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.


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.


We are Back!!!

Where last week things were in an up, this week it is all tears, misery, doomsday, nauseating negativity and utter sadness.

The world seems so surreal. How is it possible or even allowed for a person to feel such overwhelming sadness, hopelessness and defeat.

I am well aware that this journey I chose to take on is one of many twists and turns and even more ups&downs. It is just that I wonder…when is it enough. Those dark days are really dark.

When I look at myself in the mirror I see nothing. An empty shell. I feel nothing, I register none. There is a figure, apparently female who has put on a massive amount of weight. Both on her shoulders and on her entire body. The skin on her face lost its glow, its vibrancy and smoothness. What rests is casket ready grayness with lumps and bumps, dark circles under her eyes, that reflect the deep depths of her depression.

And then that scary question arises: Will this ever end, Will I ever feel something other than sadness, How will it end…


Still Sober

It is true what they say. No matter what it is that you are doing or going through. Time will pass nevertheless. Regardless of how productive you are, that minute, those 30 minutes, that day, those months…it will all pass.
So why not choose to spend that precious time doing something for the better. Why not work on being the best you that you can be, instead of just dealing with life in a passive way. Seeing the days literally pass by and asking yourself, where did the time go?

Acknowledging this, I can’t believe it has already been 6 months, 183 days and approximately 4390 hours since I had my last drink. I can actually say that I have been sober for half a year! And I am damn proud of it. I am happy that I chose to take on this challenge. It could have easily been so different. Me still drinking, hurting myself and others around me. Needlessly spending a lot of money, just to get away of things, feelings, thoughts that I didn’t want to deal with. Or to be honest not daring to deal with my true self, as I thought that I wasn’t enough.

Although I was making some progress in my healing, I know that I wouldn’t have accomplished as much as I have now, were I still drinking.
I used to call myself a little alcoholic, jokily. At times I just loved that buzz too much. But I could easily refrain from drinking if I wished to do so. There were moments that I would be drinking without even really enjoying the taste or the feeling it gave me. At those moments I didn’t see the use of spending that amount of money, dealing with the hangover or the use of truly experiencing my desperate need to be anything other than myself. And these were the moments that made the difference, the moments that I started reevaluating my life and my actions. I needed to do better, I could do better. And for me to do so, I needed to change some things.

I can truly recommend it to anyone who like I drinks for the wrong reasons or likes it just a little too much or exposes their Inner Cruella too often. And trust me, you know who you are. In order to get different outcomes in life, you have to do things different. Being sober has cleared my mind and so much more! You can take it step by step. Challenge yourself for a week, a month, 3 months, whatever works best. You don’t even have to make it infinite. My challenge now is for a year, but I might just decide to make it a forever….

For now I am loving the Blessing it has been and the Blessings it keeps on giving. I am proud and still going strong! On to the next 6 months!