Breaking Down the Walls of RECEPTION

I just wanted to be ALONE, damn it. After three years of living my life – mostly – as a single woman, and then three months straight of living my life as a pseudo step-mother and committed girlfriend, I was so. freaking. excited. to have a little time to myself.

Because I don’t yet have a visa to live in Colombia full time, I have to spend 185 days every year outside of the country. And, in the beginning of my relationship with the Wild Man, the idea was that we’d just travel together for at least a good portion of that time. But, then Li’l Wild’s mother left the country which means the Wild Man is in full-time-dad mode. And that means that while Li’l Wild is in school in Colombia, Dad needs to be there too. So, I’m on my own. And I am not at all unhappy about it. Of course I miss them. My dog too. But I am so happy to have some time alone. At least that was the idea.

The first AirBnB I’d booked seemed a little expensive, but it had this great outdoor patio space that overlooked the city and I’d been daydreaming about spending mornings on my yoga mat out there, afternoons sitting in the sunshine in the rattan swing writing, and evenings overlooking the city with a glass of wine and a good book. When I got there, it was none of that. The space itself – my space – was not especially clean (although that’s something I’ve had to get used to here in the third world), very old with plaster chipping off the walls, poorly lit, crummy beds and bedding, a hot plate for a stove… and the beautiful patio was upstairs. In a shared space.

The lovely little yard of the second AirBnB

Hello hotel. Two nights in a decent hotel with nice beds helped my mood immensely and in that time I found another AirBnB just a couple miles away. There was a beautiful little yard in front, a balcony off the bedroom, a kitchen with an induction stove (!!), and hot water in the shower. HUZZAH! When I got there it was all of that. And more. During the “orientation tour” of the property I was informed that the owner of the property lives in the adjoining house. And there’s a property care-taker that comes every day to water the garden. And on Friday and Saturday nights they host public, open-air movies on the front lawn. After a couple hours of socializing.

Annoyed doesn’t even begin to describe my feelings about it. What in the actual F, Universe? For weeks… months, years, (more or less my whole life?) I’d been feeling like I was pouring all my resources out. Generally receiving very little. I’d just wanted to give all I had/could to MYSELF for a little while.

Thanks to a couple of intense meditations, I’d come to realize that I had a barrier to receiving: protection. In my efforts to protect myself from heartbreak I’d decided I would be totally self-sufficient. I wouldn’t ever have to depend on anyone for anything. And it worked so well. It was a lovely little garrison. I could roam around the world on my own, completely disconnected from the dangers around me. And, when I wanted to show love, I could throw resources over the wall to loved ones outside. Perfect, right? Except I’d neglected to build any way IN. And now the idea of taking down those walls to receive the love (and resources) the Universe had earmarked for me, was terrifying.

I’d been trying, over the last couple weeks, but mostly I’d just become aware of the myriad ways I re-inforce those walls. Meeting with an english-speaking woman that might be able to help me get a visa in Colombia? Yes. Go out with her and her friends drinking and dancing afterward? Hell no.

So, as it always does and in it’s perfect way, the Universe brought in a sledgehammer in the form of a pushy – albeit very kind and friendly – AirBnB owner and a handful of strangers that quite literally set up camp in my temporary front yard. I could acknowledge, the first night, that I was being invited – again, quite literally – to come out of my garrison and interact with people. The acknowledgement was as far as I got. The second night I put on a jacket and went down early. In the short time I chatted with them, the property owner and his nieces informed me they were working to bring the community together. Give people a place to enjoy the outdoors in an overstuffed and otherwise rather unsafe city. Share a little of their indigenous culture. I softened. One of the young women worked in tourism and the other was a designer. Women with whom I could totally connect. I grinned inwardly at the wisdom, power, and humor of the Universe.

Property owner and I

I didn’t stay for the movie. But I also took a brick out of my wall. A few of them, perhaps. And I didn’t reinforce the wall I’d already built: I didn’t spend the rest of the night wallowing in my self-righteous pity for the experience I’d wanted and wasn’t getting. I agreed to have a couple photos taken with the property owner. They even brought me a delicious, ancient Ecuadorian, cinnamon-and-alcohol drink – which I enjoyed in my room. One brick at a time, friends.

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