The truck pulled up to take me to Rancho Sol y Mar, and when the door opened, out came earthy, dreadlocked Dauna who immediately began telling me about energy crystals and her spiritual experiences at a nearby sweat lodge. My scientific sensibilities made me recoil from these statements, but after a week as her roommate at the ranch I ended up having a classic “learning from someone different than yourself” experience. We had a few heart to heart conversations and I found myself strongly appreciating her perspectives, ideas, and wisdom..
What do I need to know about you to understand who you are?
When people meet me they tend to get the impression that I’m kind of a hippie tree hugger type. Everybody expects me to play the guitar, and I don’t. I do come across as a vigilante, with the earth-preservation-environmentalist sort of isses and stuff.
And I just realized this recently, the reason I’ve been so attached to this philosophy and teachings is that I had a really hard upbringing. I mean, a lot of people do, but mine was full of trauma and drama and extreme challenges. I was personally so lacking in a relationship with my parents, both my mother and my father, that when I discovered my relationship with the earth when I was 19 and started hanging out in the mountains in Maine, I found the attachment to mother that most of us naturally have to our biological birth mother.
I managed to attach to the earth… as my mother, and I fight and defend and protect my mother like most people would their brith mother. So I’m just so vigilante and so passionate about it because I have projected my mother-love onto the earth.
I think we’d all do well to do a bit more of that, but its good for me to understand, and for those around me to understand, why I am a bit of an extremist in those ways. Now that I’m recognizing it, I can be a little bit more chill about it and more accepting of how it is in the world. I don’t need to take it personally when there’s trash on the beach, I just need to pick it up and spread the word.
My goal right now is to heal my body and my spirit. I was struggling really bad with Lyme disease, and… I had a really great life going, but my health showed me that it was time to step away from my life and go find a new perspective. That’s what has led me to Mexico and to this place.
My philosophy is that our only goal in life needs to be to choose to love. We cannot control what happens in life, we can only control how we respond to it.
On Rancho Sol y Mar
The experience of being in Mexico is for me about seeing the contrast of lifestyles. To come here and see the way people live compared to the way people live back home -which for me is New England- calls into question so many of the things that we think are static.
So many of the ‘musts’ and the ‘shoulds’ and the ‘this is the way it is’…. well, its not that way in Mexico. Our belief systems about how society works and how human nature is… you realize that a lot of that is flexible and malleable.
This frees us up to a lot more possiblity of how we want to live and who we want to be. So, as far as a sense of place, examining a place that is quite different from where I came from is allowing me to see where I came from very differently and is allowing me to see this journey on this earth as a lot more full of options.
On being American
I don’t have a consistently positive relationship with being a person from the United States. I am a person who is lacking pride: I don’t believe in nationalism, I don’t believe in patriotism, I don’t believe in boundaries. I paint maps all the time that are of the land and the water with no country lines marked, because we’re all one species. I would like to get rid of all the national boundaries on our planet.
But you know, being an American, I expected to feel a bit more shy or weirdly ashamed of coming form the U.S. but I’m finding that people are really welcoming to folks from the United States here; they’re much more focused on the positive qualities of people form the United States.
What’s one amazing experience you’ve had?
When I was 20 years old, I was in the desert of New Mexico and we were lost. A crazy dust storm and tornado hail storm came out of nowhere and we were in the middle of nowhere and almost out of gas. We had very little food and no water, and we decided to give it all up and jump out of the car and meld into the elements. We were out there in the storm totally exposed, getting whipped, integrated in the elements, and suddenly it cleared. We piled onto the hood of the car and looked at the stars.
That night I found in my heart or in the universe… that gratitude becomes the reward for all painful lessons. As soon as we learn from a problem, a mistake, a challenge, a pain, we can then be grateful it happened, for the knowledge and wisdom that it brought to us. So anytime we’re looking to heal or move forward from an uncomfortable situation we just have to listen for the lesson in it. Then we’re able to welcome that into our story and it’s no longer a negative, just a painful and rewarding experience.
Anything else you want to share?
I think it’s important to remember the potential of the unforseen. That if we just go wandering, if we’re brave enough and have the courage to go out into completely unchartered, unplanned, unbeckoned situations, we can discover the greatest joys and lessons.
Make space in your life to freefall a little here and there. Let the accidents come your way, because they’re always loaded with wonder and development and expansion. Anything you try to plan out will get you just what you planned out, but when you free fall you’ll find things beyond your imagination.