What I Learned On My Vision Quest In Costa Rica.
I was reborn this summer.
I decided to take a huge leap of faith and go to Costa Rica by myself. I donated the majority of my stuff, quit my jobs, got rid of my car, and packed one suitcase for my anticipated two-month trip.
I had two goals in mind: I wanted to teach Yoga, and I wanted to determine if I would live there permanently.
I never expected what happened, to actually happen. When people ask me how the trip was, the only word that comes to mind is life-changing. The local healer that I work with told me that perhaps my whole trip was a shamanic vision quest.
“A vision quest is a rite of passage in some Native American cultures. The ceremony of the vision quest is one of the most universal and ancient means to find spiritual guidance and purpose. In practicing cultures, a vision quest is said to provide deep understanding of one’s life purpose.”
I went to Costa Rica thinking that it would be where I would settle down. After a visit in January, my soul called me there. Now, I know that I was called there to destroy everything I thought I knew about myself. The trip ripped me apart. It challenged beliefs that I had. It shattered every ounce of ego that existed.
I thought I was an independent woman, but I realized that I didn’t even know how to light a gas stove. I had to look things up. I had to ask for help despite my discomfort and stubbornness. I realized that I had been taken care of my whole life. My life was easier back home.
I moved into a house of roommates after living alone for a long time. I suddenly had to be more mindful. I had to clean up after myself quicker than before. I also had to be mindful of the water consumption, as we would have to take military-style showers (soap on/water off, lather, rinse, turn water off) in order to save the water.
All of the things that are so freely available at home were not at my leisure. It was a new way of living.
We didn’t have air conditioning. The Costa Rican heat didn’t bother me so much as the constant mosquito bites. My skin was always covered in itchy bites, and I thought I would physically never look the same. My face broke out like crazy from the climate change.
The story would be incomplete without the mentioning of some love interest, although I hate to admit this. When I was there before, I had connected to someone and it was amazing. One of the best experiences I had had in a long time after being out of my last relationship. I was curious about the possibility of a deeper connection.
On some level, I had an expectation. Things did not go in the slightest way that I thought they might. There wasn’t even a friendship or any meaningful conversations. Within a few days of being there, it was harshly apparent that I barely existed to him.
I came undone emotionally, spiritually and physically. I never cried so much in my life. At one point, I remember I had a dream that I was home in New Jersey, and when I woke up, I looked up at my mosquito net in my own pile of sweat, and bawled my eyes out.
My ego wouldn’t let me share this with anyone. That after two weeks or so, I was already ready to come home. That I missed my family and friends. My ideas that I had about going to Costa Rica weren’t the truth for me.
I found myself spending a lot of time in thought. Big questions came up. Who am I? What makes me happy? Why am I here? I was teaching Yoga, and I did meet some amazing and beautiful people.
I am thankful for all the dinners, conversations, sunset-watching, lounging in the local cafés, drum circles, sweat lodges, surf lessons, smiles and Yoga classes. I am thankful for the beautiful people who welcomed me into their circle and their lives immediately. I am so thankful for the connections that I did make and cultivate there.
And, I am sorry for the ones that I may have offended because I was processing so much of my own shit.
My friends there told me that the area rests on a lot of selenite, which is a crystal known for clearing and releasing and assisting with healing. That people are unconsciously called there to heal. Some stay and some get spat out. I feel that Costa Rica chewed me up and spat me out. And that was before I got super sick.
Dengue fever. Locals called it the bone-crushing disease. The healers that I knew told me that getting dengue is like taking medicine. It’s like going on a journey and meeting the lower aspects of yourself. And I sure did.
The day I moved out of the house and into a friend’s place by myself was when the fever hit me. It hit me hard. I was sick as hell. I was stuck with myself. I cried so much. I couldn’t eat. Even sleeping was uncomfortable. My skin broke out into rashes all over me.
Dengue literally made me uncomfortable in my own skin. My body itched. I thought my skin would never heal or be the same again. There I was in paradise, and all I could think about was coming back home. Not because I had failed. I had tried and I realized that for me, I am happiest with the ones that I love.
For me, a beautiful paradise means nothing without loving relationships. And so, I let go and changed my flight to come home early.
I went to Costa Rica to learn how to be a better healer, and the entire trip — from planning to coming back home to rebuild my life — has healed me in ways that I didn’t know I needed. It was a necessary humbling, and I will never be the same. Readjusting to my life back in the States has been somewhat of a challenge, but I am grateful for it.
In the middle of the chaos, I am calm. Hard times force gratitude or they push us to seek God, or something beyond ourselves. When I had dengue, I had to go within to find peace. We can either focus on how bad it is, which creates a literal hell, or we focus on gratitude which leads to unconditional love and healing.
Here is what I learned:
* We are all channels of God, or of a higher consciousness if we choose to call it so. God is within us all. We are not separate. We are the same. We are all one. Once I understood this, dealing with difficult people became easier, because I know that I am the same as them.
* I used to believe in this idea of one true soulmate. After relationships, and powerful connections that get ignored because of ego and fear, I have come to believe that everyone we meet is a soulmate. Every person that we meet is a mate on this life journey. They teach us whatever soul lessons that we need at that moment.
I also know that even with chemistry, or powerful connection, love is a choice. One person might be ready while the other one is not. It’s not personal. But, I also know in my heart that I want to be chosen. I want to be sought out. I don’t want to be an option, or the rebound.
I deserve a partner who loves and respects me as much as he loves and respects himself.
* I do not believe in coincidences. I believe in Divine Order. I believe that the point of life is to find your passion and do what makes you happy. Sometimes that changes instantly. Sometimes the things that you thought would make you happy, don’t. Follow your bliss. Listen to your heart over your head. Be a good human. Just do your best.
* I used to feel like life had to be so complicated or I had to get things — external things — to be happy. I have come to believe that it doesn’t matter what you have or where you are in the world. You could be on the most beautiful beach in Costa Rica and be unhappy. What matters is how you feel on the inside. Your inside reality dictates your outside reality.
* Expectations and plans are unnecessary. We might have ideas in our heads about what will or can happen, but we need freedom and flexibility for that to change at any moment.
* Last but never least, there are no mistakes. Everything is in Divine Order and part of a bigger picture. All we have to do is keep the faith.
Some people may think I was crazy for going there on such blind faith. I have no regrets about going. I have no regrets about changing my flight to come home early. It is all part of my journey. And now, I appreciate and live in the moment more than ever. I am seeing my home with new eyes and loving every minute of it. Aho.