a new beginning

So I sit here pondering my last hours in South America. I escaped for a couple days to the quiet of a little valley called Samaipata to seek some space to reflect on these last eight months. What can I say to summarize the impact this experience has had on my life? It is impossible, so I will share with you a letter that is written specifically to one person, but whose message and words are for all of you. When you meet me next you may think that I am changed, and you will be right...and wrong. I will never be the same again, I have come too far and seen too much to be that person anymore. But I am still me, nothing could ever change that. So tomorrow when my plane takes off, I will cry- they will be tears of joy and tears of sadness, tears of memories we have shared and tears full of hope for the future. I am feeling so many emotions at once, yet my heart is calm. I am in a good place. This is a beautiful life and I am so happy to share it with all of you. This is not the end, but rather the beginning of the rest that is to come. This trip has affected me greatly and I am forever indebted to these lands and these people. I will be back and I will bring as many of you with me as possible. Salud! to the many more adventures that follow.....

Mom, you asked me what I learned about myself of this trip- the answer is everything and nothing. I have learned everything about my desire to see the world, to know the people, to taste the food, dance the dance,  to 'feel the flow'. All that I now 'know' was merely revealed to me through this trip. All that I am now is all I ever was, and all I ever will be, I already posses now. My eyes are simply more open to the beauty and my heart is more full of life, but the capacity for this is something that has always been mine. The dusty layers of negativity have been cleaned away and my positivity now radiates freely. I see people for who they really are, not who I want them to be and this gives me patience. I see people who have nothing yet are happy and this makes me grateful for the abundance in my life. I accept compliments with more grace and recognize my many talents and capabilities. I look at my friends and know that we will make a difference in this world. I look at this earth and know that there is more than what our eyes can see. I feel the energy around me more intensely and know that there is life in all things. I see trash piled along roads that cut through the mountains and washed up on white sand beaches and I know that the world is hurting.

There are many changes that must be made, and it begins in the heart of man. There is much good in the human race but for too long is has been strangled out by the small minority of power hungry people that run the world. They will be our demise. But one cannot lose hope for that is exactly what they want. See the world, meet new people, learn a new language, taste new food, indulge in the simple wonders of nature, walk in a quiet forest, swim naked in an underground lake, laugh uncontrolably, dance with a stranger, sing to a river. Do whatever you must do to feel alive- this is something they can never take from us, this feeling that we are alive a well. This is what it means to be free. Happiness must be sought out and once discovered, must never be taken for granted because the highest highs are followed by the lowest lows, and that, simply put, is life. It is beautifully difficult, and that is its greatest attraction. We are here to learn and the lessons are endless. We seek fulfillment through service- to ourselves, to others and to the land. We each posess unique characteristics that help to guide us through life and raise us to our greatest potential. We all have different reasons to live, different missions in life, but ultimately we all serve the same purpose- to leave this world a better place for those who come after us. We do this by living well now, by helping others, by finding the individual ways through which we will share our knowledge. Love and be loved in return. Open your heart, don't be afraid of emotion. Be honest with yourself and you will see the truth in others. Learn something from every interaction. Do not regret. Be here right now. Breath. Smile.
It is all quite simple really!

I love you, Jessica