Rio Celeste Hideaway


Rio Celeste Hideaway

What happens when we immerse ourselves into nature without the distractions from our fast paced life? I believe that this is a questions for each person to answer on their own. When we go into nature, it seems as though everything slows down and we can find perspective. I had so many aha moments. Once I was able to settle in to my space, I found that I spent most of my time just listening. As if nature was talking to me so clearly. Rio Celeste Hideaway hotel is my home away from home in Costa Rica. The hotel itself is beautiful, not to mention the way that it is nestled so delicately into the area surrounding Tenorio National Park. 

We arrived on Thursday to be greeted by the friendly staff with a natural fruit juice, it was perfect. The days that followed were filled with a hike to the national park and the most delightful yoga and meditation practices at the yoga space on site. We spent a lot of time but the pool unwinding and drinking fresh fruit juice, eating gourmet meals carefully curated to aid our healthy lifestyle and exploring our expression through art work and spoken word. 


Nature was our container. She held us with her sweet rhythmic sounds and gentle rain. Rio Celeste Hideaway is really a gem in Costa Rica. I cannot wait to go back! 

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#letsgetreal - This began as a post for my Instagram challenge and turned into quite an interesting body of contemplations. For those of you who don't know me personally, I really enjoy depth and getting vulnerable. Since this social media world is quite new and foreign to me in many ways, I realized that my vulnerable side has yet to show up and speak her truth. All of this started with the launch of the #PrettyFullRioCeleste contest on Instagram. The opportunity to host such a lovely offering has pushed me into allowing myself to be seen and heard. Once I was able to sit with the responsibility that comes from being visible, I began to think about the actual days where we will be on site and retreating in the heart of nature in Costa Rica. I felt a lot of resistance. My dear old friend resistance, I know when she drops into my experience, I have some work to do. Our topic of the month is “fullness” and what it means to live and pretty full life. While part of living fully is being grateful for all of our day to day blessings, there is a deeper layer to fullness. With that deeper layer comes the other side of the coin which is emptiness. The intention of our Costa Rica retreat is to guide you gently and safely into all of the spaces where you may feel emptiness and clean them up so we can stretch the feelings of fullness across all aspects of our selves and lives. 


To me, Emptiness is an old friend of mine, perhaps even older than Fullness. In the name of transparency, I must say it is extremely awkward for me to be so open on social media. However, I am a firm believer that we are more courageous than we give ourselves credit for. Our souls and hearts are strong and resilient, ultimately what we want deep down is release our resistances and find balance and peace amongst all of the fragments and aspects of ourselves. I recognize that my resistance to sharing online is masking the fear of being judged by my peers, especially the ones who have never met me. 


But, I love my muddy layers, I am not afraid of my mud, I have spent the last 9 years deep in my shadow trying to figure out why I exist and what do to with my collected experiences in order turn them into the strong and vulnerable woman I desire to embody. So back to emptiness, know, those moments and relationships in our lives that have made us feel grief, fear, sadness, anxiety, shame, powerless, jealous, and guilty. Even if we have made huge strides towards gratitude and fullness, there are still those parts of us that suffered and it is our responsibly to go into the dark spaces and accept them back into vitality and health, even if it seems impossible or overbearing. WE ARE more courageous than we think. 


So a little more on my personal experience with emptiness. For the sake of my story, let us define emptiness as any perceived negative feelings of anger, sadness, victimhood, despair, hopelessness, shame, guilt, fear, depression, grief, etc.. While I can now honor the emptiness, there was a time when my reality was defined by deep body shame, an eating disorder, and thoughts about the desire to end my life that was identified with deep emotional suffering. On the outside, it seemed like I had so much to celebrate, but my experience of it all was far from gratitude. I felt alone and hopeless. I spent my college years binge eating to feel full and purging to feel empty again. I spent several years addicted to being high all day and night trying to pass as a socially acceptable being, but on the inside I was numb. I spent a lot of time hating myself and feeling insecure about anything and everything. I know now that there is a part of me that chose to plunge into the shadows so that I could emerge with my essence intact. I know now that my experiences have led me to this moment where I could offer my understandings to you in hopes that it resonates and you remember your courage and use it to dive into your sticky mud and find all of yourself.  Had it not been for those years of confusion and chaos, I wouldn't have the perspective or loving power that I am proud of today, even if my work is not done. We as a collective are capable of healing even the deepest and seemingly darkest of wounds. So yes, let's celebrate all the reasons why we are so blessed and full. But let's also honor and be with the parts of us that have been lost and need to be loved and nurtured back to its essence. 

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6 Tips to Rock Your Self-Care Routine

Self-Care Saturday:

Hi, Support Squad! My name is Carolina Russ, I am here to share some tips on self-care and connection while Melissa Carter makes her way to Bali!

Let's talk; why self-care? In order for us to be able to show up in our lives as the best version of ourselves, we have to make sure we take the time to care and connect to ourselves before we open the space to others.

While this sounds easy enough, it is a big commitment to day in and day out, make the time to love yourself. Here are my six tips to keeping self-care consistent:


Tip # 1: Keep it simple

We are really great at over-achieving, even when it comes to our self-care routine, keep it simple. Breathe for 5 minutes before you jump out of bed and engage with your electronics, draw a bath before your day begins, light a candle and set your daily intentions.


Tip # 2: Keep it exciting and enjoyable

Have fun with it, and get super creative! Self-care should be exciting and a moment we look forward to! Incorporate your favorite things, for example, if you love tea or coffee, make it your morning ritual, sit outside and take mindful sips as you look out into nature and feel gratitude.


Tip # 3: Make it beautiful

What does beauty mean to you?

For me, beauty is the reminder that everything comes from the same source of love and beauty. As part of my own self-care, I have lots flowers, plants, and things that I think are beautiful, adorned around my space to remind me of why I need to take care of myself in the first place. Beauty is the eye of the beholder, adorn your space and yourself with treasures that remind you that you're worth taking care of.


Tip #4: Be easy on yourself

This is your moment, self-care is a designated time when you get to disconnect from the world and check in on you. If you don't get to it one day, that's okay, you will come back to your self-care commitment when you need to fill up. Be easy on yourself.


Tip # 5: Timing is everything, take it slow

I wake up 2 hours earlier than I need to, in order to make sure I have a lot of time to spend with myself. While 2 hours is a long time, make a commitment to yourself to wake up 10 minutes earlier and set that time apart for self-care. This creates a really nice habit, that way, you always have time. Also, take your time slow, pause before you pick up your cell phone and read your emails, soak in the daylight and space around you, engage with your creator abilities, set your intentions, and care for yourself. Then.. get on with your day!


Tip # 6: When it is not working, change it up!

If you find your daily practices or self-care practices are draining you and no longer serving you, it is time to recreate your rituals. So get your creative juices going and change it up, and refer back to the first 5 tips, especially number 2: HAVE FUN WITH IT, you are here to enjoy the life you live, so don't delay and enjoy the ride.



Relation to Creativity

I woke up this morning with the intention to write, I have been going through many shifts and I think its important to start documenting it all. Perhaps getting in the habit of writing out my life will give me the courage to start consistently sharing my thoughts and experiences. I recently stated listening to Elizabeth Gilbert’s, Big Magic on audio book. She encourages all people to be relentlessly creative. I quickly surrendered 

I have had an aversion to the word “creative” ever since I can remember. Growing up, I felt that I did not have any particular talent, and did not stand out in school academically or artistically. I was, however, known as a dancer. I remember that in dance class, there was always an underlying desire to be the best, pressure by the institution of dance to excel. But in my heart dance was and is about beautiful expression of the human body and emotion. In Big Magic, Gilbert talks about art as a form of expression, that it should not be expressed because we aim to please others or become the best. If you think about it, that is the essence of art and creativity, each person has his or her own particular gusto. She goes on to say that we should express ourselves and send it out into the universe, the reactions of others to our art, is not our burden to bear. The deeper I reflect back into my up bringing, the more I can understand how I came to believe that as a 26 year old woman, I am not creative and will never excel as a creative type. However, I know that I am able to change my mind and my experience, and I intend to do so. So here is my exclamation, I AM CREATIVE, I AM A WRITER, I AM A MOVER and SHAKER. I WILL PUT MY ART OUT FOR THE WORLD TO SEE and SET IT FREE. 

It is so interesting how things come full circle, just yesterday prior to listening to Gilbert’s stance on sharing our art, I taught a class where most students felt moved. I explained, I am simply holding space and sharing my experience of the unseen and felt, how they receive it and integrate it into their bodies and souls is up to them. 

Development is interesting. I keep coming to these huge, new, and shiny revelations about the world and how I want to exist here. The more I understand the further I move away from what I believe people want from me or what they want think they want from me to offering up my most authentic self. Fascinatingly enough, the more I make decisions for myself, ones that I could live with, I feel more supported by the people in my life and by the universe around me. It is this support that allows me to grow and gain the courage to put it on paper and share it, even if I don't become the next Walden or Thoreau. 

So what is your exclamation to the universe? What is your art form and can you say it loud and proud, so that each atom of your being believes it and becomes it? To be honest, as I write some of this I have Gilbert’s voice in my head. I have to commend her on her bravery and incessant belief that we all have something to contribute. I agree with her, ifwe could courageously share each of our creative impulses we would be free in many ways, we could create some serious change in the world of creativity and reclaim our birth right to create. Perhaps move toward a society which empowers its humans… a society that recognizes every being has a contribution, and that creativity is not purely for the inherently talented.