Did I ever mention that I thought I would never return to the States to live? Well…a girl can change her mind, right?
In 2016, a strange turn of events sent me into an existential crisis of sorts…My identity was stolen. On the streets of NYC, my wallet was lifted from my bag the day after I landed for a month long US excursion. It was my worst nightmare…one that forced me to push a big PAUSE on all of my plans. It felt like a daunting task, to reclaim my identity, especially because I had no back up plan for something like this. (Sidenote…you really need proof of identity to prove who you are…and if all of your proof of identity is gone…then how do you prove who you are?)
Most people have photo IDs and paper proof of identification stashed in their desk drawers. But, because I literally dropped off the radar to move to Costa Rica about 7 years before, all of these important documents were hidden somewhere in the dark corners of my NC storage unit.
The moment I actually realized the implications of what had just happened, I became more present and walked downtown to my friend’s house with no identification, no cash, no Metro Card, no credit card and no idea of what to do next other than wake up to the moment. This moment of chaos was the beginning of a new cycle for me. One where I was called to wake up and get my shit together in a bigger way. As I started sharing the dilemma that I was in with close family and friends, the questions bombarded me.
What are you going to do?
I can’t believe you had your passport and license in the same place, how are you going to replace it?
What are you going to do?
How are you going to prove who you are?
What are you doing to do?
I learned from that experience that presence and taking things one step at a time can take a person far. As I navigated the process of reestablishing my identity, I stepped closer to the consideration of actually stepping back into life in the US.
Over the past years, I had comfortably slipped into life at the end of a dirt road beside the ocean with the sun rise and monkeys song as my alarm clock every morning. I spent 7 years settling into life in the jungle of Costa Rica unwinding the stress and overwhelm I had accumulated from the previous cycle of my life. In this time, I learned that I had moved to one of the world’s 5 designated Blue Zones, where inhabitants live longer, happier, with decreased amounts of chronic diseases. I studies longevity principles, seeped myself in nature, and learned and practiced the art of breathing deeply (yes…there is an art, science and practice to it).
As beautiful as it all sounds, life there, 9 degrees north of the equator, is not just an idyllic paradise like most people imagine, and almost inquire of me on a daily basis.
Don’t you just love living in paradise? Is the question that I started to resent. I often wanted to scream to the one posing the question is that “THE GRASS IS NOT GREENER OVER HERE! Sometimes, it is a dry, dusty shade of brown.”
I wanted to honestly reply, “Life here is challenging in ways you cannot imagine. I have to hustle as much as I celebrate. It’s like living under a magnifying glass…with the most mundane obstacles feeling like a mountain that needs a new trail.”
I didn’t understand where my resentments were coming from. After all, I do live in paradise. I am surrounded by nature in a place where most people come to retreat and vacation. I began to recognize that I needed to shift my perspective again. I started considering the changes that would help me to light a fire and get me inspired to find the center between the chill of Pura Vida mode and the movement that would help me to manifest my dreams.
The movement of that contemplation pulled me back to consider living again in the States, and I eventually chose to land in NYC.
In answering the call to come out of my jungle bubble I dipped my toes back into life on the east coast and started visualizing life in the big city (where I had never lived, but always dreamed of living). It was time for me to make a halftime move to the heart of Manhattan.
I landed in my Upper East Side apartment 2 weeks after the election in November. The chaos continued and it felt like the foundation of life as I knew it in the past 7 years was even more bumpy than the dirt road that leads to my house at the edge of the ocean.
I continued to come back to the trust that I have in my spiritual guides and my internal wisdom, those messages that have been screaming loud and clear that this is where I need to be. I even scheduled a call with my mentor, who is a psychic of sorts, and she also confirmed that I am needed in NYC to share of what I have learned from the teachers of nature and breath and the culture of Central America. She could see that the city will serve as a backdrop of inspiration for me, as I complete the final pieces of my memoir (the one I have been writing for the past decade+).
So, I settled into the wintery embrace of the city and prayed for the best. On my best days, I venture out and meet people who remind me that I am in the right place at the right time. And, I am also human and still have those times of doubt and despair where I want to put my tail between my legs and humbly crawl home. In those latter moments, I light a candle, breathe deeply, pray, and realize that change is the only constant in life.