Life in the Jungle: It's Wild
So I have been wanting to write an update since I arrived here in Costa Rica. I had wanted to write something that was philosophical and coherent and offered some kind of wisdom around my journey here. And look, maybe I can still eek that out but if I am being honest with you, my time here so far has been wild and not so easy to encapsulate into a blog. I guess that means it's been pretty BIG... a little beyond words. Nevertheless, I will try.
Considering my journey back was so smooth and as we say in the business - aligned, my time here has been filled with so many twists and turns that I have often felt that I have just been in a washing machine and utterly at the mercy of forces beyond my control. It is only now at the time of writing that some grounding and maybe some understanding is coming.
I first went to Costa Rice in December 2022 and my journey there wasn't straight forward and on reflection it felt a little guided. Costa Rica is a place I've long been curious about. I mean on paper, it's amazing, right? No standing army, an epicentre for ecological diversity and conservation, a leader in permaculture education and renewable energy. It's a beautiful, colourful and abundant land and I went with an open mind. You hear things about countries but before arriving there is always that trepidation, will it be as good to me?
Oh boy, it was good to me. I went to one place in the country and stayed there for the whole month. It was the Caribbean coast and it had so many echoes of Jamaica that I felt instantly at home. I made great friends in my time there and really although I was on holiday, I felt more as though I was home. Home in the tropics with a community that I was seeking. While there, my spiritual practice felt elevated and I had some of the most profound visions and meditations I have ever had in my life. The vision was clear. I needed to return and continue my work there, as the vibration and community would support this.
So, I came back to London at the end of December 2022 motivated and changed. In three months I sold almost everything I own and prepared to return to Costa Rica with two suitcases, just excited to get back among 'em.
I arrived and I was welcomed home by those I'd deeply connected with in December and got right down to my plan. Investing in a business, starting my treatments and readings and teaching at the beautiful yoga studio that had been a powerful haven for me on my first trip.
Without going into details, my trip has been a time of extremes - incredible highs, connection, love, oneness, knowing and bliss but also loss, heartbreak, grief, confusion, perplexity and turbulence. I realise that while I've been here (both times) my emotions move through me with ease. All the emotions, they're all free and present. Not that I'm particularly repressed in London but I'm not really known for being a cryer in my circles yet here the tears flow so freely as symbol of emotional release, not just sadness.
Before I came back this second time, I received a number of reactions when I told people of my plans, Mostly encouraging and supportive but some said things like - I'm so jealous, lucky you etc. I am exceptionally lucky, there's no doubt. I have skills that I can travel with, I have no dependents and I'm able bodied enough to carry my whole life in a few suitcases across to the other side of the world. That said, this place that I have arrived at, that I pursued with laser like focus and execution, has not come without sacrifice. I sold almost all that I own, left behind my closest people and great vegan food to be here. People may assume that being here on the Caribbean coast in Costa Rica, I'm living living my best life but what does that actually mean? I mean, even in paradise life is still happening, life is still lifing. Not that I was running away from anything in London (although I really am done with babylon tbh) and I had not assumed that paradise would be perfect.
So, finally after being so deeply in the process, or in the soup, I have a little space to reflect and share what this time has meant for me so far and what for me, have been the significant markers that makes Costa Rica to incredible place that it is.
My first thought is around the difference in city and jungle life. In built up, concrete cities we develop a hardness in the heart yet in other ways, we are so materially privileged, with access to so much commodities and convenience, we are also quite spoiled and coddled. In the jungle, it's the opposite - the material conditions are so much less comfortable and hospitable yet the jungle rips your heart open, demanding your acquiescence to nature that is abundant, wild, cruel, magnificent and beautiful. It's all things here and in being so close to the natural world, we absorb the personality of the environment. Here I feel so much more free and liberated and also feel so much more with levels of intensity I have never experienced in my life. All flows through me so easily and each day something new arises and then the next day, I feel something else. Now, as a sensitive I'm like this at the best of times - it is both my gift and my curse - yet here, it has been magnified by 100!
To be on holiday somewhere is not the same as living somewhere and it has been said that the jungle will test you and give you initiation to test your worthiness, strength and aptitude for living here. You cannot come to such abundant and beautiful lands and expect only light. To be in the jungle is to get up close and personal with nature and all her greatness and her impersonal ferocity. To be in her bosom is to feel both the shadow and the light, and in so, the harsh realities of truth.
In the interests of truth, there is more to it than that. The Caribbean part of Costa Rica has a rich history that includes slavery, racism and governmental neglect and prejudice. Yet as this part the country begins to attract more tourism, this is also displacing the local people as gentrification increases prices and creates a blandness that often present in overly touristic places. The tourism is a double edged sword, it brings both income and trade to the town but also with it, a disconnect with the local culture, roots and history. As a child of the diaspora, I have felt this deeply in my time here. The desire to be with my people, to support the prosperity of the community here, whilst also being sensitive to my contribution to the disconnect as a visitor and foreigner. Added to this, there is a number of creatives, healers and alternative pathfinders that come here for a bohemiam life and are here to offer everything from breathwork, to plant medicines, to yoni mapping, to somatic experiencing, drumming circles, fire displays among all the rest that you would also expect such as yoga, energetic work and massage. This, mostly foreign, community preaches love and light yet there is often a big dissonance and lack of awareness of the displacement of the local community here, which feels like colonisation all over again.
So, the natural world has her light and her shadow and of course so do we. Yet, very little shadow work is taking place here among the array of healing modalities available. It's hard to face the shadow in paradise and there is a tendency to look at the beauty of the place and make a mistake that beauty is all that this place has to offer us. That our vested celebration of beauty will relieve us of our shadow and of our babylonian wounding. Alas, just living alternatively in beauty and magic alone cannot and will not solves the issues of our time and the work must go deeper. In my time here I feel as though Costa Rica is ripping open my heart, piercing through so much deeply held illusions so that I am being prepared for something more authentic, real, raw and truthful. I'm grateful for the journey so far and for what I have learned.
In Avatar there is a quote - 'our great Mother does not takes sides, she protect only the balance of life'. In the advanced economic countries we are protected from the harsh realities of the great Mother, as in our built up, concrete societies protect our egos and fool us into thinking we are apart from nature, rather a part of nature. We can fall into thinking we have mastered mother nature and immune from her wild. In Costa Rica, there is no such filter and in fact, there is only wild. In the wild, my heart, my ego and my very being is laid bare and humbled. I'm left thinking of this quote from Kahlil Gibran (On Love), which I will leave you with:
For even as love crowns you so shall she crucify you
Even as she is for your growth, so she is for your pruning
Even as she ascends to your heights and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun
So shall she descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the Earth
Kahlil Gibran (On Love)
Thank you for reading xx