• Pain and Paradise

    la_carpio.jpegCosta Rica is a country that doesn’t bother to hide its shadow.  Mansions are right next door to metal shacks where whole families live on dirt floors.  Educated professionals drive to work past people who live in a primitive state, more like animals in their behavior than people.  People selling goods on the street assault the cars when traffic slows.  I wouldn’t say that Costa Rica is integrated.  Rather the light and the shadow in this place is like a soup of flavors that do not merge.  In America, the shadow is avoidable.  It is hidden behind closed doors.  It is ostracized to ‘that part of town’.  Old people are put in old age homes.  The sick are confined to hospitals.  The only things that are displayed openly are the acceptable, the new, the valuable, the young.  It creates a kind of naivety in the average American.  You have to have been behind those closed doors to know what is actually there. 

    I must admit that even though I am someone who is so dedicated to integration, it is much less comfortable for the disintegrated shadow to be in plain view…  To not be able to escape it.  It is difficult to live in a place where pain is on open display everywhere you look.    It is not comfortable to be an American in a third world country.  It took leaving America for my various world tours to feel love for America.  It took leaving America for my various world tours to recognize any trace of American in myself.  It wasn’t until I brought myself and my entire intentional community to this third world country to live that I realized just how attached I am to certain things that are no longer available to us here.  Things like quiet and hot water and Whole Foods and being able to flush toilet paper down the toilet and import products and public protection agencies and being able to communicate with people and road maintenance and reliable electricity and connection to the rest of human civilization.      

    Zarcero-Costa-Rica.jpgFamiliarity is a serious attachment that is not to be taken lightly.  I have dated a few men in my life who come from different countries and cultures than myself.  I couldn’t relate to their discomfort until now.  I couldn’t relate to them when they said that going back ‘home’ felt like all the tension left their body and they could breathe again.  I feel myself tensing against all the things that I do not like in comparison to back home.  Like the way that as a Gringo, I may as well have a dollar sign on my forehead.  I can feel the way the locals do not relate to me as a person but more as a resource and have no moral issue charging me four times as much as they charge other people.  Or the way that drivers take the lines in the road to be a mild suggestion.  Or the way that people walk and stop their car literally in the middle of the street.  Or the stray dogs that wander everywhere.  Or the fact that every building is covered in jail bars.  Or the sexual aggression of so many of the men here.  Or the fact that it is impossible for a vegan to find anything to eat unless they grow it or make it themselves.  Or the fact that most people here are so relaxed that they operate on a time system all their own and do not seem to bothered by meeting standards of any kind. 

    I find myself struggling with the climate.  It is so hot in this tropical climate that I cannot think straight.  I was born and raised in an alpine climate at super high altitude.  My blood feels so thick here; it gives the sensation of molasses running through my veins.  I miss the snow.  I find myself dreaming about the snow. 

    449162672_640-e1400597180407.jpgIt is safe to say that homesickness has set in.  When homesickness hits you, your mind starts to isolate you from where you are and from the people there by comparing every unwanted thing about them to how it was back home.  It feels like loss.  We had so many years to find the exact things that made our heart beat and our soul settle in the place we called home.  Now, we have to do it all over again.  It takes time to find the things about where you are now that make your heart beat and your soul settle.  You have to actively look for them.  So often when I travel, I wish that we could establish another world.  A world where we take the best of every single place and culture on this earth and establish a new culture out of all of it.  Imagine taking the enterprising mentality of America and the efficiency of Germany and the chocolate of Switzerland and the language of the French and the kindness of Bhutan etc…  A world where each culture got to pick the very best of itself and give it over so it could be woven together to create a human masterpiece. 

    images (4).jpegIntegration is everything.  It is everything for this world and it is everything for us as individuals.  People live their lives in a state of dis-integration.  Most people think they are a unified singularity, but they are not.  I know that this will be a whole new chapter of my teachings in the coming years.  It already has been, but I have not addressed this issue directly with the public yet.  I have not yet drawn attention to the fragmentation that exists within people.  I have not yet exposed this as the real reason why our relationships are so impossible to maintain.  Life here at the retreat center has exposed this reality with stunning clarity.  We are in the middle of hosting a breatharian retreat.  Nothing exposes what is not integrated quite like a dry fast.  Like shamanic medicine work and breathwork, dry fasting coughs the contents of the subconscious mind to the surface and into plain view.  It is intense.  It is so intense that it impacts everyone around it.  In perfect synchronicity, it is the dry season in Costa Rica as well.  The plants give their essence back to the sun at this time of year.  It is given back to them in May when the rains return. 

      The ocean is like bathwater at this time of year.  I went out into it this week.  I could have spent the entire day in it.  Watching the clouds glide over the surface of the water like a lover touching its skin.  Feeling the mild thrill of deciding whether to go up over or dive under the oncoming waves.  The salt dried itself on my skin.  Eventually, I noticed that I was literally glittering in the sunlight.  I drank coconut water out of a green coconut with a straw.  It is a marvel to me how pain can exist in such close proximity to paradise on this planet called Earth. 

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    On 3/23/2017 at 3:37 PM, Alexander said:

    Teal, I love all your Blogs and love your work and even I have more than twice your age, you are the person I have learned the most from, you have shown me how the things seem to work in this our Universe. Thank you for that! I live since over 50 years in El Salvador, my wife is from El Salvador. I am German and so I am also European. You were born in the USA, so you are an US Citizen and an American as you were born on the continent called America. But there are 21 other sovereign nations on the continent called "America" and so people born in Mexico, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Colombia, Peru, they are all "Americans", not just the ones born in the USA. I am well aware that it has become custom all over the world to call "US Citizens" "Americans", but that is not correct and we all should respect the national pride of all people born on the continent called America. I know the USA quite well and have many friends that are US Citizen, my wife studied there, my daughter and her husband studied there, my eldest grandson was born in N.Y. and has therefor an US Passport and is studying in the US. If one can hear a question in the US again and again it is "...why do they hate us so much..?" One reason could be the lack of sensibility against the pride of other nations around the world, especially the Latin American countries.

    Teal, I do hope very much you will not take my above slight critic remark in a way it is not meant as if there is one person I respect than it is you and exactly therefor I have made it!

     

    I believe the only reason why Teal or any one from the US refers to themselves as "Americans" is not to show superiority, lack of sensibility, or  to be exclusive of other people who live in the Americas, but rather because it is the easiest label to use given the grammatical nature of the country's name.

    The formal name of the US is "The United States of America". It leaves very limited options for what to call someone from the country. Examples like United Statesian or United Stater are very awkward names to use, so all that remains is the word America to derive a label from. 

    Its just a matter of classification, not a mentality. Don't overthink it. 

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    After reading this I looked through photos of my time in Costa Rica and reminisced. It was uncomfortable to read this because although I have fond memories of my time there, I had to admit that i had similar thoughts and reactions at the time. I remember that the most difficult things were the heat, the poverty, communication, hostility toward foreigners and the sticky relentless heat. The driving was pretty scary also! But this was always over ruled by the excitement of discovering new things that make my heart beat and soul settle. IMG_1062_edited.thumb.jpg.f576158dc0f2a04776e0e6dd9be40c8c.jpgI remember being determined to reach this waterfall that was off the beaten track, hoping we were on the right bus and that the driver had understood where we wanted to be let off, then being arrested for not having our passports on us and kept by officials on the side of the road for hours until we paid the desired amount and were sent away,only to return the next day and after a long hot bus ride and long hot walk down a deserted and unmarked track, finally reaching our destination! But looking back, the most valuable experiences were interactions with locals and insights into another world. IMG_1376_edited.thumb.jpg.e3154193c3b31806c41d9ecdcd9cc3fd.jpg
    And en devouring to set up a retreat in this country, the challenge to understand and find common ground with the people will be unavoidable. You have obviously committed to this with the intention to integrate Teal, and the first step is to expose the shadow. 
    Sending you love on your journey and hope to visit one day

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    Wise men say, that homesickness is caused by missing the nature spirits of the land you grew up in. The Amerindians said: „We are a part of Mother Earth“ and they meant it, literally, as the human body is an arrangement of earth‘s substances. With „every breath you take“ you breathe in the specific local breath of Mother Earth at that place. In very ancient times people may have died, when you tried to put them to another continent. We have so far emancipated from that, but still sometimes may feel „sick“, homesick, when planted into another country. This shows how deep the coherence is with the land we were born in. The forces of a landscape contribute to the formation of a human being in that part of the earth. We can travel, but we always take this specialization with us. This evokes contrasts, on both sides of the coin. Only abstract things like the internet veil that, electricity has no home. - Please never stop to write this diary is so beautiful to read!

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    18 hours ago, andreas weydenberg said:

    Wise men say, that homesickness is caused by missing the nature spirits of the land you grew up in. The Amerindians said: „We are a part of Mother Earth“ and they meant it, literally, as the human body is an arrangement of earth‘s substances. With „every breath you take“ you breathe in the specific local breath of Mother Earth at that place. In very ancient times people may have died, when you tried to put them to another continent. We have so far emancipated from that, but still sometimes may feel „sick“, homesick, when planted into another country. This shows how deep the coherence is with the land we were born in. The forces of a landscape contribute to the formation of a human being in that part of the earth. We can travel, but we always take this specialization with us. This evokes contrasts, on both sides of the coin. Only abstract things like the internet veil that, electricity has no home. - Please never stop to write this diary is so beautiful to read!

    What if you feel that you were born in the wrong country? Do you try to get away or learn to integrate it and accept it with love?

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    On ‎28‎/‎03‎/‎2017 at 0:46 PM, prism said:

    iI believe the only reason why Teal or any one from the US refers to themselves as "Americans" is not to show superiority, lack of sensibility, or  to be exclusive of other people who live in the Americas, but rather because it is the easiest label to use given the grammatical nature of the country's name.

    The formal name of the US is "The United States of America". It leaves very limited options for what to call someone from the country. Examples like United Statesian or United Stater are very awkward names to use, so all that remains is the word America to derive a label from. 

    Its just a matter of classification, not a mentality. Don't overthink it. 

    I do know very well where the use of "American" instead of "US Citizen" comes from, I have lived more than enough time of my life in Latin America (I know very well how they think about it) and I know very well why in Germany, and also other countries in Europe they use the same name, pure laziness. But laziness is no excuse. They say in Germany (and other countries) on the street, on TV or other News Media, the "American President" instead of the "US President", there is no excuse for that other than laziness, as if he would be president of all America. Even the other countries on the American Continent are used to this kind of talk, it does not go down well. And on top of that there goes by practically no day that you hear somewhere in the USA "..America is the greatest country on Earth...", you hear it on the street, you hear it on TV and especially in Washington. I was born in the war in a country were this kind of thinking was expressed every day on all corners and I learned the very hard way to what this kind of thinking leads, to nothing good, I can assure you. I do not overthink it, even I might be oversensitive after what I had to go through.

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    On March 24, 2017 at 6:57 PM, Ex1 said:

    Almost all of this post made me cringe... I didn't realize until reading this what a privileged lifestyle you were used to leading, Teal. The lack of vegan options?! Really?! I've traveled far and wide in Latin America (by the way, this is also "America), and found your description: "people who live in a primitive state, more like animals in their behavior than people," disgusting. Would you ever say the same if you strolled through a ghetto in the Bronx? What made it ok to pass judgment on a culture you know nothing about, and one whose language - both soul and otherwise - you clearly don't speak?

    Perhaps you took your authenticity too far this time. Think twice. Lots of people read your blog. You sound like an uncultured fool here, and that's coming from someone who has loved your work for some time. Some dialogues are best kept between our mind and the Creator's.

    You are a guest in Costa Rica, essentially exploiting the country's resources, labor, and wealth for your personal gain and message. Perhaps you're missing theirs - humble yourself. You are not that special.

    It must be painful to live with such a burdensome ego. Sorry it took traveling down South to realize that. Life dismantles all of us back to zero.

    Take care & may Costa Rica bless your inner life, and your work. Integration into your idea of the ideal world... is not integration at all.

     

    I may not agree with you in everything you say but I think you made a good comment. I myself have wobdered about this. I wonder what teal means when she say people live more like animals  than like people. What does she understand by a " primitive state"?  In my view, there are no many differences between us and animals in general. And by us I mean all of us in every country, including the US of course. In fact, I like animlas better than people, since they are more authentic than us. 

    If teal means people are in a survival mode, then I will have to agree with that, however, this happens in the US too. Maybe at a smaller scale but still happens here too. I live in Salt Lake, Utah and walked by the homeless shelter downtown once, I was terrified. I felt people were going to rob me and I had to get away from there right away. In that moment  I realized why that street was so empty and why it was so easy  to find  a parking spot there. 

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    Hey teal, I love your blog!! I'd love for you to do a video or blog about your decision to move the whole intentional community to Costa Rica. I've been reading your blog for ages but maybe I missed it. Anyway, I can't wait to save up to one day come to philia!!! Xx

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    Hello Teal and Community:

    As a Costa Rican and also " American" having lived in the United States for quite some time,  I can only say I understand your comments and views. Just take note, that what you describe from a perspective of a citizen of the first world,  is how Europeans saw us and have seen us for  500 years. One can be  "poor " here and not feel as  destitute as someone in the  first world. It simply does not lend itself for comparison. Give yourself sometime, it does take time to acclimate, but most likely, you will continue to miss and crave the conveniences even after years here.  As a  favor, a cultural one,  America is a continent, not a  country,  Latin America is  comprised  of about 21 countries.  Costa Rica is in  Central America, not in South America. There are more than 500 million Latin Americans in this  amazing American  Continent. Most of which speak  Spanish,  saved  from Brazil.  We  unlike , Anglo - speakers,  consider ourselves brethren. United by not only language,   but by  our  land and heritage,  and soccer , salsa,  color,   flavors.  It is completely normal to feel homesick.  I welcome you and thank you and your family for  Phyllia. I wish you success. You  have accomplished a lot in such a short time. I was raised here and still wrestle with the lack of momentum and the lax " pura vida attitude".

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    I just got back from 3 weeks in Panajachel, Guatemala. At 5000ft elevation the temps are much more moderate 70'sF high 60's low but the air is distinctly thinner. Walking around town visiting friends from the states who do a coffeehouse ministry Porch de Salomon that hosts teams from the states who do mission work. I made a point of avoiding tourist activities in favor of getting to know the native Mayan people who are the people who the teams serve. I spent a week exploring the Lake Atitlan area with a local guide Miguel Boch who took me to local villages, to local churches and to places most tourists would avoid. The Maya met the Europeans with an advanced and peaceful culture who accepted Christianity and were accepted by Catholic Christians as fellow travelers. The Maya kept the old ways intact and overlaid them with Catholic Saints and traditions. They found a way to be both travelers in the spirit world recognizing the spirits of the earth animals corn etc and still accepting Jesus as Lord and God as creator. perhaps we could learn much from these simple, proud, devout and modest people.

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    On 30.3.2017 at 7:05 PM, katylala said:

    What if you feel that you were born in the wrong country? Do you try to get away or learn to integrate it and accept it with love?

    If you feel like a "stranger" in the country you live in, it could also mean that you might have a sort of "mission" there. But well, sometimes it can feel too tough and you might want to have some retreat times at least. So I rather tend to the second part of your suggestions.

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    I've been wondering where you went to. I've been watching all your videos and I noticed the change in location, for sure. Also, how your focus has seemed to have shifted, in a good way. I've found your last month or two of videos particularly helpful for me in my own journey.

    Thank you for sharing your experience. I've been thinking about visiting some third world countries. I'm currently visiting Toronto.

    Much love,

    Raederle

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    I like the post, you write very well spoken, money is right right now, but I look forward to purchasing your book, the completion process, thank you for sharing these things in a community way. You will always be special in my heart

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    Thank you for keeping it really real. I am honored to be connected to this community and the healing that we are accomplishing. And this applies to my life right now. Me finding the space inside to integrate, heal and love my fractured self. This really is helping me find peace throughout my day in the midst of some instability. I am becoming more stable within myself. Much Gratitude

    Edited by Cris Brackett
    In process?

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