Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Warm Holidays

One of the memorable gifts I am infinitely grateful for this season is warmth! 80 some degree days? Oh yeah! It makes such a tremendous difference in my life when I am in a climate that supports and revitalizes me. At the same time, it thrills me to hear about others enjoying their snowy and more “winter appropriate” weather. Different strokes for different folks or we’d all be crowded in the exact same place at the same time. I wish for everyone to have the lives of their brightest desires as the energy of their joy emanates around the planet.

You may recall from my post Hola and Adios, August found me in Mexico as a Travel Companion. I anticipated that trip to extend possibly to Mexico, Belize, Panama and Costa Rica for weeks, possibly even months. Just a day prior to departure for that trip, a friend in Florida called requesting my assistance with house/pet-sitting. Appreciative I was asked, I had to turn the opportunity down having already made the Travel Companion commitment. When things started going south in Mexico, pun intended, I emailed to see if there was still a need in Florida. The response was affirmative. Thankfully, the gentleman I was accompanying in Mexico kept his agreement of flying me back to my airport of origin - in this case LAX. Spent a couple days embracing family, unpacking and repacking for the next adventure. 42 hours after departure from California, I arrived at my Florida destination (huge thanks, in part, to my generous car angels – my Parents!)

With my furry charge, I enjoyed numerous walks in nature. Saw snakes, bunnies, squirrels, hawks, turtles, alligators……many of them pretty up close and personal. An ever-changing canvas, the sky always presented clouds in infinite expressions that brought me delight. Greenery everywhere was punctuated by varieties of colorful flowers, fruit and trees draped in enchanting Spanish Moss.


In Florida, I was invited to teach classes at Beyond Wishes, a wellness and rejuvenation oasis right near my beach in Nokomis. Abby Krause, co-owner of the center with her artist husband Tom Krause, is an upbeat vivacious fairy-like being with an infectious smile. It was an honor and joy to accept. Moving Meditation delivered an eclectic blend of yoga, Pilates, Alexander, Feldenkrais and my own intuitive flair. Like a chameleon, this class morphed into whatever was needed for my unique students present each day. If you are ever in the area, treat yourself to a visit to Beyond Wishes. Get pampered with one of their numerous offerings….a facial, reiki treatment, massage or a breath enhancing experience in the salt bed.  At the very least, browse their collection of wellness care products….skin care, essential oils, candles, jewelry, books and more. Enjoy the marine life art of Tom Krause….of course the dolphin and turtle ones are my favs.


I’ve wanted to attend Michelle Walling and Greg Prescott’s In5d conference for the past 5 years or so. Either I wasn’t in the right physical location or I didn’t have the money to attend. This year I was in the “right” place. While I still didn’t have the money, I had a credit card and trusted this was the appropriate choice. It was a pleasure finally meeting and hugging them in person as all previous communication had been electronic. Through a series of synchronistic signs, I also made a powerful connection with  PamelaAaralyn. This Spiritual Alchemist began seeing auras, energy and visions at the age of 5. Miraculously, I ended up on a pontoon boat day trip with her and a few other bright people on the gorgeous nearby intercoastal. After a lovely lunch at Dry Dock, I experienced an insightful private reading with Pamela onboard the boat in that idyllic setting…..


Due to life happening as it does, I am not able to keep up with my networking or being aware of all the opportunities/happenings around me. I simply trust I will meet those I am “supposed” to connect with and get whatever info is appropriate for me. Such clearly happens frequently for me. Of note was a fb friend posting about his company, Dragonfly Expeditions. I am guessing I originally connected with Charles in my previous research for the Bahamas. Knowing he is also affiliated with other travel enterprises, Tropic Moon Media, Margaritaville Adventures and Windjammer Sailing Adventures, I was guided to contact him to see if there was any way we might be able to benefit each other in the future. He responded quickly to my message saying they could always use “guides” and to call him after Thanksgiving. Calling the day after, I was amazed that he actually answered the phone. Figuring I had nothing to lose, I shared with him my quest for a tropical place that I “see” in my dreams and visions – a place I am not even sure if exists on this planet (Baring My Soul and Planting a Dream). Continuing I told him any endeavor that brings me closer in my search, and that also honors all involved, interests me which is why I contacted him. Instead of blowing my story off, Charles asked me for details of this place. A well-traveled man himself, he started coming up with a few location possibilities.  Long story short, my arriving in Coral Gables to meet with him was full of wild synchronicities….perhaps a story for another day if it ends up going further. Not only did my adventure include meeting him at the Biltmore Hotel, I was invited to participate in a tour he was giving that day on Key Biscayne. I experienced so many incredible sights and learnings in a few short hours as Charles is somewhat of a charming walking encyclopedia.



I was privileged to have opportunities to attend numerous Holiday Celebrations. Again, thanks flowing to all who helped facilitate... The spirit of peace and joy warmed my heart and body this season helping to prepare for a bright New Year!





My commission over, the journey continues…….Thanks for accompanying me!!


P.S. Here are a couple funnies I shared on fb to provide a smile or two:



Thursday, November 10, 2016

WORKAWAY - Not So Ethical?

Since I have recommended workaway.info many times in the past to an unknown number of people, I feel it appropriate to follow up. Knowing what I now know about the organization, I recant my recommendations and provide disclosure of disappointing practices.


A reminder to my ever faithful family and my new readers – as I know I am welcoming a few here…..I did not join workaway due to wanderlust or a passion for travel. It was to assist me on my quest to finding my place as you can read, or refresh your memory, in Baring My Soul and Planting A Dream.

Initially discovering this travel trade website in 2014, I was so excited and promptly shelled out the money for my membership. What I learned along the way is:
·        Hosts pay no membership….just the volunteers.
·        A greater percentage of hosts I personally contacted don’t respond.
·        Less than stellar feedback (by paying volunteers) is removed – basically false advertising. Obviously this site is geared toward accommodating hosts so workaway will have a product, albeit not always honestly portrayed, to sell volunteers.
·       Workaway implies situations have, for the most part, 5 hours work, 5 days per week in exchange for food and accommodations. That scenario is actually pretty rare at least with the hundreds of profiles I looked into (unless you also include a space to set up your own tent or paying extra for meals or having a space to prepare your meals).
·        Workaway monitors private messages too in spite of their denial….I have correspondence to back that up but don’t wish to spend any more energy there.

Here is the feedback that I gave for the first place, and ONLY place via workaway, I experienced.
(See: If I'd Have KnownReally......the Desert?!) Through the grapevine I heard that even the owner agreed it was truthful. This feedback was subsequently removed by workaway. It makes reference to the description of the place that was posted at the time and what I actually encountered. Note: I was being kind.

[09/02/2015]

I spent almost a month here. Just a heads up that it isn’t quite a Hotel/Resort and Restaurant in the usual sense. It is more of a backpacker’s hostel. There is a dining hall and kitchen to prepare your own food but not a restaurant that has food and you can get meals prepared for you. A group of young people live there and like to chill. They are great about cutting down coconuts, when available. Nothing like drinking fresh coconut water right out of the coconut! So if you are looking for something more laid back, this might be the place for you. You need to be prepared for all situations like often no water much less hot. You also must like the company of a pack of untrained dogs following you wherever you go….yes, that includes the kitchen. There is much that needs to be done around so you will have no trouble finding ways to help out and can probably choose the jobs you prefer. The facility sits on a beautiful beach backed by desert-like terrain. The beach is constantly littered with trash so Mother Nature would love it if you assisted in the trash collection helping uplift the Planet. It is about an hour drive south of the city of Manta and about ½ hour north of Puerto Lopez. You can easily catch an inexpensive bus right on the road to either location and more if you’d like to do a little sightseeing or shopping.

I must add that I stayed in Nov 2014 and haven't had a chance to post this earlier so things appear to have changed. I know they changed their description after I left a review on another site back in Dec.
Left by Workawayer for host

(Neutral)

Knowing everything happens for a positive reason, I thankfully see many gifts resulting from being involved with workaway. If I hadn’t joined, I wouldn’t have met a number of wonderful folks – many of whom have since become dear friends.
Mary was one of the first that I made a magical connection with…..no surprise….on the beach! She shares an inspiring blog about her adventures and life as an expat in Ecuador. Mary, in turn, assisted me in making the synchronistic partnership with Hosteria Nantu including Andrea, Mauritz and what quickly became my Nantu Family.  At that time I assisted in getting Hosteria Nantu listed on workaway. Here are the reviews we posted for each other:

(Excellent)
[09/02/2015]

Words aren’t adequate to express my gratitude and happiness regarding my 2 month stay. Andrea and Mauritz were gracious hosts indeed. They and the staff quickly felt like family to me as we worked together….sometimes a little humorously due to my limited Spanish skills. It was an honor leading so many guests in daily morning yoga too. Between my hosts, the staff and a number of special guests, dozens more have been added to my heart for life. It was a real treat living and working right across from the beach. I got a chance to see all the different rooms in the hosteria. The reason this is significant as they are all artfully designed and decorated in their own unique manner. If you get a chance to volunteer here, between the hosts and the tranquil area, it will be an opportunity you remember fondly on for a long time to come!

Left by Workawayer for host

(Excellent)
Michelle
[08/04/2015]

We still miss this lady. She changes our life and the way to see things around. We really appreciate all she did around our hosteria, we still have people coming to look for our yoga classes and massages, I highly recommend Michelle as a worker, friend and person. Thanks a lot for all you did for Us. Everyone here keep talking about how great you were. You will always be part of our family, doors will always be open for you Michelle.
Left by host for Workawayer

Tessa and Alie frequented my poolside yoga class. Thanks to fb and their blog Happy Goats, we are able to stay in touch. Manuela from Italy, another beautiful yoga regular, co-owned restaurant Paella Mar in Puerto Lopez with her partner Toni from Spain. Loved their crème brulee! One more of my yogini friends is sweet Nadia. She shared my gypsy spirit and was on her own quest. Her time to move on came before mine and she gifted me with a beautiful handbag that she lovingly made for me herself. It was perfect for my needs (ok wants) at the time. Of course, I must express immense gratitude for my experiences with my furry, feathered and water friends - dogs, seals, seabirds, turtles and seahorses! 

During my research I came across a significant number of others who had similar, unsatisfactory findings and less desirable encounters through workaway. Will not go into any more detail so as not to immerse in the negative. Just backing up my own findings to save others unpleasant situations in the future.

Bringing the focus back to the bright side…..I am still open to that magical tropical location being shown to me in my night dreams and day visions. In the meantime, I continue Putting It Out To The Universe.... Please share ANY and ALL leads that may come to you regarding where on earth this Paradise might be or ways that I may discover such! Perhaps YOU would like to Personally participate with me in finding this Tropical Retreat?! It would be a powerful way of being the change we wish to see in this world…….Just Sayin’ ;-)

Thank you all for being such Bright Lights in my life!

P.S. If you'd like to read my description for workaway, sans the fill in boxes, email me at info@universalwellness.us and let me know.


Thursday, October 13, 2016

Hola And Adios

One of the most challenging aspects about my current chosen lifestyle is saying good-bye. Good-bye to people, places, experiences…. Definitely an effective way of learning detachment though.

Again I am at a loss for adequate words to express how incredibly grateful I am for the months I was privileged to serve a dear Soul Sister.
It was one of those situations clearly “meant to be” as my life changed on a dime in a direction neither of us anticipated before we met for re-connection Jamba Juice. We’d known each other 20? years as friends having done business together in the past as well. Acting as her personal assistant was a pleasure on so many levels. She, in turn, hosted me like royalty. How infinitely refreshing when people truly recognize and appreciate each other! Our time together was the living embodiment of NAMASTÉ. For those not familiar with that ancient Sanskrit greeting, it translates to the effect, “The God in Me honors the God in You”.  Together, over the months, we shared many smiles and tears, challenges and cheers.
I would have loved to stay with Her for much longer but my beach somewhere was calling. Due to the surrounding area and climate, I felt like a mermaid out of water. It was a sense that was constantly present which I needed to be vigilant to overcome to stay in positive energy. Hence, another bittersweet farewell when the next opportunity for tropical travel presented itself.

Time planning and talking about my trip to Mexico, Belize, Panama and Costa Rica lasted longer than the actual expedition. The person I was to accompany was not ready for a strong woman who could hold her own with street smarts in some Latin American countries. He wanted someone to hang out with, eat and drink together. This is not the picture that was painted for me when I answered the ad on Craigslist for a travel companion posted by his “sister”. Many very peculiar and entertaining conversations later via email and phone, I suspected something was awry. She either didn’t grasp what I was repeating over and over or only heard what she wanted. Obvious her international travel experience was strictly from reading and fantasy - not based in practicality whatsoever. At first I tried to only see everything in the brightest light figuring all actions taken where intended for her “brother’s” well-being. Then I saw her web of deceit, ignorance and manipulation was such that this Butterfly wanted nothing to do with it. I kept brushing it off thinking I’d be traveling with him, who I got a very different sense from, not her. When I flew to San Francisco to meet them a few days before departure for Mexico, it was evident how much I could assist the gentleman as there were so many important areas of travel not being addressed. To my amazement things were still being presented which had no basis in real life actuality. Realization that the gal who placed the ad was not really his sister became blaringly obvious to me (especially at the point she told me to tell people I was his sister) although I let her keep up the charade until the end. Now don’t get me wrong! While I have my own cherished, one of a kind Sister and Brother, there are many times I have referred to other members of this vast human family as brothers and sisters – like in the beginning of this post. Usually this is a relationship like SeaStar, Sistar, Dolphin Sister, Fairy Sister, Soul Sister…you get the spirit.  This was definitely not the intention here. Anyway, I figured once the gentleman and I got to Mexico, I would be able to share my expertise and all the extraneous wishful thinking preparations would simply fall to the wayside.

With one incident after another happening due to choices made from the beginning of the trip – or specific necessary actions not taken – it became clear to me this arrangement wasn’t working. The very talents I was supposedly brought on for were not appreciated, wanted or heeded. My staying not only wasn’t assisting him but had me in some less than desirable situations as well. I probably have the pretty awful experience I lived in the beginning of this year http://universal-wellness.blogspot.com/2016/04/have-courage-and-be-kind.html to thank for the fact I was able to discontinue this unhealthy arrangement very quickly.





Thanks to my ever-present legion of Angels, I was generously provided for and safely guided to my next sunshiny destination. I appreciate each and every one of you and delight in the journey we chose to make together! NAMASTÉ

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Gift of Pura Vida

A view of the endless Pacific in one direction and the ever changing mysterious cloud forest in another, our delightful Costa Rica property sprawled almost an acre. Back in 2004, my former husband and I purchased this tropical paradise –  a mere 10 minute drive to the beach. Excitement abounded as well as visions of our dream home we would build there. Shortly thereafter a friend, who bought around the same time as we did, was having marital issues making owning real estate in Costa Rica no longer in his best interest. To help our friend, we purchased that land from him. We weren’t really sure what we’d do with it but it was in the same phase in the development our lot was located. You may have noticed the title “former husband” previously in this tale. From that you would correctly gather there would no longer be a dream home for us. So for years we have offered both lots for sale or trade.


Around the beginning of my gypsy travels (2009) –  I wound up in Costa Rica although Panama was on my itinerary for where I’d be starting my new life. Since Providence landed me a few miles from where our land was situated, I searched for ways that made sense to start manifesting my dreams there. After almost three months, the signs all pointed for me to move on. Clearly this was not the place.

Earlier this year, I alluded to a difficult situation I was experiencing – one in which I allowed myself to be weakened physically and spiritually. Doubting and second guessing myself and my intuition were some of the effects. During this surreal period, a situation arose. At this point I’d been offered a few less than desirable exchanges for the two lots in Costa Rica. Really….how would trading for barren acreage in Nevada with precious mineral possibilities interest me? It was then I first thought of giving the property away. Although I know my energetic contribution to the planet and humanity is significant, I got to thinking bigger. If I could donate the property to someone who could make a powerful, positive difference with it, that would certainly expand “being the change I wanted to see in this world”. When I mentioned this to the Jekyll/Hyde lost soul I was entangled with, it was immediately shot down. Would I really want to give the property away as opposed to getting say 10-50K? My first instinct was YES! But when questioned again, my Authentic Self began to fade away once more. Regaining my strength and self-connection in the months following, I remembered that incident again. Give the property away? Yes! That is exactly what felt right!






Presenting my potent idea to my potential worthy recipient had me practically bursting! This man is a high energy healer disguised as a master of chiropractic arts in California. While I was aware of his affinity to Costa Rica for some time, it was my Mom who actually refreshed my memory recently. Bilingual in English and Spanish, he loves the country and, just as importantly, the locals. Not your typical tourist who sees them as “background people”, this guy enjoys interacting with and getting to know the Ticos and Ticas of the land. Visions I had of him dividing his time and talent between California and Costa Rica as he assisted diverse populations from around the world were grand! When I first laid the gift idea in his lap, his mind was spinning with possibilities, questions, and considerations. The “what ifs” were infinite. Knowing the myriad implications of him accepting, I left him to consider -  not wanting to pressure him into an immediate decision. As time went on, his excitement and clarity got us on the path of making it happen.



Pretty much every legal transaction in Costa Rica requires an attorney to get involved no matter how small it may be or how closely the participants cooperate with each other. And, while it might make things easier, real estate transactions do not require one to be physically present in Costa Rica as some people were counselling me. Once my DC friend and I were clear that we were on, we wanted to get things rolling asap. Researching recommended attorneys was turning out quite different than anticipated. I wanted to get an idea of how they communicated with me and how they would handle this kind of situation before committing to use them. Not sure if they don’t need new business, the business was too small or complicated or they just didn’t like to be “shopped” as one of them indicated to me. Finally I ended up pulling strings by contacting an associate of a good friend of mine. This gentleman had large projects in progress in Costa Rica and definitely knows how things work there. He recommended an attorney in Uvita that they were considering using for their next project or something similar. She is originally from the United States, married a Tico and has two kids in Costa Rica. She is familiar with law in both countries. Her immediate response to my email left me thrilled and hopeful. Almost immediately my little voice inside told me this is who we were to do business with. My initial excitement dwindled a bit when the communication became less prompt and a bit cloudy. All the information I was trying to get was stated in my original email communication. Yet it took 5 weeks to get it all clarified to the point where monies were being wired to begin to execute the transaction. Strangely, through all of this (unlike other situations in my life), I felt mysteriously at peace and patient. Events still felt like they were on track albeit perhaps via the scenic route. I had a sense I would have information for what was next in my life when I wrapped up the Costa Rica Gifting Project.
In the meantime, the delays where holding me in a loving place I’d decided to assist in until the completion....or another certain sign. In that place I was thrilled to be making a clear, awesome difference and the Universe was engaging me there, in a sense, as long as I was needed. A highly respectful place I might add...with a beautiful Lady. There is a phrase I often use with people asking me how long I will be somewhere….. “I shall stay until the wind changes” :-)

A while back I created a facebook page to help move the land in Central America. It was called, “Costa Rica Land 4 Sale or Trade”. That title has now been changed to “Gift of Costa Rica Land”. While things may not happen quickly, I foresee updates of the transformation being posted there over time. If you are on fb and have not already “liked” Costa Rica Land 4 Sale or Trade, please visit Gift of Costa Rica Land and be a part of Gaia’s bright evolution.