“I often found myself wondering if I was a mistake—if my existence was entirely faulted from the start, designed for destruction and disappointment.” -Sara Rodriguez
I remember the first time I read this quote. Oh how it resonated inside me. Often happy, outgoing, social and playful on the outside. But on the inside I was scared, anxious and slipping into a dark hole. It seemed that time after time, the choices I made would lead me to pain, heartache and stress. Was it that my heart and passion were too overpowering? Did it cause me to leap before my brain had a chance to pull me back? Or was it that I was making my way down the wrong road? And if I’m making my way down the wrong road… how do I find strength to turn around and find the right road?
I think the answer is that YOU HIT ROCK BOTTOM! Something has to happen that causes such a jolt to your spirit that the only way out… is out.
So… I made my plan. After once again falling in love with the devil, eventually slipping out from underneath his angry fists and then falling into a deep cave of depression, anxiety and insecurities, I’d decided I was done. My happy gone. My strength dissipated.
On my birthday, I’d planned to celebrate! I’d sit at the ocean’s edge with a bottle of wine and a handful of pills. I’d gaze out across the sea, tears slipping down my cheeks, hoping that my kids will understand why I have to go.
Lucky for me… even the best laid plans don’t always go according to plan. It seems the universe had decided that a different path was best and literally lit up a path that lead me to Breitenbush Hot Springs.
Just a month before my birthday trip to the beach, I’d noticed an announcement for Office Angels at Breitenbush Hot Springs. I wondered to myself if this was something I could do. Survive on a mountain, off the grid, in a small community where I worked, played, lived. How could I possibly leap into something so far out of my comfort zone? How could I step out of the safety of my dark bedroom and surround myself with people, again? The answer…. how could I not?
So the journey begins. Application, email correspondence, a “meet and greet” with the Office Angels and a two-week working interview. At every turn I was greeted with smiles, hugs, kindness, love and encouragement. I was invited to continue serving and living at Breitenbush Hot Springs and started as an Office Angel on the exact day I had planned to take a trip to the beach. Suddenly, my birthday was a day for celebration. I was starting a new life on sacred ground, with a beautiful community.
I never anticipated that I would find my happy in a place filled with a community that serves and lives together; one that shares community kitchens and bathhouses, and lives in a various sort of old rustic cabins, most with no plumbing, phone or internet. But what I also found in this community is kindness and love. We’ve all experienced situations in our lives that have brought us to our knees. We’ve experienced physical, emotional and financial burdens. The trick is to find others who can lift you up and help you heal. Breitenbush Hot Springs is where I found a community that would help me through the healing process. The community works hard to keep the business side of things running smoothly, but plays harder to connect with each other, to dance together, to share and heal together and to love one another. Not a day goes by that I don’t get to feel the kindness and strength from the hugs that are given to me and it gives me faith that there is a better way of living and working.
This summer our community was touched by the wildfires. These fires caused us to have to close our gate to our guests and evacuate our land. We were filled with anxiety and uncertainness for what our future at Breitenbush would hold and what would happen to our land. During this time I got to witness something magical. I saw a community come together stronger than ever. I saw love, kindness, strength and help at every turn. I had the pleasure of hearing from our guests with offers of shelter, food, prayer circles and love. It was an amazing thing to be a part of. And when the rain washed away the fire and immediate threat to our homes and the land, we made our way back to our cabins and each other. Hugs were abundant, and love filled the air. This was my forest family and I was home.
Today I am learning to open my heart more and more and I’m learning not to be afraid. I still have a lot of healing to do, but every day I’m thankful for the Breitenbush Community. I’m thankful that one day I opened my computer to an ad that led me to this magical place. I’m thankful that somewhere deep inside me, I had enough faith and a little strength to take a road less traveled. A road that lead me to a beautiful mountain, rather than the bottom of the sea. I’m thankful that I found my happy!
It is my hope that anyone who is reading my story and has been struggling in their own hearts, will find a little strength to hold on. Keep a little faith that your happy is out there, too. Don’t be afraid to follow roads less traveled. You never know what magic lies at the end of a dirt road. Don’t give up.