NicaraguaA woman is definitely a creature of the moon.
If you disagree, you haven’t spent enough time with one.
So there I was, sitting in a third story pagoda, staring at the sky.
My feathered headdress blowing in the wind, tickling my cheek. The ocean quietly pushed against a black sand beach below, lulling me into bliss.
For a second, I forgot where I was. Then the chaos of 11 women squeezing into a ceremonial circle snapped me into the present.
It was a full moon in Sagittarius tonight and I was dying to bask in its glow, set my intentions for the next cycle and absorb its life and love.
Instead, girls are giggling, spilling wine, complaining and the ritual candles keep blowing out. Jenn had planned a full moon ceremony for us in Nicaragua. And I was so excited.
If I could worship the moon, I would. But that would be silly. I can love it, respect it, commune with it. But I know that the moon is my equal.
I had landed in Nicaragua the day before with no plan and no cell service. This is by far the most unprepared trip on my part to date. I wasn’t sure where Nicaragua was or what currency they use. I also had no idea that my flight was hours after the other girls’ arrival.
A stranger informed me that Stacy, my host, had sent him to retrieve me. I was relieved to see him, after coming around to the idea of having to sleep in the airport.
Armando, my driver, then notified me that I would stay at his house for the night and he would drive me to the beach house, and the girls, the next day.
I was in awe that every house on his block had a large enclosing wall, topped with barbed wire. He also had an armed guard meet us at the gate. Little did I know, this would be the most peaceful night I enjoyed in Nicaragua.
To get to the beach house, we drove through dry farmlands, scattered with crude housing and roaming livestock. There were horses and carts everywhere, but these were not a tourist attraction. Two electric gates through acres of teak and poplar trees sat a grand white house with no address and an alluring ocean on the other side.
When we arrived the girls were drinking and chatting, scattered throughout the open downstairs.
They were beautiful. Many of them knew each other through modeling. So I immediately shrank into my goofy/intellectual self. There was no way I fit into this group, by my looks alone.
So this night we are having our full moon celebration. To release things that no longer serve us and move forward in our lives. Sharing these statements with a group of strangers fascinated me. These strong beautiful women had their struggles, their weaknesses and their heart breaks. It connected us and helped me to extend love and compassion.
From there- meaty meals that I couldn’t eat, lack of sleep from thousands of insects in my bedroom, and walking into building pressure from existing friendships, things grew intense.
Then we surfed.
There was a hotel about an hours drive from the beach house that catered to surfers and let you rent boards. It was just our group when we arrived. Everyone started drinking and settling in, and then the surfers came. Men appeared out of the water by the handfuls.
I have never seen women so open and aggressive towards men, and it intimidated the crap out of me.
I surfed, met two sweet little locals, Avi and Miguel, that would swim out with me and cheer me on.
Only 4 out of 11 went. By the time our group got back from surfing, the others were drunk and surrounded by shirtless men from all over the world. It looked like a scene from ancient Babylon, before the Old Testament. When women stood in their sexuality and were revered by all as powerful beings.
I was not comfortable joining in, so I perched at the bar and decided to connect with Stacy, my host. She invited me on this incredible trip, and we had never met. Not only is she externally tall and beautiful, her soul oozes from every pore on her body. She is transparent and alive, and in pain. She seeks to soothe her agony by mothering and caring for others. Her love and compassion are endless, and yet, I felt so much pain coming from her.
From time to time I meet people I connect with instantly and deeply. Even writing this, I miss her.
We then moved into a hotel in Granada. At this point I’m sick, not drinking and avoiding all the tension in the group.
There were fights over money, meltdowns, curses, tears, you name it.
But in this I realized just how uncomfortable I am in conflict. I can’t sit with it. I’m a fixer or a runner. I either want to solve the issue or run away from a person anytime there is complaining. And women don’t work that way.
When we are uncomfortable or sad, we just want to be heard and seen. Every woman knows the outcome and has the key to solving her own problems. She needs companionship and empathy. And in this, I failed. I secluded myself from the group or immediately offered solutions when there was discord. And I’m sorry.
Tuesday, we walked through meager houses and brightly painted concrete buildings of Granada to reach Hogar De Los Ninas, a home for girls. Nicaragua had a level of poverty that I have never been so close to, even as a traveler. These girls took refuge in the care of local nuns and either didn’t have parents or their parents could not afford them.
There was so much joy coming out of these dazzling little girls. I made a promise to myself to come back with a stronger Spanish vocabulary than “What is your favorite color?” and “Do you want to play?”.
Words were not necessary to see their personalities. Some were attention seekers, some mischievous, some shy. My tour guide through the home was Alexandra. She had a guard up and was carefully watching me. She is a tomboy that loves stars and cracking jokes. She took my hand and slowly showed me all of the things around their home that she cares about. I would’ve loved to hear her story. I just have to trust that she is safe and that she has so much love and power.
Wednesday was wonderful. I had coffee against a hot pink wall, overlooking a crystal clear pool and Spanish inspired architecture. This was my first day wandering off without a chaperone. I found myself at Pure, a new age spa and health center. After my Swedish massage I requested Reiki, an energy healing service. I had never experienced it before and had no idea what to expect.
I was sitting in a dark meditation room looking out over an atrium of tropical plants and hammocks. My meditation was simple, since I had no headphones or music. I had a voice bubble up “Your problem is not with manifesting your desires, it’s with believing you deserve it.”
Not having much time to think on that, I moved into my spa services. For Reiki, in Spanish, my caregiver asked what I wanted to focus on. I immediately said “Mi corazon.” Green is the color of my heart chakra, everyone needs to give and receive more love, right?
She had a cloth over my eyes and never touched my body. I would feel warmth on my throat, a twitch here and there, and a tightness around my navel. When I came around she looked exhausted and was speaking very quickly, so I didn’t understand her. I did catch “…amarillo, muy rapido.”. Yellow is my third chakra and my power center where I manifest and create from. My “I do”.
Strange. It linked up with the voice from my meditation. A green smoothie and a stroll through cobble stoned streets, Jenny relayed a moment she had in meditation. It was a voice that said “You cannot manifest what you feel you do not deserve.”, but she was positive the words were not for her.
It comes in threes, okay, I’m listening.
That day was filled with joy, connection, laughter and adventure. I finally fell in love with Nicaragua.
Jenny and I explored an old cathedral, with grandiose mosaics and incredible murals being painted on the ceilings.
I sat in the back row, bowed my head and prayed “I want the life I’m supposed to live, and I want to be wild.”
I wasn’t sure why I prayed the last part, so I had to really think about it.
Wild for me is not loud and outrageous. It’s solid, it’s present. It is sitting in every moment with a powerful knowing of oneself.
Not letting opinions, expectations or emotions rule you. It is true power.
Central Park of Granada held an outdoor market just outside the cathedral. The colors and movement immediately turned me on. Between haggling with an old seamstress over table cloths, flirting with a local artisan and being gifted a rosary bracelet from an elderly painter- I connected.
I wanted more.
At dinner, Jenny and I indulged a bottle of champagne each and giggled over messaging a tarot reader and boys we’ve met.
In our drunken bliss, we wanted to dance.
I didn’t give any thought to what I looked or smelled like. We sang along to Journey and salsa’ed our asses off with a group of vibrant locals and barefoot tourists. My dress and hair, heavy with sweat.
It was perfect.
Leaving seemed so sad, but I left knowing I’d be back and I would be more.