Posted in Alternative Lifestyle, Awakening, Colombia, Dogo Argentino, Entreprenuer, exercise, expat life, family, farm life, friendship, happiness, life lessons, Live your best life, Uncategorized

Living Your Best Life

I recently watched a movie on Netflix that reminded me of myself and my life. A girly movie called Falling Inn Love. I haven’t fallen in love with a person, but I have fallen in love with a new country and opened a hotel. I have found that changing my lifestyle and country changed me also. I have a new outlook on how I live my life. So there were definite parallels between myself and the main character of this sweet movie. Although the woman in the movie changed her life and attitude in a short period, it has taken me 8 years. I moved to Colombia without speaking Spanish, and I had to learn to live in a new culture completely different from the United States. This movie made me think about all that has changed in my life, and how I have evolved into the person I am now.

For most of my adult life, I lived and worked with the perception in my head that I was doing what I did to achieve not personal freedom and happiness but to achieve a certain lifestyle I thought was necessary to live a good life. As every human being knows our intentions sometimes take a different turn and we find ourselves in situations that are beyond our control. We find ourselves with problems that pop up unexpectedly, usually not of our own doing. We find ourselves having to fight for what is best and we don’t think of ourselves but of changing others. As I have grown older I have found out to change others is an impossibility. We can only change ourselves. We need to live our best life and let even the most beloved people in our lives see that they must also live their best life too.

Living in the rural country of Colombia is a lifestyle change of a magnitude I never thought possible until I did it and adjusted to the lack of accessibility to ordering a pizza on a whim or running out of an item and just running across the street to the grocery or drug store. Buying everything you need in one place, not going from store to store to complete my errands as I do here in Palmira, Colombia. We have errand days here in Colombia and we have it down to a science now. The years leading up to my now complete organization were difficult. I was not able to do things by myself because I couldn’t communicate well and I was nervous about driving without being able to speak Spanish well. Now I just hop in my truck and go.

Recently my son moved to Colombia to live with me. He, fortunately, doesn’t have to go through what I went through except learning Spanish. He is enjoying complete cultural change without learning hard lessons. He came from the rat race lifestyle that many Americans live to my place of peace filled with the beauty of nature, birds, and animals. He even has a new puppy that he can nurture with love and attention. I am surprised at how fast he is understanding Spanish conversation and speaking some Spanish words! Jovenes, as he is called here in Colombia, learn quickly. We even have a volleyball net set up with all of my friends and family coming to play many afternoons a week. I watch with pleasure as I see him transform into a fun-filled person making friends quickly with all whom I cherish in my life.

Cash the new Dogo Argentino at Villa Migelita Ecolodge

There is an important lesson in this syrupy movie on Netflix that can teach all of us. Stop and take time to enjoy the life you live. Look for pleasure in the little things. Get out and go feel fresh air on your face, exercise more, meet your neighbors, open your curtains up in your house and stop living in darkness all day so you can see the television better, change your diet by actually cooking food instead of ordering from menus online, be kind, stop the political posts on Facebook because you will not change anyone’s mind and put nice moments from your day online, show people how to live their best life!

When you live your best life you live the life you deserve. It might happen quickly, or it might take 8 years as it has for me. I have found myself with a lot of difficulties, but I am the best person I can be. I am fulfilled, I still have problems because that is what life is about, learning to navigate problems and still be a good person. Show by example, stay strong, fight when you need to, and give complete authenticity with all you do. Don’t let others influence who you are. Just be the person you are, and be proud of it!

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What Animals Can Teach Us

I have long ago learned that fellow humans will let us down in life, but animals rarely do. I have been blessed with many animal friendships in my lifetime. I wish they could stay with us longer than they do. They are always beside us, loving us, adoring us, showing unwavering loyalty. Recently I have lost three of my beloved pets I brought here to Colombia with me. Colleen my collie was the first to leave me. She was getting old, showing many signs of old age when I finally made a decision to let her rest. She is so missed by all of us here at Villa Migelita. I had the comfort that her last years of living were with unlimited freedom and wide open spaces. She carried so much love in her heart, and to the end she was my loving, faithful pet. She let me know it was time to go, and I saw her leave with peace in her heart. She taught me about my truth. The truth of love that I carry inside, the love that unfolds when it is returned unconditionally. She talked to me with her eyes, which showed her soul deep inside her. She taught me to let go when it is time, she showed me with those eyes she was ready and I listened to her.Goodbye Colleen 001

My second pet to leave me was Taz whom many of you know I lost on Christmas Eve in Cali, Colombia. You can read about his loss here: Taz was still young, he was part of my heart, and I was not prepared to lose him the way I did. He was killed by a car after a woman who is evil let him out in the streets on purpose. I still think about how awful she is and if eventually karma will catch up to her and the horrible thing she did to my beloved dog. I try to think about the lesson to be learned by this situation. It has to be forgiveness. I must forgive this woman, or carry hate where there should only be my love for Taz that matters. Hate is a bitter pill to carry around inside of ourselves. So once again I am back to love, it seems that our animals teach us in so many ways about love even when it is a situation that is sudden and unexpected. Over my many years with Taz, and the enjoyment I got from his quirky personality, I learned to accept unconditionally his little mannerisms and nuances. He was a nervous dog, but super smart. He could do high-five on demand and always had his little paw up in the air if there was food to be had. He showed me that once again animals tell us all they feel with their eyes, they speak to us that way. He spoke to me the last time I saw him with those eyes as he looked at me through the window that night. That is my last memory of him, watching me walk off his eyes following me with only love radiating from them. I can only hope my animals feel the return of that unconditional love from me when I look back at them with my eyes. href=””>Taz , farm where wedding 007

My third pet I just lost was Cloudy my cat of many years. Cloudy was the first pet I got for my children along with his litter-mate Midnight who had died many years before Cloudy. Cloudy lived a long life for a cat. He was always so affectionate and loved to sit in anyone’s lap. He came with me to Colombia on the airplane and just took it in stride. When I first arrived and was renting a house before I bought Villa Migelita, Cloudy would hide in one of the rooms for the longest time. I called him the cave dwelling cat because I thought he would never come out and be part of the household again. When I moved to Villa Migelita, Cloudy got a new lease on life. He became an outdoor cat for the first time in his life. He no longer used a kitty litter and had his own little basket house outside in the laundry area. He loved it. He would sit for hours outside enjoying the sun. I have never seen a cat transform like he did. He was so happy. Cloudy taught me that no matter how old we might be, it is possible to change. He accepted the change of his living conditions with such happiness and I know his last years on this Earth were filled with love of life and surroundings. He slowly was losing weight in the last few months and started staying inside the house again and I knew he was not going to live much longer. He was in his 18th year of life and he was wanting to be with me all the time. He lay with me at my desk, and in my lap the last few months. He occasionally would bask in the sun, but stayed inside once again. I would find him in the mornings sleeping next to my dog Orion. Then he would follow me into my office to keep me company. When I recently went to the States he just gave up. I feel guilty as I know he died from missing me. It is with tears in my eyes I write this, as he was found in his little basket house outside not breathing, but looking like he just went to sleep. He left this world without me, and I am so sad about that. I am not sad about the life I gave him. His death has taught me to appreciate every second I have with my animals, especially the older ones as they can go so quickly. He taught me that when it is time to leave this Earth to do so with dignity. He taught me to cherish the moments I have with any of my animals as they can leave us without warning. Cloudy taught me about kindness and the loyalty of love that transcends and embraces us even when they are no longer with us.

Cloudy and Poco 016

So now I have acquired two new babies at Villa Migelita. I needed to smile again and laugh from the antics only pets can give to us. I adopted a baby kitten and named him Tommi and an Amazon parrot and named her Luci. They both are fun as only the young of the animal kingdom can be. I am learning that with my new additions I can embrace the memories of the past while smiling for the future. We might not have a long time with our animals while we are lucky enough to have them, but we have a long time to remember them and accept what they can teach us. My new kitten has already taught me she is quite resilient and can adapt to the dogs quite well and holds her own with all of them! Luci is showing me that she has quite the personality for such a little girl and feeding her by hand makes my day. I had actually waited to take her as I was worried about the hand feeding. Now she thinks I am her Mommy, her actual mother abandoned the nest and she was found by a neighbor. So I have two more rescues to add to my list of pets, and I look forward to more lessons in life that only animals can teach us.
Lake house and Tommi 013
Luci and dogs 013