I started This Heart Fire exactly six months ago. As soon as I arrived in Colombia ready to embark on my adventure through Central America I hit publish on my first blog post. I never thought I would have the balls to write or have my voice be heard on any medium let alone my own site. Never. I felt the pull and my inner fire sparked at the idea of inspiring others to make positive changes and reap the benefits just as I had. So I threw myself into it, in what was most probably the most overwhelming time, leaving a job of six years, saying goodbye to clients and friends and embarking on a journey that I hadn’t done any planning or preparation nor had the faintest clue where it would lead me. As exciting as my future prospects were, the fear of failure never diminished. It remained loud and clear, over and over on repeat. It was my intention to share every experience with you, with all the heart and connection I could muster up and whilst I started off on the right track I lost my way a little and you will discover all in this open hearted and vulnerable post.
Looking back over the last six months where I travelled through Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, Belize & Cuba. Oh and there was a little detour to Canada in there too, it has been a whirlwind of elated emotions. This trip was without a doubt the best one yet. I sailed islands of the caribbean; walked through national parks among colourful wildlife; experienced downpour like no other in Costa Rican rainforest’s; ziplined; white water rafted; swam in volcanic hot springs; jumped of swings; dived in three countries; the blue hole & Mexico cenotes at a depth of 46metres; learnt spanish; danced salsa; swam with turtles, whale sharks, dolphins and rays; climbed atop of mayan ruins; yoga posed on islands, beaches and lakes; cut hair for many other worldly travellers; witnessed sunrise after sunset; swam in natural lakes, lagoons, walked the colourful cobblestone streets of Latin America; ate local cuisine in every country, lazed about in hammocks, grounded myself in the whitest caribbean sand, froze to see the snow in Canada; learnt the words to spanish songs that will bring back memories forever; connected with beautiful soul mates who will be now life long friends; travelled in bus after bus, countless taxis, tuk tuks, boats, ferries, planes, shuttles and walked for miles. All with the biggest smile on my face.
There was only one thing that had the power to make that smile fade and that was my history of pain coming back and shaking me to my core. I got through relatively unscathed however there were times when I realised my old ways of thinking had overcome me again. My negative mind was eating away at me slowly diminishing my spirit and making things harder both physically and mentally. My back pain had returned with a vengeance and my smile vanished. The negative thoughts were overwhelming and the one that had the power to defeat me was that I failed at healing myself of my pain. The fact of the matter was I was back where I started a few years ago, piling on the weight, eating shitty foods, drinking, partying, not moving my body, sleeping very little, carrying heavy bags, travelling long distances in cars, buses, planes and more importantly I wasn’t looking after my mind daily. All of my newfound rituals that I was so into before I left had vanished a month or so into my trip. Day after day went by and my bad habits were slipping back like it was routine.. and before I knew it I was struck down with the same debilitating pain that I had suffered for many years.
The worst was when I was in Guatemala about to walk through dark caves and swing into the river of Semuc Champey and hike up to the lookout of the natural pools. It was unbearable. I remember thinking… how am I going to get through this one. 15 or so people crammed standing in the back of a 4WD ute, holding on for dear life as the bumpy potholed dirt road kept knocking us about. It had to be then that my nerve went on me! I was gritting my teeth as the tears streamed down. How was I to explain to people I had only just met that I was suffering. Usually when the nerve is that bad ..I cannot move.. but I had to, I was just about to start a tour where we had travelled 10 or more hours to see. I ended up getting through that day, just! And when I look back on the photos I can see clearly the pain in my face. It was the one thing that had the power to dampen my spirits. This pain continued through Guatemala and Mexico for another six or seven weeks. My attempts at masking it were wearing thin and by the time I got to Canada where the temperature was below zero… I couldn’t take it anymore. I faced the dragon again and I realised I had been travelling for two or more months thinking the same fearful thoughts I used to. The ego had well and truly taken over. That nasty mind talk back radio that dwells in the pain of the past, recreates in the present and projects it onto the future was out in force.
All the highs of the trip were wiped out with the devastating low of my back pain and negative mind. The thought of failure had the power to silence me from writing for many months. And every day that has gone by since then hasn’t been an easy one. I had inadvertently allowed my ego to rule the way I was feeling and not one thing could change that unless I harnessed the reigns again. The best reminder was this quote which I know all too well… I had just temporarily forgotten its importance.
“When you can quiet the fluctuations of your mind and drift into stillness & silence, you can finally hear the whispers of your heart”- davidji
Which brings me back to the very reason I write on this blog. To open up the heart fire, let it sing and drown out the sounds of the mind.
Travel will always be my favourite avenue for personal growth. Every adventure brings home new experiences, new connections and new discoveries. And when it is the biggest challenge to maintain physical health while travelling, it is also crucial to maintain a healthy state of mind. I was riding the biggest waves feeling the happiest I could have been until slowly by slowly bit by bit.. the funk had returned, and I was experiencing the same lows as I was many years ago.
It was clear I had a momentary lapse of spirit. The positive of that is I was able to realise it before heading back to Colombia my last destination where I spent a month learning to open my heart again and living a life inspired. I enjoyed day after day with children from the island of Tierra Bomba, where they have very little but they have smiles that would melt a million hearts. Their spirit was infectious. It was here where I had time to disconnect from the world as I know it, reflect on the last five months of travel, and overcome the confines of fear in preparation for my journey home.
My trip through Central America is now a beautiful memory that started off with a bang and ended with the intent of never losing this path. To maintain health in positive mind and spirit takes hard work and dedication. It’s a daily practice. The lesson learnt is that I need to work harder and fight harder in order to reap the benefits of living a pain free life. Fear will always have a way of tripping us up. And this time I fell hard, when I least expected to. The power of the spirit is that you get up and keep going, learn to be grateful of the fall for it has led you to where you need to be. And for me now, that place is home where I can pick up where I left off, explore new horizons and flourish with love and gratitude.
” Everything you want, is on the other side of fear” – Jack Canfield.
From my heart to yours,