The show goes on! Here are a few pics that are now a couple of weeks old but I just have to post anyway: Sofia and Michelle get SO excited when some friends come to the farm for the weekend. In this series of pics, we’ve found a ball and a wild game of “throw, kick, run, chase, laugh, shout for joy” ball took place on the sprawling River Whisper Farm lawn. You can just Felipe in the background, who eventually got into the action, too: He’s got a mean kick in him!
I love watching Sofia and Michelle racing through the farm with their friends. No one watches t.v. since there is none. The kids are so creative, playing hide and seek, chase, finding lizards and interesting flowers and grasses. When the group was involved in painting the new dining room recently, the kids were able to also get into a painting project, using kid-friendly paints, colorful construction paper and some assistance from whoever came by.
At the farm, orchids and other colorful plants and flowers spring forth from all sides of the ground, trees, and vines. Walking through vivid life here, one becomes more and more aware of the interrelationship between humans and nature. How we support each other, how we can commune and also how easily we can cause damage. We try to remind the girls to only pick up the flowers that have fallen to the ground, to notice how clouds change all the time, to listen to the way the world sings to us through the river and the birds, the wind and the coming of rain.
And then, another road trip to a potential collaborative eco-conscious retreat facility by the sea. I have to admit, I hit the road somewhat unexpectedly last week, having not planned to visit another site yet. But Hubby and I had one of our rare – therefore very disharmonious! – disagreements and suddenly I needed to GET OUT for a bit. But I’m in the middle of nowhere with no car, no Yoga Studio to run to a class…actually almost all of my typical external methods of decompressing aren’t in existence here. In the United States if I need to just get away on my own for a little while, I might: Jump in my car and just take a short drive through a beautiful area with the radio blaring a classic Rock station. (now: No car; no classic rock station.) I might jump in my car and drive thru Starbucks and get my favorite coffee and sit and read something on my IPad kindle. (now: No car; no Starbuck’s or any kind of coffee cafe within 40 minutes, no IPad and kindle since they were stolen with my computer.) I might jump in my car and stop at my favorite Juice Bar and get a huge “Village Green” organic juice, grab a fun trashy magazine and sit on a some grass and flip through the pages. (now: No car – did i mention that? – no juice bar within 80 minutes drive of me, no English magazine that I’ve yet found anywhere here.) I might call a friend and say, “Hey, I’m freaking out, wanna meet me at the beach and talk?” (now: No car, no friend close enough to spontaneously call and meet.) Need I wallow any further in self-pity?
So I asked Marin if I could rent a car and go somewhere for a couple of days and – see, we really are good and fine, he does understand me – he said sure, he would manage the girls and get me the 90 minute drive to the car rental place.
After spending my first night in a very depressing, crepe golden bedspread, concrete sharded view hotel, I was motivated to try something else that would be more inspiring to my emotional needs. I contacted one of the fabulously delightful sounding eco-friendly places that I’ve researched and they had space for me to come and visit, thank GOD!
Now: This is one reason why I believe in my new EcoRetreatsDR business: I am planning to provide responsive, professional services from airport pick up to your return to the airport. I have to admit that trying to drive somewhere around here as a newcomer can be somewhat overwhelming. Depends. For example, I was thrilled to see at the rental car place, these oversized advertisement banners for their new (English speaking!) GPS systems that you can rent for 10$/day. I was like, “Oh, cool..yes, I would like one of these, please…” Standing equal height to the huge ad banner, the customer service person said, “We don’t have those.” Maybe it would’ve helped, I don’t know? I used my google gps, along with the rental car guy who led me at least 15 minutes down the road toward the “New Highway” that I HAD to take to cross over this mountain to get to my destination. “Or else…DON’T take the old road!” We’d been told before by our local friends, when we considered going to this area.
Well, somewhere as I began to ascend and the road alternately became a pile of rubble, to paved, to an unmarked twelve inch drop off back onto rocky dirt, it became vividly clear that I was not on the “New Highway.” Too bad. I have these neat little tricks internally to help me during times like these: One is to think of the very worst thing that could happen, and then realize that’s not that bad, after all. In this case, as I began to consider each scenario that became more and more disastrous, I decided this wasn’t the best time to use that method. Another trick I like to use with new distances is to double whatever time my map has said it would take to get to where I want to go. Then I will always be happy that I’ve arrived in less time than the double. In this case, the “one hour nine minute” estimate turned into about three and a half hours so I had to abandon that method, too. It was just me in the not so powerful rental Kia, in totally unexplored new territory, reminding myself over and over again, “Just look like you think you know what you’re doing here. And breathe…”
So I personally, deeply believe that once Marin and I have these roads and locations all figured out, it is a very valuable benefit to travel here with someone who knows where they are going. I know a lot of people do come to the Dominican Republic and stay the whole time at an all-inclusive type of resort: I get it, and I have enjoyed that, too. But this country is abundantly rich in culture and sacred beauty and amazing adventures, and it really is worth it to have the opportunity to explore more of it than just the all-inclusive stop.
I am committed to getting to know this country and the fabulous, worthwhile locations for Eco-Aware visitors to experience. The quiet, sublime secrets of the country are beginning to reveal themselves to me, and the more I experience and embrace, the more I am in awe of what I am discovering. Well, aside from the “Old Road” that I believe I will not make the mistake of taking again.
You can probably tell: I made it!!!! I made it to an incredible, vibrant, holistically oriented place that I stayed for a few days – after a long walk on the golden sand, empty beach, a super delicious farm to table green yummy healthy meal, a yoga class (yes! they have yoga!), a long sleep with my favorite sound of waves outside the door, a massage, some time to meditate and breathe and talk over things with Marin long distance…the confusion and distrust and pissed-off-ness melted away, and we both admitted with a giggle, ” We are a Happy, Loving Family and We’re emotionally bonded again!” There’s nothing worse than when we are out of synch, especially when I’m in a foreign country without my tools of support handy.
I asked Marin to come and bring Sofia and Michelle for the rest of the weekend – but “Don’t miss the New Highway!!!” and they came for two nights to be with me. (Yes, they also missed the New Highway and Marin agreed that the half paved ascent and descent over the mountain was precarious and harrowing which made me feel good to know I wasn’t exaggerating although I’m sorry they also had to go through it.) This place is — amazing. I’m going to tell you a lot more about it soon, except that I am waiting to talk to their Marketing department to finalize some details. But I feel hopeful – excited – ecstatic! – I have a feeling we are a wonderful fit and that this heavenly place will become another collaborative partner in my retreat sites business. I’ll let you know as soon as I know! Oh and by the way, there is an airport very close to this retreat space in case you want to come directly here. I’ll drive over the mountain and meet you here.
In the meantime, while I was at the retreat space, I had time to do a little more business stuff. Aside from my growing appreciation of this still largely undiscovered, pristine country and my motivation to share it with eco-aware people in a way that they can fully enjoy their journey, I just LOVE my work! It’s about connecting with people, hearing about people’s interests and journeys, researching cool information about the Dominican Republic (Red Alert: One family that I met at Villa Serena knows an incredible Anthropologist who has extensively studied the Taino Indians, a little known population of people who were indiginous to this land long ago. I am in hopes of connecting with her to learn more about the mystical elements of the Taino people and to visit some of the caves and sites where they held their sacred ceremonies. It will be a rare and fascinating experience if we can bring some of our Eco-conscious groups to visit the sites.). Anyway, it’s such a joy to delve into the EcoRetreat business when I have time (not always possible!). So many people want to support the idea of eco-tourism travel. People are becoming more aware and concerned about our tender resources of nature and Earth, there is a growing community of support for traveling with a light imprint on the people and land. I am inspired daily as I explore and mingle with EcoAware adventurers.
And always, the return to our casa en la finca…a big rain had come and the river was swollen and wild, yet passable. Everything is cleansed with the rich waters from the mountains and sky, the air is moist and so pure we feel as if we are drinking it. It’s a quiet time at the farm right now, as Katiuska and Jose have traveled to a seminar and most of the group stay in the city. We join the group tonight in the city, to be together, to share the story of our efforts and moments, to meet, to dance, to be. More than ever, I also feel blessed to be a part of this group, appreciating the commitment, joy and energy everyone puts into the Work that we share. Because high up on that half paved mountain road, it was the internal effort I made to be balanced and grounded, that really got me over the top. As a group, we share these moments, and aren’t really alone at all.
I’ll talk to you again soon! Wishing all the utmost in peace, love, happiness, health, safety and goodness…everyone…xoxo