I wake up at 6am after a somewhat fitful night of sleep. The roosters decided to be extra attentive this morning, letting out their cries of ‘good morning’ at the ripe hour of 4am. Though I was eventually able to find a dream state once again, it wasn’t very quality. That said, I am on opening shift for the hostel (which is right next door and owned by my current roommates), so I remove myself from the comfort of my sheets, get dressed, make a smoothie and head out the door.
I’m not quite sure where the time has gone, but I’ve been back in Costa Rica for two months now. My greatest fear was that I would have nothing much to do after my yoga teacher training…perhaps I would get to teach a class here and there but what if that was it? And, as I now know from the last time I lived here: Idle hands are indeed the devil’s playthings. When I get bored and feel useless in a town filled to the brim with cheap cocaine (the ultimate ego-boosting drug), well, you do the math.
That said, it turns out the work I did in the USA this past stint – making my own self-care and health a priority – has continued to blossom here in the jungle. I make this aforementioned statement with great humility and gratitude because as soon as I give my own self ‘credit’ for this transformation, my ego gets a nice, wide opening to take the lead and, once again, make decisions for me. It turns out that my accomplishments have never been just ME. They are a result of my choices combined with the love and encouragement of those within my community and, of course, that extra sprinkle of magic/The Universe/God/a Higher Power/luck…whatever you’d like to call it (though I personally do not think it’s just ‘luck’).
It turns out that my fears have not come true. In fact, I am erring on the side of ‘too busy’ rather than ‘too idle’…but, boy, I am so grateful to be busy with tasks that truly feed my soul. I am teaching yoga several days a week, working at the hostel and, a couple of weeks ago, I started an Al-Anon chapter here in Puerto Viejo as a service to the community (but, of course, as a service to my own recovery as well).
And THAT, my friends, turns out to be the next vital step in having a truly fulfilling life: Being of service. Genuine service with no expectations and and no reasoning other than to help those who are interested in what I am providing.
I spent the first 30 years of my life having NO idea who I was and simply doing what I thought I was supposed to do. This way of living had given me quite an ego. The truth is that I am good at a lot of things. I am a fast learner, I have good critical thinking skills, I can see the big picture and I am charismatic. So, in living my life for others instead of myself, I fed off of this skill set and the attraction that people had to me. It seemed great at the time, but, like any life that is lived from separation and ego rather than love and oneness, it is simply another form of addiction. After my inevitable crash, I spent the next several years figuring out who the fuck I was, chipping away at past traumas that caused this connection to my true self to be clouded. If I wasn’t defining myself by the Melanie with the fancy job title and a big pay check or the Melanie who people love to be around, didn’t that make me…gulp…regular? The answer is YES! I am regular!!! I am regular just like everyone else is regular. This truth was disappointing at first because I had prided myself on being ‘special’ and ‘different,’ but then I discovered the ultimate benefit that comes with being regular: Freedom. I could be free to allow my very own intuition to guide me instead of dancing to the beat of someone else’s drum. I could live my life for ME without the ball and chain of all the ‘shoulds’ and other expectations weighing my down.
But, turns out that this is not the end of the cycle, because the flow of life is just that….a flow. If I continue to feed myself with knowledge, learning, self care and all the other good stuff, but don’t give it back, then, like a river blocked by a dam, my energy becomes stagnant. On the other side, if I give and give without ever taking time to fill myself up with love, learning and self-care, then, at some point, my river will run dry and I will have nothing more to give except a sad emptiness with remnants of a river that once was. You all know someone like this…that person who is missing that twinkle in their eye, the one that gets easily frustrated because he or she is perpetually exhausted. The one who has no idea how to answer the question “What feeds your soul?” The one that I used to be. The one the perhaps you were too or maybe you still are.
I feel grateful that I have so many ways of giving back today…through yoga and through Al-Anon and, also, simply staying present and listening when someone is going through their own process of letting go, removing blocks from their river. Oh, what a gift to bear witness to this sort of transformation!
Thank you, Universe, for my ability to finally discover the simple beauty of being in flow. Please let me continue to wake up every morning and gently re-discover what it means to stay in balance so that my river may flow in a strong, beautiful and sustainable way for the highest benefit to myself and to others.
P.S. Thank you for making me just a regular person. When I became regular is when I learned to fly.