Keeping Zen in moments of stress
What do you do to keep your peace of mind when construction begins? I can tell you what not to do. Don’t start thinking about anything concerning building, design, money or the future when you are trying to go to sleep, or in the middle of the night or in the early morning. All that goes on in that little brain of mine is “What on Earth were you thinking of?!!!!!!!” Its like the darkness sets in and all lights go out “YOU ARE DOOMED!” says the deep voice within.
I tried ignoring it, but it kept seeping in. Tried to outsmart it, but before I knew it, there it was again, bringing fear and anxiety with it.
So what to do?
I had to remember to make time for me, to keep with my Yogi routine, even when construction people knocked on my doors or called me, in the middle of my practice. Of course I have to stop and go and do what needs to be done. But I have learnt that instead of giving up and saying forget about it , I just go right back and continue with my asanas. Meditation has become an important part of keeping my Zen. Every time I feel my energy going down and my stress levels going up, I take a deep breathe and then release what I was unconsciously holding in, blocking the flow of energy throughout my body. "Let it go , let it go" is my new current mantra in life! Then I focus on whatever I am doing and stop worrying about what I have to get done, I'll get there eventually, if not, it will have to wait for tomorrow. This is quite a challenge, believe me! But worth striving for, it just changes how you see and feel every thing. By just letting go and accepting how things are, you can enjoy life as it is. So my advice, let it go and live each precious moment as it is, nothing else.
I created a routine for myself before going to sleep. It works for me, here is my recipe if you want to try it.
1 cup of Lavender, Linden or Chamomile tea
A dab of Lavender Essential Oil on the soles of my feet, my wrists and behind my ears.
A good book (relaxing one, no horror or sad stories) read a little.
- close your eyes, and remember all the good, happy things that happened that day. Not one little one that was negative is allowed to be mulled over. Only the bright happy ones. This might sound a little cheesy, but really, no negative thoughts of what you should or should not have done. Give thanks to whomever or whatever your belief is, to your family, friends, animals, nature, and don’t forget yourself. Thank your body for carrying you and doing its very best to do what you asked of it. Thank your mind, your soul, your spirit and yes even your ego.
- breathe, inhale 5 counts, exhale 5 counts. Thats all. You can also apply it to whatever you are doing in the day, wherever you are. It helps clear the mind of all the noise.
- scan your body for any tension. As you inhale start at the top of your head, exhale release all tension and slowly work yourself all the way down your body.
- the only word allowed to enter your mind is “Sleep”
So here we are with a whole lot of dreams to build and we need to begin.
After a big storm, we realized we had several trees to cut down. Sadly, as I really don’t like cutting down trees, however many were rotting in the centre and some were starting to uplift their roots from their heaviness, due to the steep slope.
We had to start building the fences for the pastures and the shelters for the horses (until the stables were built).
All big heavy work.
We needed man power!
This is where Ramon came to the rescue. He was hired by the previous owner to guard and watch the properties of the community, keep the hedges chopped and the roads clean.
Thank the universe for Ramon! He is a kind soul and a very strong man and he knows the land and oh yes he even worked on a horse farm before and likes horses. He plants, digs, makes fences and climbs trees to get the girls there favourite fruit Biriba on the highest branch. We were immediately under his charm and sweet caring personality. His lovely girlfriend Maria and little son Kaeo (in the Bribri Indigenous language meaning “strength” also live here.
The first volunteer to come live with us in our new home, was Christian, from France. A 50 year old accomplished horseman who owns his own stables and trekking business in the mountains. Christian breeds and owns a herd of 30 Arabian/ Andalusian cross horses. Excellent for the rugged mountains they live in. As a vaulting acrobat, he rides bareback, bitless and often bridle less too. He intrigued me from the start. I never met anyone who could work so hard, carry such heavy things and build things all on his own and still say he was on vacation! He told us it was the first time he had taken time off and could read and relax. If I didn't have work for him, he would get frustrated. He knew. He knew what it was to be an owner, an owner of a farm, of horses and all the responsibility, time and effort it took to keep it afloat. He couldn’t have been a better man, at a better time for us than when he came into our lives at the beginning of this new adventure. Will be forever grateful of his ideas, advice and hard work. Thank you Christian!!!!
So now we had the man power to get things started. With our feminine energy combined we had a pretty good force of Yin and Yang.
The felling of the trees began. It was sad to see them fall, but I also felt immense gratitude. It wouldn’t be for nothing. These beautiful trees would not only provide shelter for us and the animals but also would open space for the other trees to expand their roots and branches deeper into the earth. They are very important for the welfare of the land, they not only hold the mountain together but also contain the rainfall, providing pure drinking water for all the life around. When I sit on my balcony and gaze upon these giant trees. I feel safe, protected and in their care. I don’t feel it is my land, I am a passerby, a caretaker, for awhile I will be here and plant my roots along side them, if they permit me. I feel they have accepted us and for this I am grateful.
The temporary shelters were built and the fences were put up. Every little piece of wood these trees have provided, is to be used and appreciated.
We then levelled the land for the stables and arena. This is a big project and it needs to be practical, workable, functional and pretty too!
The barn with its 4 stalls, hay loft and tack room will over look the arena. A portion of the arena will be covered with a sitting area for students and guests to watch. I planned that arena in all shapes and directions, before I finally found the right angle. It was like a puzzle, trying to fit in everything, without cutting trees down and using the natural flow of the land so it can ecologically sustain itself. Not an easy feat, especially when you have never done this in your life! All I knew from everything I had read, googled and Pinterested ( I think I just made that into a verb) about, was do not go cheap on the drainage!!! You will regret it! Okay, so I have to do this right, but all the materials they seem to use in the rest of the world, don’t seem to exist here. This is the part where I have to get inventive and creative. Luckily as a chef cooking in different parts of the world, I got very good at replacing impossible ingredients to create recipes I wanted. Figured it was kind of the same problem. I’ll let you know how that works out.
Next step is the renovation of the main house. A big house, well built in cement and hard tropical woods, it just needed an extra bedroom and some little tweaks. First the ceiling was just zinc. We wanted to bring out the beautiful dark Nispero wooden beams with a white clean ceiling and some insulation for noise and heat. The rest is deco, and Lexi, my daughter went crazy with new ideas of colours, design and the over all look and vibe we wanted to create. A work in process! I am very excited, its really coming together.
Yoga deck will be perched between 2 giants trees and their roots, on the crest of the mountain.
In between all the work , we've also found time to go out on rides with the horses. Adventuring into the jungle, down to the beaches for a gallop, a swim and then a picnic, revived us and inspired us. What a paradise we have the privilege to live in! I feel truly blessed surrounded by the breathtaking beauty of the Caribbean, my daughters, my friends and the special volunteers that come to join us.
But the work must continue! And of course we want this all done before Christmas! You see Christmas is a very big thing for us. We love Christmas. The feeling, the energy, the decoration, the music, cakes, cookies, the feast and all the trimmings, friends, family, neighbours and volunteers all coming together to cook, share and make merry. We are very serious about it. Now some would say, oh, how very materialistic. But you know, we love Christmas, its a happy time for us, we love the preparation of it. Making the cookies and decorating them, the Christmas cake is made 3 months in advance and soaked in rum, decorations are made out of wood, branches, stones, leaves, painted and sprayed. And lights, lots of sparkling lights and candles. We don’t forget the presents either! I am not into all this humbug downer on Christmas being materialistic, cheesy or whatever. Its really all about how you believe it to be, how you see things,how you create it. Just as is life in general. The glass can be half empty or it can be half full. Its creative and fun and we do it together. It truly is the most magical time of the year! This year is even more magical, as it will be our first Kindred Spirits Christmas in a new home with family & friends and volunteers and their families. A colourful mix of Canadian, French, Costa Rican, Swedish and Spanish traditions combined!
So with a little faith and a lot of hard work, we'll be ready to celebrate Christmas and welcome in the New Year!