Puerto Viejo

 

(This post is part four in a series. Read part onepart two, and part three.)

 

I spread a thick layer of sunscreen across my right hip and thigh, covering the pale splotches that watercolored my skin. Warm soft sand hugged me from behind and the wind slurped me forward. I rolled in the white spray on the shoreline and kissed her skin with my lips. Sand covered my face mouth belly and limbs.

 

I gazed out to the neverending coastline carrying both confusion and understanding in equal measures. I felt the ghosts from my past all around me and yet it was like they evaporated all at the same time. The grief of letting go enveloped me as I tasted the sweet freedom in the wake of possibility. Knowing… I am so different, and yet all is so familiar. Saying hello and goodbye.

 

“So… what are we then?” I asked her like an ex lover whose bed I still shared from time to time.

 

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It felt… like… loss that I couldn’t seem to let go. Nursing myself back to health, focusing on my business, struggling to recover my belongings, and finding a new place to live had all been blessed distractions from what was really ruminating beneath the surface. Once I let it all go, I had to look deeper into the heart of my fear.

 

I didn’t know if I belonged in Puerto Viejo anymore.

Maybe because… I didn’t feel like I knew Puerto Viejo anymore.

 

It had changed so much from the place I had fallen in love with and I had changed so much over the years as well. Was this still my home? Did I still want to be here?

 

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My relationship with this place is so confusingly enmeshed with my unrequited lover it’s impossible to say what I was really grieving: the loss of her or him. In the Fall I had received his words of closure I waited five years to hear: “it was never you and it never will be you.”

 

So was it the widening of the road and the cutting down of the trees and the new properties for sale and the gringo population drowning out the Caribbean culture… or was it the nail in the coffin that said “he never was yours and he never will be yours, so you have no purpose left in being here”?

 

As a friend had asked me nearly a year prior, when I was deciding whether to stay or whether to go, “is it that you can’t be here because of him, or it that you are here because of him?” I was pretty sure my answer was yes to both. Which is why I left and went to Thailand in December without plans of coming back. I wanted to move on because I wanted more than unreciprocated love.

 

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But these traveling feet learn again and again and again that life decides when the karma is complete. And until I learn the lesson with every fiber in my being, it will keep on keep on keep on meeting me. So there I was. Back in Puerto Viejo. Mourning the man who made me question my own sanity because my feelings for him are nothing short of absurdity. In Sri Lanka I thought I had completely let him go, but coming back tore open the wound and I had to meet it again from a new perspective.

 

Oddly and also perfectly, upon my return, it was as if he had disappeared. In fact, I assumed that he was no longer here. Last time we spoke he was on his way to Europe to try out a new relationship, without plans of coming back. But friends confirmed he was most certainly in town.

 

Apparently he was visible to everyone but me. I rode along the one single road going about my day, never passing him once. I unavoidably passed by his business every time I did errands in town and never saw his face. I had been back in town for six weeks and never once crossed his path. In a tiny town like Puerto Viejo, that’s no coincidence. Life was protecting me from seeing him.

 

I was grateful for this sweet space, but disheartened by it too. His lack of existence was like a death that I had to grieve.

 

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And let’s not forget, the grief I experienced in that moment went far beyond just this “relationship.” I was grieving the loss of everything. My home, my stuff, my life, my purpose, the way my skin used to look on my right thigh. Yet I also felt completely surrendered to whatever life decided. Because I knew deeply that it didn’t matter if I fought or not, life would get its way.

 

As I surrendered to these broken pieces, life started to put them back together again. Gifts came pouring in from all different sources. I found a house to look after while the owner was away, a gorgeous villa with a massive gate surrounded by giant trees, an electric golf cart I drove around everywhere, and friends returned from the states with my old laptop I had fortunately left behind with all of my files, new ATM cards, and thank Goddess underwear.

 

I moved into my new house, settled myself in, and planned to finally get back into my work flow. It had been nearly three weeks since I had looked at a computer screen and I had hardly shared anything on social media and certainly hadn’t posted on the blog. I missed writing and felt the pressure of picking up where I left off.

 

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But…life decided I actually needed more of a break. I unconsciously locked my laptop and all of my other valuables into the safe, having learned my lesson from getting robbed, and the batteries ran out which meant I had no way to open it. A few days later when I finally got into the safe with spare keys, I discovered that my entire website was down. Nothing was there.

 

Hours of tech support later and I still had no website. My old hosting company insisted that there was no way to recover anything. There was a very real possibility that I might have lost everything. I didn’t know if I had any sort of backup. Five years and hundreds of blog posts, an entire online course, and my heart and soul, potentially gone.

 

As I lay in bed that night I relaxed into the possibility that This American Girl had disappeared off of the face of the Earth. Maybe it was all gone. Done. Did I have a clean slate? Was I starting over? Was anything left?

 

After the initial fight, I actually felt… ok about it. Because after everything that I had just survived, I knew that even if I lost it all, I could never lose myself. I was still here. I would always still be here. I would survive. So I was ok.

 

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I had survived whatever burned six square inches of my right thigh (still a mystery). I survived my home being broken into. I survived losing thousands of dollars in possessions. I survived putting work off indefinitely. I survived feeling unsafe, victimized, and small. I survived saying goodbye to the one house that ever felt like mine.

 

And over the years in Puerto Viejo I had survived a lot more than just that. I survived watching the trees be chopped down, the road double in size, the jungle get cleared, the ocean levels rise. I survived a tree falling in my path and nearly drowning in the ocean within the same day. I survived about a bazillion mosquito bites, a sweatlodge, and some pretty sketchy jungle hikes. I survived losing many friends. Being beaten up by the large and intimidating sister of my twin flame. And even if it was still killing me, again and again and again, I was still surviving my Puerto Viejo love story.

 

I had survived and knew I would continue to survive the many initiations this jungle threw my way. Each time standing taller. Stronger. And softer. Less and more at the same time, with each thing she stripped away. Closer to my nature by being awoken by her nature. With every death she brought into my life, she showed me not only that I could survive but that I could thrive. To remind me that I’m not just here to lay on the shoreline, I’m here to ride the waves.

 

What a glorious experience it is to lose everything you thought you had, and remember the only thing that’s ever been yours.

 

Free of everything, I came home to the one thing I had: myself.

So I used the opportunity to become devoted to that one thing.

 

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Laying on my bed that night, without my home, with a new scar on my leg, my heart aching over the man who never loved me, and my life’s work completely gone, I made this promise to myself:

“You, Camille, my love, are more important to me than any of it. You are more important than your commitments, projects, creations, relationships, responsibilities. You are more important, way more important, than what anyone else ever thinks, expects, or wants. I will do whatever it takes to keep you healthy and happy. I promise to keep you safe and well loved for life.”

 

May we all be so blessed to be so broken that we remember.

 

The next day, my website was fully recovered.

 

Rather than get back to work, I listened to life’s message and I took myself down to the beach. I had barely caressed her body since my return, tenderly caring for my wounds and also feeling emotionally vulnerable since the break in. Home felt like the safest space for my body in all ways. But being so disconnected from this land hurt me in another way. Like being separate from… mother.

 

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I didn’t know how to feel her the same way that I used to. The pain was so intense as I watched them pave her paradise the year before, that I had developed a kind of detached numbness. Perhaps it was a healthy disconnect, but I missed our sweet union. It was like yearning for someone despite being with them every moment of every day.

 

But that day at the beach, I did feel her.

 

It happened down at Arrecife, the beach that held me through so much, the beach that in many ways made me who I am today. I sat out on the point early that morning, basking in the sunshine, blissfully alone with the turquoise sea. As I often do I rolled around in the warm sand letting it coat my thick locks like a blissful beach dog.

 

Tears welled up as the feeling of home, the sweet remembrance filled me. A long forgotten feeling that was love in every possible way. Home. Home. Home. Punta Uva. Forever my home.  Lifetime after lifetime, this has always been my home. I cried and laughed and laughed and cried, overwhelming grateful for the feeling of home that for a traveler feels like such a rare gift.

 

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I started going to Punta Uva every single day after that. I’d make the stunning walk along the beach from my house in Playa Chiquita down to the river and plunge into the cool stillness. Hike up the muddy cliff grasping onto the vines and emerge onto the golden shores of Arrecife. Chat with the Rastas who make Rondon and fantasize about living down there one day.

 

With all work on pause and daily pilgrimages to my heart’s home, I remembered what first awakened within me on my first trip to Puerto Viejo: the art of doing nothing.

 

Rather than work or organize or socialize, I did epic cleanses, swam in the river at sunset, meditated all morning and recited my personal love mantras. I did daily coffee enemas, fasted on nothing but coconut water, and felt myself shed all of the weight and toxins of my past. I made loving my body and myself my greatest priority, devoted finally first and foremost to me. And so loving others felt easy.

 

My imagination ran wild, dreaming up my fantasy retreat center, taking over an enormous beachfront property in Punta Uva that already had traditional wooden Caribbean houses and expansive gardens. Every day at sunset I’d wander onto the property and just sit on the lawn and imagine myself there.

 

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But I still had doubts.

Because funny enough, as much as I’ve loved Puerto Viejo more than I’ve loved anywhere, as much as my heart has been devoted to her over the years, as much as I’ve created home and community here, I’ve never actually committed to her.

I’ve never actually taken that step and decided, “this is my home.”

I’ve never actually “settled down.”

This lack of commitment meant something to me, but I didn’t yet grasp exactly what.

 

How much of it was her and how much of it was him? The eternal question. And the deeper I dropped into my heart the more my ache for him heightened, which I could not seem to understand. If this thing was unhealthy, not right for me, why was it always there despite my continuous healing? Why was it that no matter which angle or approach I took to let it go, it always came back?

 

Now here’s the part where I’m going to show you all my crazy side. Yes… if you haven’t caught onto this yet I am most definitely one of those crazy girls. Something I’ve carried with shame since my first boyfriend when I was 13 and still need to forgive. I am one of those crazy girls who gets obsessed with boys and acts well… crazy. Maybe you relate, maybe you don’t, maybe you feel triggered, maybe you feel understood. Whatever you feel, I hope you receive the innocence of what I’m about to share.

 

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I’ve learned to reform and/or repress my crazy girl, but she still sometimes comes out in hiding. She is after all my shadow. And thanks to the internet with people being sooooo stalkable, she came out that night as a stalker. Through my internet stalking I discovered that this man who I embarrassingly still obsessed over, was in a fully committed relationship with the woman he had started dating the last time we spoke. I figured that was the reason why I hadn’t seen him. Life was protecting me from seeing them together because she was now living here too.

 

My mind created stories seeing photos of them together, him as this devoted boyfriend I had never seen him be with anyone. It was like watching someone play a completely different character than the one who you had assigned them to be in your movie. It was totally disorienting for my ego. Watching him be something other than a playboy was actually… upsetting. And most disturbingly of all, it felt like a loss to realize that we’d no longer be playing the unfulfilling game that I had been wrapped up in for so many years. I had gotten so used to accepting his scraps of attention that seeing there’d be no more scraps felt like a loss.

 

Then I saw that his girlfriend had left town, and out came my shadow even darker. I wanted him to cheat on her with me. Woah. I actually wanted that. I didn’t respect their relationship or her feelings or his commitment, I just wanted whatever I could get from him. But of course, since I’m a “nice girl” my mind rationalized that maybe they weren’t really together anymore if she had just left. I was simply looking for an opening and grasping for what I could reach.

 

(Thank you for holding the space for me to out this very dark side, and I appreciate you for honoring whatever it brings up or triggers within you. I know we all have tasted this feeling in one way or another, and I honor myself for being brave enough to voice it.)

 

I asked myself how I could be so wounded and how I could value myself so little, to want to settle for such a thing. My mind brought me back to the mother of his child, the one who I didn’t know about when I was with him, but carried shame with all of these years. I felt myself as so inferior to her. I felt myself as the other woman. And I felt distanced, jealous, and vindictive towards any woman he had ever been with. I knew how deeply this must be hurting me and I knew I needed to heal it.

 

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While in the past I had adamantly stood my ground that I didn’t know about his other relationship, after I did find out I still let myself engage with him sexually not knowing where they stood. More importantly, I continually disrespected myself in the way I engaged with him. Some women have written angry comments on the stories I’ve shared about him, judging my behavior, and I used all of the pain of that in this moment to forgive myself.

 

I forgave myself for not valuing myself. I understood that any time I hurt or disrespected another woman it was simply because I was hurting and disrespecting myself. If I truly wanted to heal with my sisters, I needed to respect and honor myself enough to never act this way again. I needed to act with deeper integrity. First and foremost for myself.

 

So I wrote to her. The mother of his child.

 

We had so many friends in common yet had never actually met, and I always placed her on this pedestal. She was the one he had actually chosen, I was just the insignificant extra since she was out of town. Not to mention she was incredibly gorgeous and I felt plain and immature in comparison to this woman I had painted a Queen. But I was changing. I was loving myself and by valuing myself I was feeling more and more like a Queen myself. I knew that forgiveness was the next step.

 

Despite what I knew or didn’t know, if I acted right or not right, none of it mattered anymore. All that mattered was forgiveness. And so I humbly wrote her an apology, because that’s what I needed to do in order to forgive myself. She too humbly accepted which I am deeply grateful for.

 

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That night under the stars I went into my dance meditation. In the absolute darkness I began to feel all of the spirits and demons of Puerto Viejo close in on me. I was this light. This light attracting the darkness, but I continued to dance. I asked myself if I could be that here, if I could be in a place of such darkness and still hold my light.

 

Then I realized I wasn’t alone in my light. I began to see my sisters.

 

We were laying together on the earth in a giant mandala, and beside me lay his ex. We looked each other in the eyes, side by side, and we cried and began to hold one another. Forgiveness flooded me with pure understanding. Then came the others. All the ones I had seen him with in bars, walking down the street, all the ones I passed wondering if they’d be next. All of the ones I judged as less than me or more than me.

 

With a giant exhale I humbled myself and invited them into the cuddle puddle. We snuggled all together, right there on the floor, no competition, just oneness. Then we rose up and danced. In circles under the moonlight we danced and celebrated womanhood. Free of any man that might turn us against one another we played in the joy in love with ourselves and one another. We could see pure beauty in one another. Like one tribe together.

 

I cried realizing what I still had inside of me to heal

and I cried because I knew that I was healing.

 

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The next morning I rode into town to get a Maya Abdominal massage with my friend Pamela for the first time. In my session I spoke about the healing I experienced the night before, about my longing and also resistance towards romance, my celibacy, and of course the man who seemingly disappeared yet was forever with me. I had been back nearly two months and still not seen his face once. She offered me deep wisdom and my heart softened open into a greater capacity for love.

 

Then of course, once I left the treatment, after nearly a year of nothing, I immediately saw him.

 

Which felt oddly relieving. It felt good just to be reminded that he did exist. We didn’t speak, and I don’t think he saw me, but just looking at him reignited my inner flame and brought me simple happiness. Almost like… him being alive was enough for me. Because that is love. Gratitude to someone for the grace of their presence on this Earth, without expecting anything in return. My love for this man was nothing short of unreasonable.

 

The next morning, riding into town in my ridiculous eye catching golf cart I saw him again. ‘Cause that’s the thing about Puerto Viejo. It will put you in exactly the path of exactly the person you need to see. For two months I hadn’t seen him at all, and suddenly I saw him everywhere I went. He stood talking to a friend, and we had eye contact for a moment, but something in my belly told me not to say hello. The energy felt so dense.

 

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That was the day I found out that our friend had been killed

and I’m pretty sure that the moment I passed by him was the moment he found out.

 

I found out that night from a sister who came to my house for dinner.

She asked me if I knew him, and I said, “of course.”

 

I mean, I’m pretty sure everybody knew him. I can’t think of anyone in this town who didn’t know him. He was just one of those likeable guys. Plus he had that sideways smile that would never let you forget him. This smile that said, “I’ve got a secret and I’m not telling you what it is.”

 

That night my girlfriend and I stared up at the stars feeling the unbearable lightness of being.

“You realize he’s probably laughing at us right now,” I said to her. He had one of those personalities. He was such a trickster. And what instantly came to me was, “No wonder he always had that look on his face. He knew.”

 

I felt a strange… peace.

That he had somehow schemed all of this to help heal this town.

Because… that’s totally something he would do.

 

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The next morning I went down to the beach in Playa Negra carrying a bouquet of purple orchids. Probably a hundred people gathered along the shoreline, also holding flowers and offering their grief to the sea. A local friend of mine, basically a brother to the one who had departed, walked over to me and said “you brought the perfect thing,” gesturing to my orchids. I gave him a big hug and we all joined hands in a long row parallel to the sea. Prayers were spoken and we offered the flowers as gifts back to the ocean. Gifts in honor of the gift of his life. Tears streamed down my face feeling the beauty and sadness in the wholeness of community.

 

I spent the rest of the day holding people I loved. We stood outside of the Casa de Cultura, intermittently crying, offering support to one another freely. Some people seemed unaffected, others shell shocked, a few in full release. My best friend and sister who I had grown with so much over the years in Puerto Viejo was particularly affected and I was blessed enough to be there to hold her hand.

 

Funerals can often double as family reunions and that’s exactly what this was.

 

Friends who I had barely spoken to save for a wave in passing on the road surrounded me, shaken to the core, and we reminisced on stories and hugged about a million times. The words “I love you,” came easily. It was the family I had collected in my early Puerto Viejo years, back when I was a party girl, who had slowly drifted out of my life as I changed. But the love, the love was still there.

 

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And my love, him, he was of course also there. Standing a few feet away from me in fact. Because he and I were part of this same family. This family of my past.

 

We didn’t speak to each other though. Didn’t look at each other. I wanted to offer him the same condolences I offered everyone else but it seemed… inappropriate. The last time I saw him we parted on very positive terms, honoring each other with full respect in our goodbye, but I don’t think either of us felt safe to have contact at all. And I didn’t want to trigger him further, his friend who he had known his whole life had just tragically died. So I held the space of silence.

 

Hours later the procession continued down the road and into the cemetery. We cried while grieving women sang church songs and hundreds of people scattered among the gravestones. Eventually we made our way to his plot. One by one we made our final goodbyes and when it was my turn, I bowed to him in reverence, “thank you.” Then the words came out of my mouth without thought, “you motherfucker.” I shook my head and laughed and cried at the same time.

 

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I was utterly exhausted by the time I got home. I hadn’t eaten and had been in ceremony for at least eight hours. Thankfully I know beach therapy, so I went down to the sea and walked my familiar steps to Punta Uva. I arrived at the river and perched atop a fallen log. Above me sat a majestic hawk and I looked up to her asking for her wisdom. This was why I was here. This. This. I remembered.

 

Walking home I couldn’t get my friend who had passed out of my head. It was like his face was etched in my mind. Like he was walking beside me. He was so… there. Which was strange considering… we weren’t even close friends. And since ending my party days, I had barely seen him save for some hellos for the last few years. But he was so… there.

 

Oh, ok, yes. Mmmm. Right. I realized. Because he was there.

 

When I relaxed my mind enough to accept what I felt, I knew what was going on. It first happened to me the year before when my grandmother passed and she walked with me at sunset along the shoreline. Then it happened again with a woman I had never met before who tragically died in Puerto Viejo kept me awake all night after her passing. And more recently in the cave in Manzanillo when I called in the spirit of a departed little girl to heal the heart of her mother. Now, it was my friend coming to visit me.

 

Yes… sometimes I see dead people.

 

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But it’s really not so spooky kooky like that. It’s actually like… I can connect with the subtle realms where energy beyond form exists. Anyone who has ever used their imagination, which is every single one of us, has the same super power. It’s just a matter of how much you doubt what you see or how much you allow what you see. We’ve all felt it, we just frequently doubt it and so it disappears.

 

I doubted it too. I doubted it a lot. Still, I trusted it enough to know that he was there.

And being with him felt so nice.

 

It was him, but like, an even better version of him. It was the purest essence of him. The enlightened state of him. Him absolutely free of any pain or wound patterns yet still delightfully animated with his unique personality. Full of charm and free of pain. Which offered me a tremendous insight about the essence of every human being at our core.

 

Having him around, while amazing, was also distracting, pretending he wasn’t there while around other people who couldn’t see him. He was giving me all kinds of insights all of the time and he was always helping me with whatever I needed. Again, it was weird because I wasn’t a particularly close friend of his. I was an acquaintance. So, why did he choose me? I guess he wanted me to help the people who were suffering. He told me what to do, how to do it, and I listened.

 

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One of the things he guided me to do was bring his friend down to the cave in Manzanillo. The place I consider the portal between life and death where I had done my own ceremonies in the past. We had our little adventure in the golf cart and hiked in through the jungle. As we walked I taught him one of my favorite songs and we scatted the jazzy tune together:

“I’m gonna let life move me! I’m gonna let life stir me deep! I’m gonna let life waaaaakkkeee me, from an anncccciiieeeennnttt sleep! I’m gonna laugh all my laughter! I’m gonna crrrrryyyyy all my tears! I’m gonna love the rain just as deeply as the sun when it clears!”

 

He asked if I remembered bringing orchids to the funeral that morning, and how he told me I brought the perfect thing, and if I knew that our friend’s favorite flowers were orchids. I of course had no idea.

 

Inside the cave we built an altar and offered shells and flowers we had collected out to the ocean. He was still there with me, as he had been the whole time, and he gave me lots of wisdom and insights I was so grateful to receive.

 

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The next day I offered to give Reiki to another friend who had actually witnessed the shooting and was visibly traumatized. “I have no idea what that is,” he replied “but I’m open to anything.”

 

Our friend’s spirit was very clearly in the room and as I channeled the healing, he continually urged me, “tell him I’m here.” “Ummmm no!” I replied. “He is going to think I’m crazy!! Besides, I don’t even know if you’re here! Are you here? Or am I crazy?”

 

Afraid of my own insanity, I continued offering in silence. Eventually I spoke, easing into some basic questions, and every question I asked came with affirmation. This happens without fail when I channel Reiki. Though I often doubt myself, I can see things and they’re always confirmed as truth. Slowly I felt comfortable held in a space of trust less afraid of my ridiculous witchiness. That’s when I finally said… “you know, our brother is here in this room.” He laughed and said he felt it the moment I touched him. I transmitted the messages our friend had to give him and he received them like the treasures they were.

 

I was on my own again after that. Maybe he went to be with someone else, or maybe he went to a place that I can’t see yet. But I did know that he’s a spirit guide who will be here for me whenever I ask. For that, I am eternally grateful. He is a true angel on my path.

 

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I think I had these strong psychic capabilities at least in part due to the physical cleansing I was doing. I was purging my body of so much karmic residue, and fasting on coconut water meditating effortlessly for the first time in my life.

 

Just after the funeral it was New Moon and I decided to do the liver flush where you literally shit out hundreds of green stones that apparently clog the ducts in your liver. This involves multiple days of fasting, drinking acid water, taking epsom salts, and then chugging an entire glass of olive oil and orange juice. (I literally got chills writing that. Gaaaaahhhhh!!!!)

 

Well I did it. Got up in the middle of the night. So sick I wanted to die, laying on the bathroom floor, cursing myself and life, vowing to never ever do this to myself again, until eventually I passed out.

 

In the morning I felt ok. And yes, I passed hundreds if not thousands of stones of all different sizes. With each release of these stones I felt myself so much lighter. Free of attachments, emotions, dramas. So so so easy to feel loving. At one point I felt this intense anger, so much anger towards my Puerto Viejo twin flame. Like… hate. Then I asked myself, is this anger his or mine? I guess… it didn’t matter.

 

I imagined him standing before me, projecting all of his anger onto me. Angry at me for existing. Angry at me for being alive. And I just stood there and let myself take it. I beamed back love. I let myself dissolve and be swallowed up and destroyed by love even in the face of hate. Then it was no longer about him, it was just about love.

 

I came to this realization that him not speaking to me wasn’t anger or hatred or rejection it was… respect. Space was actually the most honorable and respectful thing for both of us to give one another in this situation. So I let there be space.

 

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Miraculously by the evening I had completely recovered and was able to go to a friend’s birthday gathering. It was also the inauguration of a new space for yoga and other community events. We danced to uplifting music, ate vegan rondon (traditional Caribbean stew), and celebrated my friend who came on one of my first retreats and then moved her whole family down to the jungle.

 

As we blew out the candles and dug into a raw vegan chocolate cake I had this realization… a few days before I was with my friends of my past at a funeral… and here I was today with my friends of my present at a birthday.

 

It was nearly four years ago to the day that I made that choice too. For a long time I walked the line in Puerto Viejo. Partying on tequila til 2 then getting up for yoga at 8, begging for male attention at night and learning about self love in the day. I walked the line. But there was that moment when I chose. And actually, it’s when I started cleansing my body.

 

I got a lot of grief from friends during that time. “How come I never see you out anymore?” “You’re so fake!” “You think you’re too good or something?” I heard that a lot. I lost people from my life. But the only answer I ever had was, “I just want to love myself, and I’m figuring that out just like you are, just like we all are.”

 

Perhaps this aching I felt for the man of my past was really just an ache for that piece of me I left behind so many years ago. Perhaps it was really just an ache for that piece of me who never could have possibly known when she showed up in the jungle six years ago that she would be who she is right here right now. Perhaps it was really just an ache to reclaim that innocent ignorance that in retrospect appears so… easy. Perhaps it was me aching to let in forgotten pieces of me. And clearly, no matter how much I grasped, it was all far beyond my understanding.

 

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My final days in Puerto Viejo I mostly spent sitting on the sandbank between Arrecife and Playa Grande, looking out to the coastline. Asking myself, wondering, if this was my true home.

 

Couldn’t there be more of a paradise somewhere? Couldn’t there be the place that in my deepest heart of hearts I knew I belonged? Couldn’t there be somewhere I loved more than Puerto Viejo? And how could I possibly commit to creating a space here, to buying a property, to living here, to investing here, with so much uncertainty in my own heart mind life? With so much uncertainty in the future development of Puerto Viejo? With what I loved most being torn down and destroyed more and more every single day?

 

Then the words of wisdom spoke to me…

 

“Camille…

you keep searching and searching

the world across land and sea

from the islands of Thailand

to the temples of Bali

to the wilds of Lapland

to the jungles of Colombia

to the mountains of Mexico

looking and looking

for paradise

all this time forgetting

that you will never find it

because you’re the one who came here

to create it.”

 

Puerto Viejo-26

 

I flew back to my birth home of Seattle, wondering exactly what that meant.

But knowing very clearly, that one day I would most certainly find out.

 

My time in Seattle opened new doorways of light and revealed shadows and wounds, and I left and came back to the jungle as a new woman once again. Dying and living all at once. Perhaps I’ll share those stories one day in the future.

 

Puerto Viejo-15

 

As I stand here now, back in Puerto Viejo, on this precious soil that I once called my paradise, a voice in my heart is knocking. I watch this place change around me while I change from the inside out. I see development coming rapidly, I feel the vibration changing, and I hear my soul telling me that I have to go if I want to grow. My intuition speaks that discomfort is cracking me open. And even though it hurts, I know that eventually I need to listen. Sooner than later, I need to finally let go of my lover I know as Puerto Viejo.

 

And yet, I am here now.

So I will treasure this paradise as it as

The ghosts of all that it was

The ghosts of all that we have ever been

And know that whether or not this is forever my home

It will forever be my re-birth home.

It will forever be the place where I was born again.

That whether or not he is forever my unrequited lover

He will forever be love.

I will forever be able to love.

 

And for that I am truly, endlessly, deeply, humbly

Grateful.

 

Knowing there’s no such thing ever

As the end.

 

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