I closed my eyes and placed my hands on the deck.
“I am so lost,” I thought. “I am so lost.”
The instruction booklet suggested I set an intention before drawing the cards. But how was I to set an intention when I felt entirely confused about everything in my life? I asked for an answer, any answer, and began to shuffle.
Earlier that day I checked myself out of the hostel where I had been staying in Puerto Viejo. I knew that I needed to escape the town, the stimulation, and the constant chatter.
Despite my intentions for the past few months to settle in somewhere, ground myself, and focus on my career, I had traveled to ten different towns between two countries and rested my head on no less than twenty-four different pillows since completing my Yoga Teacher Training in Pavones.
Throughout the course of that training I set my intention towards receiving, a gesture I find much more challenging than giving. In opening myself to receiving I found myself drowning in opportunities. I went on four blogger trips and committed myself to so many different projects that I lacked the space to even examine what mattered most to me.
Perhaps my greatest concern was that I didn’t have a clue where I was going next. I could follow friends who made their way to Mexico. Or finally visit the Philippines. At one point South America popped into my head. Yes South America, I thought. And of course, there was the promise I made to my family to spend Christmas in Seattle to consider.
Then out of nowhere a travel blogger I’d been corresponding with for a few months, Raphael from A Journey of Wonders, suggested I join him in Europe this winter. “Europe?” I thought as I pulled back my mermaid hair and waded into the Caribbean ocean. “Snow. Cold. Europe. Hm.”
I felt overwhelmed with choices coupled with a complete lack of desire. A poor combination in decision-making.
Normally I want to see the whole wide world with the passion an artist has for her muse. But lately, I didn’t feel that. I wanted to rest. Was I still exhausted from my epic trip around Asia? Without my wanderlust I wondered, who am I?
Truthfully I think it had less to do with wander-lost and more to do with how wrecked I was emotionally. I had recently been physically assaulted by the sister of someone who, despite being so totally obviously not what I wanted nor deserved, I still had unresolved feelings for.
This experience left me wondering if I could indeed call Puerto Viejo my home. I genuinely felt shaken and scared, unsure if I was even safe in this town. As much as I wanted to leave I knew that meant running from a karmic cycle that I would undoubtedly encounter again. My heart wouldn’t allow me to leave but I fiercely did not want to stay.
So there I was, once again with all of my belongings on my back, standing on my friend Sorrel’s doorstep. Feeling uprooted and lost but grateful to have family and community supporting me.
While she was in town preparing for the Chocolate Festival that began that evening, I sat on her wooden floor, listened to the pitter-patter of rain on the roof, and started shuffling her deck of Flower Healing Oracle Cards.
Rather than “witchy” or “superstitious”, I view Tarot Cards and Oracle Cards as useful tools in revealing the wisdom that we already know deep within. The same way we can sense when a person walks into a room behind us or feel that we’ve made the wrong turn, we often know things that we don’t even realize we know. That sense within us guides us to choose the cards that have the answers we contain in ourselves.
In that moment, on Sorrel’s living room floor, because my logical mind couldn’t show me the way, I turned to the cards to ask for my wisdom.
As I shuffled, so lost I didn’t even know what to ask for, one card refused to re-enter the deck. I shoved it in towards the others but it did not relent, so I placed it off to the side and continued to shuffle. I drew three cards, one for the past situation, one for the present situation, and one for the future outcome and set them face down.
First I turned over the card that had stayed outside the pile, sensing it might reveal the intention I could not find the words for. On it was a photograph of the bleeding heart flower with the words “Emotional Healing.”
I smiled and cried at the same time. There it was so plainly. The source of my inability to stay put or to move. Emotional healing. My bleeding heart.
I turned over the other cards. They told a story of a past where I developed my intuition and gained awareness, a present where I connected with the truths of the universe and shared them with others, and a future where I would be protected. This all felt relevant to my current situation, but I still felt lost in how I might proceed.
I decided to pull out another deck of cards. These were called Nature Transformation Cards and offered a quote on one side and a photo of nature on the other. When I chose my card and read the quote I nearly placed it back in the deck.
“Do not fear change, it is the only path to healing.”
It reminded me of opening a fortune cookie and receiving a vague and unsatisfying prophecy. What change did I fear? Everything in my life felt like constant change already. This cookie cutter advice could be given in any situation I thought.
Then I turned the card over and could hardly believe what I saw. On the back was a photo of a beautiful frozen lake lined with trees blanketed in snow and the word “journey.” I turned the card over again.
“Do not fear change, it is the only path to healing.”
In that moment I knew it was time to transmute the past and begin a new journey. One completely outside of my comfort zone. One that will challenge me to let go of my ideas surrounding who I think I am and open me to a world full of possibility.
In January 2015 I will begin this journey in the snow, in the cold, in Europe. I’ll be traveling alongside Raphael from A Journey of Wonders, who I adore but could not be more different from, figuring out how to not freeze my cheeks while filming a video series (get ready to see us for the fools we truly are) featuring the most spectacular nature in the Western World. After spending the last three years back and forth in Costa Rica, one of the ten greenest countries on the planet, I’m going to discover the other nine in Europe.
We will be taking Eurail through Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, France, and somehow making it to Iceland. My main concern at this point is how I’m going to stay warm. I’ve been spoiled in places where I don’t need any clothes and fruit falls from the tress. In the snow survival is a whole different ballgame.
My focus is to stay warm by being as active in nature as I can, soaking in hot springs and sweating in saunas, wearing lots and lots of cuddly clothing, sleepy beside cozy fireplaces, and eating meals that soothe my soul. We have a team of sponsors supporting us on this trip which I am overflowing with gratitude for. To balance out the karma we will be giving back to the communities we visit through various social projects.
I can’t imagine a bigger change from traveling solo in the tropics, but I know that this journey, just like every other journey I’ve been on, will offer me yet another opportunity for even deeper healing. It’s time to leave the mermaid for a while and explore the potential of the snow angel.
Check out our more detailed itinerary and stunning photos of what we hope to see on Raphael’s post here.