Wednesday, September 24, 2014


I am back home in Seattle, and as excited as I was to return, the feeling did not land with me.

I feel lost and a little confused.  Wanting to hug the people I meet and greet everyone with a smile and a Spanish greeting.  But, I can't. I feel like I am unsure of how to return to where I was.

The problem is, I can't. When I say I feel lost, it's probably because I actually am.  I have to carve a new path to walk down.

Part of me anticipates this being read with criticism and judgement but the truth is is that these are my feelings and no one can say otherwise.  I feel as I need to prove to someone that it's okay that I feel this way but that is because I want to live up to these presumed expectations that I am thinking that everyone is thinking I should be full of life and joy after returning from this trip.  When reality, I am projecting my own expectations. (I laugh at my own ridiculousness.)

Costa Rica was difficult and beautiful but it became my life and home for a while and it always painful to accept the death of things.

I loved seeing another culture and practicing it as my own.  It's hard to return and to have to leave it behind.  I went to Costa Rica prepared to do so, but not in returning. 

Something that Costa Rica taught me is the comparison factor that we do.  My Way vs Their Way.  I was caught with this a couple times with things that displeased myself and was surprised at my own response and reminded myself, "Not better or worse, just different."

I was surprised to find that I carried this back to Seattle with me when I was confronted to my usual patterns of being irritated and passing judgements.  "Not bad, just different."

I hadn't realized how judgmental and self-centered I am until I returned to Seattle.  I am really thankful that Costa Rica has shown me so.  Because it is my selfishness and judgements that I build my own prison.

Like the breaths we take in each moment, I breathe in what is now and as I breath out, relax my grip on the things that I think should be.


Thursday, September 4, 2014

Costa Rica

When I first arrived in Costa Rica it was really difficult for me. I was timid and scared as I sat down for breakfast with my new family for the next 4 weeks. They spoke little to know English and I knew only small phrases that made me sound similar to a cave man. "How I go school?"
I was so incredibly anxious not knowing anyone nor where any of my fellow students were.
Spanish words were swimming in my head.

On Monday when I finally met up with the other students I had never been so happy to speak English. I don't know if there is a worse feeling than not being able to communicate your own self. Your own thoughts and feelings.

Although I was able to speak English with my fellow cohorts, part of me was still missing. I began to pull away from Costa Rica and into a search for myself. Most of which I found in the companionship of other English speakers. This was my bandaid.

Today I went on a walk with my iPod. I walked alongside the narrow cement road noticing the many cyclists and motorists whom rode by, along with the occasional red taxi.
I looked at the houses and what felt like to me, odd balance of beauty and disarray. Nice cement driveways with large black gates surrounding and mud that hung between the house and the street and the occasional smell of sewage.
At other places I would stop at the side of the road where the houses opened up to the sugar cane fields. There it would stretch into the hills and the hills that climbed into the mountains.
A word that is common amongst Costa Rican people, or Ticos, as they like to call themselves.
I walked further, still letting my playlist sing to my own voice. I could feel myself breathe again. I could hear my own voice climbing out of me. And finally I could see what it was I came here for.

The colors and warmth of Costa Rica was more alive tome now. It's like I had found the language I was trying to speak the whole time.
I couldn't hear because I forgot how to listen.
I couldn't hear because I couldn't.

Despite my minimal words and construed sentences, I can still communicate kindness.

My host mom and I, despite our language barrier have been able to talk about the difficulty in communicating with each other.
We both had been concerned with the feelings the other had regarding our self. I was worried I would offend her in some cultural way I knew nothing about, and she was worried I didn't like her or her family.
We hugged and understood one another.
Something she reminds me of, "poca a poca."
Little by little.
I always want to run full speed into something and that's okay. But sometimes it is helpful to take it little by little as you go.

Life is hard. But life is beautiful.
Oh! To be curious!
To be wide eyed and excited to hunger with your senses.
We were born to love and laugh.

I drink coffee every morning that my host makes me and eat delicious frutas which she slices each morning for me.
I take a taxi to a beautiful campus where I learn and speak Spanish. I have a break each day where I drink another cup of coffee and eat galletas outside at a picnic table where tropical plants grow all around.
I've seen a coffee plantation and tropical animals. I've danced the salsa and swam in waterfalls. I've celebrated 50 years of life with my host mom's brother and met all of her family. And I have much more adventures to come. I am truly blessed by and with love.
Pura Vida.

Monday, August 4, 2014


Lying in my bed I inhale the neighbors cigarette smoke that drifts inside my bedroom window.
His patio just on the other side of my wall.  It's too hot to close the window, so I let the smoke slither in. the soft burning in my nose, I remember the time when I used to smoke.

That smoke would bellow my frustrations to the world.  It would linger in my throat so tightly as if grabbing on and shaking it.  My anger reverberating into my lungs and then back out my mouth.  I loved smoking.  I loved that it would comfort me and validate my feelings of inadequacy.
I would walk down the street, my breath short, and dragging my cigarette.  I felt like the lone ranger.  I felt like I was strong. I felt like my cigarette was my best friend.

The smoke I smell now is the lamentations of my best friend.  Almost like a prayer of disparity.
My disparity that is.  The feeling of not knowing anything about where I am going.  How do I know I'm going somewhere?  Because the anxiety to not be is greater than the not knowing.

I'm afraid of standing still.  Of being left behind. The fear of finding out what I already believe to be true is that I am not needed. For anything.  I lack of any importance or real meaning.  If you wanna talk about fears, well this one is the bell ringer.

This fear longs to push people away, to protect myself from the inevitable. Why don't I just let it come? To accept that I am unwanted?        Good question.

Because my hope keeps grabbing on.  Like a small child that doesn't want to let go of her balloon.

But like each child that loses her balloon, she will throw a fit.  Cries and screams, maybe even kicks and yells.  This is how I feel in that moment of losing what I have been hoping for for so long.  The hope which is always the branch that keeps me from my fall.  When in actuality, what I need is to fall.

To be seen and heard is what everyone wants.

Its okay to want these things. This is the validation that I look for.  Realizing that everything I feel is neither good nor bad. that everything I feel is okay and no one can tell me differently.  Nor do I need to change my feelings for someone else so that they may avoid being uncomfortable.
My feelings are my feelings and exactly that.

I know in Psychology there is always that phrase, "change your thoughts change your feelings."
But I believe a lot of our feelings are automatic.  Not to say they were not inspired by thoughts first, but the process that I believe is needed is to not shame our feelings but validate them and then look at that thought and decide if that is something we would like to believe in or not. 

What I believe my greatest struggle is, is when I have an uncomfortable feeling, the first thing I want to do is figure out how to get rid of it. But for me what I am finding is that if I honor my feelings and allow them to be present with me, then the struggle isn't there.

Now I can hear what it is the Universe was trying to teach me.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

My dad, Ron Lyons.

It has been so long since I have wrote anything on here. 

Something I experienced and came witness to recently, was while I was watching the movie, "Ordinary People."  I had a time of great healing and realization. The movie is about a husband and wife and their son, of whom the eldest son and brother, dies in a boating accident.  The younger brother was holding his brothers hand across the upturned boat while the waves were crashing and the wind and the rain were blowing.  The older brother grew tired and let go and drowned.
The younger brother in the movie, struggles with PTSD and attempts suicide but is unsuccessful.  The mom resents her younger teenage son for living when the eldest died. And the dad, feels caught in the middle of the two, overwhelmed with guilt on not being able to solve either problems.
The younger brother begins to see a therapist and begins to deal with his pain in the loss of his brother. Towards the end of the movie, the brother finds out that his friend whom me met in the hospital has just commit suicide.  The brother takes off down the street in the middle of the night, finds a payphone and call his therapist and says that he needs to speak to him now.
The boy and therapist enters the office while the boy hysterically yells about his friend and that it reminds him of his brother.  The therapist pushes him a bit farther with questions about whose fault it was.  The boy then redirects his anger towards the therapist as if her were the brother and says "you should've held on! why did you let go?!"  The therapist answers back, "because I got tired."
The boy begins to break down in tears, crying "I'm so sorry, its all my fault."
The therapist asks, "what did you do wrong?"
The boy answers, still crying hysterically, "I don't know.."
The therapist replies, "Yes you do. You held on."

While watching this movie in my class at school, I had to leave the room.  I went to the bathroom and I just cried.  I let myself cry into my hands as I remembered my fathers death.  I felt it was all my fault that I couldn't save him.  I tried so hard to make him happy and to help as best I could.  My dad didn't really have any friends and couldn't work because he was so sick for so long.  I wanted to be the one who could make him happy.  I hated to see him suffer so much and feel so alone.  He wanted me to come live with him and be his caretaker.  He would call me up in the middle of the night when I was 12 years old, saying he needed to go to the hospital.  He would always tell me about how he wanted to buy some property in Eastern Washington and have chickens and ducks and cows and to live off the land and have no one bother him except his girls.  My sister and I.  We were his world.
I loved my dad so much but I couldn't go with him to his own healing.  His own departure. I felt so much guilt for wanting to enjoy my life while he sufferred alone for so long.  That he loved me so much and I couldn't return it the way he wanted.  I have so much guilt.  I just cried and cried.  I'm crying now as I type this.
My dad loved me so much.  This I must remember.  It's not my fault that he couldn't get better.
I will choose to focus on the good memories about my dad. I loved my dad so much for who he used to be before he got sick. 

I think that is who he would want me to remember:

When we were kids, my dad would pick us up in his truck and drive us back to his house and he would say, "Whose daddy's girls"
"We are!", we would answer back.
My dad would cook us dinner every night that we were there, and a lot of the time it would be trout or salmon; deer or rabbit that he had killed while he was out hunting or fishing.  He would take us to the 7Eleven every before or after dinner to pick out an ice cream bar to eat for dessert.
I remember celebrating aChristmas visit with him and him surprising us with each a giant pillow to sit on in front of the TV, as to watch TV with him.
I remember in the summer him taking us down to the lake to swim and play on the beach and coming back to the house and playing wiffle ball with a plastic bat and baseball in the driveway.

I have a lot of good childhood memories of my dad and how much he wanted to be a good father.  He knew that he made a lot of mistakes while he was with my mom, and while growing up.  But he wanted to fix it with us.  He loved us more than anything.  And he told us that.

My dad was probably one of the funniest people you would meet. He did have a good heart and wanted to help people.  He knew what it was like to struggle and accepted his wrongs. My dad had a good heart.  And I love him for who he was and how much he loved me.

When I think of that child I used to be in relation to my dad.  Carefree and having fun, that is who I want to be. I have been living life in such a way that I am still trying to save my dad through other people.  And I hear in my mind, "You have to let him go Holli."
I chose not to go with my dad emotionally when he started to go down hill.  When he began drinking more and wanting more from me.  I chose not to follow him.  And that is the guilt that I have lived with but that is not my fault.  I did nothing wrong.  "You held on."
I held onto my own life and well-being instead of being sucked down with him. 

The fun loving dad that always wanted me to be happy and to laugh with him.  That was the dad that I loved and who he truly wanted to be.
I'll always love you dad.  I miss you.


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