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When The Universe Shuts You Down

If you remember, my last blog was focused on why we ignore self-care and why it is so important. What can happen when we don’t slow down, and don’t listen to the messages from our higher self? Sometimes the Universe, Spirit, God, our Higher Self shuts us down! I call it the two by four over the head from the Universe.  Here’s the message: you are doing too much, and you are not serving yourself or anyone else, so you will be slowed down now. I’m not sure if we manifest this ourselves or if a higher power takes over. You can decide for yourself. It doesn’t matter what you believe, as long as you notice the signs. I have experienced my own “shut down” as my back going out, or a fall down stairs, creating an injury substantial enough to stop me from “doing” when I am doing too much.

This article is humbling to write, for I was not heeding my own advice, not listening to my own need to slow down and relax, while on vacation to Costa Rica 3 weeks ago.  As a result, I experienced a shut down, when I slipped and slid one-legged down a steep trail, on my way to a pristine waterfall. I heard a thwack like a tree branch snapping, (not sure if it was in my mind or external). I felt immediate severe pain in my quad. I screamed out to no one on the trail.  Cringing, and panting like a dog, I limped back up the steep trail, my heart pounding, aiming for the lodge to get aid.  My thigh swelled up like a sausage. I spent the rest of the trip icing, elevating, using analgesic creams, and hobbling. Built high on a hill in the rainforest with dramatic views of ocean and valley, Luna Lodge is a magic filled place, buzzing and humming with life and vibrant chi. Steep stone stairs and trails lead to the dwellings, dining lodge, yoga platform, and pool. This geography makes it difficult to be immobile, yet a small divine intervention occurred shortly before I arrived. The owner of Luna Lodge, a visionary and healer herself, had changed my tent from the highest (177 stone steps to reach) to the lowest one nearest the restaurant. Whoa, thank you my guides and protectors.

Before arriving at Luna Lodge, I had spent 3 nights at the beachfront Eco-lodge, Guaria de Osa, busy “doing”, which is my way of “being” in this world.  A had visited a protected reef to swim and snorkel, replete with boat ride and beach hiking, hiked through Corcovado National Park to see the sloths, monkeys and other mammals, more snorkeling, bird watching, lots of beach walking and star bathing. Got to see and do! I might not get back here!!

A 3-hour drive on bumpy, dusty roads through rivers and dry river-beds, and finally up a steep mountain brought me to my second destination, the Luna Lodge. Not long after I arrived, I was trekking from my cozy tucked in "Nature Lover's" tent to hike the 3 waterfalls swim and bath in the rejuvenating waters. No moss growing on this stone baby! I had made it to 2 of the 3 falls before the shut down happened. Message received. “Enough is enough JoAnn. You came to Costa Rica to rest and restore, to see sights and experience the forest, at a pace that matches the gentle vibration of Costa Rica, not the frenetic vibe of the east coast of the US.”

The injury did indeed slow me down, walking difficult and painful. I rested more, and spent my time in a “present” way, enjoying the pool, observing the flowers, and the abundant wildlife living on this land. I experienced such delight in watching the monkeys in the trees, the dazzling green lizard perched on his favorite orange flower, the brilliant scarlet Macaws squawking while flying overhead, the floating orange butterflies, red dragonflies, varied hummingbirds and other winged creatures. I took in some restorative yoga after a tentative hike up the stone steps with a walking stick. I received a Thai massage, and a powerful Reiki session from the lodge owner and another healer friend. The Universe provides when you allow.  

I made an important observation while on this trip, even prior to my injury. I had been anxious to see all the birds, reptiles, insects, and mammals living in this part of the world. It was a big reason I had chosen Costa Rica. Part of my push to go on tours was so that I could see as much as I could see. What I learned was that when I just casually walked around and looked, or sat and listened, I began to notice many more living creatures, than when I was making a concerted effort to “see the wildlife”. I started noticing that the life was everywhere, right in front of my eyes, over my head, and too be heard and seen, when I quieted myself. All this, I know intuitively, but physically experiencing the mindful and deliberate slowing was so affirming.  Stillness brings so many gifts.

I am home and healing slowly but steadily.  As a physical, high-energy person, the shut down has been challenging for me. I caused further injury early on by trying to do too much too soon, another reminder to slow and be still. I finally reached a place of acceptance and allowing. I have accepted that I am vulnerable and helpless to do many of the things I usually do. The house dirt has accumulated, and I am learning to be ok with it, prioritizing, knowing I can only do so much in a day. Nothing’s perfect and it’s ok to not have everything perfect. I’ve been asking for help with things, a good reminder that we are meant to be in community to help each other. It’s important to be able to be vulnerable. Vulnerability is not a weakness.  Asking for what you need is empowering and creates bonds with others.  It balances the cycle of giving and receiving too.

Lastly, the lesson of self-care comes up, once again. I am now being gentle, loving myself by slowing my pace, pampering the leg and in doing so, the heart. I am in acceptance and allowance.  I am finding activities that feed me while I stay still. These are new experiences for someone used to expressing by being physical. I even invented my own style of chair dancing that allows my hips and upper body to move but rests my leg. My message to me is I love me, enough to take care of me. We need to love ourselves first and foremost. We raise our own vibration by sending ourselves a message every day that we love ourselves. How do we love ourselves? By taking care of ourselves. Loving and taking care of ourselves raises our energetic vibration. By raising our vibration, we send that out into the world and that helps others in ways unseen. What a radical wonderful idea. I can love more people by loving myself more. Amen to that!

Thank you for reading. I hope that what you have read in this piece has resonated, or stirred you in some way. I welcome your comments and insights. At this point in time, as my healing continues, I am able to offer some in person sessions, and most definitely distance work.

With Love and blessings,

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