How A Year of feel.focus.flow Affected My Life

I’ve had an interesting relationship with my body (and life) this past year. A year ago today, I was having to accept that my second spider bite was turning into my third serious infection. It’d been a challenging couple of months already, but the timing of this latest infection threw my life into more chaos than the other two had. At the tail end of my time in New Zealand, I was realizing that I wasn’t going to be able to hitchhike through the country in a final three-week hurrah. I would soon realize I wouldn’t be able to travel on to South East Asia either. My body, after four rounds of antibiotics and three emergences of cellulitis, simply couldn’t take it.

When I ended up moving to Colorado to recover instead, I struggled with feeling like my body had failed me. Continue reading

A Quarter Century of Life

So my birthday was a little bit ago now and I haven’t written anything about it yet because I strongly believe in processing things for self before you process for others.

This was my birthday post last year, and what a journey it has been since then. I connected with some amazing people, saw some incredible sights, experienced some deep hardships, struggled a lot with loneliness, ran naked into the ocean a few times, stared in awe at so much nature, got bit by spiders (twice), connected with an energy healer, had to cancel ongoing travel to move back to the states last minute, dealt with a lot of debt, learned to better accept help, sold my first personal essay, and found a home (at least for now) in Boulder County.

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This past year has really forced me to slow down, reflect, and just chill for a minute. I can’t say I appreciated it every step of the way, but I did need it. Continue reading

Here’s What Happened to My Leg: Part Three

If you missed out on the beginning of this story, you can catch up with Part One and Part Two.

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It is so frustrating to have to deal with doctors who don’t listen to you. To tell them cited concerns and have them say basically, “oh well.” To be alone in a foreign country struggling through an illness you don’t understand and that won’t go away and not know where to turn for help.

I got bit again.

A couple of weeks before I intended to move out and start hitchhiking my way north, I woke up from a pain in my leg. Continue reading

Here’s What Happened to My Leg: Part Two

Ok, I’m gonna go through the whole story below, but first, an important update since my first post needs to happen. As I was waiting for the page to load to write this on September 16 (this took a while to post, deal), a spider ran across my keyboard. I, rightly, jumped out my chair because this spider leaves no safe places for me. And then I tried to keep it cool as I looked around for it, hoping every second it wasn’t somehow on me or about to be on me.

When I couldn’t immediately find it, I started leaving a voice message for my friend about this spider discovery and THEN, I saw it. And guess what y’all? I caught that motherfucker and it was a motherfucking whitetail. Suspicions confirmed.

Once I’d trapped it in a jar, however, I had a moral complex about whether I should kill it. After all, it’s just a spider trying to live its spider life the best way it knows how and who am I to judge its choices? And then I remembered that I was someone who has spent the last two months having a hard ass time because of this spider’s choices and I don’t sleep well at night because of fear of it and so now it’s in my freezer. And onward with the recap.  Continue reading

My Decision to Take A Travel Hiatus

So I have bad news for me. I’ve made the very difficult decision to cancel the rest of my travel plans and return to the states instead. I’m giving up three weeks of backpacking NZ, a few weeks with a friend at a 5-star resort in Indonesia, and am saying goodbye to the lantern festival in Thailand with another friend. I am disappointed, and I am grieving the loss.

Unfortunately, I’m still dealing with health issues. I got bit of by another white tail spider in the last couple of weeks and my big fear happened- I got another infection right before I was due to travel. This is most likely because the infection was still (possibly is still) in my system. I cannot express how frustrating this whole experience has been.  Continue reading

Getting Comfortable with Uncertainty– Really This Time

I lied last year when I wrote this. Or at least, I was optimistic when I said it. I mean, I like some mystery in life, but there was a lot of it and it felt like everyone kept pointing out everything that was scaring me, so fake it ’til you make it, right? Or at least until people stop asking anxiety-inducing questions and you just have a minute to get your shit together.

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But it’s a year later and my shit is no more together. It’s honestly probably less because I’m working on credit card fumes and last year I actually had a semblance of savings. I’ll be leaving in a little over two weeks to hitchhike New Zealand once more before flying to Indonesia to meet up with a friend. That gets me to about mid-November, and then I may or may not go to Thailand for the lantern festival in Chiang Mai because a group meditation and ceremonial rebirth just sounds really good after this last year. Continue reading

How to Keep Your Peace When People Don’t (Re)Act the Way You Hope

I just talked with a friend who didn’t quite get the response they hoped for when they shared something with someone close to them. It hurt, and I get it. It’s hard to make yourself vulnerable and receive anything less than support and love in return. After all, that’s what we all want in life. Maybe some security and cash money too, but mostly love and support.

I gave her some advice based on my hippie learnings this past year and she asked for additional readings on them. I didn’t have any for immediate reference, so I’m writing up what I said to her and sharing it here in case it helps anyone else. Continue reading

Here’s What Happened to My Leg: Part One

I’ve been rather quiet lately and if you’ve been following me on social media, you might know I’ve had some health issues. As of writing this, it’s still ongoing and my energy remains frustratingly low. Here’s the story of what happened though for those who are wondering. It’s a long one.

The Incident

On Thursday July 19, I was bitten by a spider. I did not see the spider bite me but there were two fang marks visible. My bosses suspected a white tail spider was the culprit and while I cannot 100% confirm it because I did not see and/or catch it, all the nurses have agreed that the response is fitting to a white tail. There are few things in New Zealand that can harm you, even fewer of which are spiders (three kinds all together- four if you count the two subspecies of white tail-  and all but one originated from Australia). I’ve since learned that several homes in my neighborhood have known white tail infestations, so all around, chances are very high that a white tail was the culprit.

I try to love thy neighbor and be open to different cultures but seriously, if we’re going to build a wall anywhere, build it around Australia.

The following is an account of what has occurred since. Continue reading

A Qigong Retreat: Trying New Things

I recently attended a qigong retreat in Waitati, led by instructor Jay Glubb. We made the agreement for me to write a blog post about the experience with some pictures instead of doing a cash exchange. Here is my experience.

Background

When I was WWOOFing with Stephanie and Mark in Waitati, Steph invited Alina and I along to a qigong class. Neither one of us had ever practiced it before, but we were both keen to give it a go. Jay led a class of five or six in a small room attached to the local library and we moved our arms with closed eyes, twisting back and forth as we concentrated on harnessing and moving qi.

Qi, also sometimes written as chi, is energy. It is the energy around us, in us, and I don’t really know what other adverb I could use here, but it’s energy, plain and simple. If you want to take it more philosophical, qi is the energy of the universe, ancient and infinite. Qigong is the practice of filling yourself up with qi, sometimes intentionally calling in certain types of energy to help with different challenges in life. Continue reading