He and his troop could attack in a heartbeat—how many were hiding in this thick canopy?
I was nine degrees north of the heat-scorched equator in Costa Rica, isolated and afraid. Samson, the alpha howler monkey I encountered last week, stared down at me from a jungle branch just six feet away.
Howlers are among the largest monkeys in the Western Hemisphere and are named for their thunderous roars that are heard up to three miles away. Known to be cranky towards humans and prone to throwing poo at unwelcome guests, these weren’t the cute little “organ grinder” monkeys seen at the circus.
My water supply was depleted, I was lightheaded from dehydration and heat, and the situation was imminently perilous. I decided to focus on making it back safely to the trailhead before the sun sank further—once it set for the day, the canopy ceiling would shield all means of natural navigation. I slowed from running to slowly walking to conserve energy while panic crept up the path behind me.
The bad thing about walking at a slow pace in the jungle is you not only hear the lizards and snakes whooshing away from the trail, sometimes you can feel them beneath your soles.
My heart was a bass drum pounding louder with each step as the thought crossed my mind, What will become of me if I don’t find my way out of this jungle? Clarity arose as I connected those experiences in the wild with my experiences navigating our fast-paced, worrisome world back home. Unpredictability lurked on all sides, survival hummed beneath every little decision, time shape-shifted, and my personal direction seemed unclear.
The solution, tuning in to my animal instinct, was always there; I just hadn’t stopped running long enough to hear it.
As I write this, the jungle that is our world and its technologies is endlessly and exponentially evolving—it feels like running a race with no finish line, yet to compete, you must keep getting faster. And with the Coronavirus pandemic of 2020, the world we inhabit is not only changing fast, but it morphed into an entirely new and uncharted terrain…unrecognizable, even. Economic conditions are spiraling out of control, and we’re witnessing fear, apprehension, and death on a scale most of us have never seen. The streets are filling up with protesters alongside pedestrians, as injustice, opposing political views, and harmful bias fuel uncertainty further.
Even before the world was forced into temporary isolation, the internet’s Wild West rules, anonymity for all, constant barrage of ads, and the 24-hour emails and news cycles all provided distractions that polarized, alienated, and reshaped the ways we think and interact. There are so many inputs to filter, so much change to interpret, and so little time to react. The pace of change itself continues to multiply, feeding an addiction to our mobile devices, tablets, and screens just so we can feel like we’re keeping up or at least feeling connected.
As an executive and a Southern mom, I’ve run with and from the frenetic pace myself. During my most stressful years, I ran both literally and figuratively, completing six marathons in about 18 months while also fleeing from the confines of social judgment, toxic relationships, incurable family illnesses, a challenging job, and a political landscape to which I could no longer relate.
I fled the busyness of the city and lived for nearly three months in the Costa Rican jungle—with no convenient phone service, television, radio, or other means of connectivity. So many questions were running through my mind…
How do we find and maintain peace and happiness amidst the encircling storm of uncertainty? Is it possible to connect directly to the spirit realm without being some sort of guru? Where is that joy I had as a kid, and can it set me free from the pressures of the modern world to feel love again?
What I learned while balancing at the edge of a fast-forward civilization was that no matter how far or how fast I ran, the feeling of true freedom from burnout, stress, and anxiety was achieved most quickly by selecting “pause.” I discovered how to reconnect to that innate source of life-giving energy, that deep-seated wisdom within, and I listened to it. I found a way to identify and shed the harmful pressures we put on ourselves. And, I uncovered how to survive the burnout that comes from trying to keep pace with ever-changing technology and social uncertainty.
From deep within the Costa Rican jungle, my own intuition emerged.
And something in me felt like a carefree kid again with unbridled, authentic joy. Some call it a “still, small voice” but to me it was like reconnecting directly with the higher Spirit using my own personal speed-dial number, while at the same time, shedding my worries.
What did freedom from worry feel like? It is an endless fountain of happy-belly energy. It’s the kind of energy we feel before blowing out the candles on a birthday cake, the excitement of hanging out with that friend who makes us laugh so hard we lose track of time, and the ever-present joy of connectedness that comes naturally from within us. We have the power to create or destroy that feeling at any time, to hold close to or let go of negativity, and to believe in or break down ourselves—and others.
While uncertainty lurks in our modern world, bravery and kindness emerge in inspiring ways. Beautiful creativity and celebrations of humanity are happening through virtual dance parties, games, and dinners on Zoom; children are taking art classes and guitar lessons through online portals; and people across the globe are working and attending school from their devices. Striving to make good from tough times, we cling to patience and love—staying safely distanced, cultivating new hobbies, banging pots from balconies, and challenging old ways of thinking.
Regardless of which jungle we are in, it can be frightening, rejecting, and isolating, and, at the same time, alluring, adventurous, and fascinating.
We are each born into different geographies, traditions, and beliefs that shape our paradigms and impact our lives. Our outward appearances, our education, and our talents are all unique. We strive, discover, compete, and seek, joining with or dividing ourselves from others along the way. We look outward, taking cues from society about how we “should” look, what roles we “should” adopt, and how we “should” define success.
But what if I told you there is no difference between us? The things that outwardly divide us disappear when we look inward, because we’re all made of the exact same energy. The same energy that formed the universe, that is the source of all major world religions, and that flows freely and abundantly through each of us. We each grow into different beliefs, paradigms, and levels of success, but we are all born as “energists”—made of the same divine, perfect, and renewable resource.
What has been spiritually taught since the dawn of mankind is now confirmed by quantum science. Upon embracing this truth, and as a long-time leader in the energy sector, I was astounded how the sources, characteristics, and science of electricity drive all of our interactions. Energy itself is the lifeblood of all living things, and we can all tap into it to reconnect.
It doesn’t take a trip to the jungle to reconnect to your own intuition.
In this book, I share my journey of rediscovering and trusting my own animal instincts. And, I’ve shared the steps taken so that you, too, may recharge your life and ignite your power.