We met at the temple. Back when my head was shaved and I looked like a 12 year old boy. I would later call this stage of my life “the ugly phase”. Ten pounds heavier on my petite frame made me chubby and frumpy. In the confines of a monastery, I wasn’t trying to impress anyone, least of all myself.
“Joemar is here,” Dave told me, during one of our breaks. We were performing a graduation ceremony to showcase the arts, dance and Mandarin language we had learned in our four month monastery retreat. I had invited him through Facebook, where we initially met through Dave who told me about a crazy guy who was going to walk the whole island of Palawan. Something in me sparked an interest. Maybe it was intuition, although I was scared out of my mind to think I would actually do such a thing. But I added him, and we talked. And he came to see me. My heart smiled.
After the program, I came up to him and gave him a huge hug. I might be romanticizing in retrospect, but it seemed as if I had known him for years. Like those best friendships where no matter how long its been since you’ve seen eachother, you can always catch back up as if time hadn’t passed.
It’s easy being a loner. I’ve been a loner for years. I’ve felt alone, abandoned in relationships that didn’t work. I’ve lived my whole life solitary, in many ways. As an only child, as a panic stricken teen with social anxiety, and as an adult with a quiet disposition. So when I meet people that make me bubble with life and talk like there’s no tomorrow, I know its something special.
Our walk was magical. The Universe conspired to help us. After sharing a water bottle getting dirty with use and refilled by the native wells along the way, I declared that I wanted my own water bottle with ice cold water, while Joemar was craving beeko–a Philippine rice delicacy–the whole day. That very night, after finding a place to rest, Joemar offered his healing massage to a local he had befriended, who spontaneously gifted us with beeko and a 1.5 liter of ice cold bottled water. I was amazed by the synchronicity and humbled by the simple gratitude that comes when walking. Never knowing where we’ll rest from night to night makes a wooden floor and a warm family willing to offer their hospitality and food a welcome treat.
The first night under the stars, with a thin canopy of trees above us in the jungle road to San Vicente, we saw glowing leaves and foliage. It was just like Avatar. Drops of rain woke our slumber, and Joemar’s quick thinking survival skills had us relocate to a nearby area where my yoga mat and his malong blanket hung over two branches for shelter. It was pouring rain and the ground glowed florescent. We used eachother’s bodies for warmth and huddled together under the yoga mat. It was the beginning of our seduction. The jungle blanketed us with glow-in-the-dark leaves and seduced us into sacred sexual communion.
Eat, Pray, Love has been a big motivator in my journey. I read it prior to taking my travel leap and making the ultimate decision to free myself from stuff and become a nomad. Intuition knew I would do it, but it took awhile before my brain–the logical me–decided I was ready. As my journey wove itself inside temples, I witnessed my own postmodern awe at the resemblances of my life to Elizabeth Gilbert’s story. I knew I was having an Eat, Pray, Love adventure… I just hadn’t gotten to the love part, yet!
Love came sooner than I expected it. I wanted to love in whatever capacity I had. If that meant jungle and tropical beach flings, I was ready to accept it. After my five year failed relationship, I knew I needed time and space for myself–alone. I mentally gave myself two years to be by myself, learning, growing and being me after gathering the pieces from a quarter-life identity crisis. The jungle seduction was exactly two years to date from my life as a single woman. My break-up anniversary from 2008 which will now become my anniversary with Joemar from 2010. I manifested this.
Browsing through my own archives, I stumbled across a prophetic entry that talked about my capacity for love. I wanted to love in 2010, but I didn’t know how far I could take it. Mentally, emotionally, physically.
I’m not sure what [love] looks like, how far my boundaries can go. Is it merely friendship? Friends with benefits? I don’t know. Is it blow jobs and practicing deep throat and strap-ons? Is it wrestling and choke holds and martial art moves? 2am sex after an amazing day learning how to swim, hiking to hot springs, and sharing a banana leaf umbrella under tropical storms?
Later during our walk, we bushwhacked off the highway and sat under a banana tree to shelter ourselves from a tropical rainstorm, sharing one banana leaf like an umbrella.
Sitting on the beach one day and meditating towards the ocean horizon, I shared this information with Joemar and he said he had written something similar. He knew that he would walk with a girl and he had dreamed that things would develop and wanted to share a banana leaf with her under a rainstorm… Somehow, we both thought that banana leaf umbrellas sounded so romantic that we wrote about it before meeting. We manifested this. We manifested eachother.
It’s easy being solitary. It’s my disposition. It’s hard integrating myself and merging my life with another. Harder even still not to become the clingy girlfriend in a codependent relationship like so many times before. Relationships are challenging and I wasn’t sure if I was ready. It wasn’t easy to trust him because I was so weary of his motives as a “psychic”. He told me he had a vision that we would walk together. That he’d meet a girl at a temple. He told me I was part of “the Script”. I called him bull shit because I don’t believe in things like fate and destiny, but individual choice and free will. Maybe he was just pulling my leg and telling me things that sounded nice to impress me. I don’t know. I played devil’s advocate. It wasn’t love at first sight.
The spiritual and mystical circles are new to me, and my own spiritual growth has been accelerated to the point of being mind blowing growing pains. But in the end (the beginning), I knew I had to take the leap of faith and Trust. Trust him and his sincerity and trust that I was ready to be vulnerable again.
The people you meet in your life have something to teach you and in turn, you have something to learn. I knew that Joemar would have a lot to teach me, and intuition told me I should be with him but it took awhile before logic told me I was ready. In matters of love, logic can’t be trusted, because the language of love speaks from the heart. The language of love is the source of life itself, and finding love… operating on love will bring us closer to happiness and our greater selves. Trust your intuition and follow your heart and life will have more meaning. It brought me to Asia, it brought me to Palawan, it brought me to Joemar, and it’s bringing me closer to my ideal life each day.
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