The first stop of the journey found myself and my dear soul sister, Megan Marie Gates, hanging with cool 'Ticos' (native Costa Ricans) at a synchronous Air BnB we hooked up in San Jose. Our host, the jocose Paula, put us up in her yoga space/home, arriving late at night. Morning found us chilling with some of her friends over breakfast and getting the lowdowns on Costa Rican life, San Jose and other intriguing personal anecdotes on everything from politics to the arts scene. Megan and I always seek and love meeting people on the ground when we travel to transcend traps of tourism. People are just amazing and the international flavours bring out such beauty in diversity. Paula and her posse were super-cool-cats and we left feeling tribal :)
The big stop next was Pachamama (www.pachamama.com), a renowned eco-spiritual community, molded with Osho philosophies, thanks to their spiritual leader, Tyohar, who we found out is an incredible DJ and considered enlightened by some. We actually got a lift from him on the fourth day of our cleanse when we took a long walk down to the river for some heartful conversation and fun photography in the wild jungle scenes. It was telling that in all of our days in the community walking exhaustingly hilly landscapes that Tyohar, the spiritual big man, would be the only person who stopped their vehicle to offer a lift, nonetheless flash a smile. Spirit represent! Moreover, he was a swell dude, profoundly friendly and gently profound.
We were in Pachamama on serious business: a five-day cleanse conducted almost monthly here for newcomers and the living community. This experience changed my life in considerable ways and I have a big bag of inspiration from it to continue working and inter-gracing into my life. Let me just break it down quick:
- each day we were fed wonderfully nourishing juices, containing vegetables, fruits, superfoods and other herbal elixirs. Hunger wasn't so much an issue. Many of us had trouble actually downing it all! Lots of noni juice and noni shots, a fruit native to Central/South America that has superb medicinal qualities in aiding the digestive system, particularly dealing with mucus
- 2 ENEMAS A DAY...and not just water in your bum enemas, but medicinal ones, talking coffee, garlic, noni and aloe vera to close. Probably the most anxious detail leading up to and became actually the greatest ASSet and intriguing part of the whole process. All my nervous twitches about lots of people and poo were discarded after the first one. Impeccable facilities: 10 enema cabins side-by-side, incredible intention in the design of each, felt so comfortable, definitely want to build it here and WILL! The enemas made me realize that they are essential to cleansing. You wouldn't believe what came...ok anyhow lil' personal for this missive. Loved that they blared music while the 10 cabins were occupied. Nothing like doing enemas to wistful world music and reggae!
- Other daily activities: sunrise yoga, breathwork, plethora of engaging books to read on health, wellness and (you guessed it) cleansing (oodles of notes jotted down. Megan made a mini-recipe book :), ecstatic dance, meditation, and lots of time to lie on foam matresses in "Tara Garden" overlooking mountains, jungle, and otherwise pristine things that made me entirely forget winter and that I was Canadian (for better or for worse?)
- DUN-DUN-DUN--The Liver Flush: ok there was lots of adversity on the cleanse. It was very effective and people had some pretty intense detox reactions. Worms were even passed by a few (TMI?!). But for me the peak of the challenge was Day Four's Liver Flush. It began right off the bat with the epsom salts in water we had to drink. The taste of it just sent me over the cliff as far as feeling utterly crap. The 2nd drink of it around dinner time, knocked me in a full lie down and tremble. How the f*$% was I going to drink the olive oil/grapefruit juice concoction before bedtime, I kept thinking? Sure enough when the time came it was simply standing and guzzling a MASSIVE cup of it and back to lying down (on the right side so the oil could do its work opening all the ducts and inspiring bile flow). Several of us were sick to our stomachs that night as we all slept in the pastoral yoga studio setting (what a nocturnal soundtrack) but the next day's enemas rounds found a plethora of hepatic (liver) stones being passed! I felt utterly rejuvenated. Beyond incredible!
Following the cleanse, we were treated to light meals of steamed veggies and miso and all around reveled in feelings of new found vitality. Mission accomplished, and then some!
Megan and I then headed off to Pavones, a chilled out surf town way down south on the Pacific coast where we met up with Ron and Marla from Downward Dog who recently procured a BEAUTIFUL home and property down there as well as hanging with the numinous, Amy Khoo, who runs a yoga studio in Pavones. We spent nine days leaving in a sweet cabin all to ourselves, slurping massive smoothies and visioning projects for 2014. I was particularly inspired by readings of Thomas Berry's classic "The Dream of the Earth" as I reflected upon the visitation upon another spiritual community in Pachamama and how that hones my own vision for such potentials back in Canada.
Initially, the thought was to look for land in Costa Rica and yet I didn't quit feel the pull there. I know the utopian environs and amazing climate are somehow irresistible and yet something about Canada kept calling me...
Serenely inspired, we then set upon the road again to head to what would become the highlight of our excursion: The Envision Festival (www.2014.envisionfestival.com). Here's a video recap of what went down the year previous if you're interested: http://vimeo.com/77314196. Envision is a conscious music festival filled with amazing nourishing food stands, incredible electronic DJs and live musical acts, a couple thousand like-minded soul family and loads of empowering workshops on everything from permaculture, fasting to how to start an ecovillage. These kinds of festivals are popping up all over the world and many occur locally here in Canada (see the OM Reunion Project, Open Minds Festival, etc.). They really are quite special as so many like-hearted people converge together which makes for an inspiring time of meeting new friends and reveling together in love and respect. The musical acts really blew us away. Here's some highlights for anyone looking to explore conscious songs and groovy tunes:
- Nahko & Medicine for the People (http://nahko.com): Nahko is an incredibly conscious songwriter. His songs brims with hope, positivity and wisdom. His bandmates only amplify the power of the music. Roots, reggae and heartfelt balladry, their performance was utterly celestial and took us all to a powerful realm of truth-beauty. Highly recommend checking out their music!
- Rising Appalachia (www.risingappalachia.com): Leah and Chloe Smith are sisters who create the most soulful music. Their set was awesome, filled with wondrous harmonies and devotion to traditional songs.
- The Human Experience (https://thehumanexperience.bandcamp.com): David Block is an electronic music producer and his songs are melodic and soultastic. Definitely the electronic music highlight for me and all his music is free to download!
We met many new friends from all over the world and danced often till dawn. If u get the chance to go to Envision next year DO IT!
We ended our trip close to the festival in the coastal town of Dominical, communing with new friends and just taking time to rejuvenate from our revelry. All in all, an incredible trip. I returned home filled with new ideas and visions about creating conscious community and new creative endeavours in the realm of music, dance and yoga which I look forward to manifesting this year!