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to get back to the core of my existence by peeling the layers of societal programming and to become the master of the mind
After Sept 11th, I suddenly had an impetuous urge to lead a life with intent. It was at this time that I discovered an important book, Don Miguel Ruiz's "The 4 Agreements." This book would change my life, giving me the courage to question my illusions of success. The first agreement in the book resonated with me the most: "To be impeccable with your words, and to use the power of your words in the direction of truth and love." I started questioning my possessions, my belief systems, and my distorted self-images. I began asking, "Why am I here?" I could almost hear an inner voice say, "To do good things." I had an epiphany: my inane life needed to change.
I began stripping off unsolicited layers and perceived successes one-by-one. I quit my job, sold my possessions, and in what would be the most difficult decision of my life, called off my wedding.
Ironically, the very night my relationship ended, I received a letter from Outward Bound South Africa, to whom I had inquired months earlier. They were asking for my help. The timing could not have been more impeccable. I volunteered my services as the Logistics Coordinator & Facilitator working with at-risk youths from the poorest neighborhoods in the country.
When my 8-month contract was over, I wanted to propel myself to higher challenges, so I ventured out into Africa, witnessed the corruption and suffering throughout the continent and ended up in the village of Cape Maclear, Malawi, for 9 mo. managing the only locally-owned backpackers hostel, volunteered at an Aids orphanage down the dirt road and became a Dive Master.
After two and half years in Africa I bought a one-way ticket to the next continent, South America. I would relearn how to sit, appreciate, reflect, listen, and serve. I would take time to observe and enjoy simply being present. It would be the start of an unexpected journey for spiritual truth. It began with a 10-day Vipassana meditation retreat in Brazil. From 4:30 a.m. until 9 p.m. each day, I sat in firm determination, practicing noble silence and refraining from speaking, reading and writing. Challenged to go deep by using the techniques taught, helped me work towards mastering my mind in order to focus, observe, be present and control habitual reactions such as impatience and intolerance.
Afterwards, life took on a whole new meaning. I was now committed to meeting people, practicing kindness and generosity, and sharing stories, ideas, hopes, dreams, and fears. After 10 years abroad at University of Life, I'm now committed to helping shift minds with the evolution of the planet in mind.
Currently, I've just finished my training to teach at Waldorf High Schools, and teaching art and filmmaking, serve as a Court Appointed Advocate for abused and neglected children, volunteer with Project Homeless Connect, sit on the Board of Integrative Spirituality and do pro-bono marketing & publicity for film festivals, non-profits and movers of humanity.
I believe that everyone is responsible for everything that happens in their lives so it boils down to one's intentions when choices are to be made, with the full awareness of the possible consequences that may happen. It's all about karma. Live consciously, mindfully, share, and be kind.
Why I’m on Couchsurfing
hiking, rock climbing, traveling, dancing, music, meeting interesting people, drums, divemaster, snowboarding, camping, filmmaking, phototaking, documenting, hobie cat sailing, drawing, painting, teaching, attending festivals, discovering, learning, reading, and writing.
Music, Movies, and Books
I will be writing a book so stay tuned! But my favorite movies are: House of Flying Daggers, The Motorcycle Diaries, Napolean Dynamite, Sideways, Amelie, Life is Beautiful, The Graduate, Apocolypse Now, Godfather, the ...Qatsi trilogies, Trainspotting, Ciadad de Deus, American Beauty, Shrek, The Big Libowsky, Citizen Kane, Doctor Zhivago, Fargo, Momento, I Love the Huckabees...AMONGST MANY OTHERS!!!MUSIC: Infected Mushroom, Cesoria Evora, Jack Johnson, Sasha, Oakenfold, Elliot Smith, Bossa Nova, Miles Davis, Beck, Groove Armada, Elis Regina, Marcelo D2, Carl Cox, O'Rappa, Digweed, Cold Play, David Gray, U2, Buddha Bar, Cafe Del Mar, Just Ginger, Freshly Ground, Mana, Trance, and I love classic rock. In fact, I was part of the morning show on the #1 Classic Rock station in San Diego!
One Amazing Thing I’ve Done
Zimbabwe:Helicopter flight over Victoria Falls
Zambia: White river rafting in Zambizi river
South Africa: Hiking the Otter trail, Transkei, and Drakensberg
Kenya: Flying to the islands
Tanzania: Hopping on a yacht to ruins on the slave islands
Bolivia: Tour through Salar de Uyuni
Brazil: Chapada Diamantina tour to five beautiful spots, and witnessing, during a certain time of the year, sun rays shine through a hole in a cavern that lit up the blue lagoon inside. Magical...
Oaxaca: Petrified Waterfall at Hierve El Agua, and having the whole place to ourselves-my CouchSurfing host and me.
Bolivia: Riding a mountain bike down the Most Dangerous Road in the World from the Bolivian Andes, down the steep and bumpy La Paz-to-Coroico road.
Peru: Taking a 28 hour local bus ride from the Amazon to Cusco
Tanzania: Almost died from altitude sickness on Mt. Kili from not wanting to give up and was transformed
SO MUCH MORE TO MENTION...(SIGH)
Also, all the serendipitous meetings, chances, and moments that led me to experiences beyond tour books and websites, and having feelings of gratitude that I'll never forget...like the time I was in Juchitan, Mexico, a town run by women, where I was led by a dog, that led me to a janitor, who led me to a scientist who told me about Huicholes, shamanism and the medicine.He drew me a map on a napkin to the desert, but I didn't think I would go as it seemed to difficult. I tucked it away safely in a book, and forgot about the it, until I accidentally found myself needing to find an available seat somewhere - anywhere. And,I got one to Real de Catorce, only one hour from the desert. When I went to unpack, the map on the napkin fell out of the book! I decided it was a sign to search for Hiucholes, and found the last one in town, and had a healing ceremony. The next day, I hitched to the desert. There, I found Wirikuta, where peyote originates from. I was invited for the most important ceremony in history. Impeccable timing. I joined them for 2 days to experience a Cheyenne tribe, from Montana, pass down their indigenous wisdom and traditions back to the people of Wirikuta.
Teach, Learn, Share
I would like to learn more about the non-profit world so that I can devote my energy to projects that concentrate on children, the betterment of the community and ultimately, the world. My business background in media, marketing and mass communications has given me a strong foundation, and I believe being part of such programs has an energy, vibrancy and potential for inspiring dramatic change that will help me learn the tools to fuse non-profit ideals with for-profit practicalities. It will be challenging, as the struggle to thrive and grow at this level is very different (and more real) for me. But it is said that the more extreme the conditions a lavender plant grows in, the better the oils and scent it produces.
We are exactly the same: until we are really pushed to our limit, we never realize the full potential of our powers.
What I Can Share with Hosts
I am a photography teacher and love to inspire others!
Countries I’ve Visited
Argentina, Aruba, Austria, Bahamas, Bolivia, Botswana, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, China, Cuba, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Jordan, Kenya, Laos, Lesotho, Malawi, Mexico, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, Norway, Peru, Portugal, Spain, Swaziland, Switzerland, Tanzania, Thailand, Turkey, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Zambia, Zimbabwe
Countries I’ve Lived In
Brazil, Costa Rica, Italy, Malawi, South Africa, Turkey, United States