What does it mean to be a peaceful warrior?
Last Christmas, I landed in Santiago, Chile, full of hope and love and optimism, having fallen head over heels for a guy I met on OKCupid only a few weeks before. I was in a very powerful place of intuitive growth, big things were opening up for me, and there was never a question about the sanity of traveling halfway across the globe for the possibility of love and true companionship. Y’all know I’m doing it. Always.
Adventure Man and I had a few beautiful days in Valparaiso, and then headed to Peru to hike the Inca Trail up to Machu Picchu. In spite of my dedicated physical training for weeks prior, and of seemingly following all the rules about acclimating to the altitude, that hike destroyed me. I got viciously ill with both altitude sickness and food/waterborne bacteria. On the second day of the hike, I had to turn around and walk down alone with a Spanish-only speaking sherpa. It took me more than 7 hours in the rain, sometimes crawling, hallucinating, vomiting, and shitting every 10-20 minutes. I literally shat the mountain. When I got to the bottom, I was exhausted, hurt, and broken. The mountain had spoken to me on the way down, and I knew ayahuasca was calling me. By the time I reached Cusco, I was amazed that I could stand up, let alone walk. I slept for 18 hours straight and luckily recovered enough to make the return journey to meet my tour group and reunite with Adventure Man at Machu Picchu. It did not go well. The romance fizzled out just as quickly as it had begun, and a few days later, I found myself weeping alone in the streets of Peru, heartbroken, and once again on shaky ground within myself, wondering “WHY DOES THIS KEEP HAPPENING TO ME?”
When I tell this story all these months later, I have to laugh, because the universe really does hand your ass to you in the most insidious ways so that you will pay attention. My spontaneous departure to South America to meet up with a fellow adventurous soul was never the point of getting me down here. It was the means. I’m so grateful for that crushing experience of rejection and unrequited vulnerability. He was so not into me, and somehow I never asked myself if I was even into him. Rejection can make us behave in terrible ways. It brought up all my worst fears: of abandonment, that my body is not small or thin enough, and mostly that absurd, unfounded fear that what I truly am is too much. That I am too emotional, too intense, too big, and too demanding of other people. I have been afraid my whole life of simultaneously being too much and not enough. When I encounter people who make me feel this way, it brings out my worst behaviors. I turn into a needy, clingy, meek, boundary-less people pleaser who starts doing tricks trying to earn affection and love from people who are incapable of giving me what I need or want. I faced all my fears at once, and one by one, I realized they had no power over me. Because the truth is, when you have vulnerability and emotional depth as a superpower, you need to find people who have the capacity to meet you at your level. High vibes only.
You are not too much. They are too small.
When we encounter these kinds of toxic relationship combinations, it’s so hard to walk away, because we live in a scarcity focused society. We blame our imperfections and flaws and say, “If only I were more or better or something else, this person would love me.” We believe this bullshit story of soulmates and twin flames, and dating has become so terrible that literally ANYONE who is not obviously fucked up seems like a great match, especially if you enjoy having amazing sex with a loving partner on the reg. Here’s the deal: everyone is fucked up in some way. As Dan Savage says, we all have a price of admission. We are human and this is why we are beautiful. There is no one perfect person for you EXCEPT YOU. You are your soulmate. You are your own best friend. You are the one you’ve been searching for. Congratulations. You win.
I turned 40 alone in Banos, Ecuador, having been freshly dumped, and I decided that I was not going to get into another doomed relationship with anyone until I had a deep, loving, beautiful relationship with myself. I decided I would risk everything on myself and find out if I could be at home with just me while traveling the world. I promised that no matter what, I would respect and love myself the most, and do the work of self care and maintenance so that I walk through this world as my highest expression of self. By the time I got back to Texas at the end of January, I had a list of 30 countries I wanted to visit, goals I wanted to achieve, and a plan to do whatever the fuck I wanted for at least a year. I came home and booked a yoga teacher training with School Yoga Institute, an ayahuasca retreat at Gaia Sagrada, and loosely planned to be in South and Central America through August. From there, I’d go to Burning Man, and see what happened next.
What happened for me on this journey is nothing short of miraculous. Through my experiences with both ayahuasca and San Pedro, I was able to identify the familial and ancestral wounds I was carrying that kept attracting emotional vampires into my life. I came to terms with my father’s pain, suffering, and violent end, and released that pain. I forgave myself and was able to truly love my delicious body exactly as it is in this moment, and every moment, even when it changes and looks and feels different. I began to walk fully in gratitude for what I have, not constantly wanting things to be different. I reprogrammed my brain to see the true beauty in my body and my heart. I completed a 200 HR yoga teacher training with SYI at a vegan permaculture farm in Lake Atitlan, Guatemala. It was challenging and rewarding in so many ways, and laid the foundational skills for me to begin to share what I know with others as a teacher. Most importantly, it gave me a beautiful, powerful personal yoga and meditation practice that is the foundation of my spiritual path, and connected me to a tribe of beautiful, loving souls who will be friends for life. I am amazed at the agility, flexibility, and abilities of my body. I am so grateful. Also, I AM A YOGA TEACHER! OMG! LET’S DO ALL THE YOGA FOREVER!
When you become aware that you are a divine being made of light, it’s not like, “Oh I just accepted that I’m not good enough.” No. I fully and happily reject the societal fantasy that we are supposed to spend our lives trying to attain one ideal body, one ideal life, fame, the endless bloating of the ego without a foundation of spiritual practice and humbleness. I have a goddess body. I have a goddess heart. And my spirit is made of rainbows. I am a mirror. This civilization isn’t reality. Politics, religion, all the things we fight with each other about, it’s a distraction. It’s all an illusion that we just decide to participate in. We are all part of the same godhead dreaming itself into being. There’s a lot of good things that come from technology, progress, and the pursuit of creation, but the natural world, where beauty and truth are in EVERYTHING, is so much more fulfilling and satisfying. And it’s sustainable, unlike the empty pursuit of perfection and materialism. The Earth is our dream planet. It is the fantasy. We are the gods.
So here’s what. Don’t settle. Not for anything. Don’t ignore that voice. Listen to what your heart and your life are telling you. You already know the answer. What is within arms reach for you? What can you focus on in your world, right now, that can make a difference for you and the people around you? How can you ascend higher? If you really want to start a revolution, love yourself and walk through your life like an exalted being. Be a peaceful warrior by being an example of what is possible in this life. Break your ancestral karma and choose abundance. Stop fighting and start loving. That’s the most radical act there is.