Category Archives: Travel

Learning Languages & Hacking My Own Rebellious Ego

Photo: Taken during a hike through the rainforest at La Paz Waterfalls in Costa Rica. …I suppose hacking one’s own rebellious ego is akin to building a bridge over the stubborn currents of one’s own stream of consciousness. 😉

I often have a desire to write something to share with the world, yet at the same time I often doubt if much of what I have to say is worthy of sharing — if others will find any value in it or not. Either way, the desire to share is still there, so today I am going to share a journal-style entry here on my blog. I suppose whether or not this falls into the category of “creative inspiration” is relatively subjective. I hope you’ll find something positive to take away with you.

I had been feeling on the ill side in the recent past couple weeks, although thankfully this past week has been a-okay for me. It seems I caught a cold/flu, as I’d been plagued with mild fevers, tons of congestion, and a bit of a cough. I thought I was rid of it after the better part of a week, but after a few days of feeling mostly better, it came back for another week or so.  (Boo!) And then, shortly after that cold finally went away, I was hit hard with a bad case of (what I suspect was) food-poisoning related diarrhea, which lasted for six days!!! (And I swear it was the worst I had ever experienced in my entire life thus far!!!)  …Sigh. Oh well! C’est la vie, I suppose.

As far as colds/flus go, I’d say whatever I had was relatively mild, and for that I’m very thankful. (Although I believe the diarrhea was the worst I’ve ever had in my life. Oy!) Apparently ’tis the season for these kind of colds here in Costa Rica — the transitionary period from the dry season to the wet, rainy season.

Last month, my sweetie came to visit me while I was in Costa Rica! He visited with me in San José for a total of nine nights (eight full days). We had a really fun time! 🙂 Unfortunately I picked up the aforementioned cold-bug the very next day after his arrival — possibly even the same evening as his arrival, as that’s when the initial symptoms had started to kick in.

Additionally, during the last few days of Steve’s visit, a nearby volcano erupted near San José (and is continuing to do so), spewing tons of ash into the air. Steve seemed to have quite the allergic reaction to ash in the air. He told me he felt so much better getting back to Vegas and being able to breath the cleaner air. I’d imagine that the poorer air quality here is playing a factor in my lengthy recovery, too.

During Steve’s stay, he and I visited a few of the museums in San José, such as the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum, the Jade Museum, and The National Museum of Costa Rica. We also went on a couple day tours outside of the city! The first tour was a rainforest tour. We went on a walk through a trail in the rainforest with a company called Rainforest Adventures, and also went on a tram-ride above the rainforest. It was very beautiful.

The following day, we went on a more intensive day trip. This second trip consisted of a visit to a coffee plantation where we learned about coffee plants and the processes of coffee harvesting, preparation and roasting, a visit to a volcano (not the one that had erupted the night before), plus a visit to another area of rainforest with wild-life sanctuary preserves and a handful of waterfalls. So much natural beauty! It’s amazing to realize that such a small country of Costa Rica is home to 6% of the world’s biodiversity.

My endeavors to learn Spanish have been coming along. I completed all the lessons available on Duo-Lingo for Spanish, which apparently equates to being 60% fluent in the language. I still don’t feel very confident speaking the language, however. When I have a visual, written reference, I feel quite capable of understanding the language. But when it comes to speaking it without any visual cues, that’s an entirely different story. What’s really interesting to me is that I’ll often find my French-speaking circuits kicking in when I’m wanting to access my Spanish circuits! That can be a little frustrating. Perhaps it is common, though. Steve has told me that he’ll often experience the same thing, as French is his second language as well. And yesterday while talking with a Francophone Canadian who has been living in Costa Rica for five years, I was told that when she was learning Spanish it would often trigger her second-language circuits, too (which in her case was English).

I started learning French from the age of five, so the process of learning that language was more akin to the way I learned English — I primarily learned it from exposure and practice. When it comes to verb conjugation, aside from past, present and future, I’m hopeless at telling you what the names are for the different conjugation tenses. (I swear I was never actually taught proper verb conjugation in English. I went to French Immersion school from kindergarten through the eighth grade, so the only class we had in English was  “Language Arts” where we read books and did reports or other creative assignments.) …That being the case, I’m having a bit of trouble identifying the more complicated tenses outside of the basic past, present and future tenses.

None the less, I love discovering interesting connections between languages. Just today, for example, I learned the Spanish word for sit.  To sit translates to sentar in Spanish, which I realized is very similar to the English word sedentary. After looking it up, sure enough, it turns out the root of the word sedentary comes from sedere, the latin word for sit. I’ve never studied latin before, but perhaps I might enjoy it.

Spanish and Italian also seem to have a lot of similarities. For this reason, and also because I love Italian food (vegan versions, of course) and would absolutely love to have an extended trip in Italy, I’d like my next language-learning endeavor to be Italian. 🙂

I’ve made an interesting realization and personal discovery related to the topics of goals, goal-setting, and goal achievement. For the longest time, I had dreamed about how cool it would be to be fluent in several languages and to be able to communicate with others from all around the world, no matter what their mother-tongue might be. But also for the longest time, I made no effort what-so-ever to actually start learning another language. There are so many things I’d like to learn in this life — not just languages — and one day not too long ago, while I was thinking about my learning goals and priorities, I had actually decided that I should all-together dismiss the idea of learning multiple languages in favor of devoting time to study other subjects, instead. I even tweeted about it:

language tweet

 

…Then something magical happened. After years of not taking any action steps towards learning new languages, about three weeks later, I started learning Spanish!

As I thought about it, I realized that it was the step of letting go of my desire/attachment to wanting to learn languages that was the key factor in my path to learning a new language.

It sounds counter-intuitive, doesn’t it? I mean, if I truly wanted something badly enough, wouldn’t I just let that desire fuel me and drive me to take the action steps needed to work towards and complete a goal? That would seem to make a lot more sense. I think this desire-and-relentless-persistence path can (and often does) certainly work — I know I’ve used this approach for many of my previous goals, too, resulting in varying levels of success. But lately, I’ve been finding that path isn’t really working well for me anymore these days… it’s almost as though that kind of path leads me to near-constant self-sabotage and perpetual procrastination.

The thing is, I know I have a really stubborn aspect to my personality and ego. It’s almost as if there’s a part of me that doesn’t like telling myself what to do, or listening to what I think I “should” do, and hence, I’ll rebel against myself! I swear, it’s the weirdest and most frustrating thing ever.

However…. it seems if I play a little reverse psychology on myself and tell myself that I’m simply letting go of a particular goal and desire… then somehow, almost magically, that seems to free up a part of my mind (as well as some associated latent energy) that will now suddenly want to whole-heartedly devote itself toward achieving that original goal or desire without needing any mental coercion on my part.

And then from there, my sense of passion for pursuing a particular goal seems to have been renewed. …This is what seems to have happened with my language learning goals, at any rate.

I’m going to try this approach with other goals of mine, too, such as learning math and physics (I’ll have to re-learn high school math and physics and basic calculus, as it’s been a very long time since I’ve used that part of my brain), writing goals, career and finance goals, and even personal relationship and lifestyle goals.  🙂

Do you have any non-conventional methods or tricks for your own personal motivation on pursuing and achieving your goals and desires? If so, I’d love to hear about it. Feel free to share in the comments! 🙂

Hola de Costa Rica! / Conscious Creativity

Costa Rica - Hillside Sunset

Amazing smokey purple-pink magic sunset I captured from my balcony in Costa Rica.

¡Hola a todos!

As I’m sure you’ve figured out from the title of this post… I’m in Costa Rica!!

Here’s what I’ve been up to over the past six weeks:

  • Switched web hosts
    (Which took longer than expected,
    and sadly bumped me out of the habit of blogging as often as I’d prefer)
  • Attended “Anarchapulco”
  • Experienced Turista for way too long
  • Attended Sasha’s Direct Dating “Relationship Mastery” Summit
    (Steve was one of the speakers)
  • Met new people and made some new friends
  • Walked in the waters of the Acapulco Bay
  • Took in many beautiful sunsets over the Acapulco Bay
  • Was bitten by way too many mosquitoes
  • Rode in one of the public buses in Acapulco — a very unique experience!
  • Went to the Acapulco Historical Museum
  • Visited the cliffs in Acapulco where the cliff divers dive
  • Enjoyed a lot of delicious green juice and vegan food
  • Played games with friends  — Carcassonne, Spades, and Asshole.
    (Getting to be an undefeated President is fun!)
  • Relaxed
  • Said bye to my sweetheart — I hate goodbyes 🙁
  • Witnessed one of the most epic thunderstorms I’ve ever seen!
  • Watched a building get struck by lightning
  • Flew from Acapulco to Mexico City
  • Felt pretty ill during and after the flight — such massive turbulence! 😛
  • Flew from Mexico City to San José, Costa Rica
  • Used Uber a bunch for the first time on my own. It Rocks!
  • Spent time hanging out in San José
  • Had my most expensive Starbucks latte ever
    (And that’s with free soy milk and a 10% discount for Gold Card members!)
  • Discovered that $an Jo$é is the 2nd most expensive city in Central America
  • Met up with a friend I hadn’t seen in years
  • Made a new friend via Airbnb
  • Visited the Costa Rican Art Gallery
  • Walked around in a park
  • Watched the new season of House of Cards
  • Traveled to San Isidro de El General
  • Moved into a little apartment that will be my home for about a month
  • Got freaked out by giant cockroaches
  • Was startled by loud geckos
  • Made friends with the geckos
  • Drank fresh green smoothies and ate vegan burritos
  • Got bit by more mosquitos
  • Was followed home by a random stray dog
  • Enjoying the beautiful view from my balcony
  • Witnessed the most magical hillside sunset ever
    (As pictured at the beginning of this post)
  • Attended a gathering where I got meet and learn about indigenous peoples of the area
  • Getting grossed out and paranoid about eating oranges after discovering well over a dozen little worms in one of the oranges I had sliced up and was about to eat.
  • Exercised a little bravery and decided to start eating oranges again after not eating them for a few days.
  • Making a lot simple and relatively inexpensive vegan meals
    (Quinoa and nuts are SO expensive here!)
  • Reading some Eckhart Tolle
  • Pondering too many things
  • Studying Spanish
  • And, finally, blogging and writing again!
  • Addendum: I’d like to add getting the bejesus scared out of me by the largest bug I’ve seen in my life flying into my living room through an open balcony door. (Screened doors and windows don’t seem to be a thing here. I have no idea why.) Seriously, it could have been mistaken for a small bird or bat. It was big, dark, and ugly. I think perhaps it was a cicada. This thing was so big and loud I could hear it bumping into things and flopping around behind my closed bedroom door, where I temporarily hid myself hoping this giant bug would eventually leave on its own. I think it did. Before it did, it was even scratching at the door for a while, as if it wanted to get in. WTF?
    …Weird shit like this happens to me all the time, I swear.

So many different types of things have been happening over the past six weeks, it seems too much to cover in detail in one blog post… hence, the above list! 🙂

If anyone happens to have any questions about any of the above, please feel free to ask in the comments, and I’ll be sure to respond. 🙂

Conscious Creativity and Being a Conscious Creator

It’s hard to believe I’ve been here in Costa Rica for three weeks already. I’ve been taking it pretty easy. But in another sense, I’ve been a bit hard on myself, as I’ve been tormenting myself thinking obsessively about the future — My career path, life in general, and specifically regarding figuring out where to stay next; I want to stay somewhere that isn’t too pricey nor too isolated, yet someplace that also meets my needs for comfort and happiness, such as a pedestrian friendly and lively area, vegan friendly cafés and restaurants nearby, a cozy room or apartment that feels like someplace I can truly call home, and friendly people that I can converse and hang out with and relate to. I’m pretty sure I found the perfect spot for me, and I’m excited to temporarily live there (back in San José) for more than a month after the end of my current month’s lease for the budget apartment where I’m currently staying in Pérez Zeledón / San Isidro de El General.

As mentioned above, I’ve also been  tormenting myself trying to figure out “my life”. Despite having spent three weeks on my own here in Costa Rica, I still feel as though I haven’t quite figured anything out. Actually, that’s not entirely accurate — I think I’ve figured out one of my biggest hinderance, which is definitely a good step in the right direction.

It’s become somewhat of an ingrained habit of mine to perpetually think/live in the future; continually planning out when and where and what I’ll be doing when I’m not visiting or traveling with the love of my life, wanting to nail down when exactly we’ll get to be together again, and so on. This mental habit had already been a part of my life long before Steve and I ever got together, based on the contract-nature of theatre work, not to mention other aspects of youth that reinforced this particular pattern. That is to say, I’m rather used to it. But seeing as I’ve been in a long distance relationship for over six years now, this habit has become even more ingrained than before.

What it boils down to is this: When I have time to work on projects I’ve been wanting to work on, I’m compelled to put them on the back burner while I instead obsess my focus on determining my plans for the future, which more often than not results in ignoring the here and now and thus getting much of nothing done — save for possibly figuring out and making travel plans, like booking flights and accommodations. These little things give me a little sense of security in my very “up in the air” lifestyle.

It’s becoming obvious to me this habit gives rise to a mind that doesn’t know what to do with itself when it’s not attempting to focus on the future — or, in other words, when it’s focusing on anything but the here and now in the present. It can be hard for me to focus on the present moment because I may start feeling anxious over my lack of future-focused thought.

I know, this is kind of messed up! I know that if I want to live the life of a conscious creator, I must drastically change my predominant thought patterns and mental habits; if I keep doing what I’ve been doing, I know I’m just going to keep getting more of what I’ve already been getting! Can I have a habit and thought pattern interrupt, please?

What are the best methods of pattern interruption that will give rise to a thorough focus on the present moment of a creative task? I’m still trying to figure out the best approach for pattern interruption, but so far I’ve come up with a few simple tactics that lend a helping hand:

  • Meditate: Focus on your breath, heighten your awareness, and still the mind. Focus on simply existing in the present moment. Stay in that place of presence until its beautiful and wondrous nature fill you with joy and power. Now you have your fuel for your creative endeavor.
  • Get busy: This can be doing anything active, like cleaning, making your bed, doing laundry, making a meal. While going through the actions of these activities, try to silence the mental chatter going on in your head and instead silently focus on the task at hand. It will be a lot easier to go from the conscious-chore-action to conscious-creative-action vs unconscious-mental-chatter-inaction to conscious-creative-action.
  • Exercise: This is similar to the above suggestion, but in addition the keeping the flow of action and momentum going, the increased oxygen in your blood supply will provide added mental energy, enabling you to focus more on the present moment and your creative task at hand.

I plan on putting these practices to use over the coming weeks. I think it’s working, because it helped me to focus on writing this very blog post. (I started it at least a week earlier but then felt too mentally-cluttered to focus on finishing it.) Focusing on the present moment instead of trying to figure out “my life” and “the future” definitely helps.

For now, I still don’t feel like I have my life figured out quite yet, and I still have a lot of uncertainty as to what my future might be. But that’s okay. I think it’s better to live and create in the power of the present moment vs being stuck in my head all day wondering what the hell I should be doing my life. 😉

…And so, at least for now, that’s what I’m going to do — focus on conscious creation in the flow of the eternal now.  Let’s see where I end up!

Pura Vida!

xox