So very thankful for a restful week (last week) with dear friends in Cha D’Igreja at beautiful Casa no Caminho / Haus Am Weg (link to my previous post about this wonderful place here)!
Resting in a hammock was my vibe all week! (Obrigada dear Diane for the photo haha ;) The week before had been overly active, so last week was necessarily restful. Hopefully I’ll find the right balance this week ha!
While visiting a beach I love there, I wrote the following haiku:
Acceptance brings calm
Merging back into what is…
Calm and endless sea
—- The message for me is that tranquility is always within our reach, for it is our true nature.
Here are some of the pictures from the week that inspired the haiku directly, and indirectly haha:
(The visit also included a stop at the dam near there to see how much water had accumulated from the rains this year—an amazing amount! :)! Normally what now looks like a lake is bone dry! This is very good for our island.)
Though the haiku shares my key takeaway from the week, I was reminded of my own need to take time away sometimes to rest the body-form and reconnect with myself as Self haha The costume of personhood can be exhausting, but that which we truly are is changeless, formless, and tireless. May we know ourselves to be that and live as that.
When you are not thinking of what’s next or what’s passed, who are you? :)
It often happens during my sunrise walks that some moment of clarity shines through. So, in what might become the first in a “sunrise series” of posts, there is inspiration to share a bit of that reflection.
When we are feeling anxiety, stress, or even confusion, this is generally a sign that we are living too much in the future.
Future living means that we are trying to decide long term plans, or worrying about what might possibly change or disrupt those plans. We may be confused about what to do when considering the long term ramifications of certain decisions.
The truth is we don’t know what is going to happen! So all of this stress and anxiety is built upon our imagination alone.
Peace is presence. And presence is what you truly are. It is the infinite space between your last thought and your next thought…vast and endless quiet that is peace itself.
Without thoughts, worries and stress have no anchor, and no place to land.
Whenever anxious feelings threaten to overwhelm you, that is your cue to dispassionately observe your thoughts and remain as that observer.
Things are never as urgent as we think, so release yourself from that urgency and do only what you need to do in this moment. Trust in the power governing the entire universe.
Photo from morning walk to Sinagoga from Ponta do Sol (6:56am) here in Santo Antão
As I near the end of the third season of my podcast, “Live Free with Selena Sage,” (available here) there is a feeling of amazement that one idea has become almost 150 episodes!
But before launching into thoughts, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to you and others around the world who have pressed play thousands of times and continued to support my little podcast! Your kind messages, excellent questions, and positive vibrations have served as wonderful encouragement for me to continue to press record ;) I also have tremendous gratitude for everyone who recommended that I host a podcast! All of those shared ideas were seeds that, once watered, became the podcast. Thank you!
As I think back on all of the seasons, it is even hard for me to wrap my mind around the fact that I’ve created so many episodes in one year! Wow! Haha Though I have a lot of opinions about a lot of things (haha), I did not think I had so much to say about nothing haha!
Understanding our true state as actually being no-thing is simple enough to recognize from experience, but harder to believe and live this truth.
It is for that reason, I think, that the podcast became a mixture of spiritual pointings from great masters and practical advice to live a more peaceful life. Once our lives feel more peaceful and balanced, the leap to ultimate freedom does not seem so great.
As a counter-point, the leap from a chaotic state of mind to no-mind might seem impossible! But in fact, if we come to recognize that this chaos was created by the mind to anchor us in this human experience, automatically distracting us from our true nature as no-mind, it becomes easier to unravel.
For me, the podcast has been an experience in the art of saying something when there is really nothing to say! haha All of the great masters advise keeping quiet about these great truths, and I believe it is because a lack of perfect understanding and embodiment can cause confusion in one’s self and others.
While I make no claim to perfection, and freely voice my own growth on the podcast, it is my hope that the messages on the podcast inspire rather than confuse, and delight rather than depress :)
“Live Free with Selena Sage” was born out of exhaustion from the negativity that seems to be present in every media outlet; and hope that sharing messages from masters might inspire others during a time that has felt (to many) more uncertain than ever.
Recording these talks continues to inspire me to read great spiritual texts and wisdom from the masters to find those messages that make me do a double-take and read again and again. Those are the messages that I feel inspired to share with you, those are the messages I’m inspired to try to further illuminate.
I always tell myself that I will take a big break between seasons to focus on whatever other creative projects I have brewing, or to simply rest…it will be interesting to see if that really happens after season 3! Haha I will have to wait and see, too! Haha A few of you have recommended that I start reading bedtime stories for the “Calm” app hahaha! Maybe this is also another idea for a new season haha ;)
Thanks again for your loving-kindness and support.
Photo: Sharing a few views from a visit to Sinagoga Beach…one of my favorite places on the island! (Here in Santo Antão, Cabo Verde)
Today, I had a moment of linguistic misunderstanding at a convenience store checkout that spawned a podcast episode (listen to “Talk 45” here) and now this post haha
First I’ll say that living in a country that speaks a language other than your first/primary language is a difficult thing. Even as I’ve learned the native Cape Verdean Portuguese based-Creole, I find that my brain sometimes doesn’t switch as quickly as I might like. It’s hard to explain, but when I’m speaking Creole, if I can’t think of the word I want, my brain kind of blanks…then I search for the nearest available word I know that comes close. If none of that works, I then switch my brain back to English and re-think what I’m trying to say. I may speak the English words out loud, and then substitute another Creole word that comes to mind if they still don’t understand.
What all of that means is that it’s complicated. I’m thankful to get by successfully on most things, but sometimes I have brain blanks. Today was one of those days haha Here’s the story:
After purchasing pistachios and fruit juice, the cashier told me the total, but I only really heard the dollar part ($4.—). She spoke quietly, the store was loud, and I didn’t want to ask her to repeat herself. (Also I’d just hiked 4 miles and had 3 more to go, so I wanted to keep moving! Haha) To simplify things, I just rounded up and gave her $5 to cover any remaining change.
When she handed back my change ($0.50), she said, “Sorry I don’t have $0.05,” and I responded, “No problem, I’ll just take a mint,” which is the customary way change shortages are handled.
But she had already moved on to the other customer in line and indicated she would have to finish checking him out before she could ring me out for a mint. Then I got confused…normally a mint is handed out without anything being done with the register. So then I looked at the receipt for the first time and next to the Portuguese word for change was $4.56. I asked her how that was meant to be my change when I only gave $5 haha My brain was muddled.
By now, it may be clear to you that $4.56 was my actual total, so shehad actually givenme an extra $0.05! (Pennies are pretty much not even used here.)
I became a little embarrassed and smiled shyly under my mask, something she would not have been able to see. Anyway, she’d moved onto a new customer so I think I said, “Ah ok,” with a simple nod of my head. She gave me a nod back but before I could say more, I was basically pushed toward the door of the little shop by a customer trying to leave. So I left.
But as I walked away, I realized I had not said thank you, or apologized for my misunderstanding. I thought several times about turning around, but as I got back into my stride, it seemed like it would be much ado about nothing. Still, the situation kept replaying as I walked, and I thought of all of the things I could have done differently.
Even though this situation was no big deal (we’re talking about $0.05!), I thought about how I actually had $0.05 in my wallet and could have given that to her when I realized I owed more. Silly stuff.
Finally, I caught myself and realized I was working myself down a rabbit hole of my own making—even while walking next to the beautiful ocean!
I took a deep breath, focused my attention on simply looking at my thoughts…then I watched as they faded away (this always amazes me!), turned up my music in my headphones, and smiled at the ocean. Instantly clear of that madness, I resolved that I’d stop in the shop on my way home, talk with her to thank her, and then properly settle my account. I put it out of my mind and enjoyed the rest of my hike.
Though my podcast today touches on this, I think it’s worth saying that this is something that happens to us all sometimes. We can get caught in a meaningless cycle of negative thinking about something that doesn’t even matter, or something that is out of our control! This kind of thing can throw off our whole day and change our mood.
If this happens to you, I encourage you to watch your thoughts, shift your focus, and move into ‘gratitude mode’ (look around or within and notice what you have to be thankful for!) to disrupt that cycle!
I enjoyed my time at the beach I hiked to, but that is not where the story ends! Haha
True to my decision, I went back to the store before going home (planning to talk with the cashier and give her the $0.05)…but, of course, she wasn’t there! Haha There was a different cashier and I knew immediately that trying to explain all of that would be counterproductive, so I really and truly let it go. Instead, I noticed they’d gotten a shipment of fruit since my earlier visit, so I decided to buy kiwi, grapes, tangerines, and my favorites—green apples!
While picking out fruit (note: usually the employees at this store do this because the fruit is accessed behind the counter, but I’m a frequent customer so the employees kindly allow me to pick my own fruit), another customer started asking me questions about the grapes. I handed him a bag to look at and politely told him I didn’t work there haha Then, I directed him to the cashier who answered his question about price.
He decided to buy the grapes I’d handed him and, get this, the cashier asked I’m him if he had $0.05 as she did not, and couldn’t make proper change for him. I quickly said, “I do!” and reached into my wallet to fish out the nickel I knew was there haha
I happily donated this $0.05, feeling like I’d achieved some balance on the karmic scales haha The kind stranger I gave the money to got his change and tried to give me $0.10 to make up for my nickel, but I politely and repeatedly declined, not wanting to mess up the scales again haha! But there’s more to the story…
The total for my fruit came to $23.15, and I paid with $30.20, the closest I could get to the total. And guess what? I received my same nickel back (in addition to $7) as change!! Hahaha!
It seems clear that I was meant to keep that $0.05, so maybe I’ll have to frame it or something haha Indeed, this nickel somehow inspired three good deeds—3 separate acts of paying it forward by the cashier, me, and the other customer as he kindly attempted to overpay me back haha. It inspired a lot of reflection by me and the reminder that things rarely go according to plan and we must not let our minds take us away in those instances!
When we go with the flow of life, we let comes to come…and we let what goes to simply go (things comes, let them come…things go, let them go). In our resistance to what is, we can create a lot of unnecessary stress for ourselves.
I’m thankful for these reminders and the kindness of those attached to the chain of events today tied to the magical 5 cents! :)
Photo: Me on the beach just after taping the podcast today. Laughing at the madness, looking up with gratitude. :)
The Japanese poetry form of haiku (three line poetry with 5 syllables on the first line, 7 syllables on the second line, and 5 syllables again on the third line) has taken me over this year!
Since I randomly decided to start writing these poems this January (after my dear and beautiful sister Iris suggested I try creating different art when the energy to work on my novel edits was not coming to me — Thank you patient, kind, and lovely editor Jordan! I promise to get you those pages some day hahaha!).
That day, I bought a new notebook and went to sit on the rocks near Sinagoga beach (an area I call Pebble Beach haha). As I looked out on the ocean, I thought of the cover of my first book, “Meditative Questions,” and the quote by the famous Japanese haiku master Bashō, whose words I selected to begin and end the content of that book.
In that next instant, I wrote the first haiku I’d written since grade school and more haiku just started flowing after that. Haiku is magical in that way :)
All of that haiku writing led to my first book, “HAIKU to be free.” You can get this book *for free* by simply subscribing at zentaobooks.com! I did it this way so a coupon code and directions will be emailed to you after subscribing :)
I sat underneath a big tree in front of our town church, as it rained, to write some haiku. Half an hour later, I shared seven or eight haiku to use for school notebooks!
The beautiful design and colors, from a local artist, couldn’t be more perfect! And I hope the words will be a source of inspiration to all who read them.
Sometimes I forget how energizing and inspiring it is to take a little getaway! A change of pace and scenery, even if it’s not so far away, can be such a wonderful source of creativity!
I am so thankful to my dear friends Diane and Marcus for welcoming me to their beautiful hotel property, Haus am Weg (in Portuguese: Casa no Caminho, both meaning “House on The Way”) for the week! I encourage you to visit their website hausamweg.com to contact them and make arrangements for a bungalow and/or delicious meal when you visit us here in Santo Antão, Cabo Verde! :) You’ll be glad you did…it’s paradise on earth!
The property is located in Cha D’Igreja (mountainous), very near Cruzinha—a quaint coastal town. I stayed in one of the three lovely bungalows on the property and the calming sounds of waves coaxed me to sleep each night, supported by the delicious vegan and fresh-caught fish meals gourmet chef Diana made each day! This week was such a gift!
I enjoyed beautiful walks and hikes (pictured above with the city of Cha D’Igreja behind me), lovely times with friends, and great writing sessions both in my bungalow and on the beach! Many haiku were written haha ;)
To share this beautiful time, I was inspired to make a short video of the property, surrounding sights I enjoyed, and my dear friends. You can find it on YouTube here.
I was only an hour away from home (in Ponta do Sol—but loved that their hotel has an old boat from my city!) but it felt like I was a world away! So I’m also inspired to remind you that getaways don’t have to be far. Changing your routine and scenery is a wonderful way to reset and be present, especially during this time of high anxiety, felt around the world. Focus on the good and more good will find you. ;) Namasté.
I wish you peace, joy, and adventure! :)!
Photo above taken here in Santo Antão, Cabo Verde, up a mountain from the city of Cha D’Igreja during a hike with my dear friend (and photographer for this photo!) Diane :) Obrigada bela!
Photos below of the beautiful Haus am Weg property, and lovely view from my bungalow. Also included is a picture of boats docked at the nearby town of Cruzinha.