It’s against my religion to voluntarily travel to cold weather. I don’t carry winter clothes (except for 1 emergency jacket), to keep my luggage light. Yet here I am, in northern California in December wearing 4 layers of clothes, socks and shoes with my hands cold all the time… and loving it! Catching up with family and friends, having my winter clothes and the holidays celebrations more than make up for the cold weather. It’s surreal to be in my old surroundings yet I feel different. My old life pretty much disappeared; no Keesha, Zuzu or Semsem, no Halanda Studio, no “Mezza and Tapas” (my radio show), no car… it’s as if it was all a figment of my imagination. If it wasn’t for Shawn, the house, friends and pictures, I could easily pretend it was a dream. Yet I have no regrets, longings or any remorse. I lived and loved to the fullest, poured my heart and soul into what made me happy, and continue to do so. In 2016, I felt a lot of pain from my attachment to how things should and shouldn’t be. In the meantime, I learnt to surrender to the seasons of life and I feel peace. When I look back, I’m filled with gratitude, joy and awe at how my life transpired. When I look forward, I feel excitement and anticipation for all the magic that has yet to unfold. I appreciate the present moment, cold hands, 4 layers of clothes and all, for the love and warmth of family and friends! May life continue to unfold in wonderful ways for all of us! Merry Cosmos and Happy No Fear!
“In the desert, you can forget your swimsuit. ‘Cause there ain’t no one there to give you no pain”: My version of “Horse with No Name”! Just as there are 50 words for snow in the Eskimo language, I’m sure there are at least that number of different kinds of sand in the desert. They ALL feel great on the bare feet (except when it’s too hot :-). I’ve done a LOT of hiking in my life. If my feet had an odometer, it would have rolled over a few times. Never before barefoot the whole trip. LOVED IT! It was like getting a 5 hours deep foot massage. We typically think of deserts as dead places: far from the truth. Not only are there reptiles, rodents, birds and sometimes humans, but also the sand dunes are very alive and ever changing. Lagoons appear and disappear and the clouds! It’s a beautiful live painting drawn by Mother Nature. It’s summer in Brazil with temperatures from 27°C to 35°C (80-95°F). I thought we were going to chill by a lagoon till after 3pm when the temperature cools down before hiking. Nope! Hiked from 11am to 3pm in the desert sun. “How do you find your way around?”, I asked the guide who was leading me from Lagoa Azul to Lagoa Bonita in Lençóis Maranhenses, “It’s hard to explain”, he said. “There are many signs if you know how to read them, including the direction of the wind”. There was, indeed, a constant tail wind from the ocean, 35km away, that kept us cool. With a hat, sunshades, the occasional nude bathing in the lagoons, catching fish with a stick, living in the moment and drinking lots of water, it was very enjoyable. Every time we climbed a dune, we were rewarded by beautiful scenery, the anticipation of sliding down and a lagoon on the other side. Sometimes dry, sometimes ankle deep, waist deep or chest deep. Some have fish, some have vegetation, some potable water, some not. No two lagoons are the same. I loved sliding down the hills and sinking knee deep in the sand with every step. It felt like the earth was hugging me. Made going up totally worth it! We stopped for lunch at Lagoa Bonita oasis, more hiking and swimming, sunset watching then back to town, Barrereinhas, after dark. It rains for 2 months a year in this area of northern Brazil, March and April. The lagoons last till the next rainy season, albeit shallow. Then the rain comes to replenish them. As a natural reserve, Lençóis Maranhenses is protected from human development, except for the handful of indigenous families who have been living there for hundreds of years. They have cattle, donkeys, farm around some of the lagoons, and tourism is a big source of income for them.
Have you ever gotten dirty by choice? I don’t mean the “dirty mind” kind of dirty (even though that’s fun too). I mean the good ole wallow in the mud, slip and slide in the dirt and get your whole body smothered in earth; sand, soil, dust…etc. kind of dirty. Does the thought make you cringe? Or is it a wet dream? In any case, I encourage you to do it. Once you get over your inhibitions and stop hearing your mom’s voice in your head yelling at you, you’ll discover a whole new world of primal instincts taking over. If you can suspend judgement, stop thinking about cleaning up and start feeling the textures on your skin, you’re bound to discover new sensations and horizons you never knew existed. There’s nothing more natural than being in contact with Earth. Unfortunately for us, humans, we’ve diverged so far from our Nature that even the simple pleasure of touching Earth is considered bad and “dirty”. This sad fact, that we’ve distanced ourselves from Nature and all the beautiful healthy pleasures it can offer us, comes at a very high price. Namely, our health. Even worse, our Mother Earth’s health which is a sure step towards our demise. If we were still connected to the natural elements at the source, Earth, water, wind, fire,…etc, if we had allowed them to nourish, heal and protect us, we’d, for sure, have taken much better care of them. Instead, we got so fu¢king arrogant that we polluted, exploited, abused and poisoned the very source that gives us our life. The more “rich” we are, the more we damage nature as if it’s our enemy. Then we charge top dollar for organic food, natural spring water, mud baths, nature reserves…etc. We remove dust and soil from our bodies and living spaces, fill them with toxic chemicals and artificial poison and call it “cleaning”. The (lucky) few who still live in harmony with nature are labeled primitive/poor/old fashioned/dirty…etc. We marginalize them, steal or buy their natural resources, exploit, waste and “pave paradise to put up a parking lot”. Humanity took a seriously wrong turn when dirt became “dirty”. That is, when dirty became a bad word. Can we wake up and save ourselves? Mother Nature is generous and forgiving (to some extent). Unfortunately, because of these exact same qualities, it’s easy to slip into the dangerous slope of exploiting it. “Only when the last tree has died, the last fish been caught and the last stream poisoned, will we realize that we cannot eat money”. Let’s not wait until then.