June 11, 2013
I’m typing this on May 5, 2013 [Happy Cinco de Mayo!] but I’ve scheduled it to post on June 11th, exactly one year after the journal entry I just found.
Today (May 5th) I’m doing spring cleaning on my totally full hard disc. I need to make room for my many new projects, or else my computer freezes up and I can’t Skype with clients or upload the iMovie movies I’ve been filming and editing for Youtube.
As I’m hunting, researching (can I delete this file, Guru Googleji??), deleting, and organizing, I’m coming across old bits that I’ve written over the past few years.
The post from June 11, 2012 that I’m sharing today was especially moving because I wrote it in the moment of sadness and confusion that comes in that moment of suspension between hearing your heart, taking a leap into the void/unknown, and landing exactly where you’re meant to be. (Another friend calls it “the dangle zone).
On June 11, 2012, I was dangling. I was renting a bedroom for a month in Buenos Aires, Argentina, having left Patagonia and waiting in the city to get my passport renewed. I’d already purchased a flight to Italy, based entirely on a Goddess card I’d drawn – Fortuna, the Roman/Italian Goddess of Fate – but I didn’t know yet exactly WHAT I was going to be doing in Italy.
I was trusting enough to have bought the plane ticket but I was still afraid. It was a strange time to be in Buenos Aires because almost all my friends from when I’d lived there before had left – gone home or moved on to other destinations – and the closest friend I’d had there and I were no longer speaking.
The amazing thing is that in this post I asked for community. A few days later I came across an interview about the Academy of Art, Creativity & Consciousness, and my heart knew – it SHOUTED – I AM GOING THERE. I thought it was just an awesome-and-exciting-sounding Academy. Little did my mind know that The Academy of Art, Creativity and Consciousness was adjacent to the intentional spiritual community of Ananda Europa.
My conscious mind had no idea. But my heart knew.
And when I arrived, I found a community, a large extended family of wonderful people.
I guess I’m telling you this story backwards, giving you the happy ending before the frightened beginning.
The following is an unedited journal entry. I’m not really comfortable sharing unedited work – it makes me feel exposed and vulnerable – but f#@% it, I’m doing it anyways.
Monday, June 11, 2012:
A woman in Kundalini class today made my day – she brought her son, who I estimate was about 9 years old. I love that age, 9, 10 – when children are getting old enough to begin to engage like adults, but with none of the rejection and sarcasm – they’re still open and eager. This boy participated in every pose. Occasionally I’d take a peek at him and would always end up grinning widely – when we were smacking our mats shouting ‘har,’ he was flailing away with gusto. And he stayed with every pose too – never gave up. It gave me such joy to see a young boy completely open and accepting to what 99% of people (Westerners anyway) would think was insane.
I love Kundalini because it’s one of the most spiritually connected forms of yoga I’ve found. It’s not always a physical workout – it’s generally more mentally challenging, holding poses and doing repetitions.
The other day I felt one of the strongest pangs of loneliness I’ve felt in years, at least since the great breakup of ’09.
It was my second day back in Buenos Aires. I was attending an Acro/Aerial Yoga/Dance class, one that I used to attend with friends. Those friends were now no longer in Buenos Aires. So there I was, the English-speaking beginner, surrounded by Latinas who’d been doing the class for some time. Occasionally I would attempt to pull myself up the fabric a few feet, on the red strip, the “easiest” level as it was the firmest. But most of the time I sat on the mat, watching the other girls climb and spin and drop gracefully to the mats. And then, out of nowhere, a sharp stab of sadness, of loneliness. My eyes began to fill with tears and I quickly blinked, not wanting anyone to see me sitting there, about to cry. How would I explain that in Spanish?
As I said, it’s been a few years since I felt that alone. And I’m noticing that I’ve been having bouts of sadness since returning to BA. I thought I was adapting to it fine but am beginning to see how hard this is on me. My closest friends are no longer here, and on top of that I’m not speaking to Jonas anymore. I think that’s the main thing – Jonas. I miss him. I want to meet up with him, to walk with him, to talk to him – or to listen, really. He always did do a lot of talking. Sometimes we’d be riding bikes and I’d wish he would just be quiet for a few minutes, as I tried to navigate cars and adoquniado and enjoy the ride without straining to hear and comprehend what he was talking about.
I’m feeling a little lost. What am I doing with my life? What’s my meaning, my purpose? Why am I here, not just here on planet Earth but here in Argentina; why am I going to Italy? I want to feel important. I want to feel like I know why I’m doing what I’m doing. I want to feel safer.
I do not feel safe. I feel expose, alone. I feel like I might be making a huge mistake. I feel like I might be making the wrong choices. It’s all me now. What do you want, Michelle? And why? Are you sure? Are you sure all this traveling won’t just leave you alone? With no husband, no children, no friends, no family, no community?
I’m scared. I want a community. I want to share things with people I love.
I guess the world is my community now. I can share things with everyone. I can love each person I meet.
Starting with myself.
I can trust. Trust that it’s all ok. Trust that if I follow my bliss, it will multiply and expand and support me. Trust that this fear is just me moving to the next level. Sit with the fear, sit with me, sit with my inner child who is terrified of being abandoned, being alone. Sit with my ego that fears that it’s incapable of having a real relationship. Well, I did. I had a fantastic, loving relationship that was more joyful and respectful and affectionate and passionate and connected than anything most people experience in their lives.
And it wasn’t him. It was me. It was me loving the reflection of myself that I saw mirrored in his eyes. IT was me connected with my highest self, my self that is eternal unconditional love and joy and enthusiasm and passion for life. It was me. I don’t need to fear anymore that I won’t find that again, because it’s not about finding. IT’s a bout living. It’s about creating. It’s about being my authentic self. I loved who I was in that relationship. I can be that person all the time. I can deeply love everyone. I can deeply love myself.
And my biggest challenge: following my heart. Not my mind, my heart. What does my heart want? What does my intuition want to do?
I would like to sit in silence and ask myself, Michelle, what do you Want to Do?
Michelle wants to get in bed for a bit. And read “Free Play“.
June 19, 2012
One year ago, I moved out of my home in Los Angeles and began my Nomad Adventure.
This morning, I woke up in the room I’m renting in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the same room I lived in before I moved down to Patagonia. It’s got a giant lovely desk/workspace, cute private patio, backyard with pool and jungle, and sweet landlords that have adopted me as their third daughter. I got up and meditated for an hour, then thought about painting, but didn’t today. I made myself some ñaco, a toasted whole wheat porridge they eat down in Patagonia, and drank a maté as I read A Daily Dose of Sanity and Soul Lessons and Soul Purpose in the jungly backyard.
After breakfast and reading I dumped my entire wardrobe onto my bed in an attempt to to minimize. I want less stuff less stuff less stuff, and paring down is difficult as I’m going from the middle of winter here in the Southern Hemisphere to the middle of summer in the Northern, but I’ll need cold weather stuff in a few months when I work on an organic farm in Ireland. I didn’t make much progress. I gave up and worked on my playlist for the Nowhere festival I’m attending in Spain (Euro Burning Man, basically); then I Skyped with one of my oldest friends, who’s currently living in Thailand and has been traveling the globe for the last year and a half.
And then I went to belly dancing class. I love belly dancing, I wished I’d been going the first six months I lived here in BA. And to end the evening, I Skyped with my mom, my lovely mother who never asks when I’m coming home, when I’m settling down, when I’m getting a real job, when I’m going to have kids.
Today, like every day, I’m grateful for this life. I’m grateful for this crazy adventure I’m on. I’m grateful for all the incredibly kind people I’ve met in the past year, all the fascinating and fascinated fellow travelers, all the people with big giant hearts. I’m grateful for the mysterious ways in which everything works out perfectly, and I’m grateful for the magic and synchronicity that have been happening on a daily basis as I practice listening to my heart and following my bliss.
I’ve rarely felt lonely in this past year. I’ve been anxious and scared a million times, for sure, but not often lonely. I’ve rarely missed LA, or any of the stuff I thought I might – mexican food, my convertible, the beach. I have missed my friends back home, but Facebook and Skype help a lot with that, and I’ve met a number of soul-friends during my time in Argentina.
This Saturday, I fly to Italy. From there I’m going to Spain, maybe Switzerland, maybe France, back to Italy, maybe Germany. I’m excited to see where Fortuna leads me. I can’t even begin to guess where I will have been and what will have happened by this time next year. But I know whatever it is, it’ll be an adventure, and I’m grateful for that.
March 27, 2012
I slept for a full 12 hours last night. My friend K left yesterday morning after being here in Buenos Aires to visit me for 8 days, so we’ve been running around like crazy, staying out late, and eating tons of yummy and exhausting food. Coffee, cheese, sugar, and red meat are all delicious but digesting them tires out my body!
But here are some photos you can drool over (and a few of the scenery too):
To burn off some of the pounds I’ve packed on these past few weeks, I went to an Aerial Yoga/Silks/Acrobat class, my second. That isht is hard. I can only pull myself about 12 inches off of the ground but once the teacher puts a knot in the fabric it’s much more fun.
After class a friend invited me for lunch at a Peruvian restaurant. The funny thing is that they had chicken noodle soup on the menu. I haven’t seen chicken noodle soup since I got down here 6 months ago, and I was wishing for chicken noodle soup just this morning after I woke up with a scratchy throat and runny nose. Manifest!!!
I spent the rest of the day walking around the city, running errands before I head down to Patagonia – curry powder for my friend down there, stocking up on my favorite soap and cookies, etc. While wandering I was listening to the awesome Guru Singh podcast. Guru Singh is a Kundalini Yoga teacher at Yoga West in Los Angeles; he always starts class with a profound 30 minute lecture that I’ve missed since leaving LA.
In this podcast Guru Singh was talking about how every problem contains the solution.
“What keeps us from this stage [solution/change] is that our challenges, our problems, and our questions identify us.
And we would rather maintain our identity than solve our challenges.
That’s not you being a bad person, that’s you being normal… we have to break that pattern.”
Check out Guru Singh’s tweets here! Yes, he tweets.
March 11, 2012
I know I’ve done a horrible job at sharing Argentina with you via this blog. Not to mention my road trip across the US last summer. I was reviewing some photos and video last night, and there are some beautiful ones. Perhaps someday when I’m bored and have absolutely nothing to do, I will finally disinter those photos and videos for you. But considering the infinitude of interestingness on the interwebs, and immediate access to practically every book known to man on my Kindle, I’m not sure if that’s realistic.
Anyways, as far as Argentina goes at least, I’d like to make it up to you by directing you to my friend’s blog, Go!Dream!Live! No wait, it’s Dream!Go!Live! Which, when delivered to my inbox, I always read as “dreamg olive”. She does what I aspire to do – consistently shares her experience and photos of life in Buenos Aires.
It’s not that I haven’t been writing. I have been writing, lots, every day. I just haven’t been converting any of that into bloggage. I think I just need to get back into the habit of posting, and the only way I’ve successfully made habits for myself is by doing Challenges. But I’ve been focusing on the No Sugar Challenge. One at a time.
So! The No Sugar Challenge!!! On March 13th, in two days, I will have officially and successfully completed 30 days of No Sugar. This is, by a long shot, the longest I have ever gone without eating refined sugar.
What did this lack of sugar do? (And coffee – I didn’t really drink coffee at this time either, as they pretty much go together for me – I can drink coffee black, but here in Buenos Aires coffee means medialunas or cookies, and those were definitely out).
-Skin: My skin cleared up. The acne and little bumps I get, especially on my forehead, have pretty much gone away, and my psoriasis is less red. However, I did up my dairy intake exponentially while not eating sugar, so I continue to have a few pimples around my jawline and my psoriasis didn’t fully clear.
-Energy: I started waking up earlier. 5:30am most days. I love getting up early, and I love not feeling groggy. That could be as much from stopping coffee as from stopping sugar. This past week I’ve been feeling exceptionally exhausted, but I think that’s mostly due to the intensity of the Vipassana course I did last week, and a lot of emotional processing I’ve been doing. And, probably, my body trying to digest all the cheese.
-Weight: I lost a little weight, but not much, due to the large quantities of cheese and organic yogurt (sugar-free) that I’ve been eating. And steak, and pizza… I met a wonderful Dutch girl at Vipassana and during her four days in Buenos Aires I HAD to take her to all the best food spots. Of course. And, um, I bought a beautiful book called Pizzerias de Buenos Aires…
Oh and near the end of the month I also found that amazing raw sugar-free chocolate at Buenos Aires Verde, and a few days ago discovered sugar-free helado at Juaja, my favorite of which is the lemon ginger. YUM!
-Clarity/Mood: I have a lot more clarity when I’m not eating sugar – clarity as to what I want in life, what really makes me happy, insights into myself and others. Last time I gave up alcohol/sugar for a few weeks, a series of events occurred that led to me leaving Los Angeles and moving to Argentina. And this time, a series of events occurred that led to me making plans to move to Patagonia. Anyways there’s increasing research about the drug-like negative effects of sugar on your mood and body, and things react differently with different people. I definitely have a negative reaction to sugar. I’m aware of this. It doesn’t mean I won’t be eating sugar on March 13th – I will! – but I hope that sugar (like alcohol) will become an increasingly rare addition to my diet.
I love not eating sugar. I also love eating sugar. So, that’s that.
And aside from the dairy and sugar-free treats, 70% of my diet this month has been fruits and veggies, so that’s awesome. I’m quite proud that I went a whole month without caving to medialunas or the apple crumble and dulce de leche they had the last day of Vipassana, or the other things that tempted me every day of the last month.
As I was saying at the beginning, my apologies for not having shared more of my journey with you up to this point. I’ll be posting some photos and maybe a video tour of my current home here in BA, and hopefully filling you in on some of the best eateries and cafes (like the very photogenic Bardepan). My 33rd birthday is next week and a friend is flying down from San Francisco; we’ll be revisiting all of my favorite things about BA before heading down to Patagonia.
Love and light and cheese!
March 9, 2012
I love lightning. One of my earliest memories is looking out a window, watching a lighting storm from my mother’s lap.
In Southern California, land of endless sunshine, lightning was rare. The weather was fantastic but boring. So perhaps it’s just the contrast, but one of my favorite things about Buenos Aires is the weather.
Summertime in Buenos Aires means the air gets unbearably hot and heavy with humidity. But some evenings, at the end of one of these smothering days when you just sweat for hours and the skies are motionless, at around 9 or 10 at night, a sudden wind will begin to gust crazily. And within minutes it’ll be pouring rain, lightning forking across the sky.
Here’s some video* I took from the balcony of my last apartment, in December 2011.
“This life of separateness may be compared to a dream, a phantasm, a bubble, a shadow, a drop of dew, a flash of lightning.” – Buddha
“I roamed the countryside searching for answers to things I did not understand. Why thunder lasts longer than that which causes it, and why immediately on its creation the lightning becomes visible to the eye while thunder requires time to travel. ” – Leonardo da Vinci
“Genius unrefined resembles a flash of lightning, but wisdom is like the sun.” – Franz Grillparzer
“Bring in the bottled lightning, a clean tumbler, and a corkscrew.” – Charles Dickens
“Electricity is really just organized lightning.” – George Carlin
*This video was my first-ever video edited using iMovie! Well, first completed video anyways. I started a Burning Man one, but I really have no idea if I will ever finish it due to the massive amounts of footage and photos I took…
February 19, 2012
I’ve been refined sugar-free for six days now!
I’m feeling happier. I think there are two reasons: 1. Sugar causes mood swings and 2. I’m not hating on myself for sugar binging or not acting in integrity with what I want to be: healthy.
The cravings haven’t been too bad. I did eat a lot of dried fruit and nuts the first few days, and I’m eating more dairy than I usually do (which is barely any). But I’m ok with that!
Yesterday I bought some freshly-made organic yogurt and honey from the El Galpon Farmer’s Market in the Chacarita neighborhood of Buenos Aires (the only place I know of where you can get organic stuff in BA…). The yogurt comes in a big beautiful bottle and was delish with the super-dark grainy honey:
Yes, honey’s technically a sugar but, unlike refined sugar, honey’s not toxic to your system, doesn’t cause dramatic blood sugar spikes (it may actually IMPROVE blood sugar control) and has an insane number of health benefits: it’s anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral. You can use it to help heal burns and wounds, you can use it on your face to clear up acne (which I do occassionally). It can help with sore throats, allergies, even weight loss! As I’m reading more about honey the list is getting way too long (athletic performance, free radicals, cholesterol, immune system, anti-cancer…jeez!) so for more info check it here and here and here. (I’m pretty sure all of these are from raw honey, not the honey you by in a regular store, which is probably counterfeit honey from China.*)
Unfortunately, according to one of those honey sites, the answer to the question “How much honey can I eat every day?” is NOT “Eat as much as you can.” Damn.
Even the Bible mentions honey, according to the editors of Wikipedia. Funny honey quote:
“While Jonathan was passing through the woods during the war against the Philistines, he found honey dripping on the ground; he plunged his spear into it, and ate enough to restore his lost strength. He was, however, sentenced to death because he ate honey on a day of abstinence”.
So, this next part has nothing to do with sugar or honey, but… Well, actually, it does, in a roundabout way.
Some of my favorite bits:
“All those paths lead to one answer “we are all one and our only job is to be unconditional love and remember”.
It’s all in the remembering… From broken and alone to whole and complete and part of the whole that is The Uni-verse…
I am broken when I forget and whole and complete when I remember.”
Mollie’s bio led me to google the documentary she produced, May I be Frank, a documentary “exploring the transformations possible through healthy eating and positive thinking”:
Which looks AMAZING.
So, to tie this all together – I’m pretty sure Frank was eating way too much sugar. I haven’t seen the entire movie yet, so maybe honey even played a roll in his transformation.
I think we’d all do a little better with less sugar, more honey!
*If you are getting your honey from Walmart, Target, Cost Plus, Sam’s Club, Walgreen’s, Rite Aid, CVS, or individual packets from Smucker’s, McDonalds or KFC, there is a 70-100% chance that it’s not actually honey, as defined by the food industry (containing pollen), and could be watered down with high fructose corn syrup. Trader Joe’s honey, thank goodness, is legit.
January 22, 2012
This is comprehensive and profound. However, my advice wouldn’t be to quit your job.
My advice would be to be so honest and authentic that they have no choice but to fire you; then you sign up for unemployment to support a minimalistic lifestyle while you heal your heart and learn to hear the messages it’s been trying to tell you all these years. Preferably in another country.
As I sit here typing this post at Baraka cafe in Palermo Soho in Buenos Aires, Argentina, a Ladybug landed on my table.
I’m sitting inside. What is a Ladybug doing inside of a restaurant? Maybe waiting to order. Waiters are slow in Buenos Aires, Ladybug. Hope you’re not too hungry.
I have blogged about Ladybugs twice prior to today:
once on August 8th 2010 (the date on the blog is wrong for some reason), and
once on January 27th 2011.
At the time, my research indicated that Ladybugs are supposed to portend the arrival of true love. I’m guessing in these cases it must’ve been true love for myself, as there aren’t any men in my life (not in a sexual way, anyways), I haven’t even dated anyone since November of 2010 (!!!), but I HAVE been working diligently the past few years on allowing true self-love.
Back to the poster.
I love this bit, and I feel like I’ve been following it:
If you are looking for the love of your life, stop; they will be waiting for you once you start doing the things you love.
And here’s one I’d like to start doing:
Ask the next person you see what their passion is.
Here in Buenos Aires, you meet a lot of travelers and nomads and expats. Inevitably we ask each other, “What’s your story?” to get a summary of where they came from, how they got here, what they’re doing now, where they’re going next. It’s fascinating but does get repetitive. I think I’ll start asking “What is your passion?” instead. More fun for them to answer, and more illuminating for me.
Back to the Ladybugs.
I just found this assertion of Ladybug symbolism that has nothing to do with true love:
When ladybugs appear they are a sign from the universe that you are being protected and that you are safe as you work hard to promote yourself and your ideas. Ladybug tells you to be cheerful in your work and to share the joy of your creativity with others.
Alright. That sounds good. And more suitable for what I’ve been doing since August of 2010.
Or there’s this:
Ladybug’s medicine includes carrying the golden strand that leads to the centre of the universe, past lives, spiritual enlightenment, death and rebirth, renewal, regeneration, fearlessness, protection, good luck, wishes being fulfilled, protection.
Damn. That pretty much covers everything. Also found this:
Though small in size the ladybug is fearless. As fear cannot exist amongst joy, the ladybug brings a message of promise, for they get us back in touch with the joy of living – we must let go of our fears and go back to our roots, to love. We are also taught to restore our trust and faith in the universe, we have to get over ourselves, our egos, and allow life to take its course going with the flow.
Ladybug showing up in ones life foretells a time of luck and protection, where wishes start to become actualised. Worries will quickly disperse when ladybug appears as they shield us from our aggravations, paving the way for new found happiness – aim high, you will get what you focus on. However, ladybug also cautions us not to force things or try to hard to fulfil your wishes, go with the flow and let things take their natural course. Your wishes will come true when they do – in their own time!