Are You Dancing?


The “thing” isn’t coming, it’s here. Right now. In your face; like the rain that washes over me and soaks me in bliss and awe, while I listen to thunder crashing around me on the top of the mountain, barefoot.

I didn’t “get caught” in a rainforest thunderstorm, I put myself there. I saw the storm coming in over the mountain; the dark clouds noticeably moving toward me. I noticed the commotion of the birds in response to the oncoming commotion of the sky. I am called to embrace the experience, and make my way up the mountain. It starts pouring (adding boldness for lack of a more intense description), a kind of pouring I’ve only experienced in the rainforests of Costa Rica. I am instantly soaked to my core – including my phone- so I rush back to my casita and put down my phone, take off my useless slippery flip flops, and enthusiastically make my way up the mountain barefoot and euphoric. I stand at the top of the mountain side, as one of the trees, letting the rain overcome me and the thunder mesmerize. So connected and simultaneously in awe of nature – so indescribably alive.

It’s a feeling I used to only feel momentarily on crazy adventures, or at times of intense distress or rarely in quiet, serene moments. Back when I used to equate my life to something I was getting to, something I was waiting for. So much waiting. So much wasting.

I looked at the present moment as a nuisance, a means to an end, or an evil thing I had to suffer through to get to this hoped for desired future where I would get to enjoy life – I’d get to live. What’s funny, in a way that isn’t really “funny” at all, is that I was in the norm. What I was doing was not only socially acceptable – it was promoted. If people don’t subscribe to the belief that “life starts at retirement” why would they work so hard to get there? Why would we try to get the outcomes if not for being told they matter, and in fact, to believe they matter more than your enjoyment of living now. 

When my life outlook was shaken with first hand knowledge of what it looks like to not get that life that you are working for, and second hand knowledge of what it looks like to lose your life before you supposedly get there, it changed me. For the better. I cannot hold the future the same way I used to now, which means I hold the present with much more care. 

This is where my motto comes from; live now and live fierce. It’s a desperate plea I wish for everyone in this life, and it’s an internal drive I never let slip too far from my mind or heart.

Living your life merely for the future is incredibly sad to me; I cannot help but feel like it means they are giving up their life, that they will someday look back and wish they hadn’t waited. That they could have been living the whole way here. And what a dance their lives would be if they were dancing the whole way. Not sitting it out – waiting. There’s no protection or prize for the wallflower. The song will end when it does. You aren’t changing that, you’re just missing the dance.

This isn’t to say I don’t believe in planning or future goals; I just cannot justify putting your needs and wants on a longterm hold for that far off time. I believe you can live your best life while reaching for an even better version of it. Without dissatisfaction, without rejecting the present moment, without having to give up presence for productivity. 

If you aren’t dancing yet, what are you waiting for?

The answer doesn’t really matter. The issue is the waiting. If you see it, do something about it now. It’s the best decision you will ever make in your life. In fact, it is the decision that will be the start of your life. I’m not even asking you to give up the “thing” you are waiting for. All I’m asking is that you dance on your way there.

Let’s dance our hearts out until we have to take our final bow, and we’ll do so with much more grace, ease, and content. No need to grasp it or struggle, as we’ve been embracing it this whole time. I imagine having a smile as I bow to life – like the one plastered on my face when I was allowing the thunderstorm to overcome me. So genuinely alive and in awe of life. 


I’ve been reading the Yoga Sutras and have been thinking a lot about Raga – the clinging to past pleasure, and how this elicits duhkha (suffering). Raga is a huge player in the suffering most of us experience. When we cannot have something we desire – a repeated pleasure – we feel pain and discomfort. Even before it becomes a past experience, raga can play out in the moment, when we fear we will not experience it again.

In order to avoid suffering, we must let go of the attachment to previously experienced pleasure. Accepting the impermanence of feelings, moments, and experiences. Letting them be without having to be again. Letting go of those good times that gave us joy without struggle or remorse.

Not trying to recreate past pleasure or comparing our current experience to better ones we had before. Just letting things move along without grasping for pleasure or being disappointed when it fails to come.

I don’t know about you guys, but this feels like a monumental task. The possibility sounds alluring, yet I start to crumble under the weight of it.

Because I’m in paradise and have lots of time to ponder these ideas, I’ve come up with a few ways I will work on this practice. The practice of non-attachment to past pleasure, of reducing suffering due to the idea that pleasure won’t happen again, and the acceptance of impermanence.

The practice of mala beads. When I purchased my self-love mala beads three years ago I knew how to use them for meditation and setting intention. I knew about the different types of beads and the meaning associated with the stones. What I didn’t know was that the practice of mala beads also represent a practice of accepting impermanence. Of letting things go when it’s their time. Of taking it as a sign that it is no longer for you – even if your attachment to it feels strong and desperate.

I love my self-love mala beads – there haven’t been many days since I purchased them that I haven’t worn them. They have given me a sense of strength and compassion. A reminder while I forged new territory of mattering, self-love, and self compassion.

While rushing around the house getting ready for my trip, they caught on a doorknob and broke. My heart sank. I looked at the broken piece and went straight into figuring out how to fix them. Determined that I was going to put them back together so I could act as if nothing had happened. In this process I remembered someone telling me over the years about how when a mala breaks it means something. It signifies something. At first, I dismissed that memory and wanted to forget I had even heard anything to do with the breaking of mala – that all this was, was a piece of jewellery that I could fix and put back around my neck where it belonged. It sat on my counter for a few days – and on my to-do list – with my plan to fix it strong in mind. As time went on I kept thinking of what I had heard about there being a meaning behind a mala breaking.. and I finally gave into the intruding thoughts and looked into it.

Malas breaking signify that it is time to move on, that you no longer need that mala, that it’s time for a new intention, and the practice of accepting this transition and letting go is part of it. Practicing the reality of impermanence.

I’m not going to lie, after reading that I wasn’t fully convinced I should let MY mala go – I had a lot of resistance to this idea. Sure, I get it and in theory I love it and see the value – but I really didn’t want to let go of my favourite mala.

I see this as a type of raga – where I want to hold onto my past pleasure with this mala, and the resulting suffering I’m experiencing because it’s broken and I need to let it go. All the more reason to let it go.

So I’m leaning into the resistance, noticing the suffering my attachment has created, and comforting myself through the process of letting go. I did bring my self-love mala with me on my trip – but with a different intention. An intention to let it go. To mark the end of my need for a self-love mala, and not only accept it, but celebrate it.

Another way I see this practice playing out in my life is being present in the moment. 

A beautiful brightly coloured bird lands on the railing of my porch. My first thought, “Oh shit, I don’t have my phone. THIS is why you should always have your camera ready, Jeana.” And then I pondered that. My preoccupation of trying to capture the moment was robbing me of the actual moment. For a picture that would always only be a picture. A photo of a missed opportunity. Unable to soak in the real experience, and proof of raga in motion. The driving force behind this of course being that I would be trying to preserve it for the future – to prolong the pleasure of this moment into the future. A simple, yet clear example of attaching to pleasure and how it could create suffering.

So the lesson for me – not to have my camera ready – but to always have my eyes ready.

The second unique bird I saw, a day after this aha moment, was a magnificent toucan – and this time I was ready. I let go of the thoughts of getting my camera, whether I would see more creatures, and even thoughts of how I would share this with others. I let it go and returned back to the moment. I fully engaged myself with taking in the toucan’s beauty and the gratitude of getting to experience that moment.

Embracing the moment. Not grasping at it desperately or looking for ways to control the meaning it will have or deciphering whether it could happen again. Not worrying about the impermanence, simply letting it be in this moment, on that branch, just a beautiful bird that I get to watch.

I had never seen a toucan before. Funny how the universe can test you.

The present moment can be a funny thing when you’re experiencing so much joy you don’t want it to be contained to that single moment. I often feel this way while going on adventures, or riding on the motorcycle. I’m enjoying myself so much that I can’t help go to how to get more of it; I find myself dreaming up the next adventure, or thinking of more rides we could take. It’s raga that makes me want to have a commitment to make the experience a tradition while I’m in it. That having that moment isn’t enough, I want to make sure there will be more, so I can relax into it and not fret about never experiencing it again. In this I am rejecting the idea of being present, and I’m fully attaching myself to the idea of past pleasure. Of giving into that desire to hold onto the good feelings I have now by planning and dreaming of identical future experiences.

Why is it so hard to just accept and enjoy?

There is a sadness that accompanies the joy when we acknowledge that this moment is also the end of this moment. And there it is again, the suffering due to attachment. I’m going to keep practicing being in this experience without planning more experiences like it. I’m going to bring myself back into the moment at hand, than fretting over how to make it last or repeat. And if there’s sadness in the moment because I let go of those ideas, then I will feel the sadness and have it be a part of this moment – until I reach the point where I can truly detach myself from raga.

The third way I see myself practicing this crazy concept of being unattached to pleasure is in changing how I approach my interactions and relationships.

I’ve sat here, at my computer, multiple times over the last two days, trying to find words to explain what I mean by applying this non-attachment of pleasure to relationships, and yet I lack the words. I cannot fully describe what I mean or explain how I will apply it. And yet, I knew I didn’t want to take this point out. I could have easily erased the last paragraph and left it at that. But it feels powerful. An idea, that even incomplete, is significant and should be planted in all of our minds. I continued coming back to the journal entry I wrote while first thinking of this, and feeling this sense of love. I couldn’t get past it or elaborate on it, yet I feel it holds within it everything I mean.

“We love each other with whole hearts that understand personal legends and being a whole person – and yet, it’s a love that feels so deep and moving that it’s even bigger and more pure than that of desperate mending or completing. We aren’t grasping each other – we’re embracing.”

Let’s loosen our grip and embrace.


The Field

It’s been awhile since I’ve written and I’ve been feeling awfully guilty about it.

Now I’m in the Delicious Coast (aka Costa Rica) and I anticipate a lot of thoughts making it to printed words while I’m here. So for those of you who have missed reading posts, you’ll now have the opposite problem of it being too much 😛

It’s my first day here, living out my dream of escaping winter. A part of my ideal lifestyle I dreamed up last year. As I was sitting on my porch sipping delicious Costa Rican coffee this morning, looking out over the mountains – enthralled with the sights of massive trees and sounds of birds I can’t identify – I found myself feeling dread anticipating tackling work goals. Prior to this trip I had made a plan to tackle a big work project during my getaway in the sun. Something I was excited to work on and would have lots of time to dedicate to it. However, this morning, I didn’t want to even think about the pending work. I found myself judging this – how could I have all this time and not be productive? And yet, my heart was yanking me back to this desire and yearning to use this space and time to just be, to delve deeper into myself and grow my being – instead of my business.

Since making the commitment to self-love and compassion, I am switching the default response from judging to one of compassionately listening and providing. Providing for my needs and wants with an acceptance that they matter and I deserve to have them.

This played out this morning in a decision to free myself of expectation for this trip. Sure, I have a work goal and if I feel like it’s something I want to work on – I will. And if I feel like meditating all day and focusing solely on connecting more with my inner being – then I will do that. What I realized is that I want to be present to the moment – not driven by a predetermined script (even if it’s one I wrote myself). There’s no telling how I’ll feel tomorrow or next week. Perhaps I only feel repulsed by a lot of computer work because it’s my very first day in paradise. Maybe after some time to enjoy this wonderful weather and space I won’t feel so caged by the idea. I’m not making a decision to throw out my business plan; I’m making the decision to listen to what I want and need day by day, and be open to whatever this opportunity brings. To rid myself of judgment and trust.

This perspective has also changed the way I’ve been feeling about writing. It’s easy to see my lack of words as a bad thing because I know writing is good for me. When I write, it feeds my soul. But it got me thinking. Does the pure absence of doing something beneficial automatically make it bad? Does the fact that when I write I enjoy it, automatically mean when I don’t write it is necessarily a bad thing? I used to think so.. but now I’m not so sure.

Knowing what is beneficial to my wellbeing has helped me immensely when it comes to making sure I am taking care of myself and is extremely helpful when I’m feeling unwell and figuring out how to get back on track. However, when I’m feeling well and doing lots to feed my soul, mind, and body – what is the purpose of creating negativity just because I’m not doing EVERYTHING I know to be “good”? And by judging myself and loading a guilt trip on this activity, I’m not only practicing anti-wellness, I’m also robbing the association of joy I had with that activity.

It’s the whole black and white game playing out in a different arena. Are these activities necessarily good or bad? Does our behaviour have to be one or the other?  Can I love to plan and also despise having a plan? We all know any activity can be used in a healthy way or an unhealthy way, depending on the reason you are doing it. Does this not prove in itself that nothing is purely good or bad? That we aren’t doing something right or wrong – we are just doing.

Embracing the glorious grey – or perhaps, not even naming a colour at all. What difference would this make to how you view yourself? How would your self talk change if it didn’t contain the words good and bad? How would your compassion grow for others and yourself if things and behaviours could be instead of being judged?

What about your feelings? If feelings can just be feelings. If all feelings are okay. Not bad or good. They just are. How many different (supposedly opposing) feelings would come up if there wasn’t a label to limit them? What would you allow yourself to feel and lean into if it didn’t have to mean anything?

“Out beyond the ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.”          Rumi