At the center of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want. If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading. Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them – that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.
Rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you. Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.
Kindness in words creates confidence.
Kindness in thinking creates profoundness.
Kindness in giving creates love.
Respond intelligently even to unintelligent treatment.
The words of truth are always paradoxical.
Truthful words are not beautiful; beautiful words are not truthful.
Good words are not persuasive; persuasive words are not good.
Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.
Lao Tzu ( also Lao Tse) was a mystic philosopher of ancient China, and best known as the author of the Tao Te Ching
I took my first road trip alone by bus this past Tuesday to Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica. I was in the mood for seeing lots of monkeys and I was told this was where to go to find them. Little did I know how many monkeys I would find… 5 ½ hours later after 3 buses with the locals and major language barriers, I made it to this slice of monkey and beach paradise. I dropped off my back pack in my cheap dive of a hotel room and headed to the huge, beautiful public beach right out front. Magical is all I can say. I took a long walk towards the end of the beach taking in the gorgeous Costa Rican scenery, watching surfers, locals and tourists all do their thing. I notice some people pointing up in a tree and there right on the public beach were 6 monkeys. Of course I didn’t have my camera as I just got there and never expected to see monkeys on the public beach. But there they were, arm length away trying to take peoples bags looking for food. Apparently you don’t worry about people taking your stuff on the beach But more like the monkeys. People literally tie their stuff to the trees so the monkeys don’t take off with the bags. It was quite funny to see this and very real as I watched the monkeys being sneaky, with no fear, trying to take peoples stuff. I must have stayed there for an hour watching them – they have no care in the world about us humans. Just completely in their own world eating, playing and swinging all over the place and occasionally observing us humans. I continued walking down the beach very happy that within the first 20 minutes of arriving that I got to see monkeys already. Big smile on my face, I find a place to sit and watch the sunset. I head back to my hotel room before dark and pass right out not even changing… 5am I am up with the sunrise (and the ants in my room) and head over to Manuel Antonio National Park which happens to be right next door to me. Bring on the monkeys!
As I enter the park and head up the trail into the jungle I see a blue morpho butterfly. They are so beautiful, my favourite. When they close their wings they are brown but when they fly and open them, they are the most amazing bright deep blue that sparkles in the sun. I decide to follow it just like in the movie I saw recently called ‘The Blue Butterfly’ which was filmed in Costa Rica... As it flies down a different trail and I turn with it to follow, an older man with a camera is walking towards me and I ask if he saw anything. He is excited and said come, monkeys! He points up in the tree and there are 5 white faced monkeys roaming and eating in the trees. I thank him and off he went.
There I was alone with all these Monkeys. It was truly breath taking. This was real jungle, not a zoo and they were right there in front of me. I literally stayed for over 3 hours watching, observing and following these fascinating creatures in the jungle as they lied around in the trees, branches, sitting, eating, chasing each other, swinging and playing. They were all different sizes. I was blown away with their form and ease, flexibility, strength and effortlessness moving from branch to branch, tree to tree in all these different positions. Kinda like yoga. I think monkeys are yogis, yes definitely, they are yogis :)
Then a man and his young daughter ame and stood beside me looking at the monkeys.The young girl pulls out a banana and the monkeys start to come down from the trees towards us. The girl puts out her arm with the banana to one of the monkeys. Slowly & cautiously he comes down, takes the banana & runs back up the tree a bit, peels the banana and enjoys. The rest of the monkeys now envious & flocking around. Monkey See, Monkey Do! Amazing moment I will never forget.
I headed back down a different trail to where I as told to go swimming. I find a beautiful piece of secluded sandy beach in a cove, a perfect place where you can just go out into the ocean and float in the waves. I stayed for 2 hours and had moments of absolute pure bliss where I was laughing out loud as I floated and looked up into clear blue sky saying pura vida, thank-you...
Earth teach me quiet ~ as the grasses are still with new light.
Earth teach me suffering ~ as old stones suffer with memory.
Earth teach me humility ~ as blossoms are humble with beginning.
Earth teach me caring ~ as mothers nurture their young.
Earth teach me courage ~ as the tree that stands alone.
Earth teach me limitation ~ as the ant that crawls on the ground.
Earth teach me freedom ~ as the eagle that soars in the sky.
Earth teach me acceptance ~ as the leaves that die each fall.
Earth teach me renewal ~ as the seed that rises in the spring.
Earth teach me to forget myself ~ as melted snow forgets its life.
Earth teach me to remember kindness ~ as dry fields weep with rain.
An Ute Prayer
to be able to rise from the earth;
to be able, from a station in outer space,
to see the relationship of the planet earth to other planets;
to be able to contemplate the billions of factors
in precise & beautiful combination that make human existence possible;
to be able to dwell on an encounter of the human brain & spirit
with the universe - all this enlarges the human horizon
Last night after an unbelievable huge, full moon and a group healing bowl sound session (with amazing crystal bowls) outdoors under the stars, I came back to my room, lit some candles and collapsed exhausted into my bed. Starring into the candle light, deep in thought of the past, the present, what I want in the future were racing around in my brain. As my eyes became heavy and I was drifting off, the whole room started shaking. The ground under me and my bed was moving. For a split second I thought “am I dreaming the room is moving” then I realized no, this was real and we just had an earthquake. I sat up and realized I just experienced my first real earthquake in Costa Rica on the full moon! Outside someone was shouting “Omg earthquake!” I lied back down kinda in shock and blew out my candle next to me. Everything was still now and dark. I thought of Japan, thought of Clara and Kumi, thought of all the people over there that have died, have lost everything and are still feeling that kind of movement everyday. It’s surreal. Scary. I don’t even know what to say but glad it was only a short, small one…
A few days ago after dinner and tea with guests on the balcony, I decided to turn in early and made my way back to my room with my flashlight. I live a short walk up hill in the workers house where I have my own small, private, humble room and bathroom. I have to be careful walking because there are lots of critters in the dark you may step on. The frogs have been everywhere lately. I have been greeted by a gigantic frog at my door eating June bugs with his unbelievable long tongue. (see my video of the dude) So crazy. I like him though because he eats those awful critters. He can hang outside my door any night…
Anyways, happy I made it to my room without actually stepping on any frogs or surprises on my way. I open my door and race to go to the bathroom. As I reach for and roll out the toilet paper, out flies a dam SCORPION, right out of the roll! I scream out loud and Cuco (local worker next door to me) is like whats wrong?! Let me in. As I pull my pants up and make my way around the bad ass critter who scared the hell out of me, I let Cuco in… Now, Cuco is the coolest guy I have ever met. He is the hardest worker. He is why AmaTierra is in tip top shape. He is the jack of all trades and can do anything. Seriously. He can do anything! He is also the happiest man I have ever met. He has a beautiful family that he is away from 5 days a week while he works here.
He takes in stray animals, like the starving puppy someone dropped off here weeks ago. This sweet dog was hanging outside my place for days. I fell in love with her and heart broken wondering what was going to happen to her. Cuco said "no worries I will take her home. My kids will love her!" And sure enough when it was time for him to leave, he packed her up and strapped her to the front of him and rode off on his motorbike with the puppy’s head hanging out of a potato sack. It was the cutest thing I ever saw. He also never kills anything. He just picks up the bugs from indoors and lets them go outside, on there way…
Soooooooo... back to the scorpion. So here is Cuco with a cup and piece of paper getting this dam scorpion out of my room. He gets it into the cup and we walk outside. He tells me once the rain comes they like to find a dry place to hide. He must of got in under the door. I said to him “so what you going to do with it? Let it go?” He said "no, kill it!" My mouth dropped open because he never kills anything but THESE he does. They bite, they hurt, and they make you go numb. He was bite before when one crawled up his leg under his pants. The scorpion got him 5 times at once. You get cold and numb. But you don’t die. So I guess that is good!? A little freaked out, yes I am...
AS I WRITE THIS BLOG ANOTHER EARTHQUAKE! GEEZ!!!!!! Messed up! I need to go teach yoga. It is 645am right now… I feel like I am in the land of oz… what will happen next?
Within each of us there is a silence
- a silence as vast as the universe.
We are afraid of it... and we long for it.
When we experience that silence,
We remember who we are;
Creatures of the stars
Created from the birth of galaxies,
Created from the cooling of this plant,
Created from dust and gas,
Created from the elements,
Created from time and space...
Created from silence.
Silence is the source of all that exists,
the unfathomable stillness where vibration began
- the first oscillation, the first word,
from which life emerged.
Silence is our deepest nature,
our home, our common ground, our peace.
Silence reveals. Silence heals.
from the book 'Wisdom I have Shared'
by Janet Crump
I woke up to a heaviness in my chest this morning like something wasn’t right. I should have been excited as it was my day off and I was heading to the beach. I went down had my breakfast of fresh pineapple, mango, yogurt and homemade oatmeal and some yummy Costa Rican coffee. Ok much better! Ready for the beach! Then I here Kenny yelling from another room ‘Pam come quick another earthquake in Japan!’. My heart sunk and the heaviness was back, oh no. I went to the other room, watching TV, CNN for the first time since I arrived here 2 weeks ago and this is what was on - 7.4 earth quake in Japan. I immediately thought of the 2 people I know there and checked in with them. Kenny comes out saying don’t tell the guests. I am phoning to make sure it is safe to go to the beach today. Heaviness again in my chest. Should I go today?
I start thinking back to 2009, the Philippines, when I landed at Manila airport right after the big tsunami hit. I landed in the worst turbulence I had ever experienced and was stranded in the soaking wet airport for many, many hours not even knowing what was going on in the Philippines. Then I thought of the boat ride I took that same week in the Philippines to an island that I never should have went to. It was a really old boat, the wind and the waves were brutal and I had tears rolling down my face from fear of tipping over in the ocean and drowning. I use to have a lot of dreams that I was drowning as a child in the ocean. Some with laughing clowns on a raft spinning into a dark abyss of funnelling water. Thinking back to that moment, it didn’t feel to far off from my dreams…
'PAM ready to go? Its fine at the beach right now, don’t tell the guests about Japan, so they enjoy themselves today, ok?' Kenny wakes me from my thoughts of the past. Heaviness again in my chest. 'Yep, ok, ready to go'… As I pile into the van, the guests all cheer, happy that I am coming. I put on a pretend smile and cheer back but really feel sick inside about Japan and wondering is it really wise to go near water today? 'BEEP BEEP BEEP!' I open my eyes and we are surrounded by cows, big cows! I immediately start laughing. Nothing like a bunch of cows to bring you back to the present. American Kentucky folk getting out of the van taking pictures of cows surrounding our van, all the while making fun of themselves for it. I joined in and grabbed my camera. It was really funny. What was even more funny, was the little old lady with a bull wipe gathering them back in. Dam she was in charge of those bulls!
An hour later we make it to Esterillos Beach. I get out of the van and the heaviness leaves me as I set my eyes on a little piece of rustic Costa Rican beach paradise. The waves are strong but they look perfect for a board. I wander over to the first rental shack and get a boogie board. '$?!# it, lets get in the water!' Me and this other lady from the group of 18 people are the only ones in the water with a board. She is 63. So here I am riding awesome waves with a 63 year old lady who has no fear. I think to myself, I hope that is me when I am 63. So cool. I stayed in the water for hours. The waves were awesome but really powerful. Some of them scared the shit out of me especially when I did an underwater flip and didn’t come up for air right away, which felt like minutes...
Ok time for a break. Beer break. The driver had a cooler with him and we stopped to fill it up with beer and drinks for the beach. Beach, beer and boogie board. I am one happy gal. As I looked out into the ocean. I noticed the waves getting stronger. Wow it has to be because of Japan today I thought. Or maybe it is always like that? Heaviness in my heart again… BEEEEEEEEEEEEEP again. This time a life guard is blowing his whistle and a red flag is stuck in the sand. I go over to see what is going on. A rip tide is really strong in one area and he is telling people without boards to only go in to their waists and for us with boards to move to a different area. I head back into the water but a little hesitant as I look at the red flag. RED flag Pam. Red is a sign Pam. I head over to the other area and off I go once again into the water determined to get over my fears of drowning. I meet a cool girl floating among the waves who is out there as well and start talking to her. She helps run the Lowtide Lounge and has been living here for a year. She is from San Francisco. We start catching the waves together having a blast. Ahhh this is bliss… Then, I look back and a ENORMOUS wave is approaching me and I get ready. Get ready alright, to drown! Next thing I know I am at the shore puking salt water from my lungs and through my nose is a faucet of snot and salt just a flowing. Talk about an ocean size neti pot… I look over and see Lisa and she is like 'holy shit that was huge! Are you ok!' Cough, cough, yeah I think so… I look out into the water and it is crazy. The tide is coming in and the waves are so strong and huge. I knew this was because of Japan. I was done. The next thing I know the life guard is blowing his whistle all over the place and getting everyone out of the water. Even the surfers. I head back to the surf shack with Lisa and return the boogie board. We all start talking about the surf and they say it is never like this, its pretty insane out there. I bring up the quake and some didn’t even know about it and others were like yeah that is why the water is like that today. Some of the surfers were getting pulled down to the ocean floor. It was that strong…. Uhhhh time for a walk…
I head out down the beach for a long walk to a beautiful statue in the ocean of a mermaid. The waves are crashing and bowing at her feet. So beautiful, so powerful to look at. I look over to the shoreline and see a guest clicking away with his camera in the trees. I walk over and look up and there are at least 30 huge Scarlet Macaws perched in the trees cracking open almonds. My mouth drops open and I am in complete awe. These are the endangered species in Costa Rica that are being hunted and poached for profit - the big beautiful parrots with all the colors of the rainbow and the really long tails. Here they were right in front of us eating away almond in the trees, with no care in the world. Locals were coming out to watch this magical moment too. Out came my camera and click, click, click. Most awesome moment to be surrounded with these divine creatures in untouched nature and huge ocean waves behind us. After about an hour of watching them eat and talk to each other in their loud cackle language, they all flew away together, wings fully expanded into the pink falling sunset…
Well it’s been two weeks since I arrived in Costa Rica. I have been meaning to write but seriously, there is so much to experience it is hard to find the time. What can I say but ‘Pura Vida’ which is the most popular saying in Costa Rica meaning "pure life or plenty of life, full of life, this is living, going great, real living, or cool" then there is the expression twenties (wrong spelling) which is another popular saying by the locals meaning too good. Yep, that about sums it up! Costa Rica is a magical place with so many different climates and eco systems all over the country. I am currently located in the mountains and jungle near Puriscal, Orotina, Jaco and an hour southwest from San Jose airport. There is no tourism in this area. Amatierra is the only small rustic hotel, yoga & wellness center nestled in the mountains among the locals and Costa Rican jungle. We are just coming into the rainy season here which lasts until October. Now when I say rain, I don’t mean the ugly cold Vancouver kind of rain that lasts for weeks on end with dark grey sky. I mean the kind that happens about 4pm-6pm everyday that is so refreshing to be in and have after a long hot day of sunshine.The air is clean and crisp, the mountains and jungle comes to life and the birds and animals come out. Speaking of the sun the temperature in this area is 62-85 degrees all year long. It is perfect! Not too hot and definitely not cold at all. The storms wow! The energy is in your face. Amazing lightening storms and the thunder feels like you need to bow to Mother Nature who is reminding you she is in charge. Oh yes she is…
RAINING MANGOES, FOOD BLISS & PURE SPRING WATER - AmaTierra is magical. I am so impressed with what Bob and Jill the owners are doing with this place. www.amatierra.com. They have created a beautiful unique oasis, big on sustainable living, growing most of their own produce and buying from the locals. There are 60 mango trees on the property! Do you know how many mangos that is!? Mangos fall from trees on a daily basis like rain in Vancouver. They fall on my roof at night waking me up. It is crazy to think they are $2-$4 dollars a mango back in Vancouver. In Costa Rica they are 15 mangos for $2.00 and they are big and juicy. I eat mango everyday. Mango in my homemade granola and yogurt for breakfast, mango salsas, mango breads, mango desserts. Mango Heaven everywhere! Also the watermelon, papayas and pineapples are so big, juicy and so much flavor, flavor... yum. I look forward to my fruit plate every morning at breakfast. Speaking of food. I don’t know where to begin!? I get 3 free meals a day! The cooking staff (all authentic Costa Rican) are out of this world. They have a chef, not a cook, a chef named Pablo who should be world famous by now. He is so inspiring. The flavours he creates with sauces and dressings are to die for and yet all so very healthy. I have never eaten so well and I have never enjoyed salads and vegetables this much ever! The fish is caught locally and is so good! The tuna is mouth watering especially with the sauce they make for it. And the Ceviche!? Get out of here! The best I have ever had! Chicken is all hormone free and organic. We are going to put a cook book together soon. The drinking water is pure spring water! You can drink from any tap on the property even in the bathrooms and it tastes good. To not worry about water, is such a great blessing, but you really need to conserve the water as in dry season it is sparse...
WORKING IN PARADISE - So here I am working in paradise. Yes this is paradise for me. I am teaching yoga 6 days a week when retreats aren’t happening on the property and only regular guests are staying here at Amatierra. The yoga studio is magical and massive. I listen to birds and animals as I teach looking into the breath taking view of jungle, mountains and green. I am giving spa treatments again but only the ones I love to give like, body wraps, exfoliations, facials and some aromatherapy relaxation massage treatments. I am also doing a bit of floral care, helping promote this awesome place around the world, going on hikes and tours with guests for free (which I still can not wrap my brain around) and also doing some guest service and computer work and a little bit of Latin dance classes when guests have the urge to have some fun after dinner. I am using every skill I have acquired over the years, in this one little piece of paradise. It is fulfilling to say the least and to have such a variety of things to do throughout the day keeps it fresh and blissful. Siesta by the pool at around 2pm when it’s quiet is the best and beach days on my day off are awesome, and tours with groups just rock my world. Oh Pinch Me…
TOURS - I am really blessed to be able to experience many of the tours for free in this area. Kenny the manager got me on the ziplines for free! It was amazing. A Tractor ride up a mountain and 12 amazing ziplines down to the bottem through the jungle. Can you say PURA VIDA! I do, on a regular basis... Another tour I did was a simple jungle hike near a protected area for the Scarlet Macaws. The parrots once occupied all of Costa Rica. But hunting and poaching dramatically cut their population, and they now are found only in two national parks along the coast, one I visited on the hike from distance. They are magical. They have guards on the land from poachers who get up to $10,000 for one. Crazy world we live in... Yesterday I went to yet again, another rustic, local piece of true Costa Rican Paradise that Kenny our manager found all on his own. A guided hike, (not for the injuried) to 3 beautiful waterfalls. Swimming and jumping off of the rocks in the pure fresh water and swinging like tarzan from the locals rope attached to a tree. Just doesn't get better then this... Jaco is a local beach, tourist town which is less then an hour away. It was so nice to see the ocean, jump into the ocean and surrender to the warm ocean waves. Looking forward to many more days and sunsets at all the different beaches in the area... 'twenties baby'
BUGS & ANIMALS - So the one downfall of living in jungle paradise is bugs. Bugs, bugs, bugs. Lots of bugs. Can I say bugs everywhere? OMG there are so many bugs! Day 2, I thought I wasn’t going to be able to handle it. But 2 weeks later I am definitely one with the bugs. There is nothing here that will really harm you, just creep the hell out of you. Some critters are so cute and I am fascinated by them. Others like the dam June bugs that love to fly into light, into my hair, landing on me but doing nothing, are annoying. I have shirked a few times loud and the staff loves to laugh at me doing my freak-out dance. Spiders definitely gross! Yuk, seriously I am scared of them but yes they are more scared of me and I am beginning to see that and calm down. They are just so dam big here and having dreams that gigantic spiders are coming down the walls to get you is definitely not helping me but that is subsiding now finally. So dramatic my brain. I try not to kill anything, just get it out of my space and send it on its way even if it is flying out of a cup through the front door with me cursing in the background. And ants, dam ants. Big ants, red ants. I hate ants. The big ones I kill. They bite. Not very Buddhist of me, yes but I am trying and learning to change my perspective on bugs…
WITH BUGS comes many amazing birds and animals. I guess the bugs are worth it when you see so many varieties of amazing species. Especially all the beautiful different birds. They wake me up in the morning right at sunrise with so many different tones and sound effects. Automatic alarm clock live. Love it. My favorite bird is the Toucan. They are seriously so cool and beautiful. They are all over the place here. Last week as I ate lunch on the balcony 5 of them landed in a tree not far from me. So beautiful. Last week in the yoga studio as I was practicing on my own looking out over the valley I heard a loud rustle in the trees. When you here a loud rustle in Costa Rica you learn to be very still and wait. A beautiful white faced monkey came swinging from tree to tree right in front of me off from the yoga studio. I got up slowly and stood staring at him. He was in his own world eating and then he looked over and saw me. We intensely starred at each other for a longime then he moved on into a tree that hid him and back down into the jungle he went. Yes amazing moment. Apparently there is a troop that likes to hang out near us. The energy is very peaceful and safe here. I am not surprised. And as Jaco grows and is developed more by us humans they are being pushed up further into the mountains. I also saw a really cool animal called a Pizote on a hiking trail here at Amatierra. They are like a racoon, ant eater and monkey all mixed together. It has a cool tail and swings in the trees like a monkey, walks on the ground like a racoon and has a long nose like an ant eater. I had a major silent freak out in the jungle as I was by myself, so excited and so fearful all at once as I had no idea what it was. I just sat still and watched it. It was across the creek from me with its long snout buried in the ground looking for food. It was pretty big like a medium sized monkey. He finally saw me and we had a starring contest. Then he heard another noise ran up a tree and disappeared. Whatever scared him, scared the hell out of me so I ran fast out of the trail, happy I had my camera with me for another amazing moment…