I took a trip
outside my country
without an accompanying spouse
or parents or children.
I knew one of our group, had met a second,
but the rest were from an online class.
I loved them all.
I suppose I generated enough love and trust
for each before committing to the trip.
I'd be okay
no matter what happens.
We layer gesso onto canvas before we paint.
Costa Rica's gesso is zero military. None.
This has an effect on the entire culture.
Defense is the first act of war,
and they have no defense.
They've just decided to live without it.
I was reminded of a story in LDS literature
of a people who bury their weapons and live in peace.
There were comparisons to Hawaii,
for culture and climate,
but I feel Hawaii has a slight undertone of warranted resentment,
for the wrongs committed to their land, culture and people
by the U.S.
The Costa Ricans I met were smiley and jovial.
When is the last time you met someone truly jovial?
Meaning: cheerful and friendly. Light-hearted.
That's the mood I saw through my tourism bubble.
We did all the things:
Arenal volcano and it's hot springs,
sloth-ing or zip-lining,
swimming beneath majestic waterfalls.
We walked and climbed all over the forests.
We found a Ceiba tree on an unplanned hike-
I didn't have Google with me at the time-
the sacred tree of the Mayans.
The Tree of Life.
I did not know the significance of this ginormous tree,
just that I was terrified to touch it.
(I barely touched one plant on the hike. I have a story:
I'm allergic to everything green.
Truth? Trees, grass and pollen.)
One of my loving new friends encouraged me to not just touch it-
to lay on it's lap, full straddle,
chest and cheek down,
completely vulnerable to the tree.
Open in all ways...
My nervous system was completely unregulated,
if you know what I mean.
Soundless screaming in my head. Full panic-mode.
My friend put her warm, healing hand on my back.
After a half-minute, I was calm
and me and the tree were cool with each other.
There were lots of things like that:
I felt unsafe and, through experience,
learned that was not true.
I believed I could absolutely not do something,
and did it anyway.
Vulnerable, people! I was so freaking vulnerable.
I got sick the day before the Hanging Bridges.
My blasted allergies kicked in.
Giving, giving, giving. Our group gave to each other all week.
The drugs came from all directions,
as well as prayers and positive vibes, which I felt.
I was able to do the bridges.
We set intentions for crossing the big ones:
leaving behind the past, moving toward a desire for the future.
Some of us planned, made a little list.
Nothing came to me in advance.
I did not know my intentions
until my foot stepped onto each bridge.
Each step was an act of faith.
Step out, get intuition for more.
Literally, the flashlight on the ankle.
I felt beautiful and brave,
voicing the words as I took my steps
across those famous, suspended paths.
I typed my intentions onto my phone
after each, with a fuzzy medicine brain.
All was so good.
Then one of us was robbed.
Not to be overly-dramatic, but the shift was exactly this abrupt.
Those in our group who felt drawn to
stayed with our friend all night.
I could not.
When sh*t happens, I go right into self-preservation mode.
I wanted my space, home, a bed.
I took more drugs to sleep off the ones I'd taken all day.
The rest of the week was fallout from the robbery,
everyone's thoughts/feelings/actions from that circumstance.
We all have our way.
We all decide.
Today's Deep Breath: here's a a practical juju nugget, a collective Next Best Decision.
I had a moment.
A moment that lasted three days.
What happened to our friend, happened to all of us,
in a way.
My underwear wasn't stolen, or precious gifts from my kids.
I did not have trauma or a feeling of being violated.
But I felt unsafe.
Snuggling with a holy tree did not cure all, I'm afraid.
But here's what I learned in 2022.
We all have and are completely entitled to our
The robber, the owner, the leader and my friends.
When I feel unsafe, my reaction might be very different
from someone without a trauma residue brain.
All of our feelings are valid.
All of our hearts have been broken.
I choose who I allow in and who gets to hold my heart.
It's perfectly valid not to trust every human.
I trust myself.
That's where I land today,
after a week of being home.