeply conditioned to be “good”. The agony of convincing your small safe mind that actually, accommodating restrictions or rules that do not fit your value system, and will mean you have to compromise everything you believe is true, will wreak havoc on your spirit. It’s one of the worst kinds of hurt. Self-inflicted either way, complying with something that feels wrong or opposing what seems ‘normal’. Both land you in the space of challenging yourself, you have to decide which challenge is worthwhile.
There’s a trade-off and only you can weigh it out. How much you lose, how much you gain. What’s worth more? The trade-off of being away from family, support, community and ultimately my deepest dreams that I want to create was just too big. So often I’ve felt stretched beyond my limit, unsure how I’ll make it through. There comes a moment within it that all the preparation, tools*, learned experience and helpful advice won’t quell the uncertainty. That’s when I have to step over into nothing and know that I am being carried. That’s when surrendering to trust is the only way through. And every time it is painful. No matter how many times I do it, how far on the fringe I go, every time it feels like the first. Overwhelmed with doubt. Despair sinking into my stomach. Feeling ready to throw up my hands and say “forget the road less travelled, give me certainty!”. Every time. When I come through I am different. Like a snake shedding her skin to reveal a new, thicker, more vibrant pattern, I am born anew. I am more of myself each time. I step up to the threshold and walk across and meet myself more deeply. And though I seem to always feel afraid and uncomfortable AF, I am more firm in my resolve. There is more of my soul urging me on and less of the quaking in my stomach. There is more fire in my conviction and less doubt. I feel as though I stand before myself each time, on trial, and I’m welcomed into my own open arms, fully accepted and actualized as the woman I’m meant to be. So I say all of this because you likely too have your own trials. Many many of them. Countless in fact. Some in leaving, some in choosing to stay. And yet your blessings will outweigh them as you keep walking through the fire. Like a patina that builds in layers, your experience will further define you. And options become limitless as you keep pursuing them. An opening after an opening after an opening. Because it never ends. This growth. This discomfort. There is always a new battle for a warrior. Maybe I will be proven naive. I know that the vibe here in Ontario is muy diferente than the one I had in Costa Rica. But I wonder, can I be the source of that high vibe here? Can I continue to exude that which I felt there, even here, even now? I guess we’ll see. There’s a long list of things I’ll miss about Costa Rica – monkeys, the chirp of geckos on my bedroom ceiling, palm trees, endless sunshine, the sound of the surf, daily swims, fresh pipas, open markets, giant Morphos, soaring green hills, friendliness – but I will see them all again. As you read in my last blog I have chosen a new reality, one where I can still experience the abundance and joy of travelling to new places and the comfort and safety of home.
*The tools shouldn’t be overlooked. Yes ultimately the type of holistic teaching I do reminds you that YOU are your own healer. But the tools help! Tapping. Meditating. Affirmations. Reiki. Breathwork. Movement. Essential oils. Crystals. Nourishment. All pillars for actually supporting your nervous system to be able to make these big leaps through the dark. And I love talking about them so my offerings will still reflect space to coach around these and more!