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Quite the Contrary

I expand my possibilities by cultivating the opposite in myself. When I was young, I did not have much choice. As an adult I do, so I use my free will to be the antagonist from within. I understand that no matter how correct I think my decisions are, or how black and white a situation seems, there are always shades of grey or layers of circumstance that I may be unaware of. This requires humility beyond the four decades of lessons I have learned. A set frame of mind can be my own worst enemy. Cultivating the opposite moves my life towards the pursuit of liberation. Freedom from all lesser pursuits (that often revolve around money, food, sex, and power) can be greatly empowering. The value of seeking change and enlightenment enriches my days beyond what I have previously dreamed.


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An Ember for Tomorrow

Has anyone recently reminded you that life is supposed to be lived passionately and led by the heart? Too much practical thinking and uninspired months then years will make even the best of us sink into the depths of depression, thoughtless routine, and boredom. I was reminded of this by the entire world’s new friend Mr. Covid. No need to rehash what happened in 2020 but that year has come and gone and now it is time to change, to become excited again. Finances is not what I am talking about this month, obviously some of us will continue to live a bit more frugally during these changing realities. With more time on our hands, we must invest in ourselves and walk our own mind through the maze of our past. Fear, resentment, and anger are all emotions that will age us and tear us up internally on more than just a mental level. What in your past keeps you from your future? Is there anything you can start doing today that will lead to more happiness tomorrow? Life needs a purpose and today’s can be as simple as reaffirming old beliefs, picking up a new book, or forcing oneself to do twenty minutes of yoga, four sets of pushups, or anything new. No need to change the world, just ourselves. Lord knows the questions we ask ourselves today are the ones which will become our foundation tomorrow.


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Planting Yourself

I spend a lot of time outside. Particularly in my garden around plants and trees. Although I have no formal training I had landscaping jobs as a teen and into my twenties; in college my work study job was in the university greenhouse, growing plants for science experiments and observations. I’ve always enjoyed herbs and find the cycle of life very rewarding…even the year when I lost 4 mature coconut trees to a nasty beetle. I was emotional about that for months. Toucans and parrots of all sorts frequent the tallest of trees on my property and wake me most mornings. Once my land was a barren dirt hill that used to be cow pasture, now I am surrounded by five fruit trees, lip stick palms, and plants and flowers of all kinds. Wildlife spotting’s occur almost daily and I never knew I would become a bird watcher, professional sunrise/sunset observer, and can identify our slight change of seasons with the best of them.


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GERMINATE

Welcome back to the Quepolandia. What a breath of fresh air! In 20 years of writing for this publication I have never been edited or advised on a topic. My writing meanderings have been, some would say, all over the road. My original Health is Wealth column, followed by the current Memoirs scribbles in which you are reading now, have always been opinions, observations, and desires for our awesome jungle living, beach going, sunset watching community. However we now live in a peculiar new world that has taken everyone by surprise and YES, we have finally reached 2021. My editor and chief Mr. Dave Bolger finally interjected in my writing process and had one simple direction for me to run with this month. “Please make it positive,” was all he said. In mid-March our community, and a large part of the world, was wrung up with a collective noose which continues to cinch our realities today. It is time to reignite the best part of being human which is simply living in the gift of life which is today.


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Memoirs of a Masseur – March 2020

Alone is the place to be. Almost an extinct location now it juxtaposes the benefits and value of being present versus real time knowledge. Once, not so long ago, alone was much easier to come by. Simply by leaving our home, taking a drive, or turning off our computers we were free to have the sanctity and knowledge that being alone provides. Tech and social media has bullied “alone” away by bringing the ease of the web, and literally all forms of communication, to the palm of our hand with just a few clicks or swipes. It has infiltrated social abilities, head space, and our very humanity twisting human kind into zombie-like imprisoned souls. Take a good look around the next time you are in public domain and take notice of who is and who isn’t in the precious present. Simply finding an hour or two of freedom in each twenty-four hour day is an almost impossible task for most. When an individual habitually begins and ends their days with a device it is an addiction. The illusion and “fix” being that it is literally necessary to attempt to know what the world is doing or saying. This self-enslavement is insurmountable for the weak minded of this world. The dismal fact is that cell phones are the master and the wisdom of alone time is being drowned out of existence.


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SHARING THE LIGHT

I have a particular habit. When I decide to do anything, I tend to do it as hard as I can. There is no time for messing around for me. No doubts. I may ponder a decision for days or even weeks, but once I decide there is no going back. My attitude is, and always has been to not take a nibble, take a big bite. Looking back at some decisions I have made in the past, they seem very irrational today. At the time I believed so adamantly that I simply had no choice. I moved here to Costa Rica twenty years ago with the intention of staying, however I had never been here before. The first time I trained for a marathon I went out and jogged fifteen miles, previously my longest run was six miles. I realize that this type of behavior can have serious consequences, yet surprisingly it has worked out for me.


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Sadness, Love, Openness


I woke up and cried this morning. It really wasn’t more than my eyes watering, perhaps a tear or two escaped. When I wake I often take ten minutes to set my intentions for the day, to reflect, to simply enjoy sunrise (my favorite time of day). I open the glass slider door onto my porch, I am fortunate to live among nature, and stretch out while slowly waking to a new day. I sometimes water the garden, sometimes not; I try to let the day unravel itself, for some will be more challenging than others. Then I, like most people, turn my attention to the computer. On this particular day I went straight for YouTube and typed in “motivational speeches.” I sat down on an outdoor rocking chair and listened. That’s when my eyes teared up. The man speaking to me through the computer lectured on the power of dreaming big, of bounty in the universe, and of the power of passion. He told a tale about life and it being, in its truest sense, feeling like a dream when everything is aligned. That is what made me cry. The feeling of gratitude as strong as the sun’s rays soon to come. My witty wife walked by me thirty seconds later with a “no shit Sherlock,” referring to the last statement the voice lectured on. “If you wake up angry you affect the people around you.” I turned to her and explained that I was just crying from the happiness I have for this moment, for today, for the love in our lives. We had a big laugh and an awesome hug and I put the coffee on. I was prepping for a 5 hour massage day and had to get ready to go and spread some more love. It was great and positive morning.


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Memoirs of a Masseur – December 2019


Every day I ask people when they received their last massage. For me, it is a prerequisite question before I begin my work. I listen attentively and have come to the conclusion that very few people give back to themselves enough. For some reason guilt exists about maintaining our own bodies. There is no need to wait. No need to have a back out of whack, a tight neck, a migraine, today is the day to loosen up and get yourself a massage. Let experienced hands put you into a trance where the mind and body can heal, can change, can grow. Massage is no longer a relaxing luxury. Therapeutic massage is an effective healthcare approach—a combination of art and science that true professionals in the field have spent years combining technical and academic information along with developing subtleties of palpation and technique. My twenty years of massaging defines my life more so than just my job. Working in my chosen field you could say, has massaged me into a man that goes through life caring about the mental, physical, and spiritual direction of other humans.


Read More…


Memoirs of a Masseur – November 2019

Alone is the place to be. Almost an extinct location now it juxtaposes the benefits and value of being present versus real time knowledge. Once, not so long ago, alone was much easier to come by. Simply by leaving our home, taking a drive, or turning off our computers we were free to have the sanctity and knowledge that being alone provides. Tech and social media has bullied “alone” away by bringing the ease of the web, and literally all forms of communication, to the palm of our hand with just a few clicks or swipes. It has infiltrated social abilities, head space, and our very humanity twisting human kind into zombie-like imprisoned souls. Take a good look around the next time you are in public domain and take notice of who is and who isn’t in the precious present. Simply finding an hour or two of freedom in each twenty-four hour day is an almost impossible task for most. When an individual habitually begins and ends their days with a device it is an addiction. The illusion and “fix” being that it is literally necessary to attempt to know what the world is doing or saying. This self-enslavement is insurmountable for the weak minded of this world. The dismal fact is that cell phones are the master and the wisdom of alone time is being drowned out of existence.


Read More…


Memoirs of a Masseur – September/October 2019

The best is yet to come” is something I remind myself of every day. Our life stories never stop happening. Sometimes our actions may seem repetitive or boring yet our lives are in constant change, evolving us into who we are becoming next. Like day to night, like seasons or swell in the ocean, like our very cells time marches on and we are helpless against it. Optimism is in fact something we can adopt into our nature. A few amigos of mine who have had much misfortune and pain are some of the most pleasurable to be around, they take and hug the passing of the hours like it is a friend, not a foe. I seek out good company because somehow something transfers from them to me. The exact same feeling I project when I massage clients. Smiles are infectious, happiness can be addicting, and it is my job as a body worker to not bring my problems to the massage table (literally). That is why optimism is my middle name.


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Memoirs of a Masseur

Time is a great truth teller. The months turn into years and slowly veritable truths are revealed. How I wish that everyone grasped on to a dream and fought to achieve it, no matter how senseless it may seem. As I go through my day to day life I find it crucial to set weekly, monthly, and yearly goals…often prompted by nothing more than my heart and soul. To this day I still write my ambitions down in my journal, I reread them often and sometimes adjust them appropriately. When I find myself being unproductive and stagnant I also feel my negative habits escalate. Things that I know I should not do, that don’t help me further myself, take priority. This is always a clear signal that I may be on the wrong path. Goals vary for me as I have always broken them down into three categories: physical, financial (career), and emotional (spiritual). Once I have a clear definition of what I am shooting for the small steps turn into big strides and in most cases have materialized. Not so oddly some of my failures are my biggest lessons turned into strengths. Much of my angst and fears arise when I am not being honest with myself, when I choose to blur the truth instead of keeping with discipline and direction.


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All In The Family

Depression, feeling alone, constant fatigue, poor sleep, and heaviness within our heart and soul are human states that everyone goes through. The best counter to this type of malaise is pulling yourself up by the shoestrings and to get moving. Drinking alcohol and poor diet selections only further the descent into a black hole. Beyond the physical change the best remedy can be socializing. Although we are far removed from primates (or are we?) an alone primate is a sick or troubled one. Humans need to be among others, we have forever been tribal animals that flourish when we feel important and are part of a whole. In my younger years it never occurred to me that this aspect of day to day life was so important. Granted, I rarely lived in one location for more than a year or two, but only until I moved to Manuel Antonio was I able to feel the love of so many. Even before social media (which is a false family) the pure act of running into people in Quepos, at the gym, or on the beach was usually delightful. Holing up in an apartment or home benefits nobody. As we lose ourselves to Netflix, the comfort of over-eating, and then despair, it is important to remember help is always available. The simple act of calling a friend can heal. We must remind ourselves that when we are at our lowest, we must reach out and get involved with others to increase our energy.


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Signaling Intentions

I’ve been driving in Costa Rica since 2002, legally. My first wife at that time owned a red Hyundai Excel. It is still a popular model of the “pirate” taxis on our streets today. If you ask an older local, that car (nicknamed the Red Rocket) has legendary status. I can’t remember most of the stories but that’s not what this month’s article is about. This month we explore the mythical subject of the turning signal (which comes standard and free in every vehicle these days). Yes indeed the infamous “blinker.” That little bar conveniently engineered under the steering wheel and slightly to the left. Ah yes…you remember! You see, nobody uses that in Costa Rica except for me. I will admit I am a bit obsessed because I literally signal every time I turn left or right. If I’m doing something funky I know where the hazard lights are too. I’ve studied driving for over 30 years now. However my new attitude is to not care anymore…everything seems to be smooth without using it. Probably another useless invention. In fact, I’m going to stop using the signal all together because I want to be like the taxi drivers. It’s all about standards. Drive like the pro’s do. My research shows that as early as 1925 an invention was patented that allowed the driver to actually signal their intention to other drivers and pedestrians. To literally say, by the proper use of the directional, if the driver is turning left, right, or is making a move. Downright amazing if you ask me, but what do I know? At the time the big car manufacturers weren’t interested, and I’m not interested now, who needs it? From there the history is irrelevant, do your own google search, my point being, why should anyone ever indicate the direction they honestly intend to go to in this life. Whether it is actually on the road, in everyday life, or personally…who knows? Shit happens. I have the right to change my mind is another logical excuse. Why signal, who can even multi-task like that anymore? Life is hard enough. Certainly texting while driving has priority.


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Sadness, Love, Openness

I woke up and cried this morning. It really wasn’t more than my eyes watering, perhaps a tear or two escaped. When I wake I often take ten minutes to set my intentions for the day, to reflect, to simply enjoy sunrise (my favorite time of day). I open the glass slider door onto my porch, I am fortunate to live among nature, and stretch out while slowly waking to a new day. I sometimes water the garden, sometimes not, I try to let the day unravel itself, for some will be more challenging than others. Then I, like most people, turn my attention to the computer. On this particular day I went straight for YouTube and typed in “motivational speeches.” I sat down on an outdoor rocking chair and listened. That’s when my eyes teared up. The man speaking to me through the computer lectured on the power of dreaming big, of bounty in the universe, and of the power of passion. He told a tale about life and it being, in its truest sense, feeling like a dream when everything is aligned. That is what made me cry. The feeling of gratitude as strong as the sun’s rays soon to come. My witty wife walked by me thirty seconds later with a “no shit Sherlock,” referring to the last statement the voice lectured on. “If you wake up angry you affect the people around you.” I turned to her and explained that I was just crying from the happiness I have for this moment, for today, for the love in our lives. We had a big laugh and an awesome hug and I put the coffee on. I was prepping for a 5 hour massage day and had to get ready to go and spread some more love. It was great and positive morning.


Read More…


Memoirs of a Masseur – March 2019

Every day I ask people when they received their last massage. For me, it is a prerequisite question before I begin my work. I listen attentively and have come to the conclusion that very few people give back to themselves enough. For some reason guilt exists about maintaining our own bodies. There is no need to wait. No need to have a back out of whack, a tight neck, a migraine, today is the day to loosen up and get yourself a massage. Let experienced hands put you into a trance where the mind and body can heal, can change, can grow. Massage is no longer a relaxing luxury. Therapeutic massage is an effective healthcare approach; a combination of art and science that true professionals in the field have spent years combining technical and academic information along with developing subtleties of palpation and technique. My twenty years of massaging defines my life more so than just my job. Working in my chosen field you could say, has massaged me into a man that goes through life caring about the mental, physical, and spiritual direction of other humans.


Read More…