When everything becomes alive in nature, so too does the shadows of oneself.

So much of my spiritual practice is centered on releasing fear and doubt. My focus is directed towards choosing to be in a state of love rather than fear. I work towards thoughts of peace and choose to not focus on things that make me feel scared or anxious. This is what practice means to me. I practice this, but yet, I must be willing to face my fears and release them, so that they no longer serve me or my life.

A few weeks ago as I was packing for my trip to Costa Rica, I started to become fearful that I would get bitten by a scorpion while there. I recalled a moment last summer when I was there when an acquaintance was sitting at Robins Ice Cream eating lunch and a scorpion creeped out of nowhere and stung him. His face and his reaction toward this sting replayed in my mind over and over again as I rolled my clothes and placed them in my backpack. This sense of fear sat in my body and through the practice of breathing and mindfulness, I released the thoughts and chose to focus on joy rather than pain. My fear diminished and my excitement of traveling to Nosara trickled through me. I choose to be strong and not worry about nature. Everything is so alive and thoughts can easily manifest as things.

Arriving to Costa Rica from the busyness of life in the U.S.A is always a bit of a shock when I arrive because everything is alive in the jungle. I begin to breathe in the jungle and I feel a sense that I am one with nature. Each animal, species or life force represents something within me. I feel a sense of connectedness that takes me beyond the human body. Each one of my bodies; physical, prana, bliss become intertwined with the forces surrounding.

I spend so much time in reflection and self inquiry while I am down there, that it is no surprise when something within me starts to cleanse. My digestion cleanses from the asanas, the diet and the water; my sinus’ cleanse from the salt water and all the dust in the air from the dirt roads. Lastly, my heart cleanses and my heart expands with such deep love for the new and old friends that I connect with. I can recall a moment when my mother and I were messaging each other. She was encouraging me to go back there more often because it was obvious that I really enjoy being there.  She mentioned  that Costa Rica appears to be my happy place. I responded to her by telling her that was true, that I feel loved and accepted in this place more so than in any other place that I have been. Her response was so light and powerful. She observed that I felt this sense of love and harmony because it was apparent that I love and accept myself so much more when I am there. This rang true for me. It struck through me like the chord of a tune chiming in nature.

When everything becomes alive in nature, so too does the shadows of oneself. Self-inquiry means going within and being with what is, observing oneself. Self-inquiry doesn’t mean that everything is pink roses and harmonious tunes. It also means that the self must be willing to come face to face with the darkness of the soul.

Throughout the self-awakening training, my own source of pain within my 2nd chakra began to feel more powerful than it had in quite sometime. The pain felt different and in some aspects more intense. I never imagined that I would fully embrace the slow sacral movements as my body hip thumbed on the soft mats covered on hard wood floors. Months before I signed up for the training, I had very little interest in learning something new. One thing was true and that is that I was interested in yoga therapeutics. My intellectual mind was interested in learning more than my physical body. My physical body wanted to move through the more familiar asanas and avoid the ones I knew nothing about. Lastly, my prana body was in tune with what I needed, so much that it lead me to quickly sign up for the Self-Awakening Yoga Therapeutics course. Throughout the 2 months leading up to my training, my sacrum began to feel pain that it had never felt before. I visited my chiropractor every week and got adjusted in my lower back along with some acupuncture in my crown chakra. A day or two would pass and then the pain would continue. I couldn’t seem to find the right movements to help this sacred part of the body.

I knew I made a wise choice once I got into the training and experienced the hip and hara pumps that would eventually help the pain move. And so it continued to hurt and a lot of 2nd chakra issues started to release until  I surrendered and I allowed myself to feel and nurture the pain. I allowed the pain to travel through me into other sensitive areas like my neck, which then moved the pain up and out of the body.

Once the pain diminished, I arrived just in time to hit up the 5 rhythms dance floor at the Harmony Hotel. My body moved and grooved with the divine feminine as the jungle surroundings brought out the wild woman from within. My body shape-shifted into different forms, elements, rhythms and movements, which lead my soul body to dive deep within and explore the feelings and vibrations of those around me. I paused for a moment and looked down at an insect. I observed its wings, I noticed its subtle movements and I contemplated ahimsa or non-violence. I asked for forgiveness for ever killing a bug or an insect that I felt threatened by. I prayed for all beings to stop violating one another. My body began to shape-shift and I danced my way into the shape of an insect. My wings flapped, my hair went all around my face and the jungle air moved through me like fresh prana. Suddenly, I felt this intense vibration from the feminine. She was dark and negative. Her vibration felt harsh and unforgiving. I sensed that she was pissed. I immediately allowed myself to drop down onto the floor into child’s pose where I stayed and imagined myself as a cocoon or a seed planting its way into spring, which would follow into the next day.

As spring approached into the next day, my cocoon began to open up and I felt the metamorphosis of becoming a butterfly and flying around the jungle spreading my wings while sending love to all.

I arrived at a noon asana class in the peak hour of the mid day wearing my wet bathing suit and my hair wild and free. My rock n roll t-shirt was a fashion that I had re-created into a fringe, sleeveless shirt. I felt like the wild and free dancer who spent the night before dancing and shape-shifting into various forms. The wild and free feminine who unleashed her power and rocked the jungle with her stomping feet. The vibration that surrounded me was a sensual and cool one. It washed over me like a cool warm breeze. I heard whispers of nature drawing me into their nest, drawing me in so that I could love and bathe in their passionate sensations. I literally felt like nature was kissing me. I felt nurtured and loved by the first day of spring and the crossing into the new season. Winter was dying while consciousness was shedding and spring was being born while passion was arising.

I felt so much intensity and passion in these moments on my mat, that like moment on the dance floor, I went into my cocoon and breathed. I allowed nature to nurture me in whatever way she needed to do. I felt rocked in a lullaby as she held me in savasana and placed her warm earthly hands around me. My sacred bone felt no pain and deep within I felt that I had healed some 2nd chakra issues.

Later on that evening, I arrived at Blue Spirit fully alert and awake for Deva Premal & Miten. Their voices, sounds and music put me into a soft trance which soon led me into a savasana position. My feet pointed towards the pacific ocean and with eyes wide open, I looked up and sang the Gayatri Mantra. My heart opened, my chakras moved with each sound vibration and before I knew it I felt like I was traveling beyond time and space. Nothing but the here and now. Full Moon over the ocean lighting up the sky around me. As I awoke and stood up, I  felt like my body had gotten taller and I felt my prana body moving out into the ocean as it sailed through time and space. You can say I was a bit spacey, but in a blissful way.

The next day was my last day in Nosara. I finished up my Self Awakening Yoga course and graduated that evening with 26 other amazing souls. We chanted, we watched sunset, we laughed, we cried, we danced, we hugged and we said goodbye after eating at a cool Costa Rican Italian restaurant. Upon leaving the restaurant one of the girls who sat near me was showing everyone pictures of a baby scorpion that she had seen earlier that day. Fear rushed through me and once again I tripped about possibly getting stung by a scorpion. I head tripped for 2 minutes with fear, but also with a smug attitude that no scorpion can bite me. I had seen many scorpions throughout my 2 weeks there and never once got stung. I started to be superior to the species because the scorpion is my sun signs symbol. I developed a confidence that no scorpion could sting or poison me. I saw myself evolved enough to not be afraid. However, in those 2 minutes at dinner, I was more afraid than ever. It was 11:00pm and I was leaving on a shuttle in 8 hours. Could it really be possible that I would actually get bitten?

On my walk back from Il Basilica, the Italian restaurant that my SAY  friends and I ate at, I walked closely next to a friend as we walked along the gravel path. She and I were talking about each of our plans for after the training, when all of a sudden I got stung by a scorpion. It was like no sting I had ever felt. It was 50 times worse than any sting I had ever felt. I screamed and moaned with anxiety as I felt the intense sting. My initial reaction was that it was a scorpion, but the girls behind me encouraged me that it was a bee sting. I couldn’t quite imagine that to be true. The pain was so harsh. Shock waves and electrical pain biting its way through my left big toe. I scurried ahead after my group asked me questions and concerns of my pain. I wanted to climb the stairs to the Bell Tower alone and I wanted to bawl my eyes out. I started to weep and sob as I felt sorry for myself for getting stung. My toe hurt. OUCCCCHHHHHHH!

As I made my way to the dining area of the Nosara Yoga Institute Village, one of the girls offered to help me get ice. I placed the ice on my toe and then afterwards my mouth and teeth started to feel numb. I spoke my concern to the others and they responded by saying it was probably  because of my anxiety.

Something didn’t feel right, so I walked back to my room and googled my symptoms. Sure enough a number of results popped up about being stung by a scorpion. My roommates suggested I wash my toe. After washing my big toe, I put some tea tree oil on the wound and then let it sit over night. The sting was intense and my mouth continued to feel numb. I fell asleep and then 5 hours later I awoke and got ready to catch the shuttle to the Liberia airport, where I would fly out of in just a few short hours. How would I fly with such pain? How could I bear to hold and feel so much intense pain. I reflected on the course and my own awakening. I discovered that I needed to feel this pain. I chose to see the situation as a sign of another awakening. I felt there was a link between my purpose for being in Costa Rica and the pain that I was experiencing.

My relationship with my breath, my diet and my choice of choosing lighter, more peaceful thoughts helped me to heal and endure the scorpion sting. Although I had no idea what type actually stung me, I knew from my own intuitive awareness and physical symptoms that it was a scorpion. Something felt so interconnected to my days leading up to the sting, that it too helped me to breathe deeply and remain fully present with the pain.

As my travels continued, the symptoms began to soften. My mouth wasn’t as numb and the sting wasn’t as piercing. I still hurt, but not nearly as much. I drank water, ate veggies and fell into a deep state of relaxation. I felt my body healing even while up in the air sitting on an airplane.

Once I arrived to my North Carolina home, I put some lavender oil on the sting and within a short period of time the symptoms went away. I woke up the next morning and I felt no sting, no swelling, just a feeling that I bruised my toe.

I then spent so much time reflecting on the healing powers of my own body. My bodies wisdom and ability to heal itself so quickly and naturally from a scorpion sting. I sensed that it was a minor sting and that I got lucky. I also believed that my clean, healthy diet helped keep the poison from fully entering my body. Although I received some, my bodies organism was to strong and healthy for the venomous scorpion. There’s so much mystery surrounding me with this. My results are miraculous.

The lesson I learned from this was never to take nature for granted. Nature speaks through mysterious vibrations and intense stings. I learned that thoughts and fears are powerful. Placing to much emphasis on being afraid can actually lead to that place of fear. Instead of focusing on the fear, focus on the peace behind it. When pain arises just feel it. Breathe with it. You’ve got to feel it to heal it.