A New Moon - This American Girl

New Moon - 01


It swooped above me, frantically flying in circles with incredible velocity. I froze. Despite living in Costa Rica off and on for years, I had never dealt with bats and was unsure how to proceed.


New Moon - 02


“Grab a broom,” I thought.

“No, definitely not, what if it bites me?”

“I wonder if it has rabies…”
“Ok, open the door and wait it out.”

“I’m pretty cold in this bikini now that it’s dark.”

“I’ll go in and grab some clothes.”

“No, definitely not, what if it bites me?”

“Ok, open the door and wait it out.”


My mind and the bat continued their circular patterns.


New Moon - 03


What confused me most was how it got into my bedroom in the first place. Like most homes in Costa Rican beach towns, I had an open living and kitchen area with an enclosed bedroom. I kept the windows closed in the day, the screens sealed at night, and the door was always locked. How did the bat get in?


New Moon - 04


While the Pacific Coast entered its dry season, rain hailed on the Caribbean. For days I had holed myself up at home to work like a maniac on my eBook, promote the hell out of my social media pages, return to regular blogging, and plan my upcoming press trip to Europe.


I felt a long forgotten, yet all too familiar, anxiety that accompanied overworking and the stress of deadlines. Who was I and who was I becoming? Someone who goes on press trips in cold, expensive countries instead of traveling independently in developing ones and spends more time working at her computer than playing like a mermaid on the beach? Someone who writes about “pura vida” while biting all of her fingernails off?


At times I felt like I was going crazy. I wasn’t sure if it came from the blinding glow of my laptop or from my insomnia.


New Moon - 05


For several nights prior to the bat break-in I had barely slept from the squeaking I now realized was bats; however I hadn’t seen a trace of them. So when I got home from my sunset beach walk that evening and went to unlock my bedroom door, I was shocked to see one flying over my head.

I scanned the room to look for an opening where the bat could have entered but I saw none. “How on earth did it get in here?!” I wondered. In my attempt to reveal the mystery I did what any American girl living in Costa Rica would do; I researched the shamanic meaning of bats as spirit guides. If I ever wondered whether Costa Rica had indeed transformed me into a full-fledged jungle hippie, I received my definitive answer then and there.


New Moon - 06


Outside on my porch, away from the bat and under the light of the full moon, this is what I read:


“A bat flying into your life signifies that transformation of the ego self is about to occur. It’s the end of one way of life and the start of another. This transition can be very frightening for many, even just to think about, but you will not grow spiritually until you let go of these old parts of you that are not needed. Facing the darkness before you will help you find the light in rebirth. The bat gives you the wisdom required to make the appropriate changes for the birthing of your new identity.”


I walked back to my bedroom and the bat had gone. I searched to see if it had just taken a rest, but I couldn’t find it anywhere. For the days that followed I received even more messages, but the bat never returned.


New Moon - 07


The heavy rains brought with them plenty of other critters. Poisonous fuzzy white caterpillars covered the almond trees that lined the beach in Playa Chiquita and I ran towards the tide as they fell from the leaves and branches onto the sand. Caterpillars, a metaphor for the potential of new life after the surrender into metamorphosis.


One evening I took a long walk from Punta Uva to Arrecife. While walking up the muddy vine covered cliff that separates the two, a blue morpho butterfly crossed my path. For me, the blue morpho is the most beautiful butterfly in the entire world with electric blue wings and a movement that appears more like bouncing than flight. While certainly prevalent in Costa Rica, I saw them so infrequently that being beside one still felt special. It guided my path all the way to Arrecife before it disappeared. Many times a day after that occurrence I would see the blue morpho, and remembered that it too was once a caterpillar.


New Moon - 08


On my last night in Puerto Viejo before flying back to Seattle I went to a restorative yoga class at Om Yoga taught by a new teacher there, and a very sweet reader of mine, Trey. The room was lit with candles, a soft lullaby played in the background, and Trey invited each of us to draw a card from a deck of Louise Hay’s Wisdom Cards.


Mine had the image of a blue butterfly with the mantra, “I am willing to change.”

“I am willing to change,” I repeated silently.


New Moon - 09


I’m writing to you tonight bundled in a sweater in Seattle on the darkest night of the year. The Winter Solstice. This time of unknown, while I anticipate the next phase of my life, has felt blindingly dark. I feel like I’m working all of the time and I’m not even sure what it’s for. I feel like I’m losing sight of who I am and what I value. Again, I’m not even sure what for. I feel lost in the darkness.


New Moon - 10


In a few short weeks I will be in Finland attending a blogger conference, meeting with tourism boards, marketing my brand, and traveling with another human being. My eBook will be on the market, I’ll be working with sponsors, and turning my blog into a business. At this point I’m confused as to why. Why am I doing this when I know that I feel happy all by myself with nothing but a backpack and rags for clothes in tropical developing countries? When I can just teach yoga classes and live on the trading economy and close my computer and disconnect from the internet forever.


New Moon - 11


I suppose because some part of me needs to experience this or I wouldn’t be here. As much as I want to resist the change, a stronger voice within me knows that I need to expand.


The thing is, the change is coming whether I accept it or not. The change is inevitable. I can’t control an uncontrollable force. Like the bat foretold, I have to face this darkness and surrender into the unknown. If the sun and the moon and the cosmos can do it, I suppose I can too.


New Moon - 12


Tonight may be dark, but darkness makes way for light. Darkness creates space for new light. Darkness encourages us to look to our own inner light. We walk the soft edge between darkness and light that encourages us to simultaneously sit with the unknown while developing our intentions for this next phase of life.


This year the Winter Solstice coincides with the New Moon, supercharging its cosmic effects. People everywhere feel the movement towards change. A change not only within our personal beings, but a change that sheds light on the entire world. This is a powerful time for setting intentions and planting seeds. It’s a powerful time for each of us to ask,

“How can I evolve?”

“What stories am I enacting that I can transform for greater healing and growth?”


New Moon - 13


With the new moon and the new year, I’m writing a new story for myself. A story where I don’t have to sacrifice integrity for financial abundance. Where I don’t have to sacrifice authenticity for popularity. Where I can be independent and whole and happy and have someone else beside me in that journey. For me, this new moon represents not only embracing the darkness and the light, it represents embracing everything. As I move away from the darkness I’m remembering that no matter the choices I make, I am still me.


A butterfly or a caterpillar or a frantic bat in the night, no matter how I transform, I am always me.



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