June 28, 12 days pre-off-the-grid. Why this rainforest, Fruit People, Spirituality

Main Reason For Move to This Particular Rainforest Farm:

I was part of a spiritual organization from 1987 until 2006, which to this day is still the majority of my adult life. When I chose to leave the group, I never thought I would be part of a structured spiritual community again. My departure was a spiritual death: I went through a similar process humans go through when someone very meaningful to them passes on. Per Elisabeth Kubler-Ross in her book “On Death and Dying,” I went through the various stages of loss and grief that include: “Denial and Isolation, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance.”

What stage of loss was I in during June of 2013, seven years after my departure? A combo plate of resignation, doubt, cynicism, with a side order of wistfulness for the loss of so many dear friends and such a depth of community. One grain of hope in the salt shaker of life. Maybe a little appetizer plate of a zen-ish kind of attitude: Yes, I’m here. I can stop and still see many shades of green on the leaves, I can feel my feet on the floor, I can follow my breath. Does it matter? It doesn’t matter if it matters or not. If I let myself dwell too long on my 18 and a half years in the community, I could feel the longing for the miraculous higher states that were somehow graced upon me, and now mostly eluded me. I’d talk myself into not caring about that anymore: Well, that was cool to feel so high, but the price was complicity with a shadow side to the group that I could no longer bear. And knows what all those higher states were about, anyway? Just messing with the brain circuits and serotonin and dopamine, most likely.

My Soul wasn’t dead. It felt like it was. Now I understand it was dormant. I dabbled and searched in the darkness anyway. We simultaneously sought and rejected spiritual form, community, and various practices that crack open your sleep for a brilliant moment. I got into fasting, raw foods, yoga, we joined a lovely Tibetan Buddhist group for awhile (always will love you folks!), I did energy work such as Reiki, Pranic and Shamanic healing. But I always kept a safe distance between myself and what I explored.

On one of my more unusual quests, I checked out a community on the Big Island of Hawaii that I found and begged them to let me tour their property since I was coming from Virginia. The leader let me and my companion come for the day. They were selling memberships to their community for something like 90,000.00$. It was the first time I heard the term “off-the-grid”!  All around the funky, stoned town of Pahoa that’s all I seemed to hear. “Yyeay, mayn,” a red-eyed surfer dude told me, when we met at the pond with a warning sign about bacteria, “Yyeah, I tried working for Tha Mahyn, you know? Like, for awhile, yyeah? Over Californya-side. It totally did NOT work out, yyeay? Off-The-Grid, mahyn, it’s the way to go, off-the-grid, take it easy, you know?” He was so stoned that my friend and I were vicariously massively fucked up instantaneously and had to get into our rental car before we wet our pants from hysterical laughter. It’s really rude to laugh in a stoned person’s face because they can take it hugely personally and get paranoid that they might have a booger sticking on their face or something.  So always try to move away before you go hysterical.

Anyway, so I’m touring this community that my pal and I have since just named, “The Fruit People”, and I had this wishful wanting that I’d love it and our family would move there. (Are we talking communally desperate or what, here?!) Some of it was very cool. I liked their huts and the concept that each family or couple would have their own hut to sleep in. The huts were simple, kind of looked like a Balinese style wooden screened in room. Everyone in the group helped to build the new family’s hut. That was kind of neat sounding. Everyone was considered equal – each group or family was “one vote” so to speak. Even though this guy was the one touring us around and talking to us the most, he said everyone was in the same situation, “one vote.”

One commitment to the community was to only eat what grows on the property. And only in raw form. There was only fruit. No nuts, no greens, no seeds, no lentils. Fruit. Everyone was beyond thin. The energy felt as if we were slowly wading through the banana, papaya, coconut trees. My friend and I were given samples of fruit growing from trees that I’ve never seen before. One was like a white gluey paste that tasted like  “ick”, although the community members all agreed it tasted like vanilla custard. Then we visited their open-aired, shared kitchen, and I met the pregnant lady. I don’t even want to go there. It was just – not a happy picture. To this day, I wonder how it went, giving birth in her hut after nine months of mostly odd fruit, barely kept down. I asked her what it was like at dinnertime to be in the outdoor kitchen area, given all of the tropical bugs. She said it was so horrible that she initially had to eat in her hut. “You get used to it after a while though…the flying roaches and all, dive bombing your bowl.”

I wanted to like it. Couldn’t. Not gonna tell you what the shared outdoor toilet situation was like – once our Fruit Guide showed us the toilet system, we chose to pee in the forest instead. It was also incongruous that the Fruit Guide actually lived in a REAL house, at the top of the hill, we discovered on our tour – NOT in one of the screened huts. They had a real bathroom. They had walls and doors to keep the bugs out. He explained that it was because they had young children, the twins. But I had Sofia by then, and had a good idea Michelle was going to join us. So that seemed a bit not so egalitarian, right? I don’t know, call me picky, but I think if I was eating in the outdoor cockroach dive bomb kitchen, and they were inside their house having their dinner protected from the elements, I think that would start to bother me, as mellow as I am. I began to feel their Shadow side – not exactly walking the talk here, bro, re. the One Vote Each concept.  Don’t say what isn’t so.  Definitely potential community challenges ahead.

Anyway, as much as I wanted to like the Fruit People and to leave The Gridded Life and Tha Mahyn behind, it didn’t have the right vibe. Also, I think I’m pretty okay with most of  Tha Mahyn anyway. Who or what exactly is Tha Mahyn? Is that meant to mean, any man or masculine woman that is your boss? Or is Tha Mahyn anything that is part of our modern society, such as a car, an occasional movie? Is it George Bush? Is multi-racial Barack Obama Tha Mahyn now? Or anyone that ever turns on a light? Are you Tha Mahn if you order a coffee from Starbuck’s? I’m still not sure, but just because we are moving to a rainforest doesn’t mean to suggest that I am condemning the modern world, just pieces of it suck, not an entirety. Also I do not like getting stoned anymore, and if you’re not stoned in Pahoa, it is weird enough being straight there that you will feel as if you are on LSD. (Absolutely no offence to Pahoa, I love you, I love weird, but in smaller doses now)   My head is starting to get twirly whirly even now as I’m sharing my journey to the Fruit People with you. Let me just say that I send an especially nutritious prayer out to the universe for the pregnant fruit lady and her baby, and end with that.

So clearly, it’s not as if I wasn’t looking around here and there, in case some possibly “normal miraculous” type of spiritual community might exist. I guess I didn’t believe there could be one, since the shadow of my former community turned out to be so dysfunctional.

Then, when I’m least expecting it and certainly too overwhelmed by a new baby to be on any kind of spiritual or community quests, a miracle happened. It’s a miracle that a miracle happened because I guess I thought I was over the kind of heart-cracking open Soul emergence spiritual awakening type of thing for this lifetime. That was all part of going through the grief and loss in my spiritual death. Maybe when something really gets processed through, there can be space for something new, even something as divine as new awakenings. I actually don’t know. Was my call answered? Giving up and letting go, yet reaching as high as I could in a subtle kind of way, I was begging, “Please please don’t give up on me, even though I’ve given up on you and me both.” I don’t know how it works. What matters is that a miracle happened.

I have found a healthy, lovely, normal, vibrant, spiritual community, led by a man that I trust with my heart and gut. I still almost can’t believe it, even now. But it’s true. After meeting him in June of 2013, our family attended their January 2014 seminar in the rainforest farm in the Dominican Republic. After a couple of days of being there, my husband asked me what I thought about it all. I watched Sofia and Michelle running through the night under an infinity of stars, chasing fireflies. I felt my inner state of being. I saw the clarity in my husband’s eyes. “It feels like this is how it was always meant to be, but somehow it never was. I’m home.”

That’s the main reason we are moving to this particular rainforest farm. I’m coming home.


8 thoughts on “June 28, 12 days pre-off-the-grid. Why this rainforest, Fruit People, Spirituality

  1. Cheryl,
    Best, best, best wishes for you in your ongoing journey with your delightful family. Decompressing from the FoF takes as many forms as the individuals who earnestly partook of it – and still do. The story is not over: as new chapters continue to be written in whatever language each of us can manage. Rave on!

  2. I am very happy and content to read and understand all that you are talking about here… I like and love your last words… “I am coming home”…! Wow, what a miracol that must be… Your soul is such a full soul! I will follow your writing and I will learn more and more each time! I just want and wish you all the best! Much happiness!!

  3. Too funny …how you describe your children running under the stars. I get out under the same stars in the night in OH. I have a permaculture garden set up…Not of the grit completely. Hopeful soon….I have a couple of great friends close by. I have the lakes and the rivers access so close…
    Yes the grieving seems to be almost gone. Healing, integrating is still happening. The stars we are under are the same. Happy travels dear Cheryl and much love for you and your loved ones.

    • Thank you, and it’s lovely to remember the stars we both share…I also remember the crystal night in OH, watching stars fly by, in silent movement across the universe. I’m glad you are healing and integrating right where you are. Everyone’s journey is there’s, to embrace and own and adore and hold dear. Much love to you, and happy travels right where you are!!! Right on!

  4. Hi Cheryl,
    I had to read back what I missed. You’ve had quite the journey getting to where you are. I admire the strength and bravery in this move. It sounds like a great place for your girls to grow up and I look forward to reading about their and your adventures. Aloha, John

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