Miscellany

Birthdays | Why I Left Vacation Early & Spent Mine on an Airplane, Writing to You

Today is my birthday. I’m writing this from a plane, in a stand-by seat that I barely snagged, in a dash to get home, which meant leaving my vacation early. (How’s that for vata?)

For my birthday last year I was in a jungle in Peru. The year before, a jungle in Ecuador. Honduras. Before the jungles, I favored Secret-Garden-esque bars and often alone. As a kid, it was Hawaii, Africa, days-away-from-civilization somewhere on a river-raft … There’ve been a couple beautiful parties with friends, food, a piñata and polaroid proof but more often than not, I’ve been on the road, and much prefer it.

Birthdays are an opportunity to retreat from life in order to reflect on it.

Check in on progress and be totally self-centered by which I don’t necessarily mean indulgent. It’s a day with our self - our best friend, body-house, being-thing that we exist in. Traveling facilitates the disconnection.

While it’s never a bad time to introspect, I’m sentimental about my birthday (obv). Not traditionally, but it’s a personal New Year’s. There’s always a resolution and often an extraordinary amount of writing preceding it and day-of (eh hem). I give myself gifts - like “I’ll be the healthiest I’ve ever been” or, in this year’s case - the gift of simply enjoying existing in this body, alive, breathing, practicing yoga, taking in nature, sleeping, eating perfectly, and being protected from the bombardment of other that tests our being every day. Indulging my sensitivity with stillness, peace, and beauty.

And so I was doing just that - sleeping in a tent in an ashram (aka yoga monastery) practicing four hours of daily yoga, with hours more of chanting and silent meditation. Eating Ayurvedic food, falling asleep to frogs by night, and wandering with deer and bunnies after wake-up bells before dawn, and taking naps all over the place (I think my brain actually just quit). Existing in a place where the standard greeting is “Om Namah Shivaya” (a Hindu mantra which the Swami translated to me as ~ “I acknowledge the consciousness in you as the same that exists in me, and all things).

But, something was different this time. Not long into the trip, I realized I needed to come home. It was one of those strong, intuitive calls that we feel first and figure out later.

Before being (too) impulsive, I wrote. Really? Why - really? You sure it’s not XYZ? You being windy? You exerting control over the situation? Fomo? Addicted to work? Just confused? Self-inquiring it out didn’t take long. I realized that the reason I wanted (*wanted, not needed or otherwise) to leave was that I simply love my life too much to want be away from it right now. It was such a long time coming, it’s so good, and that is also fragile. And, I can also do what I want, which is come home - now.

(While there - and over the last few months - I’ve also come to term with some of my monk tendencies, which involved learning about choosing and then owning the decision to either be in this world, or out of it.

I remembered how strongly I hadn’t wanted to return from Peru. Crying in the jeep on the way to the airport - dirtier and more beat-up than I’ve ever been, head aching from plant medicine and expanded self, and a long time away from home. I wanted to get out of the car in the little village - whichever it was, I didn’t care - and just figure it out from there. I felt like a foreigner in New York for a long time afterward.

Previous trips felt similar. Which is also why I love travel so much - we never return the same. But, if we choose to return, we better well be in the game. That’s a complicated lesson.)

The life I don't want to leave now is good because, I’m doing what I love.

“Doing” means work - profession, job, whatever. Which changed this year. (Also a story, I’ve been writing for you.) For the first time since high school, I’m not working full-time for someone else. I’m also not one person “by-day” in black and heels and Advertising, and another by night/weekends when I don’t wear shoes and play matchmaker between people and plants. Now, it’s all one. I’m myself, all of the time. It was scary and it was work - (three months of mind-bending, heart-breaking yoga therapy helped (yes, a story there too)) and now it’s real.

More and more of you are saying “I quit my day job to do what I love.” It’s momentum. It’s good.

And I’m grateful to be among you.

Not coincidentally, not only is it my birthday today, it’s also the birthday of this business.

Three years ago, it was a blog (can’t believe we don’t have a new word for that yet). A bunch of stories about the adventures of learning how to be a healthy, conscious, human. Then, I launched the first product. Then another, and another story, and so on. Now, it’s my life. And many others’ - humming along in service of the same mission: goodness. (Thank you all so much.)

Now, “home” “life” and “work” are one. Dharma, they might call it.

My hope is for you all to find the same groove. If I can help, I will. If I’m in service of the how-to-eat-well part, which is where my journey started, or inspiring extra self-reflection on your birthday, or any day.

So, my present to myself this year was an early ticket home. Though it means planes, trains, and airport trail-mix in place of birthday cake. And by birthday cake I do mean an avocado, of course.

See you soon,

Rachelle

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Major special thanks to my family - partner included - for supporting my whims and blessing my freedom.

The Beginning

Three years later, a look back -

AUGUST 20, 2013

My birthday present to myself this year was to be in the best shape of my life.

On January 1st, I quit drinking. Stone cold turkey cut off indefinitely end of story.

I've always eaten well and made working out a priority but this go-round was the real deal. Mission. I'm good at those.

What ensued was a coming out of sorts. While I've Googled "what is the healthiest food on the planet" about 900 times, and tend to read up on every other thing that I eat, I started documenting the process. Pausing to photograph or allowing the exploratory spend on odd herbs, new produce and also psychological health pursuits like meditation, wellness books and even a psychic awareness class. I will try just about anything once and my curiosity in the health and conscious wellness departments is insatiable.

I also gave up meat. Just to try it, and it stuck.

As the months progressed, I emerged.

In late Spring, months before my birthday, I hit my goal weight.

By the time the big day rolled around, I'd entirely exceeded my goal - looking it, feeling like and knowing that I was truly in the best shape of my life.

Today we are 90% raw vegan, a lot of pounds lighter than the original target, stronger and faster than ever, nine months sober, and just getting started.

To celebrate, I did two things:

1. I took myself on a raw, yoga retreat in Honduras.

2. I launched Erthly Dlights.

Onward.

rachelle robinett honduras yoga raw food retreat

Photo by Wendy Green, masteress and maker of a modern Garden of Eden.

rachelle robinett yoga raw retreat honduras

Self portrait. Birthday. Casa Verde on the Cangrejal River, outside of La Ceiba, Honduras.

Keats on the Joy of Singledom

"… I should not feel — or rather my Happiness would not be so fine, as my Solitude is sublime. Then instead of what I have described, there is a Sublimity to welcome me home — 

The roaring of the wind is my wife and the Stars through the window pane are my Children. The mighty abstract Idea I have of Beauty in all things stifles the more divided and minute domestic happiness — an amiable wife and sweet Children I contemplate as a part of that Beauty.

But I must have a thousand of those beautiful particles to fill up my heart. I feel more and more every day, as my imagination strengthens, that I do not live in this world alone but in a thousand worlds —

No sooner am I alone than shapes of epic greatness are stationed around me, and serve my Spirit the office which is equivalent to a King’s body guard… I melt into the air with a voluptuousness so delicate that I am content to be alone… I have written this that you might see I have my share of the highest pleasures and that though I may choose to pass my days alone I shall be no Solitary…

I am as happy as a Man can be… with the yearning Passion I have for the beautiful, connected and made one with the ambition of my intellect." - John Keats

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