Ecuador, My Life In The Jungles- The Sequel 1

This day brings into remembrance of my time in Ecuador. I wrote about my first leg of the trip on Kiss From The World but of course, time and perspective holds even more colorful stories.

As I lay in bed trying to go back to sleep because it’s 7am on a Saturday, I suddenly saw myself on a truck riding to the jungles of Tena. My mind replayed my trip in vivid details as if to remind me of all the adventures I’ve had in my life. For some reason, people accuse me of my inexperience and youth because I look young….but if they heard what I’ve been through. But it’s really none of their business.

So here goes.

Backpacking solo as a women.

  1. Do research, but don’t RESEARCH TOO much. Don’t ask too much of other peoples’ opinions. It was my first time backpacking in a “3rd world country”. My last backpacking trip before Ecuador was Australia. I asked a few Asian women and was filled with more fear than excitement. My boyfriend at the time gave me pepper spray and told me to hold onto it at all times. My experience was contrary to those opinions…I met the kindest, most welcoming people I have ever met.

A kind man offered to help me translate, my Spanish was quite broken. I finally arrived at a local hotel, it was $10 a night with 2 beds. One for me, and one for my backpack. The plastic walls separated me from the grandma who owned the hotel and was watching some drama. I could see the technicolor bouncing to my wall, as if to welcome me. My bed sheets were thin and crinkled from the 1970s and hot red florals covered my second bed. Please excuse the quality, I don’t think I had an Iphone back then.

My days in the city of Tena was a blur but after visiting my sponsored child, I roamed the streets and attempted to eat street food without getting sick. I was successful. Ecuadorian salsa is BUENO. Almost as good as Mexican salsa out here in LA. They also love animal innards, and as a Taiwanese person, I could get with that, no problemo.

I decided to visit the jungles, there was another $10 hotel over there. I asked my new buddy whether he wanted to go with me. He was hesitant as he was very American, even though Ecuadorian American…and also he had gotten robbed once at an Ecuadorian bar. Oh I meant, he got roofied and robbed, and woke up in the bushes without his Iphone or wallet. So he was pretty petrified at the thought of going with a strange Asian woman to another city hours away.

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First we were to wait in front of my hotel for a yellow taxi. We waited. 1 hour, 2 hours. Wow. Okay, we called a few times and finally taxi came.

Second, we were dropped off at a bus station where tons of people played volleyball or was it basketball, I can’t remember. Now, we were transported into a truck but we had to wait for the tour guide. Now, this was another hour or so.

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The trip took 2-3 hours, riding on dirt, rocks and rickety paths. Towards the end, we were pretty much off-roading and the sky was getting dark. We finally parked and the tour guide took out his flashlight. In these photos I think they were carrying gas into the hotel.

We walked into the jungle and I thought “that’s it, I’ve met my time of death”. (No, actually I was a lot more positive back then since I was young and inexperienced (LOL)). A huge castle jungle house appeared before my eyes.

I was in heaven.

The individual rooms were not fancy, but it was enough. Mosquitoes roamed around me as I quickly sprayed myself. The bathrooms had concrete gray walls and straw walls surrounded me in the bedroom. All I could hear was birds, bugs, snakes and whatever else was out there. I could feel my soul spreading into the jungle and saying hi to each creature. I was becoming one with the earth. 

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The one part of the jungle that had reception was on this outdoor patio on the second floor. You had to put your phone on one point of a statue.581041_10151770635875603_255176119_n

The next day, I was expecting my friend to be there but after some looking and asking, I found out he had left. YEP, I am not kidding. My new friend left the jungles early in the morning, I think he was SO scared by the whole journey that he decided to leave. 

And yes, he was a male person. And yes, I am a female. And it just so happened I was the only person staying there. So I had a whole castle to myself. SO please LORD, do not judge people based on gender.

“hey what the fuck? you left?” -me on the phone.

“yes, well my mom needed me for something, so I had to leave right away”

“oh okay, whatever. Have fun!”- me

So my friend for the next few days was the tour guide, who I was not paying because I did not want to go on a tour. However, as a friend he still showed me a few things like how to cut down cocoa.

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He had escaped from a life of American gang -hood to live in the jungles. He saw friends get shot, and the most horrific of all, children being trafficked in crates. There was nothing he could do about it because he could get gunned down right there and then. This was no Narcos, this was real life. Then we talked about Jesus and I showed him how to hear from Him directly. Jesus and gangsters all in one day.

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To be continued…..

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Overcoming The Fear of Failure

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I believe it was May 1 when God gave me the go ahead to start pursuing opportunities again. To be honest, I was hesitant. I had been in a year of waiting season, healing and restoring brokenness in my heart and allowing God to take away the lies and fears that had boggled up my being.
And the biggest breakthrough in April? My dad asked me for forgiveness for not being there for most of my life.
I needed to hear it. I needed to know that he cared.
And somehow his caring broke open a part of my heart that had been closed off for so long.
It wasn’t my fault after all that my dad neglected his responsibility to care for me.
It wasn’t my fault that my parents divorced, it wasn’t my fault that I lived my early life full of fear, desperation, depression, striving, toil. Even writing about this again causes tears to well up.
I didn’t realize this but I lived in a way where “God if I just do this right, if I just make the right decision then my life will be good. If you just tell me what to do, if you tell me what is good and bad, then I won’t screw up my life more than it is already.”
I was scared of making mistakes, I was scared that I had truly ruined my life somehow with the decisions I had made.
Perfectionism.
Pressure.
Condemnation.
Those were things I felt and lived under.
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Grace says “you are enough”, your decisions don’t affect my plan for your life. You are not under judgement anymore. You are in relationship. Trust your gut. Trust that I will never leave or forsake you.
As I venture into new territory, reclaiming the things that was barred from me, reopening lost opportunities, I am learning to trust that God is truly with me. I won’t be afraid of rejection anymore because I know that these rejections only say “something better is waiting for you”. Just this morning, my previous commercial acting agent told me they won’t be able to sign me again. I am relieved because I know God is working a whole new thing for me and I can trust a better thing is waiting for me.
“He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all–how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” Romans 8:32
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Photos by Patrick.
I took these photos a few years ago in Hollywood Hills and I knew God had put a calling on my heart to thrive in the entertainment industry. Somehow I went to auditions after auditions for 2 years and the opportunities I did get were reality and travel shows. I felt like every door was shut to me and as hard as I tried, doors were locked. 
Then I was called into a season of rest. May 1, 2017- we are finally out of the waiting room and into the big arena. Yesterday I finally got to see my neighbor’s music studio. His name is Joseph. I am reminded that Joseph had to go through the prison to go to the palace. But he never lost his dreams. 
May we carry on knowing that every dream in our heart is a dream from the maker and that we were conceived to actualize and manifest those dreams into reality. 

The Language of No

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I had a dream where I was going to Japan and then I couldn’t find my passport or was paranoid that I didn’t bring it because I had to leave my house really quickly. The trip was a planned tour so we were rushed and didn’t even have time for the bathroom. I started yelling, I need to use the bathroom! Cut scene. Next scene, there is a creepy man who is hitting on me and I’m very uncomfortable.

The language of no. Why does that relate to anything. Well, I realize whenever I dream of Japan, it usually relates to “politeness” or the culture of politeness. Japan is probably the most polite culture on earth, I remember feeling a bit suffocated. I loved the people, I love the cute things, but I was NOT big on “don’t talk on the subway”. NOT big on polite culture. I’m not big on it because I used to live “polite culture”.

I lived “fake smile” culture…again especially at church. For some reason, no one seemed to notice that I was actually very depressed. No one knew the turmoil I was actually facing at home.

And then when I actually decided to say no to the elders of the church I was excommunicated with “you should be a better leader”. 

Sometimes we need drastic overstepping of boundaries to learn that we need to set boundaries.

Sometimes that means a really creepy guy breathing in your face and saying your pretty and you slapping the shit out of him, sometimes it’s your mother guilt tripping you to the point you explode, sometimes it’s your boss abusing his power so that you lose it and quit your job. 

Here’s a real story:

I was on an airplane flying home from Europe or Asia, there was a man on my left and within the first hour I knew there was a problem. ARM REST PROBLEM. 

He kept shifting his arm and ebbing mine out. So I had to push his. This probably went on for….well 11 hours. I’m not kidding. Okay yah I slept and all but this went on for a long time. During the 11 hours, he (and I) were so PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE that he decided to drink his way home. He probably ordered over a hundred dollar or more of alcoholic drinks and shots.

He got sloppy drunk, it was gross. His face was red and as he was talking to his friend on his left, he started spitting everywhere, just saliva all over the seat, in the air, in my face, everywhere. 

In my NOT knowing how to just ask for what I needed, I withstood this. I thought “okay I am learning perseverance, I am learning longsuffering”. 

It finally got SO explosively bad that he yelled “WHICH SIDE OF THE ARM REST DO YOU WANT?” and I started saying shit I don’t even remember.

The flight attendant came quickly and asked what was going on. I explained and she said “do you want to move?” YES I EXCLAIMED. The guy was still asking “just tell me which side you want and we can work this out”. No.

NO.

No. No. No. No. I was like a dynamite ready to explode. I finally moved.

And guess what? I had an empty seat next to me and a like-minded friend who I talked to for the rest of the 2 hours. I COULD HAVE HAD THAT COMFORT AND FRIENDSHIP FOR THE LAST 11 HOURS IF I HAD SPOKEN UP instead of thinking “I’m learning patience”. 

Maybe God isn’t teaching you patience, but The LANGUAGE OF NO. 

Because if we learn to confront what we don’t want, we can actually get to the other side of yes…of what we do want. Why do we negotiate with the things we don’t want in our lives? Why do we partner with it, why do we accommodate them?

If your boyfriend is really so bad, why don’t you break up with him? If you job sucks that much, why don’t you quit? If your mother keeps stepping over your boundaries, why don’t you say something?

Don’t get me wrong. You might not have a lot of friends for awhile, you might need to break up with a few associates, you might be lonely for awhile, you may have moments where you doubt why you said no to that opportunity and why everyone seems to be thriving and you are still waiting for the right type of opportunity.

This is just part of knowing and growing in your worth. Same goes with dating. You don’t just date anyone you see on the street right? Why go to bed with every opportunity that has a $ sign on it? Know your worth and you will attract the right level of genius, love, hope, people peace and opportunity into your life. 

But first, you must learn to say NO to the wrong things that does not resonate with you.

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Embracing “Badness” In Ourselves

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(photo from the internet)

I had a dream last night. I was in a competition but the leader expected perfection, I was having an argument with my mom and yelled “SHIT”…the leader immediately canceled me (or outed my from the competition. I was eliminated completely. The leader in the dream used to be a leader in a christian group I was in.

I was so angry when I got outed. I couldn’t believe that just by being authentic I was outed. Then in my car outside, I saw a few other members of the competition come to my car. They sat in my car and I asked “you got outed too?” Yah they replied. I started driving but reached a beautiful land where I actually had to carry my car because no cars were allowed and we had entered from a side that didn’t have a parking lot (the wilderness). 

I believe this is a prophetic dream about where I have been, the wilderness and in the beginning being outed for revealing my “badness” or imperfections especially in the church, or in my previous hidden persona of “always being the positive one”. 

Imperfection wasn’t really accepted in my household, I was the strong one, you know the rock that people leaned on…even in my group of friends…and perhaps the institutional church encouraged perfectionism even more. So when I started to say no and started to show weakness, I was outed. The thing is I have always been different, I always had differing opinions, but for some time I pretended to agree, I tried to love the unlovable, I pretended to be patient when I was a boiling pot inside. 

I woke up from the dream with a knot in my heart and a strained neck. Yes, perhaps I had been hard on myself as well…being polite, not knowing how to say no, forcing myself still to go to things I didn’t want to when in reality I needed to accept and embrace the badness….

The badness we all have:

Being judgmental, mean, harsh, bitter, angry, sad, depressed, ego-centered, selfish, sly, manipulating, lazy, lustful, indulgent, unforgiving, loveless, discouraged, unhealthy, etc.

The badness represents a part of ourselves that wants to be loved but we often hide those parts of ourselves because we have not met people who have had enough grace to love us in spite of our “badness”. I have found that God completely loves and accepts us in our most baddest self…in fact we have to acknowledge and love ourselves in our baddest self in order for grace to heal us.

Because if we continue to hide our “weaknesses”, we will actually starve from love-malnutrition. 

I remember one time I was feeling really shitty and my ex said “I thought you were the positive one?…You are supposed to be the positive one and I’m supposed to be the negative one that you encourage”. It hit me. I hated that.

I don’t want to be the positive one.

I’m tired of it. I want to be able to be the weak one. I want to cry, I want to be weak. I want to be sad. I want to be angry. I want to hate someone. I want to feel those authentic emotions because it is relieving and it is real. 

When your real emotions are pent up, you feel tension in your body. I have been experiencing late periods and now dealing with healing my low thyroid (hypothyroid). I quit caffeine 4 days ago and have also realized that I used to block out negative emotions, tiredness or spiritual weariness by drinking coffee.

I have been learning to love myself through it all. Because grace is sufficient in our weakness. Living the authentic life means being honest with yourself. Find people that can love you despite your differences. 

In our culture, we are applauded for being good at something, but when was the last time you embraced your badness?

“You don’t have to do anything”.

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Recently I have been on a journey of becoming more free.

“You don’t have to do anything”.

I have been hearing this from God. I had an epiphany. If what I do isn’t purely from desire, then what is it? Guilt? Obligation? Tradition?

And I know people will probably oppose and say there needs to be compromise in love. I don’t know anything about marriage, I’m just talking about my relationship with God. 

It really intrigues me that people often think that if you don’t go to church, you have a disconnected relationship with God. I have learned better than to argue. Even though it still bothers me, I will state my case and move on. It’s weird how I have met tons of people that religiously attend church but never have one conversation with God. But they think they are somehow better off than those heathens who have taken a hiatus from a building that is deemed clean and holy. 

“You don’t have to do anything”. 

Love is only possible if there is freedom to choose. 

“You don’t have to do anything because you are already loved and accepted by me, as you are now. You are perfect in my eyes”. 

And then it struck me, I am free. I am free. I am free. I am free to do and be who I am. 

A lot of people who grow up in authoritarian cultures, religions and institutions are taught to ask for advice, to seek counsel, to never TRUST yourself.

Wayne Dyer said ” I’ve often said, ‘When you trust in yourself, you are trusting in the wisdom that created you.’

If we are propelled forward by total acceptance and love, then we no longer live in fear. We are no longer afraid of making mistakes. We will no longer fear that we will be rejected by peers or co-workers, or friends. We will try without fearing failure. 

I suppose it could relate to relationships and friendships too.

Would you want a friend to tell you “oh I didn’t really feel like calling you, but I did. I have so much to do and I’m so busy so I’m really taking time out to listen to you”.

It’s like “no thanks”. I would rather someone do things out of desire. 

Love as desire, Love is desire.

Sometimes you might feel hesitant to hang out with certain people, perhaps because they have changed or you have…it might be because you no longer enjoy their company and its okay to say no lovingly. I’ve realized that your friends are basically mirrors of who you are in any current season in life. So whoever you hang out more with in that season has a reflection of what your needs and wants are….and those priorities may change. Those friends may also reflect the wounds you are currently healing. In a way they might be healing from the same things. 

That’s why in some seasons you are closer to some than others. Every person has a purpose in your life, in this healing journey called life and love. 

Sometimes I have events that come up and I have to ask myself “do I really feel like attending and being AROUND people right now?” 

I’ll hear myself and my heart say “no”. And that’s basically how I have learned to listen to my heart. And sometimes it’ll say yes. And sometimes I don’t know how I feel and maybe I’ll try it because I’m a free woman…and then maybe I’ll want to go home and watch netflix and that’s cool too. 

But this is part of learning to live the life you want, the life you love. 

It’s living in love, desire and not obligation…because the more you follow our bliss, the more alive you will feel, the better you will feel.

When you feel good, you are in love with yourself. And that’s a good thing. When you are in love, lovely things are attracted to you and loving things come to you. 

Instead of obligation- desire, excitement, bliss.

Instead of fear- love, freedom, light.

Helplessness Is The Best Place To BE

Helplessness is the best place to be, like an infant, a baby. 

Helpless.

Not because it makes others happy, not because it is a popular place to be…but because in that place, we no longer rely on our own strength but voluntarily ask for help, some pray…that is the only place where true miracles can occur.

When I was in my very worldly mindset, I just wanted to succeed in the world’s eyes, in the world’s way. I was already spirit filled but my mind needed to be transformed. TV shows, media, music and the world teaches us that success is material gain, fame, and status.

Another lie that we are taught is that the only way to help others is by being rich financially. 

The truth is not everyone who is financially rich give or help others.

One afternoon Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. And a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those entering the temple courts. When he saw Peter and John about to enter the temple, he asked them for money.

Peter looked directly at him, as did John. ‘Look at us!’ said Peter. So the man gave them his attention, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, ‘Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, get up and walk!’

Taking him by the right hand, Peter helped him up, and at once the man’s feet and ankles were strengthened. He sprang to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and leaping and praising God.

When all the people saw him walking and praising God, they recognized him as the man who used to sit begging at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.” Acts 3:1-9

Whether you believe in the bible or not, if you believe that there is a spiritual power, a miracle working power…you can understand this.

The man was expecting money, because he thought it was money that he needed when it was miracle working power he needed. Peter’s job was to help him understand this. He helped him up and in faith, the man was able to walk.

He was born lame, meaning he was born disabled, unable to walk. Ever since birth, he was told that he was incapable, broken, “not enough”. Maybe he was told that he’ll never amount to anything, he had no place in the world but to beg. Perhaps his parents gave up on him. 

I wonder if you have something in your life that you think….“I’ll never be enough because I was born into a poor family background. I’ll never be enough because I’m 30 and haven’t found a spouse. I’ll never be enough because I’m 80 and I haven’t done anything with my life. I’ll never be enough because I feel fat and I’ll never be thin like that celebrity on instagram. I’ll never be enough because I’ve failed in my business and can’t get out of debt the more I try. I’ll never be enough because I always find guys that ghost and disappear on me. I’ll never be enough because I don’t have any good friends and I feel utterly alone. I’ll never be enough because I’m just not good enough”.

I have good news.

First off, you are not alone. Every insecurity you can think of, I’ve thought of too. When I couldn’t pay rent, I’ve thought “how come everyone seems to have a perfect life, I’m here struggling. I know I have talents but how come those doors won’t open as hard as I try?”. But what God really wanted me to learn was utter TRUST in Him and through my journey of hardships I’ve learned my true identity as beloved, never basing my identity on achievement and accomplishments, but on my relationship with the one who never fails or leaves me.

Second, the only way up is through surrender. When you try to control something, it is unresolved. When you let go, it resolves. I believe that is one of the laws of the universe. Love allows, fear restricts. 

Will you believe? 

Will you let your defenses down, cry maybe, acknowledge your feelings of lack and surrender to the force that is for you and not against you? I give you permission to let it fall apart because sometimes the only way up is to let your failed attempts truly fall apart.

What did the lame man do? He paid attention to the man who could help him and he allowed Peter to help him up. He didn’t refuse help. Sometimes we are so caught up with our false independence that we won’t let others help us.

This life is meant to be lived with others. As I speak my story to people around me I am realizing that God never intended for me to become rich and famous, and then help others….He wanted me to show others that because I was helpless, God helped me and I found God’s strength in my weaknesses. 

On His path to glory, Jesus went to the cross.

Which cross are you bearing right now, know that the cross (pain) you bear now is your stepping stone to true integrity, character, identity and love in your heart. The world is quickly becoming an eye for an eye society. 

God is looking for people who will bear the cross, go the narrow path, be humbled, cling onto patience, love, and forgiveness.

Do you also notice that everyday people carried him to go begging at the gate? People allowed him to live out his insecurities instead of speaking truth into him. Be careful who you surround yourself with. Be careful who you attain advice from. Be careful who you come into agreement with and be careful what becomes routine for you. 

Sometimes we need to take risks and do something different. Sometimes people come to break our routines, surprise us with the impossible. Don’t be afraid, God knows what He is doing. You are safe.

Honoring Your Heart As An Empath

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(Picture of me. Can you tell I was a deep child full of angsty thoughts?)

It’s one of those nights I can hardly sleep again. Many thoughts and things, my mind is a dizzy array of processing labyrinth. I can’t let go, I try, I pray, I do affirmations but I realize I probably just need to write it out and perhaps that is the gift of being a writer, thinking too deeply, feeling too deeply. And as a writer, as an artist I’m gifted to be one of those empaths I read about. 

Highly sensitive. 

Which confirms my life and previous accusations of “why are you so tired all the time?”, “why can’t you handle this?”, “why are you so weak and sensitive?”, “why can’t you just move on?”, “you are too sensitive”, “why do you need so much alone time” or the anger I get from people when I tell them I need alone time.

I can’t process, I literally break down, I need alone time. 

Try being an empath and growing up with people complaining to you, dumping their problems on you (especially your caretaker/parent). I find my physical being absorbing the heaviness of peoples’ problems, my own included. I am sore, weak, days where I feel like I can’t move but I still do, I walk, I dance, I need to express those emotions. 

Other times I pray out loud, I have to verbalize those emotions. 

But then I also know that after my alone time, I need people, I need to socialize, I need to express what I have been processing. I believe there are many people in this world that suffer in the silence as an empath, me included. We often try to overlook our need for space and time to process, thinking…”why can’t we just be like them? You know, the normal people who seem happy all the time”. 

While people seem to move on happily from disappointments or traumatic events, I find myself spiraling in thoughts of “why me” or “when will this healing end?”. I had to learn to set boundaries from energy vampires. When I was coaching people one on one I realize that it really wasn’t my thing since I am unable to listen to peoples’ problems without carrying their energy. I much prefer group settings where I speak my story and encouragement without having to counsel people one on one.

I also had to learn how to set boundaries with people in my life. And even block people out. Though after I felt a bit of guilt, I realize that I had to put my heart first. It is an ongoing learning process for me. I am imperfect. But I am learning to have grace for myself.

I am glad that I have been rescued from the lie that “I should be__________”.

You don’t have to be anything. You don’t have to pretend to be like everyone else.

You don’t have to get over it- you take your time, you process your thoughts, you need alone time, you take it, you need to be with people, you do that.

Part of honoring your heart is learning to cherish what you need and to care for your soul in ways that others may not understand, and that’s okay. You might even anger or disappoint people. People may lash out at you or take it personally…just explain yourself. Communicate your needs…or not. Some people will not understand because they are only focused on their own needs, and sometimes that means letting them go. And that’s okay too.

XOXO https://www.instagram.com/rebekkalien/