The beginning of a love story

the German in me – for the sake of this story – puts you into one of two boxes. Either you belong to those who have already picked up and answered the call or you belong to them who will. How I know this? I don’t. It’s more like a very strong feeling, because the universe tends to turn up the volume if you don’t. It asks you over and over again. Of course it won’t ask you: “Dear love, are you finally ready to find yourself?”. No that is not how it works. 

The universe certainly multiple times made it very clear to me that there is a call waiting for me to be answered. Roughly at the time when the picture was taken, I picked up, I just didn’t know yet. Steve Jobs once said: “You can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards.“. It was the conclusion to his first story at his world famous commencement speech at Stanford University in 2005. To the day I still get goose bumps when I listen to it. (Haven’t seen it yet, do it: Looking back at my life I am able to connect some dots. For now however I will spare you the stories of me not picking up.

Past weekend I visited a dear friend of mine to share a cup of coffee and a wonderful carrot cake for her birthday. When I dropped the word coincidence and indicating with my fingers quotation marks, she and her partner almost simultaneously said “There are no coincidences.”. While I tend to agree nowadays, back then I never would have. I strongly believe that what happened to me in those days back in Bolivia were no coincidences. We – my Spanish study crew from Cochabamba and I – stayed at a party hostel in the middle of La Paz. It was one of those hostels were you are practically forced to party. Either you are at the bar dancing and drinking or you lie in your hostel bed listening to the loud music not being able to sleep. 

One night I really didn’t feel it, however I also didn’t want to be a party pooper. I was still a man on low self esteem who had a hard time being social without alcohol, so while my travel crew hit the dance floor, I did what helped me in those moments. Getting a beer and chain smoke in the smokers area. Basically everybody smokes at those parties and it is a good way to blend in, without having to be proactively socialising. I was in luck. A very beautiful latin woman walked up to me and asked me for a cigarette. Of course I offered her one, lit it and we started a conversation. Small talk. She told me her name was Gaia from Panama – a name until then completely unknown to me. The name stuck with me. During the following days I did research on where to go a couple of weeks down the road. I stumbled across an old link which I had saved of a place called Inanitah. I used to research places that offer permaculture courses and well I was curious to see if it is still on there. I didn’t find what I intended to find but I found a workshop that was called “The Tantric way series”. Tantra? Well Inanitah you got my attention. I carefully read the description and after I read the final sentence I answered the call, I just didn’t know yet. It said:

“This workshop is facilitated by Gaia.”

My head was spinning. “Noooo, that can’t be true. Are you kidding me? Two days ago, I didn’t even know that the name Gaia existed and now this.”. During that time of my life I was so clueless and had no idea where I am supposed to be heading. Somehow I felt that this must be a sign and believe you me, I booked that workshop. I had no idea what to expect, a complete novice in spirituality, uneasy with the opposite sex and no idea what Tantra even was (My main association was sexual of course.). 

The day I arrived, I met a Swedish fellow on the boat to the island (la isla bonita de Ometepe) and it turned out we had the same path. He dressed similar to myself, but when we stepped foot on this magic land of Inanitah clearly I understood we are not in the majority here. First thought that crossed my mind? “Fuck, what did I get myself into this time?”. It was a place full of hippie looking people and us? I’d have judged my self a lonely planet backpacker then and I felt scared, I felt afraid that I won’t fit in. Not a single one of them beautiful hippies ever made me feel misplaced, except for myself. We didn’t even unpack our bags yet when Peter jumped out of his hammock, told us to put the stuff down and “Come on guys, you gotta try the water here, it comes directly down from the volcano and it just tastes delicious.”. This made me feel at ease, at least as much as possible. (They are drinking water here too…).

About an hour later dinner was ready. Of course it was not just dinner, but rather a feast that starts with a ritual. Everyone lines up in a circle surrounding the pots and pans filled with delicious food. Everyone is holding hands while the chef explains what is on offer. After introducing the food, everyone who wants can share the things she is grateful for on that day. When the last one is finished the crowd unites for a joyful “Buen provecho” while throwing the hands into the air. Let me tell you, when I experienced it for the first time I internally rolled my eyes a little and thought “Well, this is different…”. By the time I left Inanitah however, I loved it. I did not only stay for the 3 weeks of The Tantric Way Series, in total it was almost 7 weeks that I spent there – the first time. Everything but life changing won’t do this experience justice. What happened was a 3 week rollercoaster of kicking, screaming, dancing, crying, laughing, fear, facing fear, nakedness, glimpses of self love, compassion, empathy, feeling energy, self discovery, peeling the layers, deep and honest conversations, scary painful and honest transparency, kidney stones, the most wonderful Christmas, and believe you me, this was the start of a beautiful love story with myself. Thank you universe, thank you Gaia and thank you Gaia. 

Tune in. The call is waiting for you, answer it.

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