Sarah Calvert

"It's a new day, and I'm feeling good." Nina Simone

 

On the island of Ometepe in Nicaragua...

Being with fear. Sitting in fear. Dancing through fear. That’s been the lesson for me the past couple of weeks. As some of you may know, I’ve been dealing with a crazy landlord here in Costa Rica, which has lead me to file a restraining order a few days ago. I won’t get into the whole spiel, as I had to go over it today for about 2 hours, in English and Spanish, using my Spanish teacher as a translator. However, I will say that sometimes standing up for what you believe in is tiring, and I can see how some people might shy away from it.  

I’ve been being harassed for over a month now by a really damaged person with bipolar disorder, who I believe is off his meds, and also know he’s doing cocaine, drinking too much and basically self-medicating. I can honestly say I have compassion for his plight, but at the same time, his mental state doesn’t excuse his bullying, sexist and racist slurs and overall desire to have power over others. I see his suffering. My heart feels this pain. And yet, my heart also knows that it must protect its owner and this body. I was having nightmares about being killed or held up at gunpoint after he left a nasty message telling me he had someone in Jaco to “take care of” me, and then called me various names like whore and bitch and the like. Really surprising. Really frightening.

And so, it was good timing that I had 2 weeks off of work and headed to Nicaragua, where I needed to go anyways, for a visa run. I googled “yoga” and “Nicaragua”, and the first thing to come up was a place called, Inanitah, which is on the island of Oemepete. Without hesitation, I knew this was where I needed to be; a place where I could feel safe. A place where I would be surrounded by my true love: nature. I got on the bus in Jaco at 6am and arrived to the island at 6:30pm after 2 buses, a bicycle taxi, a ferry, then another taxi which took me up the long bumpy driveway that lead to Inanitah. 

When I arrived, one of the residents named Marcelo smiled broadly and embraced me, “Welcome home.” I almost started crying then and there. After having to pack up my things really quickly and leave my home in Jaco due to the landlord situation, staying at various friends’ homes for about a week, and then travelling, I really had no real sense of home. I’ve explored this idea of home so often over the course of my travelling life, and most times, I feel at home within myself. However, this time was different; with the verbal abuse, bullying and fear still emanating in my nervous system, I really didn’t feel at home in me. My self-confidence was shaken, I was jumpy and nervous, and continually worried about my well-being, questioning the decision to come to Costa Rica at all. And yet, when I arrived to Inanitah, I knew I had come home. 

What I loved about it, was that it was kind of like Kitchi (the camp I went to for about 15 years in Ontario). Instead of having the bell as a substitute for a clock, we had a conch (if you are thinking this might get all Lord of the Flies it doesn’t), so you never really needed to have a watch. We’d start the day with early morning meditation, then yoga, followed by breakfast. After that: nothing. Or, perhaps lying on the hammock, reading. Or playing guitar. Lunch came next. Then: nothing. When I say “nothing”, I mean that really I could do whatever I wanted, which was more often than not: nothing. Sometimes I relaxed, sometimes I went for walks (a 9 hour accent and descent of a volcano took up one day), sometimes I strummed the guitar, and sometimes I lay in a hammock for hours looking at the clouds. It was heaven. And then I realized…it is heaven. To be here in this human form, having all of these experiences…both the blissful and the challenging. It’s all a matter of perspective. 

The people I met were beyond beautiful, and shared their gifts and talents in so many ways. It was the embodiment of community, and it really worked. Not to mention, the sustainable ways they live (compost toilet, using ash from the stove and loofah from the tree to clean dishes, solar power etc.) and set examples for all of us. It got even better when we celebrated the owner (Paul’s) birthday over a weekend of dancing, swimming, resting, relaxing, eating, celebrating. I fell in love with so many people. I fell back in love with myself too. Waking up with the sunrise in my little adobe hut (no electricity) and taking an outdoor shower as I watched the monkeys clamber in the branches. I made a sofa out of various logs and watched the sunset each night as it slowly sunk behind the horizon over the lake. Pure magic. 

It was there that I was able to recharge and reconnect with who I truly am: Light. I realized that this bullying bastard was just a test, to see if this light could be dimmed. I decided, “No.” This light can’t be dimmed and I’ll continue to shine bright with my teaching, music and passion for travel and exploration. 

While sitting in the waiting room at the court I briefly felt like I was wasting my time but then realized that the effort it took to stand up for what I believe in, is so much more important than not doing anything. In school, we teach about the issue of bullying, but I never really thought it could happen in my adult life; it does happen. If no one speaks up for injustice and abuse, it will continue to happen. And so I speak. I sign petitions. I wait for 2 hours in a waiting room to fill out paperwork. I sing. I write. I continue to shine bright. Sat Nam. Sat Nam. Sat Nam. 
As always, I'm grateful for your presence in this journey and look forward to reading your comments.
Much love and light,

Sarah 

Question for You: Have You ever been “bullied” by anyone in your life? If so, how did you respond/react?

 

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