For this week’s blog, I have included another sample chapter from Practice. To promote the book, I sent 1,000 copies to random yoga studios throughout the United States. With all of these efforts….the book is not selling. I mean like a bomb. In the last 30 days, I sold 4 copies on Amazon. At this pace, I will break-even in 125 years.
I need help. Please consider buying a copy, writing a review, or sharing with local influencers. If this book is not for you, then please buy a copy and give it to a friend or just drop it off at a local yoga studio. If this sounds like begging, you are correct. I need help.
This chapter is about a very unique friendship with a women I have never met in person or spoken to on the phone. I hope you enjoy our connection.
COSTA RICA SOULFUL ROAD
In 2013, when I was writing my first book, I hired a local company to help with the cover design. After reading the manuscript, their creative team came up with four options. It was hard for me to choose, so I posted them on Facebook and decided to let the social-media crowd help with this process.
A new Facebook friend named Soulful Road was quite drawn to one of the images. We exchanged a few private messages about our mutual admiration for the Camino de Santiago. She had already walked the path and was contemplating writing a book about her experience as a pilgrim.
In early 2016, when I was considering my month-long trip to Costa Rica, I noticed several Soulful Road Facebook photos from the country. We resumed our conversation, and she gave me a few recommendations on some spiritually oriented communities and resorts. She also noted from my posts that I had recently been to Rishikesh and expressed an interest in making her first journey to India. I sent her a few links to my blogs with some highlighted stories from that country. As she was preparing to leave Costa Rica, she sent me a photo of a coffee cup adorned with creative monkey art and wrote, “Last coffee before heading out. It all unfolded beautifully. I saved some waves, monkeys, magic for you. Kim.” This note was the first time I ever saw her real name. She was heading back to Colorado to be with her ailing mother.
I did visit Montezuma, Costa Rica, and practiced yoga there for the month of May. Although the setting was beautiful, I did not feel much of a spiritual connection to the area. For the first time in my life, I cut a trip short and came home a bit early.
In November of 2016, I was back in Rishikesh and resumed posting many colorful photos on social media. Apparently, India was still deep in Kim Soulful Road’s head. She pinged me with a few questions about ashrams and ground transportation. My note said, “I am here for a month and stay at Parmarth Niketan. I do not have a good handle on the guesthouses, but there are many options. I would spin the wheel and book for just a few days. During that time, you can explore and find the correct vibe. Just arrive, wander, and wonder.”
In January of 2017, I was feeling the urge to visit a new place, perhaps in Costa Rica. Kim was there in Nosara, so I sent the following message: “Kim, you are a true gem. I am now sure that one day our paths will collide in a really cool manner. I am looking for a place to go for the month of May. My list includes Greece, Sicily, Trinidad, or Costa Rica.”
In her reply, Kim sent me a beach photo of a tree with roots exposed from natural erosion of the seawall. The base of the tree was painted white with the number “86” sprayed in a messy blue. Her message said, “On my last morning, I walked down to my favorite spot to give thanks to the big mystery for all of the beauty I’d witnessed during these past few months. On my way in the early morning, a sea turtle had just reached the beach to lay her eggs, a small white butterfly followed me for a while, and I passed a man who was sitting on a giant piece of driftwood playing the ukulele for a one-being audience, his pup. In the spirit of spirit, I have hidden something for you behind #86, up in the roots, just behind the painted part. Maybe it will be there when you are in Nosara in May or it might disappear. Either way, it is all magic.”
Although I had not yet decided on a destination for May, Soulful Road Kim already knew the spot.
In May of 2017, I rented “Casita Peace” for a month-long stay in Nosara. This sleepy surfer community had the spiritual and health vibe that was missing from my previous trip to Montezuma. The main beach, Playa Guiones, stretched for 3 miles of soft sand and had a fantastic surf break. Just days after arrival, my routines morphed into enjoying gallo pinto (beans and rice) with eggs and daily yoga classes at Bodhi Tree Yoga or The Harmony Hotel.
On the third day in Nosara, I sent Kim a message asking her for a map to tree #86. She advised me that, if I needed directions, her secret gift was not meant to be found. The next day I was wandering down the beach and noticed the number “19” painted on a beach-side tree. After many more steps, I found tree #20. Given the distance between these two trees, tree #86 was likely to be about 2 miles up the beach.
A light breeze blew as I walked along the smooth sands. Pelicans flew by in groups of three to four, perfectly aligned like drafting bicycle racers. A constant cycle of breaking waves pushed water across the sand. The ebbing water moved random shells that were remixed by the next crashing wave.
I tried to imagine Kim’s thoughts when she walked this stretch on her final day in Nosara. Was she thinking about her mom’s death? Her next journey? Her purpose?
To arrive at tree #86 felt quite intimate. The roots were exposed in a mazelike manner—wide at the bottom and narrowing on the upward path to the foundation of the tree. At the top point of the roots, the tree’s base protected a tiny cave. I reached in and was able to feel something unexpected. My fingers gripped a piece of twine tied to something both smooth and sharp. I pulled on the object and was soon holding Kim’s scallop shell from her original walk on the Camino de Santiago—a prized possession for any pilgrim, and hardly an item someone leaves for a Facebook friend.
While I had followed Kim’s footsteps to Costa Rica, she had followed mine to India.
After departing Costa Rica, she went straight to Rishikesh for 30 days of satsang with Mooji, a famous spiritual teacher. These spiritual discourse sessions were intended for people to question their purpose at the deepest level. On a random day in March of 2017, I received a solitary photo from Kim. Although the snapshot came with no caption or message, it was immediately familiar to me. It focused on a cardboard sign hanging from thick twine that read, “Yogi’s Brown Bread Man Shop.” At that time, Kim had no idea of my connection to the store or my dear friend Narayan.