When you finally decide to change your life, you’d better mean it.

Apr 15, 2015 by

“Embrace those parts of yourself that you’ve skilfully avoided until now. That’s your true adventure.”
― Gina Greenlee, Postcards and Pearls: Life Lessons from Solo Moments on the Road


mouse windowRight now, in front of me, I can see two Cinnamon Hummingbirds, a male Cherie’s Tanager (also a bird), two enormous Turkey Vultures, and the noisiest House Wren ever. We’ve also seen a Brown Basilisk (iguana), and lots of other small lizards, birds that might either be Toucans or Aracaris (they move too quickly to make a positive identification), and a White-Headed Parrot happily having his breakfast.

There are also dozens of beautiful butterflies and moths, and I am becoming very good at rescuing day-flying Green Urania moths from our enclosed porch. I’ve managed to get to a place where I can calm myself enough enough to get them to sit on my fingers so I can take them to the window. I love watching them go free.

I know what all of these things are because we have a book and a pair of binoculars and I am my father’s daughter. I also know what they are because they have a) kept a respectable distance and/or b) they are not scary.

We also now know what a 2m Bird Eating Snake looks like close up, and that the Spiny Pocket Mouse can climb up a rope bannister, leap off of tall buildings in a single bound, enjoys hammocks regardless of their occupants, and will climb a window screen to try to get out of a room (see photo above).

And don’t even get me started on the ants. In our bed.

When we decided to move to Costa Rica, one of the things we bought was a book on the wildlife. It all seemed rather foreign and wonderful from a distance, kind-of like the country itself. But when foreign becomes your day-to-day experience, things change. I’ve done it before – moving from Canada to the UK – but in many ways, that was a different sort of foreign.

When you decide to change your life, you have to mean it. You have to go all in. If you go in half-way, or go in not knowing if it’s something you really want, or if you are running away from something, then the dream can become lost when the little things seem hard.

In the UK and in Canada, a mouse in the house would simply mean buying a trap and getting on with things. Here, it meant trying to reason with my hysterical mind while wielding a dustpan and helping my husband try to chase it out of the open front door in the middle of the night. The same woman who two hours earlier was happily freeing butterflies, was nearly in tears saying, “I can’t do this.” But the thing about emigrating is that in time (hopefully) a mouse in the house will just be a mouse.

Perspective. Timing. Fatigue levels. It all adds up. Every problem is as big as you allow it to be.

We’ve chosen this life. All of it. And for every 91 degree day, there’s body surfing in the sea. For every loss of comfort, there is the most delicious avocado ever (and I do mean ever). For every Spiny Pocket Mouse, there is a Blue Morpho.

Just like being in love, changing your life requires daily decisions. And maintaining perspective.

And hopefully, eventually, I will even be okay with the ants.





Celebrating the scrambled eggs

Apr 3, 2015 by

“So, that happened.”Sas Petherick after our first retreat


IMG_0239Yesterday on a Spreecast chat with two gorgeous women, I described my mental state as ‘scrambled eggs.’ I’m up, I’m down. I have moments of total clarity about what we want to do, closely followed by moments of whatthehellarewedoing!? I’m distracted by my need to take in the incredible thriving, fragrant, bustling ecosystem I am currently smack-dab in the middle of, my need to be getting on with The Move, the need to do yoga, make money, do the laundry, and, and, and, oh, and rest.

Yes, rest is the thing I am supposed to be doing right now. That was the plan.

The two beautiful women shook their heads and reminded me of The Huge Thing we have just done. That was really helpful, because in some ways, I had forgotten. I have moved on to the next thing.

In fact, every day, in every way, we are all doing Huge Things. For some it is huge to just get out of bed. For others it is dealing with illness, dealing with overwhelm, dealing with comparison, with guilt, with parenting, with ageing, with loving or hating or moving or changing or staying or lying or telling the truth or just choosing love over and over and over again, no matter how hard it gets.

I firmly believe that there is no sliding scale of bigness on the stuff we do. It’s all huge, and it is all relative. This being human thing is hard work, no matter where you are and what you do. And we hardly ever pause long enough to see that. There are no mini dance parties to celebrate our victory, or champagne corks popped on a seemingly ordinary Thursday afternoon. We save the special bottle for a more special occasion. We don’t celebrate because we are too busy moving on to the next thing.

So after the conversation was over, I got really quiet and looked out at the jungle. And took my first really deep breath.

So that happened.

We did that.

And we’re doing this.

It’s all good, and my eggs feel a lot less scrambled – maybe closer to poached.







Do you want to be part of a warm and open-hearted community of women, gathered around a virtual hearth fire? Would you like to join those women for discussion about spirituality, questions, self-care and magic?

Do you crave open, honest conversation about spirituality?

Then we would love it if you would join Sas Petherick and I for Heart and Hearth.


When your sunlit side requires a sports bra.

Apr 1, 2015 by

Yet we always envy others, comparing our shadows to their sunlit sides. – Margaret George


costa rica swingSunlit side?

Honest truth?

Downplay the awesome?

Uplevel the humour?

How does one ‘play’ writing about a total and complete life changing move to a hot country?

Eventually I want people to want to come and visit and I don’t want my Mom to worry. I would like to make some sort of living out of my writing, but I don’t want to put anyone off by either saying that a) everything’s all hammocks and margaritas (annoying to some) or b) I have to hold onto my boobs in the car because the roads are so bumpy, and we spent the third night creating ant traps out of tuna cans so that we could get a good night’s sleep (off-putting to most and definitely not a selling point).

Do I write about the trials and tribulations or the beaches and the adventures? I don’t want you to stop reading because you are bored of our move.  There are many blogs that I have stopped reading because I was bored of how bloody sunny it was in their world.  Readers, I think, can tell if you are trying to make money by being something. Nobody can sustain that kind of positivity and light dancing on sparkling unicorn horns all of the time.

Our decision to spend six and a half months here before making the official decision to move completely means that we have rented a place in the middle of the jungle. It’s just the two of us, and I brought books. Like, Brene Brown, Clarissa Pinkola Estes, David Abram books. The whole situation is one that will facilitate either deep soul work or serious navel gazing – or both.

It’s interesting to realise that even on one of the greatest adventures of my life, I am aware of what other people think. My audience. You. I am editing for content even as I move through my days – wondering what would make a good blog post. That’s no way to create a life.

So for you, dear reader, a commitment. I’m going to write a lot about this adventure. It will definitely not be all sunshine, but I will add neither shade nor glitter simply to make things more palatable for anyone. What you see will be what’s going on. All of it. I am releasing us both from my anxiety and giving you the whole story: sunshine, rain, ants, uncertainty, joy, reflection, spirituality, soul-work, unfortunate naval-gazing, and the occasional sports bra.

But it will all be the truth.

Pura Vida.





Do you want to be part of a warm and open-hearted community of women, gathered around a virtual hearth fire? Would you like to join those women for discussion about spirituality, questions, self-care and magic?

Do you crave open, honest conversation about spirituality?

Then we would love it if you would join Sas Petherick and I for Heart and Hearth.


What if the Virgin Mary was on your front porch? What then?

Mar 31, 2015 by

I wish I could show you, when you are lonely or in the darkness, the astonishing light of your own being. – Hafiz


virgin mary on the porchIn every workshop or retreat I have taught at, every online group I have been part of, and every gathering of women, the question of deserving has always come up.

The more I think about it, the more I think that this is the biggest block to us following our dreams.

We think we don’t deserve them.

We believe that we aren’t good enough to deserve love/ good things/ magic/ miracles because of something that happened in our past, and it’s just being proven to us by our new belief in the Law of Attraction.

Because now if bad things happen, or good things don’t happen, not only do I not deserve it because I am somehow a bad person/ unlovable, I am also to blame because I didn’t believe or attract enough. It’s a double-dose of un-deserving.

So no matter what, we suck. It’s bloody exhausting, but we keep doing it – believing in our undeservingness – and beating ourselves to an emotional pulp. So let’s do an experiment and try something else for a minute, because, as Dr. Phil would say: ‘How’s that working for ya?’

When people talk to me about us moving here, they get a funny look in their eye and they tell me how brave or how lucky or even how crazy we are. Know what? We’re not. We are scared. We are freaking out. We look at each other and question our decision every single day. But we never questioned – not once – whether or not we deserved to want this.

Why? Because I choose to no longer believe in the concept of deserving. It definitely doesn’t make things easier, but it sure makes things better.

The change happened for me when I decided to play with believing in a benevolent universe. I started asking, ‘what if?’ What if I deserve to follow my dreams just because I am here? What if I am allowed to believe in miracles just because I got born? What if I am a deeply loved, held, and a tiny piece of the divine having a human experience?

What if there was actually no such thing as not deserving? What then?

Adding ‘what if’ to any thought makes it much more playful. You aren’t committing to the thought, you are just checking it out. Your brain begins to look for answers; for proof. It doesn’t like not knowing something. And as you let yourself play with what ifs, the world opens up and the what ifs get deeper, richer, and more powerful – until you find yourself asking, ‘what if we were to totally change our lives. What then?’

So what if the universe/ the divine/ Gaia/ God/ spirit/ or even the Virgin Mary was actually present in your life all of the time as a loving presence? What would you do differently? What if you and Mary had a standing date for tea and all she ever wanted to do was talk about how beloved you are; not because of something you did or didn’t do, and regardless of what was going on in your life. Would you look at her and tell her all of the ways it wasn’t true? Or would you believe her because – well – she’s the Virgin Mary? What if, just for a moment at a time, you played with believing that it was true?

So I’ll ask you again:

What if there was no such thing as not deserving? What then?






Do you want to be part of a warm and open-hearted community of women, gathered around a virtual hearth fire? Would you like to join those women for discussion about spirituality, questions, self-care and magic?

Do you crave open, honest conversation about spirituality?

Then we would love it if you would join Sas Petherick and I for Heart and Hearth.


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New rule: when you see a pile of poo in the house, find out who did it.

Mar 30, 2015 by

be easy. take your time. you are coming home to yourself. – nayyirah waheed


showerWe have spent the last hour flipping between trying to find the ant colony in our bedroom wall and ‘encouraging’ a 7″ Wandering Gecko to go back outside. When I say we, I mostly mean not me. My assistance in the matter involved finding splattered poo on the floor, calling my husband to discuss what it was, seeing the gecko, screeching, and leaping back about five feet, scaring my husband so much that there was nearly more poo on the kitchen floor.

So far, so good.

When people talk about Costa Rica, they usually warn you about the roads or tell you how nice the people are. In the five days we’ve been here we’ve discovered that both of those things are true. What people don’t tell you is that you are now a very small part of a very large ecosystem. I came for the whales and the blue morpho butterflies, but my quality time is being spent with the birds and the bugs and the amphibians.

My husband – The Brit – keeps asking me if I am okay. The third question (after two about the screech and the pile of poo) he asked after he encouraged the gecko out was whether it had put me off of Costa Rica.

The thing about emigrating is that you have to re-learn everything. There is no more old normal. You enter this weird grey area between tourist and local that never entirely goes away, no matter how long you are there. When I moved to England for the first time, I at least spoke the language and had the right clothes. Here it is like stepping into a movie – with bugs – or a strange vacation that never ends. The learning curve is going to be pretty steep.

And so we are adjusting to our new normal. Our first new rule was always check under the toilet seat before you sit down. Other things we have learned already include: don’t leave a light on unless you want ‘company’, coffee tastes best when you are on the deck watching the rainforest come to life in the morning, the locals are as nice as people say they are, buy earplugs, and if you see a pile of poo – try to figure out who made it.

Eventually maybe meeting the neighbours will be so normal it won’t be accompanied my my screeching.