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Reflecting on a Year of Change

26 Oct

I’ve found myself in a moment of flying solo and I am at a loss of what to do. Where is Kai? Where is K? Where are Venus, Isis, Zeus, Tico, and Luna? I have an endless list of To Dos for work but I can’t bring myself “to do” them at this precise moment. So here I am FLYING SOLO at an altitude of over 10,000 feet. Its been nearly 8 months since I’ve posted here. I’m not sure which adventure to share with you, since there have been so many. So this may have to be a mash-up.

The past 11 months of our new life have been wonderful in so many ways. We love our little place in paradise. Long walks on dirt roads down to the river gorge below our house. Planting lots of lush ginger, heliconias, fruit trees, herbs, and flowers at our Finca Tolomuca. We’ve been going lots of little adventures whenever we can. Fridays at the Farmers Market. Saturdays at the beach. Sundays in the rainforest. Not exactly like that all the time but you get the gist. Life here is quite simply WHOLE. Its not perfect. Its not a utopia. Because life is just not perfect. We laugh more. We play more. We work hard. And we are genuinely happy.

I truly feel as though we are giving Kai the best childhood a kid could have. He has a community at Arco Iris that just adore him. He talks about his friends all the time. He spends quality time with K and I everyday. He gets to run free outside below the magical higueron trees everyday, feel the sun touch his cheeks. He’s found his love for painting, playing music, signing, and dancing. He discovered a passion for cooking yummy treats like pancakes and muffins. We live life in ways we couldn’t before. This is what childhood is all about.

Home Sweet Home! Atenas

I love where we live and I love the place we now call home. Atenas is genuine. It is simply beautiful and an amazing place to just be.

Tapanti

Imagine yourself completely enrobed in pristine tropical rainforests as far at the eye can see. Land that no man has ever stepped foot on. Water so pure and fresh. A single tree exploding with life on each branch and each life. The earthy aroma of fresh rain. Waterfalls that caress the rocks. Rain drops that cleans you from the inside even in the dry season. Embrace nature, purity, and peace. Embrace Tapanti.

 

Punta Leona

This is our go-to place to escape and decompress, and become one with the ocean. Nothing says meditation in motion better than a long run at sunrise under the rainforest canopy. And then there are the afternoon rains by Playa Mantas, heaven on earth for a toddler! Nothing symbolizes happiness for us then the place we got married. Then you sip a freshly made pina colada and start singing that song, if you like pina coladas getting caught in the rain… Oh yes we do! And that sums up Punta Leona in a nutshell.

Rio Celeste

Misty clouds envelope the lush green mountainscape surrounding the notorious Rio Celeste (or Sky Blue River). You’ve heard the stories about the endangered Tapirs that roam these rain forests, and you think that you just might see one creeping between the palms and clouds in the distance. Ops my imagination has gotten then best of me once again! Then there are the absolutely divine French-Tico fusion cuisine at one of my favorite mountain lodges of all time, Celeste Mountain Lodge, which is by far the BEST food I’ve ever had in Costa Rica. Kai just loved running free through the gardens and playing with the other kids. After that its off to Parque Nacional Vulcan Tenorio to see and experience the splendor of Rio Celeste and the pristine jungle that keeps it pure and beautiful. We hired a guide for our 5 hour jungle hike to learn about nature, and so glad that we did!

Playa Langosta

Want open ocean and white sand beaches on the Pacific that extend as far as the eye can see? Then Playa Langosta is the place for you. Nothing quite compares to rolling around in the waves and sand for a couple of days, playing in a river that flows to the ocean with your toddler, or taking walks along a trail to search out Iguanas. Then there is the all-you-can-eat buffets for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Indulgent best describes a getaway to Playa Langosta!

La Paz Waterfall Gardens

Last but certainly not least is the one and only La Paz Waterfall Gardens! Want to trek through untouched cloud forest? Do you yearn to feel the cool mist of pure mountain water cascade down rocks in the rain forest? Then this is the place for you. To top it off you will have the opportunity to play with rescued Toucans and have them rest on your arm. How cool is that? We love this place, especially for kids and whenever we have friends and family visiting. It is a place we can come back to again and again just for a fun day in nature and for a reminder of Costa Rican traditions.

Dicho del Domingo – New Day

15 Sep

Sunset at Playa Langosta

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of god. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We were born to make and manifest the glory of god that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

– Marianne Williamson

Lens of a Riverstone

13 Sep

Past and present are one again

Soul now smooth like a stone that has been tumbling in the sea

Fresh eyes and a crisp mind taken back in time

Its the lens of a new age

Listening to stories of an ancient humanity’s stones

Captivated by the elegance of a new mother

Struck by the natural sophistication of a spider

Engulfed by the power of migration – changing seasons and times

Strengthened by the rapture of a vine

Morning mind is placid with fallen flowers

Heart now convival like a riverstone flows to the sea

New Life Bounds the Old

Perspective unrestrained

Beauty in all

I am in awe

– Reflections from Guatemala (circa 2003)

Tikal in Grandour

Stature of a New Mother

Complex Weavings of a Golden Orb Spider

Migrating Birds over Lake Tikal

New Life Bounds Old

Fallen Flowers in Streets of Antigua

Vocanic Perspective

Finding New Strength

10 Jan

Color painting of mother and child with gunBeing a mother is learning about strengths you didn’t know you had, and dealing with fears you didn’t know exist.
– Linda Wooten

It’s 2013, a new year.  A time to start off fresh.  Far too much time has lapsed since I’ve last written.  I once again find myself inspired to write, in fact I’ve been missing writing.  It’s a kind of creative sounding board for me personally, and I really enjoy reading the feedback I receive from my friends and readers.

The past seven months have been quite a whirlwind.  So much evolution and change in such a short time.  And the most significant of those changes has yet to be revealed.  I could rehash all that has come about in my life, and the world, in the past year but it wouldn’t accomplish much.  At this moment, my mind is occupied with all the change that is about to unfold in my life and how I will manage to “fit” it all in to the measly 24 hours we get in a day.  And then I start to think about how all the women that came before me did it.  *Sigh*

It brings me back to one of the many grounding experiences of my life – Esteli, Nicaraguaga.  It is the third largest city in all of Nicaragua.  It’s an eclectic place that really doesn’t see many foreigners or tourists, or at least that was Esteli 10 years ago when I was there.  The town’s motto pretty much sums it up – “Lover of the present. Builder of the future.”  But what really brings me back to Esteli is how it’s history has redefined life, and despite the bloodshed has brought forth a new found strength and resilience in the people.  Esteli was the scene of perilous fighting during the Somoza regime and again during the U.S.-backed Contra War.  The lands outside of the city boundary are still riddled with land mines and the ghosts of wars past regrettably live on.

As we made our way through the city’s gritty streets and alley ways, we gleaned nuggets of hope and strength.  We played soccer with a group of kids playing on a field of dirt with a ball that was made of plastic bags tightly packed together & wrapped with string and tape.  We found beauty in the paintings and graffiti that adorned cement walls throughout the city, the very cement walls that served as a fortress for people’s homes during the recent wars.  And then one day we wound-up at a local women’s organization where we were given a “tour” of the center and learned through the testimony of one woman – how women survived and  even thrived in the war.  In Esteli, unlike in many parts of Latin America and the world, women are seen a bit differently.  They are respected for their strength and perseverance at a kind of unspoken kind of higher level.  Why?  What makes Esteli’s perspective of women different?  The difference lies in the impact that its history has had on shaping daily life.  During both recent wars in Esteli, most often the men went off to war in the rural areas and the women remained at home with the children to defend their homes & children while the war raged on right in the city boundaries.  Women, mothers, were armed with AK-47s – just as the men were.  There was very little that differentiated the roles of men and women during a decade and a half of bloodshed.   Women grew stronger than ever before – not just in fighting – but in standing-up for their rights.  In owning their individual personal power.

Days like today when I feel overwhelmed and wonder how on earth am I going to “do it all” in just a couple of months.  I stop and think about the women of Esteli.  They have endured far more than I will likely ever have to – or maybe its similar but just in a different time, place and form.  I think of these women, mothers, that came before me.  Many that had to face the blood of their children, husbands, and family members right before their eyes.  Many that endured the other ugly parts of war like rape, lost limbs, and hunger.  While I may not be from Nicaragua, I am forever grateful to these women.  The examples they have set for me, and all of us, are invaluable – especially now as I take this next giant leap in my life.  Their strength and resilience is simply inspiring.

Below is a visual “tour” through some of the streets of Esteli and the wall artwork that gives the city a most unique identity and essence.  Start with the painting at the top of the blog and slowly work your eyes through the images.  Enjoy!

Wall painting on finghting for freedom

Corner in bloom with graffiti

Wall painting of children building a new future

 

wall art of children coming together

Wall painting in color on human rights

Wall painting of women's strength rising

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