if you are not dirty – try harder (& other teachings from the jungle)

There comes a time in our lives
when we become too big for our comfort zone.
We become too bold for the ordinary.

Something within us wants to rise beyond our status quo.

The question is not whether this moment comes or not,
but what we choose to do when it does.

Will you choose to keep going like nothing happened,
or will you choose to feel uncomfortable, awkward and
like a stranger to yourself in order to discover
what else there is to this mystery called Life?

There was nothing casual about me going to Nicaragua for three weeks, I heard. Well, I thought it was just a trip, a routine break, a new challenge and experience and an opportunity to throw myself into the unknown while eating bananas for breakfast and Gallo Pinto for dinner.

But other people did not seem to view it the same way. I had mixed reactions from clients and friends when I told them I chose Nicaragua from all the places someone could go to have ‘a vacation’. The funny thing is that the word ‘vacation’ does not belong to my dictionary anymore, if it ever did.

The word ‘vacation’ comes from Latin vacare (vacatio = freedom, exemption), based on the assumption or idea that we are only free when we are not working, or when we have ‘time off’.

Why would I ever choose to go to a place that is ‘dangerous’ and so ‘uncool’ to chill and be free? It sounded more like work to many people. The truth is, there is no more ‘time off’ for me. It is all the same:

One long moment with some artificial breaks here and there, but in truth, this is it. My mind is no longer willing to divide time into sections, my mind no longer looks forward only to certain experiences, which in a way may feel quite unexciting, yet I have never been more thrilled about my life than I am now.

I was also told I was very brave to go alone to a new country. Let me tell you what is brave. Brave is when you raise kids, when you love deeply, when you are capable of being attached to another human being without grasping and needing anything from them. Brave is when you prepare your own food from whatever you have, and feel like a queen. Brave is when you see the brightness in everything life throws at you. Brave is when you walk your talk, provide a living for yourself and your loved ones and do not complain. Brave is when you love for love’s sake.
Going to a new country alone does not feel like bravery to me (even when I do not speak a word of Spanish). It is a way for me to stay fresh. Switch boxes, from one that has got too comfortable into a new one that feels more aligned, fresh and suitable to who I am now.

Routine takes bravery, and so does breaking it. What if I have nothing to return to? Well, that is the point. What if? Willingness to let it all go is the ingredient to shine and be sexy and shameless.

I did have a curiosity about one thing prior to my trip. I wanted to experience the jungle. For a Nordic girl, just the word ‘jungle’ gives me chills. Excitement. Fear. Wild and untamed. Exotic beyond my understanding. A complete opposite of the frozen, still and dark land I call my home. I wanted to practice doing nothing in the jungle. I wanted to test my daily meditation tools in a new environment.

How badly will I fail?

I learned that the jungle is the opposite of Nothing, yet it is Life in its simplest form. It becomes complicated only if I demand order and comfort the way I am used to at home. And this is the sweet spot: to adapt to my environment without losing my center.

Without losing my connection to Spirit. It was humbling to lose it anyway. In some weird way, I had agreed to the jungle’s way to purify me. I got a terrifying virus for 24 hours that made me ache and sweat so hard that I could not move. I had nightmares that woke me up every five minutes. That was the longest night I ever had, hallucinating in my hammock, monkeys laughing loudly in the background at my humanness.

To be brave is to follow your guidance – your guts – and not question it, rather throw yourself in with full faith while holding your intention high and bright. The only thing that can go wrong is everything. And you do it anyway, because deep down you know there is no such thing as ‘wrong’ when you are on the path of learning, growing and waking up.

Nicaragua was a teacher, a lover and a new best friend. It left me soft, sun-kissed and feeling deeper freedom within myself. The two volcanos (one was called ‘fire’ and the other one was called ‘water’) on Ometepe island taught me about giving and receiving, and how it is time for me to bring them into harmony in my life. How can I receive more gracefully and more willingly what is waiting to be given to me?

Thank you Life. Thank you God. Thank you every little freaky crawler that scared the shit out of me in the jungle. I know you were just doing your part in helping me take my next step.

“Not all who wander are lost.” – J.R.R. Tolkien

Wherever you go today, watch your step.
Watch how you move through the space in front of you.
Is there room for the world to meet you there?
Are you open enough to respond to the sounds, the smells and the invitations that it offers?
Are you flexible enough to turn left when you meant to turn right?

Or do you keep going, your chest shrunk into a raisin,
your face determined to reach your destination?

I wonder if there is a way to hold your intention so strongly
that you can rest in it, trust it and be certain that
it will take you there?

Even when you wander?

Even when you allow your surroundings be part of your journey?

© Riikka Rajamaki

Riikka Rajamaki