Quiet your mind, Bekka. Slow down. Let go. Stop mulling over everything. Always return to your breath. Inhale, exhale. I’ve been practicing yoga every day for the past week and these are usually the things I’m repeating to myself. Here in Puerto Viejo, I am changing and ever evolving (or at least trying to) and yoga is the one constant, the one thing I can always turn to and know it will bring me comfort. Having the luck to live near the ocean is the next constant I turn to for comfort. In the past week, I have felt the need for comfort and I’ve spent countless hours at the ocean listening. I can’t even read, my mind is busy thinking and thinking and thinking, I’m simply trying to quiet the inner bottle neck traffic jam of thoughts with salt and sun, breathing and yoga.
I’d give just about anything to see an old friend, even for only an hour. Skype is like a tease, I miss sharing a glass of rosé with my sister in her backyard, listening to the cicadas and watching their dogs inspect every blade of grass with their snouts. At times I miss my old job where I shucked oysters and talked salty-ocean-food with regulars at the seafood bar, talked gin with the bartenders, small batch distillery gin, stuff you can’t find here, the real deal. I miss watching the sunset through the trees, over the reservoir at Highland Park in Rochester. In the winter, the naked branches black against a pink sky, they looked like bronchi and alveoli in your lungs. I miss banana bread french toast with my friend, Erinn. Sitting on her stoop in the morning with coffee, plates balanced on our laps, marveling over the six raised beds we built in her front yard, the abundance of vegetables we yielded last summer. The thing is, I am trying to learn to be ok with uncertainty. Can you just let go, can you revel in wonderful memories and also push forward knowing the future is just as wonderful, if not better, than the past?
The past few mornings I have woken up gripped with stress. It’s the kind that makes you not want to get out of bed. The kind that tells me it’s time to return to the yoga mat, return to my breath and chill the heck out. I suppose I’m stressed because I’ve yet to find a job, I’m not sure where I’m going to live. I’m starting to realize here in Puerto Viejo, if I want to teach English, I have to make it happen on my own. Perhaps offering private lessons or suggesting to tour companies here that I can teach their employees better English. The thing is, if I were to teach at an ESL school, there you have lesson plans provided for you, a teacher’s textbook to work off of. Here there’s none of that, I’d be making everything up on my own. And you know what? That scares the shit out of me. I’m so incredibly intimidated by it all. And as a result, I go to yoga every day, ride my bike to the beach and avoid trying to manifest what I came here to do. For all my writing about doing what scares you, I’m sad to admit, I’m slow to get the ball rolling. Why? I’m a capable human being, I’m intelligent and creative. I’m pretty darn sure I have what it takes. There’s a big part of me that is desperate to see an old face, to hug someone I know really, really well, to have a best friend look me in the eyes and say, “you can do this.” And because I’m the new gal in town, I don’t have that here. Sure, I’m independent, fiercely independent but I am also just a human being who would love some comfort and a hand to hold. Maybe it’s because perhaps for the first time in my life, I’m actually doing what I really want to do and I’ve stopped allowing myself to be influenced by what others think of me or my choices. I’m not tethered to anyone or anything, I’m just tethered to myself, to my own heart, to my own destiny, to my yoga mat and to the ocean. And if we truly believe in something, we can make it happen, right?
I have these wonderful, clarifying moments in yoga class or when I’m sitting by the ocean where I realize everything will be ok. Things will work out the way they are supposed to work out. If I want it bad enough, I won’t have to return to the states to make money to come back here and live. I can find a way to live here. But it’s a DYI kind of way. It’ll require work and patience, love and courage. I’m intimidated by it all. Sure, I could throw in the towel and move back home but I would fall straight back into the cycle of working in restaurants (which is not fulfilling to me) and dreaming but not doing. I try to remind myself how far I’ve come but sometimes that mean side of me that judges my actions and my emotions seeps into the quiet corners of my mind. That dark voice surfaces and whispers, ” you can’t, you’re not capable, you will fail.” It’s a matter of telling that voice to go away. It’s a matter of not waiting around for things to happen, but making them happen on your own. And, just to say it again, just to really get my point across, that’s intimidating. Can I do this? Do I have what it takes? Can I be happy with uncertainty? Can I settle into a new place, can I make things work for me? Can I love myself and encourage myself enough to know that I can do this?