Posted in Alternative Lifestyle, Colombia, Colombian life, Entreprenuer, freedom, happiness, hotel, Uncategorized

The Life I Have Made in Colombia. End of 2017 Reflections

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/proclivity/

In order to be free we have to be willing to think for ourselves, learn for ourselves, and to live our lives as our real true selves. Being free is when you are able to get past others opinions, when you are able to make decisions on what is best for you based on what is happening in your personal life, and not worry about what others may think, say or do. Being free is making choices that might not conform to a standard expected by a majority of people, but following your instincts and persevering no matter how many obstacles you may encounter. This is why some people are successful and others are not. I have found that quitting is not an option for me. The strength I have obtained because of stumbling blocks in my journey is invaluable. I thought the one thing I lost when I moved to Colombia was independence, but in actuality I have gained it. As I progress on this journey, I learn more about myself and what I am capable of. I am able to do what I need to do to secure a life filled with my passion for nature and animals.

Recently I had this lovely couple visit Villa Migelita Ecolodge.

Elaine and Marshall
My friend of many years and her husband at La Ruiza, Valle del Cauca, Colombia

The gorgeous woman you see has been my friend for almost 40 years. She came to visit Villa Migelita a couple of years ago with our other sidekick from the 1980’s Janet. She wanted her husband to see what I have done after such tremendous loss(the death of my daughter) in my life. Their visit has been another turning point for me. Before they arrived I had a lot of upheaval here in Colombia. I have handled it well, but it hasn’t been easy.

Elaine’s husband Marshall was very impressed that I had started a hotel, could speak Spanish and was accomplishing so much while still learning a new language and culture. He is the kind of person who offers sound advice and has a very kind way of saying things that I found comforting, even when it was constructive criticism. I don’t often speak about the things that have gone wrong while living in a new country, because so much has been right I don’t want to dwell  on the times I have struggled. However, I haven’t really had many people say to me ‘”hey you’re doing a great job!” In fact, hardly anyone says much as I move forward each day with my growing business. I have a proclivity to self talk negatively to myself since my daughter died. I try not to, but to be honest I do. So when someone I didn’t know said he couldn’t believe what I had done here with my life and my business,  I was delighted to have someone validate the strenuous undertaking of creating a hotel in another country. He also said the entire time I should have Netflix come and do a documentary on my life.  I have been featured in Yahoo Finance and International Living, all because I reached out to them. So maybe I will start reaching out to other venues to see if they are interested.

Hummingbirds and Cali at Christmas 046
In Cali, Colombia 2017 at the Festival of Lights in December
Michele 6years ago
6 years ago when I first bought Villa Migelita Ecolodge

 

Colombia has agreed with me. I know many still judge why I left the United States after my daughter was murdered. If you are really interested go back to the beginning of my blogs and read. It was a dreadful time in my life and I just couldn’t make any progress, I felt my personal growth was gone. I made some difficult choices. That is all we can do in troublesome situations. We should be the first priority for our well-being. If we are not, then we can’t show a good example to our children, family or friends.

I keep plugging away with my business. I have had a couple of people work with me, but I have been the one driving the business forward with my social media sites that publicize how Colombia really is. Me alone. I have done this, and I am not really that great with these things, but somehow I have figured out how to do more than I thought I could. I have created a following of people who never knew how wonderful and beautiful Colombia is. The days of old are gone, and Colombia is thriving. The government is really focusing on the tourism industry. So all the hard work I have done over the years I have been living here is starting to pay off. People from all over the world are discovering what a bio-diverse and gorgeous country Colombia is.

So with the lovely words of my friends husband inside my head still, I am feeling pretty good about my life in general. I have learned to deal with unpleasant situations without allowing them to affect my daily life. I know I can handle anything anyone wants to throw at me, I will catch it and throw it back. I will no longer allow others problems to change my way of thinking, I will continue to be the person I am. Yes, I am kind, I am compassionate, and I am strong. Perhaps, the only thing that has happened from my struggles here is that I am less trusting. I am losing that vital part of myself. I have found it is not in my best interest to be trusting, as I have been taken advantage of. Lessons learned and filed away for now.

So I will continue on with my love of Colombia being shown to all. If Colombia has changed it’s image from a turbulent past, so can I. I can become the best person I can be while living a life in Paradise. You see I know Misha is with me in every endeavor I undertake even the ones that are really difficult. I don’t make New Year’s resolutions, but I do make goals for myself that I try to follow, this year is to let go of fear. Ever since Misha died I have that fear thing inside of me. I am always waiting for another horrible situation to arise. I have to stop that. I have not allowed her death to stop me from creating what I have. I have to stop the negative talk and start the positive talk inside my head. I need to be proud of what I have accomplished and continue to achieve.

So with that I am going to do my  best to make Colombia a great tourist destination known around the world for nature lovers like myself. I am going to continue my journey of living in the now. I am going to be the free spirit I have always been, but I lost for a little while after my daughter’s death. I am going to try to say I am happy, because I really don’t say that much. I do say I love my life, but I have had trouble with that happiness thing. It seems elusive still, but I am working on it.Michele 2017 in water at Chipichape

 

Advertisements
Posted in Colombia, Colombian life, Perfection and Peace, Uncategorized

The Authentic Life I Have In Colombia

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/discover-challenges/radical-authenticity/

I moved to Colombia to find myself, and I did. I felt stuck in circumstances that were harmful to me at the time of my decision to move. We always have choices. I had an ex-husband stalking my every move, and fallout from a bitter divorce. Then I realized I didn’t need to live the way I was living. I could find a better way. So I did. You can too. No need to allow anyone or anything to control your life choices. End of story. I am proof that another way to live is possible and just around the corner if you keep your options open.

What I thought about when I wasn’t searching for an answer to my life situation was unpleasant. I was wracked with anxiety about the future. My healthcare, my home which was being foreclosed on because of vengeful ex, my animals, my life in general. I needed to find a way to survive the madness of a time in my life that was my worst nightmare. With my decision to move to a new country came a freedom I doubt many people have. I live authentically. I don’t care what anyone thinks of me, I don’t watch posts on Facebook as they are never the real story.  I just look outside my window as the hummingbirds fly around me for validation.

So how did I come to this place in my life? I will admit when my daughter was murdered by a drunk driver in the middle of that horrific divorce, I hit rock bottom. But still I got up and got going again, because that is who I am. I am not a person who is sedentary. I am an action person to the maximum I can be. I remember walking into my Pilates class a week after my daughter was killed while my friends and classmates looked shocked to see me. I had to go on. It is a choice one must make no matter your circumstance. You can choose to be sad and depressed or live your life. I decided to live. I am not happy all the time, no one can be. We have a life to live and with that life comes reality.

A life that may appear wonderful to others, can fall apart in a second! Too many people live their lives to impress others. I have learned I don’t need to do that. I live my life for myself only. I am a free spirit. I am an eagle in flight flowing through my current life with knowledge I didn’t have previously. I am a person who is alone, but yet very connected to others. I am happy to the best of my ability. No matter how many times I have erred in my life I am way ahead of those who do nothing to change their circumstances.

Even when you make mistakes during a turbulent time you can stand strong. How you react to happenings in your life is a definition of whom you are. I have discovered that being alone is often better than being around people who mean nothing to me but a night out. I love my alone time. I study Spanish, I write, I watch nature around me, I hike, I enjoy my animals, I appreciate my home and the views I see that would never have happened if I was still in the United States. If you really want change you will find a way. You will live your authentic life. I have done it. I will never say it is perfect. It is not. There is NO such thing as perfect. It is a myth. But there is such a thing as living authentically. I have found it.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Luci and Her Tree Perch

Hike with Beeja, Luci on tree perch 018Luci has a new perch. It is a tree that was accidentally cut down. From an untimely death, this tree has been given a new life. It is now next to Luci’s cage and holds hummingbird feeders and plantains to attract wild birds to its bare branches. The fatality is partly my fault because my worker did not understand my Spanish. He is new on my farm, older and probably has never left this area of Valle de Cauca. I imagine working on a farm for an American is strange but also fascinating to him. He is a very kind old gentlemen. He works quietly all day, the dogs stay near him. I often look outside and I will see Orion next to him while he is in the vegetable garden, or Bruno Mars laying sound asleep while he prunes flowers. He has a gentle spirit that the dogs relate to. I have always had trouble with my American accent while speaking Spanish, and I even wrote a funny blog about my Spanish here. However, this  latest misunderstanding caused the death of a Quava tree that was in my garden. It was a young tree, maybe 5 years old, and was producing fruit. I felt such sadness after it was cut down. I believe trees can feel, breathe, emit sounds. Anyone need only walk in the rainforest here in Colombia and listen; the sounds are symphonic, heavenly, full of spiritual resonance. It is not just birds or insects that you will hear, you will hear the air moving through branches as they sway and twitch in a chorus of their own.

I looked out from my glass enclosed bedroom, and saw my worker was taking an ax to my tree. I yelled out, but it was too late; the tree fell along with all the fruit, scattering guava everywhere. The look on his face was horror as he realized that he was cutting the wrong tree. I had asked him to cut up a banana tree that had fallen during a rainstorm, and pointed to the tree on the ground. It is unfortunate that the Guava tree was right in the path of the banana tree. How he thought my live Guava tree should be cut down from me asking him to cut up a dead banana tree I will never know. I do know that I sometimes can’t understand someone speaking Spanish to me, and it is because they speak with a slightly different accent. I am sure he had no idea what I was saying. I wish he would have asked my maid to make sure he was doing the right thing, but he didn’t and I lost a beautiful tree. I was lethargic the rest of the day, unable to concentrate due to the sick feeling in my stomach about this unnecessary loss. I would often photograph birds on this tree, eating the fruit on the ground as they fell with ripeness. Then something happened that changed the loss into a gain, the dead tree was placed in a spot next to Luci to be useful once again.

I swear I can see Luci smiling as she explores the durable stems without leaves. Hummingbirds come to the feeders, the whir of their wings now heard on my patio. The hummingbirds are all around  Villa Migelita , but now there is a new spot to sit where they come regularly to feed. The branches also hold cut plantains to attract wild birds. This is the way we feed and attract birds here in Colombia, regular feeders filled with seed never work. Birds here have many fruits to choose from, and they will only come to fruit on a tree. I am anxiously awaiting to see my first bird come feed! This tree has also brought a change in my day; I eat lunch outside with Luci and my dogs. I sit in the afternoon studying Spanish while the hummingbirds hover nearby. What a great redemption for my Guava tree; still being used to attract birds while also allowing Luci to perch up high. I look at the beautiful scene and I smile thinking that this dead Guava tree is serving a purpose after all sending positive energy into the air, attracting life just like it did before.  The branches are bare but they still reach to the sky and call nature to its side.Hike with Beeja, Luci on tree perch 019

Posted in Uncategorized

Five Years Later: I’m Not Looking Back

When all is said and done, the last five years have brought me to a place of discovery. I have learned no matter the life we are given we must strive to walk a path that sets an example for others. We must show the world we are vulnerable but strong, loving to all who surround us even when sometimes that love is not returned. We must be fierce to protect our own self-worth, if we do not than how can we expect others to respect us? We must always be kind.  Kindness  shows strength of character; character is what defines you to the world. Without character what are we? We are just another grain of sand in the vast terrain of life. We would not stand out in any way if we follow the opinions and listened to the majority instead of following our own instincts for survival. By survival I mean our own endurance of the life given to us. Of course our lives are not perfect, we struggle every single day with something. We self-talk in our minds about mistakes we have made on our journeys, but the point is this is a journey only we take  so we must make it count.

When I was going through my divorce I had much hate thrown at me, frankly it was awful. I thought life could not get much worse and then my daughter was killed. Life did get worse. All the self-pity I felt from the onslaught of nastiness and alienation, the gossip that always got back to me, meant nothing anymore. I realized that the only thing that mattered was life, and it is very short. With that I chose to walk a path that others did not agree with. I did for myself what I needed to do to heal. Frankly, many did not understand what I chose to do. I had even more innuendos and disapproval thrown at me. I knew what I was doing, and what others thought was not my concern. I and only I knew the facts that were my life. Those facts were not pretty, nor were they fair. They were a big mess and I was not going to live that way anymore. So I left that old life. I had very few who supported my decision, yet today I think all can see it was the right decision for me. The point being I am living the life meant for me, not what others thought my life should be.

When a person does something controversial, something that does not go along with the norms of societal views it is unfortunate that instead of being embraced for being different we are frowned upon.  I needed change from the negativity that surrounded me, and with that change I have found myself. So many people say “I need to find the real me.” But they never do. They search and search but come up empty. I searched and am fulfilling a dream. Will this dream be without mistakes? No of course not. I have made mistakes in the last five years, but they are my mistakes which I will learn from, gain life wisdom and hopefully correct. I will persevere with the knowledge I lived through hell and withstood it. I am in a place now of peace in my soul. I no longer need to push my opinions on others nor be confrontational with those I do not agree with. I have learned to walk away with my head held high from those who try to harm me with words and actions.

My daughter’s death was not in vain as she taught me to live life when she died. Her death gave me strength to change what was a dysfunctional existence that was not doing me nor anyone else any favors. Now I have mended past relationships through perseverance and single-minded knowledge of what I want to carry out. Instead of reacting with anger to others bad behaviors I react with patience. I do not seek their approval, I seek their respect. I show them my real self, the one hidden for so long inside of me.

So here I am five years later leading a life of accomplishment. I would never have thought while raising my children I would one day start a business in South America, that I would speak another language nor foresee I could revise the person I used to be. A person who was fearful of living because life events had broken me. Instead of sinking to the bottom of the ocean and drowning, I swam to the top and took a deep gulp of air and dog paddled until I could swim to freedom. This freedom I feel now is not without sadness, the killer of my daughter walks free, and I still grieve deeply everyday for my daughter. I will always long for the life I lived as my children grew, for those memories that are precious in my heart. I ache inside when I look at old photos of that life long gone now. I will never replace those days, but I will make new memories that will take me to the place I seek. You see life is continuous, we must keep going forward. We must accept that circumstances change and we must do our best to learn from these transitions, even when they are abominable. Today is all we have, because yesterday is gone and we cannot know our future. My future is looking bright, but I will never take it for granted. When someone learns the hard way to live life like I did, we accept bad times and we accept great times, we accept relationships that come to us and accept relationships that leave us. We accept our imperfect selves, and we live the life we have with gratitude. We follow our own path wherever it may lead us.

Hike photos 040

Please visit my Facebook page to follow my journey http://www.facebook.com/VillaMigelita

This is my website if you want to visit my Bed and Breakfast. http://www.villamigelita.com