Friday, April 10, 2015

Key Largoooo

Yoooo! I got stories to fill you guys in on! :)

After 24 years of living in Florida, I FINALLY made it to the Keys! Who knew it was only two hours from my casa to Key Largo?

The reasoning for going to the Keys is actually really heartbreaking though. Michelle befriended a guy named Nico at the gym a year ago, who's had a thing for her ever since and she introduced him to our group of friends a few times. Really nice guy; sensitive, spiritual and has a passion for making music. Overall cool dude. However, he lost his best friend last month. who tragically drowned to death and Nico's been quite broken from the death of his friend, which is completely understandable. It really makes you think how fragile life is and how petty our problems are.

So, in efforts to raise his spirit, Michelle planned a 24 hour trip to Key Largo, as an escape to turn Nico's brain off and just shower him with love and laughs as best as we could. Our friend Alee was also in town so she joined, along with Michelle's older brother Sean.

Me, Michi, Nico and Alee. Sean was driving and didn't make it in the pic ha

After getting lost for 45 minutes trying to find Nico's house to pick him up, we hit the road and got to the Keys and found our campsite...which happened to also be a small RV park. Needless to say, it was cozy with a hint of trashy. We were greeted at the entrance of our campground by Susan, the 50-something-year-old alcoholic who ran the camp, gripping a beer in her hand with a super raspy cigarette voice. Susan reminded me of an addict you would see on Intervention, but slightly less disheveled.

We set up our tent and than drove about ten minutes up the road to the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. The place was packed for good reason; the weather was perfection that day, except for the water. The tide was moving in a specific way, which made the water extremely murky and you could only see a few feet in front of you. Homie doesn't like open water to begin with, so I was freaking the fuck out. But I manned up, slapped on my snorkeling mask and we swam out to a small wreckage that had underwater canons and an anchor. Oh and sea lice. Lots of sea lice...which we all discovered the following day. We saw a jellyfish, a lobster, a few fish and the lochness monster.

Once we finished snorkeling, we tanned on the beach for a little while and than drove back to the camp site around 5. Luckily the clocks had just switched to Spring Forward so we had an extra hour of sunlight to play in. Michelle whipped out a massive thermos filled with sliced fruit and rum and we all started loosening up. Our campsite was literally right on the water with the most beautiful view. A few of the boats were playing music like Pink Floyd and Reggae which totally added to the vibe.

The campground had a pile of canoes and kayaks that were free to use, so we frolicked down to the dock and plopped two canoes into the water for a little late afternoon fun. Michelle and Nico got in one canoe and they were a sloppy mess spending 3/4 of the time in the Mangrove trees just laughing, unable to steer the boat correctly. It was hilarious to watch them fail so miserably. Meanwhile, Alee, Sean and I were cruising in and out of canals like an Olympic row team.
Alee spent about 30 seconds in that kayak before bailing into our canoe
I wish I had my camera on the canoe because we found a random pony and a pig on some private land and they were so cute! Once we exhausted ourselves on the canoes, we docked everything and watched the sun set from the dock. We walked back to the site and started chowing down on some dank pasta that Alee had made that morning, while setting up lights and preparing for Ring of Fire on the table outside our tent, that Susan so graciously lent us.
That game felt like it lasted for a solid two hours and I was so happy once all the cards were flipped. The beer in the center never popped open so that was a bust. Throughout the game I threw back about two solo cups of rum and fruit (I had to get my daily nutrients) but I really didn't feel drunk or tipsy at all...even though I clearly was after looking at the pictures haha
We migrated back to the docks, where we could be a bit louder without worrying about waking anyone on the campground and jumped onto a pontoon boat. Alee and I were talking and laughing about something sexual related while Sean and Nico were at the front of the boat in a really deep conversation about his friend who had passed away. I was almost brought to tears from the comforting things Sean was saying to Nico.
At this point in the night, I was about a 3/10 on the sober scale. (0 being completely sober) That is until someone pulled out a joint and we all took a hit. Michelle and I simultaneously got off the boat a few moments later to find the bathrooms...but as soon as I stood up, the pot hit me hard.
All I remember is standing next to Mich, staring at the entrance of the camp ground and I felt like I was in Alice in Wonderland. It was really dark outside with only a few light bulbs illuminating the front office, the stars were super bright and the massive trees made it feel like we were in a strange forest, engulfing us. It almost looked like a portal to me.
Mich and I disregarded everything else in that moment, forgot to go pee, locked arms and went on our own adventure. haha At that point I was at a 9/10 and having a grand ole' time. We left the campground and walked up this dirt road, passing random neighborhoods to our right. After exploring for about 5-10 minutes, I suggested we turn around and head back, just incase a cop happened to drive by on this random, desolate dirt road we were walking on. Luckily we managed to find our way back and reunited with the rest of the gang on the boat.
My high was peaking at that point and I realized I needed to relax somewhere in solitude. Plus Sean was talking about something that was making me freak out, so I got up and went to the tent to let the high simmer down. I was having some weird thoughts, starting with trying to convince myself that I got in the right tent. haha It was because I was in a completely foreign surrounding and I was alone. I heard a car pull up to the tent and I started thinking some Key Largo serial killer was coming to kidnap me haha it sounds so ridiculous now, especially as I write this out, but I was convinced I was being stalked. It felt like being stuck in some cheesy horror movie. Than a flashlight started shining through the tent but all I could see was a shadow which made me even more paranoid.
I began meditating and returned to a relaxed state of mind, which helped me pass out shortly after. I'm thankful I went back to the tent before everyone else because supposedly some drama went down on the boat after I excused myself. The following morning, I found out that Sean got pretty drunk/high and he was saying some things to Nico he shouldn't have. Remarks along the lines of being interested in Michelle and how he better not hurt her, etc. etc. Basically trying to be the tough older brother. Apparently the things that were said really upset Nico and he got off the boat crying. I'm convinced that pot was laced...
Turns out, the flashlight that I thought was my kidnapper was Michelle looking for Nico after he got off the boat. She later found him on the opposite end of the docks and reassured him that Sean was just drunk and being over-protective. The following morning was a little awkward between the two guys but I was more upset that Nico's night was tampered with, after we specifically planned the 24 hours to be his way to escape from any negative emotions.
Besides that minor glitch, the trip was so much fun. There's something about camping that is so relaxing. The lack of electronics while being surrounded in nature is good for the soul.
Much love guys!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Suffering is the Greatest Teacher

It's quite an extraordinary feeling when a group of complete strangers go out of their way to help someone feeling down and helpless. That feeling, that energy, is love...and I am so unbelievably grateful for the outpour of compassion you all embraced me with through your emails and comments. I feel so blessed to have this community to openly share my thoughts and feelings, in a judge-free environment. You guys really uplifted me and for that, I can't thank you all enough.

I don't typically write negative posts, but I really needed to write down those issues and express the pent-up pain I've been feeling, in hopes to release that negative energy from myself.

For the first time in my life, I even started saying positive affirmations throughout the day. If you don't already, I highly recommend it, it's more therapeutic than I ever imagined.

My friend Rahul sent me this list of affirmations and I would love to forward the love that he has shared with me. Feel free to use these throughout your day as well...and thank you again Rahul.

1. I am a divine expression of life. I love and accept myself where I am right now

2. I feel safe to be me. I forgive myself for all that happened in the past.

3. I lovingly protect myself with thoughts of joy and peace. The past is forgiven and forgotten. I am free in this moment.

4. I deeply accept and love myself the way I am.

What I'm about to talk about has nothing to do with this topic but everything to do with it at the same time, so I'll do my best to make this highly complex topic, as easy to understand as I can...
Let me begin by saying how amazing and perfect God's timing is in everything he does. Earlier this evening, my friend Steff (check out her blog here), sent me a text message which said "I really want to do that Peruvian cleansing thing, we should plan it. You are the only one who would do it with me."
The 'Peruvian cleansing thing' Steff is referring to is called Ayahuasca and I want to do it so bad!
Here's a quick Wikipedia lesson on it:
Ayahuasca is a psychedelic brew made out of various plants, mixed with the leaves of Chacruna or other DMT-containing plant species. People who have consumed ayahuasca report having spiritual revelations regarding their purpose on Earth, the true nature of the universe as well as deep insight into how to be the best person they possibly can. This is viewed by many as a spiritual awakening and what is often described as a rebirth.  In addition, it is often reported that individuals feel they gain access to higher spiritual dimensions and make contact with various spiritual or extra-dimensional beings who can act as guides or healers. People may experience profound positive life changes subsequent to consuming ayahuasca. Vomiting can follow ayahuasca ingestion; this purging is considered by many shamans and experienced users of ayahuasca to be an essential part of the experience, as it represents the release of negative energy and emotions built up over the course of one's life.

I actually discovered ayahuasca a year or two ago, simply from researching other artists. I came across an artist named Alex Grey, who does beautiful spiritual and transcendental art and his work led me to an article related to ayahuasca. I began doing research on this foreign topic and I was instantly fascinated. I began listening to any testimonial video I could find on YouTube of people sharing their personal stories with the medicine.

However, this evening Steff recommended that I read Kira Salak's experience. Salak is one of five people in the world to receive a 2005 National Geographic Society Emerging Explorer Award. She has traveled solo to almost every continent, visiting some of the world's remotest or most inhospitable places.

Salak struggled with years of intense depression but that all vanished when she traveled to Peru, not once, but twice, to receive an ayahuasca cleansing. She had visions of hell and Heaven, her incarnations and several different entities and spirits, including God.

I was brought to tears when her spirit ascended into the Heavenly realm and had this conversation with God.

“Why did you hate me so much?” I demand of Him.
“I never hated you,” He says. “You hated yourself. I have always loved you as my own child. Know that suffering is the greatest teacher on Earth. It leads us out of our belief in separation.”
But I don’t know what He means by “separation.”
Darkness falls. I can’t see God in my vision anymore.
“Now is your last, biggest challenge,” He says. “To realize that you’re not separated from me and never have been.”

I found so much relief and refuge in those words, like I was meant to read them at this exact moment of my life.

Salak's story was one of the best things I've read in a long time. Read her experience and let me know in the comments what you think about it! Do you personally know anyone who's done it? Would you travel to Peru and try it? Or did Salak's own experiences scare you away from ever considering something like this? I wanna know!!

Read her story here:

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Feeling Down

I have a lot of wonderful people and blessings in my life that I am so thankful for, but it seems like my mind always directs its attention to the negatives. I have two particular issues I'm battling with in my life that are severely crushing my self-esteem and confidence. So much so, that I feel like apart of me is dying inside.

The first problem is acne, which welcomed itself, uninvited, into my life when I was 18. It's been a horrible battle ever since, trying anything to cure it. My mom (bless her heart) paid for three years of Proactive and that didn't work. I've tried dozens of soaps, scrubs, exfoliates, home well as dermatologists prescribing me pharmaceuticals and injecting me with cortisone shots. Nothing worked. I went vegan, thinking maybe the meats and dairy had hormones and/or chemicals in it that I was allergic to. I started juicing. I drink copious amounts of water, usually in the form of green tea. I use organic soap. Take apple cider vinegar shots. But nothing is fucking working for me and it's so unbelievably frustrating. It's like my body just can't heal itself. I've cut back on so many unhealthy, processed foods but whatever attempt I make, it's not good enough.

I'll be 24 years old in two weeks and my face is completely broken out. I don't have the confidence to go out and actively meet and date guys.

Sometimes I'll stop and stare at my high school senior picture that's in the hallway and daydream of what it used to be like without acne and scars.

The second problem I'm struggling with is hair loss. My dad is bald, my older brother is bald and unfortunately I received the gene as well. My hair is falling out at a terrifyingly fast rate. If I run my fingers through my hair, several strands fall out each time. Showers have become my worst nightmare because I find an alarming amount of hair in the drain now.

For the last three months I've worn a hat almost every single day to hide the receding hair line.

I don't know what is wrong with my body. I'm balding like a 60 year old man and I have severe acne like a 15 year old teenager.

I don't know why God is putting me through this pain. I feel like I'm becoming so ugly. I just want this pain to be over and I don't know what to do. I wish my prayers would be answered.