|Checking for leaks in a hot air balloon of the Philippine flag.|
Sick and tired of the urong-sulong dance of two steps forward, one step back, I packed it in and moved to Sedona, Arizona in 2006.
I came with such high hopes of manifesting my dream of building a spiritual center that truly mattered and made a difference in a world gone sideways.
While I lived there I saw how long time residents were getting eased out because the cost of living had escalated as the place catered to the growing number of tourists, day-trippers, and retirees.
It turned out the seekers who came to Sedona - chasing intangible spirits and energies, sucked into magical mystical vortexes, selfishly indulgent in their self expression - just wanted to do their own thing and not be inconvenienced by reality or truth.
The growing number of folks jumping on the proverbial band wagon attracted and fed all sorts of folks aiming to make a buck from all these new age stuff - whether enlightened, naive, or just plain clueless, it quickly turned into a feeding frenzy.
After two years we too left as living there had depleted our limited resources and we failed to build the momentum or following required to sustain us.
In 2009 as the last and final holdout - the center went bankrupt, the venue was lost, its head disappearing into silence and seclusion - I relocated to Hoboken and worked on reinvesting myself into life on the outside.
What do you do with 15 years of training and discipline as a natural healer, holistic counselor, true teacher, and spiritual scholar? I often tease that I have accumulated the equivalent of at least four masteral degrees.
In our sanctified community I earned a Master in Divinity studying ancient scriptures that world religions are based upon. The outcome is I am an ordained interfaith minister now.
I earned a Master in Communication being personal assistant to our guru and designated spokesperson within the community. I sure had countless hours and practice in tact and diplomacy, any minor infraction sure had major blow back.
I earned both Masters in Adult Education and Training conducting workshops and certifications in healing, staffing, and serving. I traveled from center to center working with local staff and volunteers to set up their own sessions, classes, and clinics.
All these while I was also resident manager of the center's facilities, online marketer, social media strategist, welcome committee, events organizer, cook, and cleaner. This tropical mama is proud of being able to stack three cords of wood like unmovable tetris blocks and start a fire from scratch in a stone cold wood burning stove large enough to heat the whole household. Clearing snow and ice was a fave winter workout.
There were the countless workshops I had to attend as part of my own preparation and training. On a good day I got five hours of sleep but with month long and other intensives, maybe three hours rest tops. I cocooned myself in the zone - pacing and leading in the ebb and flow natural to the rhyme and rhythm of the moment. I learned to speed read while simultaneously recording insights and absorbing new info by osmosis.
Although this highly developed all my senses, skills, and facets, it is understandable why this type of life is not for everyone. When I left the center I was hard pressed to find other ways and means in which to apply myself with all that dedication and purpose I had been honing all those years.
The best news is none of the time spent or resources gained were ever wasted. As I had previously applied my production skills from years in the business to my time at the center, so too have I been using everything I picked up at the center to augment my life today.
Where I once rebelled against home restrictions and familial strings, I find myself back in the fold and loving it. Reigniting, reconnecting, revamping our relationships. I am blessed to have another chance.
I may only return to the Philippines for short visits. I may feel the rub with each reentry and change - marking lack or loss, tracking growth and advancement. Come what may, I choose to always wander with much wonder.
Relations, relocation or reinvention may change my situation. Country, circumstance, or a current event will definitely change and ideally bring better. Yet the love and hope I hold remains true in all that I am.