Volcán Barú

In 2014 I made this journey that I regard as one of the most spirited journeys I have ever made. As my work literally involves traveling and discovering, to me, new parts of the world, I still had not experienced the tools that my trip in 2014 gave me.

I went on a month long holiday to south America. Backpacking through Panama and Colombia by myself. For many it may seem like a risky thing to do. A young female alone going cross countries, countries somewhat unknown or even to some considered as rather dangerous. But I was looking for the adventure and the beauty that those countries had to offer. I didn’t have a fixed plan of where I wanted to go or when, I did have some highlights I did not want to miss. And one of them was climbing Volcán Barú.

My itinerary before heading for the volcano had changed as I had met 2 other female travellers who I joined. But after a few days together I decided it was time for me to change course and head up north. Our last night together we went out and to be honest I had a little too many drinks to compensate for the lack of external party buzz there was in that particular town that evening. My first regret of the abundance of alcohol in my system came when we had an early morning surf lesson the next day, just hours before I was supposed to catch my bus to Boquete. As you can imagine I did not perform all too well, we all three didn’t to be fair. One of us even fed the fish with her stomach contents while struggling to stay on the surf board. Or was that me….? Secondly was the long drive up north in a mini bus packed with other backpackers, seats not comfortable and temperature alternating from boiling hot to freezing cold. And the third and last regret of having consumed that much alcohol was when, totally voluntarily, after only 3hrs of sleep in my hostel bed, I had to wake up at 22h30 to embark on my new adventure.

But I powered through. I showered, packed my backpack with the provisions I managed to buy earlier that day upon arrival in Boquete, dressed up warm in layers, a scarf, raincoat, head torch and gloves. At midnight the randomly combined group of hikers and tourists including me were dropped off at the bottom of the volcano. Our driver wished us well and drove off. In that moment, pitch dark, I asked myself what the hell I got myself into. The desk clerk at the hostel had told me that the climb was doable, but that there were people who had turned around crying because they could not complete it. That they had broken down because it was too hard for them. My first reaction was fear and self doubt. But gradually my excitement grew and I was curious to see if he was telling the truth or if he was just trying to scare me for the fun of it. And if he was telling the truth, how strong was I? Mentally and Physically? Would I be one of those people who would turn around and walk away in defeat?

Standing at that bottom, and being the only one that came alone, I told myself, I can do this, I will do this!

People started to hike and I found myself joining two individuals that were relatives, uncle and niece. Profoundly to me, the niece reminded me of India Arie, as I consider her a beautiful Soul whose songs I can deeply relate to.

Damn what had I done. It was pitch dark, really dark, there was not even the slightest light from the village or town down below. The only light there was, was the one attached to our heads, and focussed on the ground before us. And even worse, there was no real path. Well, the path that was there was was uneven, slippery as hell, filled with loose rocks and sand and one had to zig zag their way into finding the best underground to place their next step.

Just hang on, this story is leading somewhere….

This first couple I joined proved to be one that I had to leave behind. The male could not help himself but to keep on repeating how hard it was, how cold it was, how dark it was and how he wanted to turn around and return to the hostel. As I was trying to make my way up, I started to feel the weight of his words and energy. It started to penetrate through that wall that I had built, shielding off my physical pain, my fear, my lack of security and even that hangover. In that moment I felt that I was not strong enough to hold back that external source that was feeding its way through my energy. Blessed that I was this Irish couple passed us and I asked them if I could join them. They accepted me and as I said goodbye to the relatives I said goodby to the negative energy that was slowly destroying me.

The second couple was from a total different kind. Their pace was much faster, their whole energy was so much more uplifting. They had a schedule and a clear plan of how they were going to fulfill the goal of reaching the top before sunrise. Cause that was the whole point of starting the hike in the dead of the night. So that once you completed, you were rewarded with the rays of light and warmth from the sun. And the amazing view over the mountains and both the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea. Every now and then we would alternate with who would lead our small group of achievers at the front and who would lead from the back. Every hour we would stop for no longer than 10 minutes to catch our breath and refuel our bodies. And damn how did I experience my body on a totally different level. Every time of refuelling I would literally feel the new energy flowing through my body and giving me the much needed power for the next 60 minutes. And my mind…it blew me away. As from the first few meters and during my time with the first couple I wanted to quit. I thought fuck it, let me be that person. Who cares, I am going to quit. Back to the hostel and back to that warm and cosy bed. But I did not. I managed to experience the true meaning of Mind over Body. What kept me going was the prize. I wanted to see, feel, taste, hear, totally experience that view. I wanted to succeed, I wanted to conquer this volcano. And more so, I wanted to conquer Me!

And I did, every step I took, I remembered myself why I was doing it. I kept singing positive songs to myself in my head. I was literally saying to my self, one step at a time, and there goes another one….you can do this, you got this! And I did. Wow…

By the time I reached the top I was freezing. Both from the cold, the rain and my own sweat that couldn’t evaporate and had gotten cold. I was empty, I had given my all. But that reward of making it to the top was worth everything I had to endure those past 5,5hrs! There were some clouds, not all the mountains were clear to see nor were the two oceans. But I didn’t care. Although it was not as I had seen in pictures. I loved every bit of the view that lay before me and I was Grateful! I was Grateful that on that day, that hike had brought me on a journey to a view of myself that I had not yet experienced in that awareness.

Through this experience I learned that we all walk our own path at our own pace. Cause although the first couple did not make it till a little later, they made it. They might have missed the whole sunrise at the top, but on their way up they encountered other beautiful things that I did not. I learned that every accomplishment, big or small starts with one step. And is then followed by many more untill the goal is reached. I learned that through positive affirmations I could alter my mind and control my body in doing that, that I wanted it to do. I learned that the Believe system within me is Beautiful and very strong.

And I learned that I would use this Volcano whenever I faced obstacles that at first seemed impossible or unbearable.


Destined for Greatness

I want to share a secret with you. Something that I have always felt like being a weird thing to feel and let alone say about myself out loud.

I have always been the person who finds it hard to make positive statements about myself. You would rarely catch me saying that I was good at something or that there was something that I admired about myself. Sure, I would state that I was good at talking, a lot, and that I was a master in laughing out loud, literally. These were easy statements as I was actually sharing them from a place of shame, embarrassment and lack of self acceptance. But throughout the years, from as young as I can remember, I have always had this powerful sense that I was Destined for Greatness.

Destined to Serve for the Greater Good

And this I mean in the most humblest of ways and in the most Loving way that I know I am. Writing this down at this moment, powered by my own Believe, fills me with Pure Love and Joy. I know I have always been a person that enjoyed serving others, or at least making them feel good about themselves and comfortable in my company. I started out as a Pleaser. I was so accustomed to please with total disregard of my own feelings. There are things in my dark past that I know happened, that where the stepping-stones of me becoming a pleaser without pleasing myself. An example is the sexual abuse that I experienced for nearly a decade. Later on in life it translated in not standing up for myself when dealing with men who I was dating, friends, colleagues, family members and total strangers. I had gotten so used to ignoring my feelings, my desires and needs that I slowly drifted farther and farther away from that powerful source inside that knew all about the person that I deserved to be. It pains me to have come to this realization, but at the same time I am Grateful. I now have the knowledge of how I do not wish to lose myself. I am Grateful that even through all the using and abusing I still Stand and I still Believe and I still have Faith and I still Love!

Many people have wondered how I can be so open about myself, my life, some of my deepest darkest feelings. Some even said, Girl why you sharing so much. If I were you, I would keep it all to myself before you share your story to the wrong people and they turn around and use it against you and hurt you. But here is the thing, Never Ever have I had the fear that sharing my story, my pain, The Root of my Hurt , would or could be used against me. I had and still have faith in my Deliverance and Intent. What the intent of the receiving end of my deliverance is, I have no control over and frankly (It is funny how I am now using this word for the very first time, as I always hated it and had painful associations with it as it is the name of my abuser…Frank) I do not care. That is up to them, that is their story, their journey.

How I am exactly going to Fulfill this Service, I don’t know. But at this moment. Doing what I am doing, building my foundation,going through my trails and tribulations and becoming one with the source of that voice inside, makes me feel Blessed and Fulfilled. Hence the name of my Journey, my blog, Blessed As I Am.


Taking Ownership

Like last week I said that I had seen and found a way to my Light. I feel as if I have been awakened and that for me in order to truly heal and step out of my mental illness struggle I have to be real with myself and take ownership!

What happened to me is awful. In these blog posts I describe some of my hurts. The Root of my Hurt and I am Free. These 2 posts have, in my eye, a significant role as to how I got my head all messed up.

I fully realize now that I saw it all as things that happened to me instead of for me. And listen, I said I saw my Light…this does in no way mean that I am enlightened or any way near that. Shit happened beyond my control, it is now and has always been my responsibility to figure out how I deal with it and in what way I incorporate it in my present life. What I know and feel now, is that I found my source, my fire, my way to reconnect with the Blessed Queen deep inside. I am working my hardest, every day, numerous times a day to keep that mindset and building on that connection. It is not easy, I can tell you that. But the thing I am aware of, and am certain of being the reason I chose to no longer be imprisoned by my mental illness, is that I am convinced that I deserve better and I want better. I truly want to become the best that I can be.

Where in Am I?, I was confused on how I could or should find the motivation for living and truly nothing made sense to me. Now my motivation comes from what I wish for myself in life and this unspeakable drive to achieve my goals in order to enlighten, improve, and change my mindset to where it is fulfilled with excitement, dedication, love, caring and understanding.

For me this is big! Never ever had I the believe that I was entitled or worthy of setting certain goals, let alone capable of actually reaching them.

What thrills me now is, knowing that my mind has the ability to make me feel so fucked up about myself, unworthy and even have me wish to end my life. Image what my mind and ultimately I can physically do, if I feed it positivity, constructive knowledge, goals, visions and dreams? Sure this scares me a bit, these are parts unknown. Misery is my comfort. So in order to leave that behind, I need to step out of that comfort zone. I have to truly trust and believe in my goals and the way they make me feel.

Start being comfortable with feeling uncomfortable this is where my growth is.


So what Changed…

As you guys know I was not able to work or even function properly. I did seek professional help, started my therapy sessions and did a lot of home work. It all did get me out of the house. Firstly because I had to, in order to attend my sessions, secondly because I was experiencing the benefits of fresh air, nature and excersise. And slowly but surely, getting out in public and being around other people, became less and less stressful.

I also started to build up routines. Like taking walks and eating right. I also started going to the gym, finally, after months of paying without even making use of my membership. I set small goals of going once a week. And I am still not consistent. But I am working towards it. This is what I want you to understand, I am still building and working on these habits, to create new routines in order to keep me out of isolation and in to a creative consistent, and a more positive and prosperous state.

Before shit really went down I already had the habit of watching inspirational YouTube videos or Netflix documentaries. Like the one with Tony Robbins or the Iyanla’s show. But what really shifted me, turned on that light bulb if you will, was when I watched a YouTube video of the Proctor Gallagher Institute. In this specific video, a younger Bob Proctor was being interviewed. I don’t know what it is, but this guy got to me. That evening I kept feeding myself more and more of his content until I was overflowing and my head and heart were literally spinning and buzzing from this new found energy.

I invite you to go watch it, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E44kFkyl_Y8. I feel that there is no need for me to try to explain the contents or message of the video. Besides that, I believe that everbody should take from it whatever applies best. Although a lot of what he said wasn’t anything new, still it resonated with me on a whole new level. And the content gave me the ability to learn new things about myself. He made me see and believe in my own potential and look beyond my own limiting believes and past experiences! So thank you mister P!

Now it is up to me to truly take action and stay in this empowered flow.

 


I saw my Light…

…and it is within ME

Now I am not saying that I am healed from my Depression or however one would call it once on the other side. But after watching a series of motivational YouTube videos and listening to speakers on Tedx, I feel as if my eyes just went from barely able to see the light of day, to wide open and fully aware of a Light, beaming out a profound Power through my whole body. I feel as if a part of my mind has been accessed and awakened, that had been dormant for I don’t know how long.

It was during my after-gym-shower that I realized, that I was in charge! All I needed was a chain of small decisions and steps. Like I had just done. I chose to get up and off the couch, put on my gym gear, open&close the door behind me, walk to my gym, open the door, walk in and just do some exercises that I was the least opposed to doing…starting small. This win that I had, made me see that I could choose to either be in pain for feeling miserable about myself, my life, my body and where my life is now and where it is headed. Or I could experience a different kind of pain. A pain of dragging myself off the couch and putting on gym gear and go work out, a pain of laying off the less healthier foods, read a book instead of watching some fake influencers, learn from inspirational speakers instead of comparing myself to Instafamous people. I could choose to feed myself negativity and suffer the mental and physical consequences and stay on the draining and empty road of defeat. Or I could take the path of enlightenment, growth and long term prosperity. It was and mostly still is, all up to Me.

I know I knew this, I consciously and unconsciously have had the joy of experiencing this in the past. But never did I do so with the full awareness. And many might read and think to themselves: “duh you silly! Under what rock have you been living your whole life?!” Well, several to be honest. The ones of sexual abuse, neglect, self hatred, PTSD, depression…just to name a few.

And sure, there is little voice, a murderous part of me, that doesn’t dare to step out into the light. That would rather stay in this comfort zone called negativity and fruitless stagnant state of mind. However, my Believe in my own Greatness is bigger than this noise. I need to put in the work and focus on the goals I am going to achieve instead of thinking of and giving power to what it will take to get there.

I need to keep going, it will not all come to me this clear or happen overnight. Repetition and consistency will be the key for me to truly heal and transform. I have to consciously celebrate every small step and decision that will help me achieve what it is that I truly desire. And I believe that this small shift of thinking, is what will get me past this depression and into a lifestyle of happiness.


How I Self Medicate

In order to cope with the deafening negative noise inside myself I found myself reaching out to some substances that I thought would help me redirect the focus, and numb my feelings. I am well aware that the things mentioned below were not fixing anything. But I was so deep in the dark that I couldn’t see it or even care.

Let me start off with the worst of them all alcohol. This is some dangerous poison, that when consumed for the wrong reasons it will do more harm than help. And unfortunately I have had a lot, a lot! of occasions where the combination of alcohol and myself brought out a person in me, I do not wish to see. In my earlier blogpost My Inner Kruella, you can read all about it. With this depression however I found myself really trying to combat the urge to drink. I had become fearful and ashamed of my Kruella. I was experiencing that I was needing more and more alcohol to numb myself. And the more I consumed, the nastier the hangovers and the set backs were. Just 1 episode of drinking eventually set me back 3 steps, made me feel even more depressed and really fed my anxiety. The struggle is real, but I try to refrain from drinking and when I do drink, be more conscious.

Secondly comes my true love food. Food is so Good, for the numbing, celebratory and rewarding function I attached to it. In my upbringing food always played a huge part. It was a way of bonding, when cooking together; feeding the body when eating right and abundance when celebrating. And in my adulthood I kept the same morals. Only, when suffering from mental illness or any type of stress I would flip the script and take it to a whole other level. For me it became: the more the better, the nastier the better, enough was never enough. And here too, I knew it didn’t help, but when I was in those truly dark places, I would grab anything I could take a hold of, just to keep me from drowning. And now after all those days, weeks of eating like crazy and having food delivered, I am full. My clothes don’t fit me, my body aches and my bank account is empty. I finally have come to the point where I kinda feel, that enough is enough!

Netflix&Youtube, this was and still is a true addiction. I could go days without having a full nights sleep. Too afraid of letting go of the distraction and too afraid of what tomorrow would bring. I would rather keep watching other people instead of living in my own reality. It is such an easy escape, as I didn’t have the energy to concentrate on reading, watching or doing anything else with more substance. I was too restless and living in a negative mindset. I saw everything, from really crappy content and shows to less crappy. And nowadays I try to focus more on inspirational and constructive content.

My most recent addition is coffee. When I was younger I couldn’t stand the taste or smell of coffee and coffee breath. I even had some sort of intolerance for caffeine where I would be nauseated for a solid 24hrs. But about 2 years ago I forced myself to truly start appreciating that dark brown liquid. I did this because I was in need of a new form of inflicting the numbness that I could use 24/7, as my job obviously doesn’t allow any of the above on duty or as for food, the amount that I was taking would literally keep me from doing my job the way I am supposed to. On my mentally tough days, I would drink so much coffee, it gave me the shakes, heat waves, racing heartbeat and sleepless nights. And here too, the detriments are starting to outweigh the benefits.

On my way to recovery and true healing I see myself redefining my self medicative choices and learning that at that time in need they were there for me and we became best of friends. But it is now time to seek healthier and more constructive medicine without going to the extreme.


The Odd one out

Recently I told my therapist that I feel as if I just don’t get this whole concept called Life. I just don’t get it… I have always felt like I don’t belong. Like I was this weird human being that had time traveled to the future, walking amongst human creatures that were far more evolved than I am. And that I just could not manage to catch up. For as long as I can remember I have always felt different. I know that even as a little girl, who had just moved to Europe from Africa, I had a hard time understanding how people literally work. And I am not talking about the obvious cultural differences or even the language barrier at the very start. I just didn’t get it, still don’t get it, I still feel lost…

I know that I am very sensitive and highly affected by pain and pain caused by others and general injustice. I am a woman that can’t stop over analyzing certain human interactions and emotions that come with it. As I have had my fair share of hurt, self inflicted as well as put upon me and some of which I am not even able to recollect its origin, I don’t understand why people can intentionally hurt each other. And sometimes invest with such passion in their evilness, rather than putting that energy into looking within and try to understand where that urge for hurting comes from.
This at times makes me feel numb around other people. Feel as if I am invisible, as if my whole being is vibrating on another level.

My brother once said: Woman you cannot save the world and you should really stop trying to, how noble of you it may be. And I would just nod, but still not able to let go. How could one just let go and stop caring. How do I stop?

You know what they say: When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Well, I feel as if “everybody” is able to do so. Some even make such damn good lemonade, they are enjoying it as if they are sippin’ on the finest champagne. And I am out here, gulping on this watered down tart liquid that is just about able to keep me from dehydrating.

Crazy at it may seem, I always felt that my oddness had a purpose. How uncomfortable and confusing it may be. That it was destined for greatness, for the greater good. Hopefully I will be here long enough to see it or maybe it is just a matter of opening my eyes to live it.