Being true to yourself is acting without a guarantee. A lot of my existence on earth has been about leapfrogging continents in pursuit of human connection, storytelling, the escape into and out of love relationships, and global work experiences. Heck, this Spring I rode the Orient Express through Europe with Agatha Christie’s Grandson. One of a kind moments abound, however the majority have been in large part due to calculated risk taking. I think and I feel and boy oh boy do I think, again. Most of us are taught to plan for the future, but really all any of us have is the now. Sometimes pulling yourself out of one environment and putting yourself into another environment is what it takes to realize the incredible power of this nowness. A motorcycle ride at sunrise in Bali, Indonesia with a British stranger three years ago was one of those “nows” for me. It led me to unlock a few lingering, worn out calculations. The risk comes easy when you listen to instinct. Vulnerability is the ray of your personal sun. So when our rendez-vous’ around the world had us globetrotting more and more into one another, I surrendered to a daring invitation. He said: join me on the Island of Magic at a place called Rosemary Dream to connect with your inner monk, monkey and modern human. I said: yes.
Rosemary Dream is located in Southeastern Brazil in Barra da Lagoa (the Island of Magic as referred to by locals). Part empowerment center, part bohemian experiment, you will feel a part of a global family. This infinite container is for you to carve out your personal, optimal way of living. You will be kindly pushed beyond limits to discover your heart’s desires and carry tools back into the world to make dreams reality. Here are eight life reminders from my 21 days deep in the wilds of Rosemary…
1. Crying is good. Letting go allows space for something new to sprout. “Meditacion Alquimia de Fuego” at Rosemary Dream in Florianopolis, Brazil is an alchemical fire meditation focusing mainly on the first three chakras. Standing in a circle, you begin 30 minutes of yogic breath followed by another 30 minutes of intense breathing coupled with body movement expression exercises, all with your eyes closed. The fire rises within. Eventually guided to sit and open your eyes, each participant is asked to write what they feel. Journals are passed around and a new story is written. The process is raw, revealing, intimate, therapeutic, connective. You will laugh, you will cry, and you will walk away feeling lighter.
2. Bamboo takes time to develop. Be patient with yourself. Place your hands over your heart. Can you feel it beating? You are alive. Rosemary Dream’s resident monk, Dada Suvedananda, is available for guided meditations. Begin a morning routine. Maybe it’s three minutes of sitting in silence. You’re worth it.
3. Walk barefoot. As much as possible. Many of us hustle and bustle throughout our lives without physical touch to Mother Earth. During the Monk-Monkey-Modern Human program, I walked barefoot 99% of my time on the island. If you aren’t ready to be barefoot on the subway, at least take a moment in the morning to walk outside and stand on pachamama. Release back into the soil what no longer serves you. Synchronize with the earth’s natural electric charge.
4. Rewild yourself. Rosemary Dream is set in wild nature. The three founders are 30 year old former Israeli Special Forces soldiers. They are badasses with huge hearts. They will guide you into the jungle forest to catch and forage food and build a natural sleeping habitat. We swam down the village river, climbed tall trees, ran like wolves after dark on the beach and hiked until our lungs grew larger. This little monkey phase was my favorite, it left me wanting more of less is more.
5. Part ways with self-limiting beliefs. Stepping out of our comfort zones can feel awkward. Afterall, our brains prefer patterns. At Rosemary, I spent time with an incredible coach, Paul D’Ambrosio. Paul guided me to identify my three core values and connect them to my inner beliefs. Understanding the power our beliefs have on the shape of our lives will actually change our lives. The practice becomes real: change your belief, change your action, change your outcome.
6. Immerse yourself in a supportive community. People from around the world believe in you. When rediscovering your voice, you may lose some folks from your circles. Despair not. Having the courage to be your true self will only attract similar energy. Hang out with people who aren’t your age, whose first language isn’t the same as yours, who do not come from the same social class. Get to know the person sitting next to you. Smile at strangers.
7. Express gratitude. A simple and long-lasting takeaway has been to write down three things I feel grateful for each day. If I can do this, so can you. It’s that law of attraction kind of stuff. It works.
8. Adapt the things you love no matter where you live. Living in communal quarters for three weeks in a remote place surrounded by open-minded people from Iran, Israel, Australia, Hungary, France, Sweden, England, South Africa, Canada, Belgium, Mexico, Argentina and Brazil was the absolute most fun way to remember we are all in this together. And we all have the power to create our destiny. Minute by minute, choice by choice.
Image Credit: Jenny Graham