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.


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.


Please Don’t…

Don’t tell me it’s ok not to be ok. Stop saying that it is normal to have a bad day every once in a while. Don’t say I shouldn’t exaggerate and just get over it. Don’t tell me that I should focus on the positive things in my life and that this will pass sooner than I can imagine. My Mental Wellness will not just improve with some encouragement or kind words. Sure the love is appreciated, but I didn’t end up in this place because I was not trying to be receiving of.

I have come to the realization that people rather not speak of the less nicer things in life. Although everybody experiences stressful or even traumatic events to a certain extent in their life, what is seen or shown is mostly the good or the positive outcome of their journey. Don’t get me wrong I do understand that highlighting on the hardships in your life won’t do you any good. But for me, who is quite sensitive and shares practically everything it is hard to deal with only seeing one side of the medal. It takes away a big part of the realness and even worse makes me feel alone in my struggles and at times very misunderstood. And this all makes it even harder to share how truly dark the darkness gets.

And I feel that, because people rarely share the other side of that medal, the world of Mental Wellness is one of many paths unknown. Speaking from my own experience, not giving my Mental Health the proper attention only makes it worse. Because Blessed, I have done it all! I went from confronting the negative feelings and thoughts head on to literally running or rather flying away from them. I took on challenges, stripping away all the noise in my life like materialism and unhealthy lifestyles. Reading self help books, watching inspirational videos and showering myself with positive affirmations. Even taking the next step in my career and living situations. Everything I could think of as a way to get rid of the numbing pain that was boiling inside of me. And lets not forget 20 years of me in and out of various therapy sessions.

And yet…here I am again. After all the above that I have tried and done, wishing it was working. I find myself with this Depression, back with yet another specialized psychiatrist.

What I am basically trying to say is that in this hashtag positive prone society we live in, there is this huge other world of people just like me that do not rhyme with the whole #ilovemylife kinda vibe. They might try to, I sure have and still am! But don’t be too quick to ignore it when the message comes out differently or the hashtag isn’t as joyful as you are used to.
Mental Illness is Real.


Aint it Funny…

Aint it funny how your emotional state can define how some people close to you treat you? How they deal with you, are there for you or celebrate you? It seems as if they are better capable of handling with your struggles than celebrating your happiness and growth?

All these challenges that I created for myself have taught me a great deal about myself. As a bonus it gave me some insight in how not everybody is there to see me progressing, actually winning. We all choose our own path in this journey called life. None is better than the other as we all are different and require different tools and thus shouldn’t compare. So the fact that I am not drinking alcohol for a whole year, eating only plant based food for a month, not buying any new clothes or shoes (with some exceptions) for a year, working on building up this healthy lifestyle with frequent exercise, does not mean my life is boring, it does not mean that I am doing it the wrong way or beig too extra. Nor does it mean that I am asking for your opinion for that matter. It just means that I, if any, would like your support, as I am working on being the best Me that I can be. I will admit, it might be somewhat different, unique, but it works for Me, and that’s all that counts.

I have learned that I am able of doing anything if I will only set my mind to it and put in the work. I know now how ridiculous my thoughts and feelings used to be, in thinking that everybody was better in anything, than I was. That I was a less likable person than anybody else. That the whole world had all these amazing qualities and abilities, except me. I am my own number 1 now, in priority and love. I am my biggest fan now, cause if I don’t believe in myself, if I don’t support myself, how can I ever expect anybody else to do so.

Sure there are some nuances, as I have also learned that I can be really tough on myself and occasionally have too high expectations of myself and people around me. So this is me venting, as my journey and challenges have given me some new knowledge. Some people are all ears when you are down and out. When you are not confident or happy with yourself and the life that you are living. But when you finally see the light, the seemingly sincere interest dissapears.

But you know what, Imma be Happy, Imma do Me. Imma push through, with or without and regardless of anyone’s opinion. Cause I am Blessed As I Am!


Words Can’t Explain…

I just can’t believe how much happier I am today.  I have so much gratitude for where I am now. Never would I’ve thought that my Happiness was possible. Let alone believe that it would lie in a place so near, so reachable.

I came from a far, deep, dark, ugly and hurtful place. This place was my home, for the longest time that I can remember. I can even say that for the longest time of my life, I stayed at that horrible place. Day by day wishing that things would change, hoping for brighter days to come. Not understanding why I was going through what I was going through. Thinking that that, was what my life was about. Even looking at others, wishing for their strength, joy and happiness. On my darkest moments I even wished to no longer exist…I was so tired…longing for it all to end. No more hope for better days. Believing that I deserved to end it all and be free…

Damn what a difference time makes. I had a lot of help from family, friends, experts and strangers. And in a way food, cigarets, alcohol and buying new stuff helped me through some sad moments every now and then. But there was a source I never knew could be so empowering and satisfying. A source that grows when fed with positivity, love and patience. This source surprisingly turned out to be ME, the one person that truly made this happen is ME! This is such an emotional statement to make. But I know now, that it was ME all along. I have that power, I have that strenght, I AM my Happiness.

Sure am grateful for all the help I got, really am. But I can tell you this, no matter how often or hard people try to shine a light on your Greatness, as long as you don’t believe it, don’t feel it, don’t see it…it won’t lead you to your true Happiness. You truly have to understand that it is all YOU! You make the dark days brighter, you make yourself stronger, happier, Blessed… Even if you don’t see it now, hold on, keep going! That Bright and Warm light is on it’s way!

I Love Myself now

I Am Beautiful

I Am My Happiness

I Am My Greatness

I Am My Love

I Am Blessed As I Am

….and then some.