Saturday, September 22, 2012

Cartoon 31: A Light One

This is an image that was gifted to my sleepy eyes one night as I brushed my teeth outside of my little borrowed bamboo cabin in the pitch black deep inside the thick forested mountains of Boyaca, Colombia.  In the stillness of the drizzly night, a monk made his way through the trees illuminating his way by a candle whose light rose and then expanded around him as it bounced off of his clean white umbrella.  He looked like a little bubble floating through the forest completely surrounded in darkness.  He didn't know I was there, I didn't really know if I was there. The image was so unreal.

I was at a Taoist temple which I sought out in an effort to learn some new tools to help me maintain my center during this crazy trip called life. I made an instructional video with the monks about how to find balance, strength, flexibility, and relaxation through aerial dance. 

The community was really incredible. It was made up of about 600 people with no cellphones, no T.V.'s, no "aggressive" music (for them this included reggaeton, rock, rap, punk, salsa).  Everyone wore loose fitting clothes and got up at 3 every morning to pray and do exercise until the sun came up. Then they would go about their business and again at midday, one hour of exercise before lunch. Then one last time at 5pm they do a bit of exercise before dinner. Three times a day they would eat sweet corn soup and homemade whole wheat bread.  They drank the fresh water of the mountain which had an amber color from all of its minerals.  They breathed clean air and used only diet, exercise and herbs as their medical care.  I had never been in a place like this and it seemed so revolutionary the idea that we could just decide to remove from our lives anything that might contaminate our mind, body or spirit.  From the outside looking in, it seems like the monks dedicate their lives to being positive, healthy, and strong (wow you should see some of the martial arts flips that this one monk could do)and therefore contribute to the overall uplifting of humanity. Of course their lifestyle is very depthful and strategic and I only got to know a small bit but either way, I am leaving this community with a renewed dedication to making choices in my day to day life that will truly serve me in the long run.  The internal space that these choices create can be my temple for a now... 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Cartoon 30: Be Careful, Not Afraid


I headed out to Colombia on my own about 2 and a half months ago and to be honest I was scared silly.  I said to myself, "I could eat bad food or get bitten by a huge bug and get sick and die!! What if I get robbed?? I could get kidnapped!" I was so scared to be the only one responsible for deciding what to do in an emergency situation.

I can now officially say that I have eaten bad food that made me sick and I got better.  I have been bitten by so many bugs that my legs match my favorite polka dot dress and I haven´t died yet.  My good friend was robbed and said it was the best thing that ever happened to her cuz she doesn´t have to deal with so much STUFF anymore.  And I was even kidnapped in Medellin! A guy was borrowing his friends taxi to drive himself home and he saw my friend and I looking for a cab. He thought we were cute so he decided to pick us up.  About five minutes into the ride he confessed that he was not actually a cab driver and that he had no idea how to get to where we wanted to go.  My heart stopped in my chest.  My friend spoke up fast saying, "Hahahaha you´re so funny, well why don´t you come get drinks with us?" (Her idea was to get us out of the car as soon as possible without causing the guy to escalate.) He agreed and we went to a bar.  After hanging out for a while he turned out to be a very nice kidnapper.  Just a normal guy with a really wierd way of picking up girls...

So I was really scared when I left for Colombia.  And fear is so powerful, after meeting so many people on this trip I would say that its got a pretty strong grip on most of us.  The first thing that people tell me about the places I´m going to are the dangers. They tell me about all the bad things that could happen there.  What´s up with that? 

Fear is so powerful.  In my vida, I have lived in fear of many things: being alone, getting sick, hurting myself, making a mistake, not knowing the right answer, not having what I need (money, companionship,_____). I have often lived my life trying to prevent these things from happening. I feel like life is teaching me that I can´t prevent them and once they do happen, they aren´t so bad.  Traveling alone has opened me up to be cared for by so many people. Its taught me that we are a generous, loving, protective species and adios to the few that are lost and trying to take advantage of others.  

When I first arrived to Colombia, I confessed to a friend my fears.  I said, "Everywhere I go I find people who tell me there´s danger at every turn. ´Be afraid of this!´´Be afraid of that!´ they say. How could I not be afraid of this world??" And she said, "Do they say ´Be afraid.´or ´Be careful.´ Although I do believe that we need to start talking about the fabulous things in the world instead of the dangers, what my friend said was just the redirection I needed.  The key is to be careful, full of care and attention in everything that I do.  Trusting the wisdom of my actions helps me let go of the fear that breeds anxiety and inaction.  

So thank you to Natalia and to life for teaching me to be comfortable as a lone cowgirl holdin´on to caution but throwin´fear to the wind.