The Universe is Roaring

July 14, 2019

The Well of Grief

“Those who will not slip beneath the surface of the well of grief,

turning down through its black water to the place we cannot breathe,

will never know the source from which we drink, the secret water, cold and clear,

nor find in the darkness glimmering,

the small round coins, thrown by those who wished for something else.” ~David Whyte

Chapada dos Veadeiros, Savanna of the Deer Hunters-a place I never considered traveling to…I feel so blessed and vivacious here-alive in a way that I’ve never experienced; acutely aware of the different parts of this self, this existence in which we call: being human. The plethora of information I receive on a daily basis is not being fully digested, as I continuously move from one place to the next. Although my physical and mental constituents seem to endlessly shift and change, I feel the most grounded I’ve felt in the past month. To truly experience this divergent country, I’m convinced that one must go inland.

The moon guided me from Brasilia to Alto Paraiso de Goiás-an endless highway surround by mais (corn), where I reunited with my long-time Canadian brother, Graham, whom I met at Tassajara years ago. This phenomenon, our reunification, in a land far from where we both originate is definitely not a random event. I felt a bit of anxious around our reunion and wondered how the experience would unfold…I came to learn we were both feeling a little apprehensive. Tiago, our driver, picked me and two other women up from the airport. I listened intently as they spoke in Portuguese-wondering, at times, if they were arguing given the tonality and varying sounds of their speech and mannerisms. After nearly a 12 hour journey, and very little sleep, we arrived safely in the land of puffy clouds, cachoeiras (waterfalls), and quartz crystal.

Mariposa💛🦋

Lua Cheia

Received with the utmost generosity and kindness by Graham and his darling, Lu, I couldn’t have felt more held. There’s a calm, serene energy that my soul has been seeking here; I feel at home. The sweet breeze is seemingly sweeping away all of my worries; I feel my body healing and my heart opening…this is a place where one can actually slow down; where one can process+digest experiences that have been accumulating over lifetimes. All the ancient, twisted karma we continuously contemplate has been surfacing and amidst the doubt and curiosity, Graham and I sat together, hand in hand, heart to heart-sharing our stories; creating the space to further digest lingering impurities.

Obrigado Mãe Terra

La Casita
Calma Calma:)

Worlds between worlds…this setting has been a great, healing force as the community here has been intentionally, and ever so gently, developing around a Tibetan temple known as Templo Cabtehlna. The terrain was once used for cattle grazing and before then, it was a Savannah where Emu+Jaguars dominated the territory. Living off the land, we prepared the abundant collards, carrots, yucca, and countless other vegetables grown on the property farm. I was finally able to cook to my hearts delight. Lu pressed fresh juice in the mornings, while Graham prepared sweet desserts, delving into his art of carpentry; constructing impeccable pieces for people in Alto Paraiso, as well as in the capitol of Brasilia.

Templo Cabtehlna

Graham introduced me to Syntrophic Agriculture which was implemented by Erest Grostch. He explained how a diverse group of species including eucalyptus, which I’ve considered to be an invasive plant, harmoniously function to develop the soil; preparing for the next consortium of species. Constantly in pruning to put the biomass, or energy, back into the lines of plants that were being cultivated-interconnected and working together for a future cause-to move toward abundance and diversity. Eucalyptus is a fast growing strata, or emerging species, that like to be above everything else. Hence, it’s an effective plant that nourishes the environment to produce water, to further consolidate and create more species with the intention of generating more production. If the grass is cut at the right time, you don’t even need to water it, as it will stay green throughout all seasons.

Essentially, Syntrophic Agriculture is a form of consolidating energy using the grass, eucalyptus, and other strata of species-constructing lines that run north to south-supporting the function of a future cause that promotes abundance and diversity…

Crescer Crescer Crescer

Abacaxi🍍🍍🍍

Form+Function

In accordance, we discussed how Darwin’s Theory of Evolution appears to be false-competition and survival of the fittest do not exist on this land. He shared his views on how relationships between predator+prey have been misunderstood and my mind continuously reflected on how varying forms support a particular function. What is the ultimate function? The nests of termites consolidate energy into specific locations-creating tunnels beneath the soil to offer air and water, softening the hard soil, preparing for the next group of species. It’s a continuous process…

Similar to our practice, or our lives-the present state is due to a future cause-as the lines grow, taking on lives of their own, they start emerging…similar to the way in which our lives unfold, revealing the interconnectedness of all things. Our wealth and security, given whatever lens one views such concepts, depends on one another and most especially on the territories in which we reside. It was so fascinating to connect all that Graham taught me to my experience around the human condition, thus far…The entire visit couldn’t have been more fitting!

A arte de Graham

Dois dos meus maiores amores💛🙏🏾

Lu shared the project she recently commenced with the local prisoners of the area-teaching them how to sew and make Tibetan prayer flags, educating them in regard to the opportunities they have to ignite a more prosperous future-for themselves and their families. We contemplated how we could start a nonprofit organization in the states; to support young women of Brazil by educating them to gain awareness in regard to contraception, and possibilities that might manifest a more advantageous future. Trusting that we’re on the “right path” often takes us down varying “wrong paths”. This idea of trust has been coming up along this journey. Trusting ourselves to move forward with integrity; to meet the greed, hate, and delusion that we all encounter with consciousness; to discern what will best serve whatever “I” that arises, as well as the rest of humanity.

Sebastião-Prison Project

Alto Paraiso

And as my understanding of the region expanded, we carried on to the next experience-the village of São Jorge, where we made an attempt to enter the park which was unfortunately closed. The town itself is rather quaint, yet filled with culture and art. We feasted on feijão (hearty bean stew) rice, collards, and farofa (toasted manioc flour) which is a traditional Brazilian dish known as feijoãda!

Photo of a photo:)

Centro Cultural

Sabedoria e sabedoria💛🌺

On to one of the many enchanted waterfalls that will forever be a part of my heart-Serena Assupcao’s alluring voice guided us along the rocky road to Cataras dos Couros (Waterfalls of Leather) where we ascended along the most miraculous hike, leading to endless mountains, rivers, and streams. The persistent memories of one of the most amazing days of my life continues to feel like a dream. This plateau was believed to have been used to hunt deer which is, perhaps, where they skinned the deer for leather-amidst these very falls where people come to swim, play, and heal.

Cataras dos CourosComo um sonho🌈💚
In accordance, I felt the currents of my mind, tumbling and turning, just as the river did throughout the mountains, enhancing the assimilation of my ultimate intention for embarking on this journey; to heal and transform. I have been thinking a lot of my past clients, of all the people in my life-stemming from my very own family to the different communities where I have taken up residency, and the beautiful people I have crossed paths with along this journey. We are so afflicted-so blind to the nature of our current reality. This has become more and more clear as I examine the discrepancies, on multiple levels, in Brazil and the wider world. And so it is…acceptance-of what is; curiosity-of what is truly happening; and the manifestation-of an abundant future, waiting to explode.
Perigo PerigoEndless rivers and streams…Não há palavras🌿
The Full Strawberry-Rose Moon, peeking through the mountains, lined with palm trees and myriad species of flora+fauna guided us back to the cabina where we further cleansed our bodies, basking in the light of the moon. The June full moon, or the last full Moon of spring (in North America) is called the Full Strawberry Moon. This particular full moon got its name from the Algonquin tribes in eastern, North America who regarded it as a signal to gather the ripening fruit of wild strawberries. It has also been called the Full Rose Moon (almanac). As I investigated the moon that had escorted me to this precious land, I considered the vast sky that we all gaze at wondering what’s next. Could these days possibly be any more precious?

Flores sagradasAnd so it is…Cavalos selvagens

On to the next adventure…São Bento Falls, located on the land in which former Miss Brasil (currently 90 years of age) constructed to host guests, offered me the space to contemplate all of this wonder. A place where toucans, macaws, and rare, tropical hawks fly high in the sky. I started to tend to the physical parts of my being, in preparation for a ceremony with three Shaman leading a retreat near Chapada dos Veadeiros, at a destination called Terra Boom. This was the first part of a retreat in which the Shaman, who came from varying parts of the Amazon, were chosen by the elders to share their teachings. It was a magnanimous experience, to say the least-indescribable!

São Bento Falls

Blessed by the songs of the “true human”, or Kuin Huin tribe, we sang and danced in the deepest state of meditation I have experienced in my life, thus far. Combined with the Medicina de las Floristas, the continuos light of the moon guided us as we cathartically released and purged, investigating an affair that had been long overdue. A constant process of digestion, of remembering and forgetting, expanding and contracting; linking to that which nourishes us.

As I settled deeper and deeper into this altered state of consciousness, I was able to see something I had been seeking; the mysterious, ineffable world began to reveal itself. And I gazed motionless, as the little elves preserved and protected the space-feeding the fire and filling the clay jug with fresh, spring water from the well. The Italian fairy pranced throughout the space-round and round, as the Shaman persisted to chant and perform; commencing the ceremony with the metallic sounds of their rattlers, to vibrating string instruments, and the beat of powerful, striking drums. The amount of purging that was taking place on this land was unequivocally dumbfounding! Never had I experienced so much resistance while at the same time relieving myself of impurities that seemed to be abiding from past lives. There were moments where I didn’t think I could tolerate being upright-these were the most profound parts of the journey-the most fragile, tender parts of me that roared; the lioness that longed to be heard; the little girl that wanted so badly to be loved and cherished.

Os Porteiro

Haush, Haush, Haush

The fire roared as the gigantic pieces of burning wood told their stories. Schemes of abandonment and grasping churned in my mind, igniting doubt and confusion that appeared to be further received and processed. During one point along the ceremony, one of little elves comprehended my apprehension, whispering in my ear: TRUST THE PROCESS. This provoked much thought in regard to trusting the micro-realm, in which I was engrossed in at that time, as well as the macro intention of my overall experience of the human condition. As I sat by the unaccompanied fire, just outside of the teepee, tears streaming down my face, I recalled my mothers staggering smile, remembered my darling grandmothers, and their mothers, and all the women of the devastatingly oppressed country in which I was born. In essence, it was the cries of all the women in the world. And although the only female Shawwoman was not feeling well, unable to be present, the feminine energy throughout this ceremony was most profound. In actuality, the presence and influence of feminine power has been conspicuous throughout the duration of my experience in Brazil! These women mirrored the exact nurturance and independence I have been working toward-the confirmation that we can, safely and securely, regulate and hold whatever parts of ourselves that are arising-tending to the most vital connections of our bodies and mind.

The next morning, I meandered throughout one of the most amazing properties I have ever encountered. A Turkish man, from Istanbul, definitely had a vision as well as the means to manifest an eco-village. On a land of immeasurable acres stretching down to the river-in support of the preservation and protection of the forest, along with the hearts and minds of innumerable beings who he shares his land with; to further heal and recover from humanity’s devastating acts of ignorance; to replenish the conviction and prolong the hope of those who wish for something else. And as the sun rose, the roosters initiated the dance of nature; the birds began to sing, flying from branch to branch, preparing for a new day. An auspicious owl appeared reminding me to trust the magic, mystery, and wisdom of my heart-to move forward using my intuition along with the moons cycles of renewal and the feminine intelligence and protection-present at all times.

Luz da manhã

Auspicious Owl🦉

Garota de conteúdo♥️

Chama Violeta✨💞

“You cannot travel the path, without becoming the path itself”~Buddha

São Paulo: Land of Drizzle

June 22, 2019

Fascinating, hip city loaded with restaurants and bars-not to mention almost 22 million inhabitants! Given it’s the largest city in South America, I felt much safer roaming around on my own than I did through the streets of Rio! The favelas, or shantytowns, are in the suburbs as opposed to being directly in the city which seemingly makes a big difference. There are countless museums to explore, neighborhoods to familiarize oneself with, gastropub experiences to be had, and parks to wander-bypassing the busyness of this lavish, unsparing city!

Park Ibirapuera

As we approached the massive skyscrapers, I wondered where to start exploring this vast city. My darling, long, lost brothers, Leandro+Vitor (and of course my sweet, precious Chico!) welcomed me to their stunning flat where we dined on wine, indulged in fine food, contemplating the state of the world. An appropriate place to start, I suppose:) I had no intention of coming to São Paulo but sure am glad I did-learned heaps about the current perceptions of the younger generation in regard to the social, political, and economic concerns throughout Brazil.

Meu querido Chico🐶😍

💜Vitor e Leandro💜

The current president, Bosinaro, who happens to be besties with Trump, appears to be just as racist, sexist, and homophobic. There is much discrepancy of thought in regard to the recent elections, as the younger population despises the president and the older folk seem to believe he is contributing to a more constructive future for the country. More on this as I gather my mental formations and put them into words+phrases…

Swing to the Left

Itaim Bibi is a marketable neighborhood where Alex Atalla, one of Brazil’s most famous chefs, opened an organic café, Bio, where I met the very kind jiu jitsu instructor, Jefferson. The following day he took me to one of the most revered neighborhoods, Ipiranga, where Emperor Pedro I proclaimed Brazil’s independence on the banks of Caminho do Mar. A monument was built on site where a memorial was constructed for the Emperor and his family. Today, you can actually enter the space to see the tombs surrounded by an extensive garden, simulating the French Palace of Versailles.

Monumento da Independencia

O Monumento de Pedro I

Museo Paulista

Libertade, a neighborhood near the centro, comprises the largest Japanese community outside of Japan. Given I’ve spent quite a bit of time in San Francisco’s Japantown, my comparative mind didn’t allow me to be fully present for the experience-not to mention it was insanely packed! The mixture of Portuguese, African, Italian, German, Polish, Russian, Japanese, and so on, make it difficult to discern what a “typical Brazilian” looks like-this compound has created a phenomenal, eclectic population of people-especially in the seventh largest city in the world!

Jardim-Paulista where Vitor and Leandro reside, consists of hip restaurants, cafes, and museums in which I was unable to make time for due to the few days I spent in the city. Oscar Freire is an artistic hub where the boys and I went to an exhibition at Casa Tegra to view incredible, varying mediums of a father/son duo-the detail was flabbergasting!

Juvenal Irene e Thiago Martins

Villa Madalena was by far my favorite neighborhood in SP! The abstract graffiti in Batman Alley is a sight to be reckoned with, as far as urban, street art is concerned. I have never witnessed so much graffiti in one place and happened to stumbled upon an awesome co-op that offered everything from organic meat to artisanal beers, organic fruits, veggies, and nuts galore. I walked my heart out until I came across Laia; a boutique shoe/handbag storefront where I met the gorgeous Aline-Te amo a beleza de partes e não posso esperar até nossos caminhos se cruzarem novamente!

Villa Madalena

Batman Alley

Alina na Laia🌿💓

Did I mention pizza is a HUGE thing in this country?! Pizza has become quite the tradition for Sao Paulo residence-there are tons of pizzerias all over the city-locals believe they have the best🍕in the world! The boys took me to a superb spot, Braz Eletteica, where they brew their own🍻!

Pacman for life💛

El final noche…I worked my way to the São Paulo Zen Center near the CCSP, or Cultural Center of SP, constructed in the 80’s to serve an authentic urban population of the Korean Hip Hop scene. Upon arriving to the temple, I was informed that I would not be able to sit with the sangha as the shuso was giving a formal talk and only members were welcome. After some contemplation, and several questions in regard to my experience sitting zazen, the Ino made an exemption. Never in my life had I sat with three dogs circulating the zendo, the space where we sit formally. It was a very sweet experience and when the Roshi, Monja Coen, found out Tassajara was my home temple, she invited me to sit beside her during the dharma talk. Although I understood very little of what was being said, I felt content and at ease as we sat heart to heart💛

Monja Coen🙏🏾

And so, the week was coming to an end…I spent the last evening celebrating Leandro‘s birthday with my dear brothers! We ate cake and sang happy birthday in multiple languages:)

Parabens Leandro🎂♥️

As I digest the experiences during this past week, in South America’s largest metropolitan city, I can’t help but scrutinize the discrepancy of wealth. I find that such disparities are much more visible in larger municipalities and will continue to reflect on this phenomenon, as I appraise the discordance in which this archaic spectrum of unequal distribution and indigence as generated throughout the 🌎!

Respect🐳 Restore🐢Revive🦀

Window to the soul…

June 17, 2019

“Look at yourself as someone who is reaching for healing, and at the complexity of what needs to be healed. Do not think that you exist alone without other human beings of equal complexity. All that the human experience is about is the journey toward wholeness. Therefore, you can look at each individual and rest assured that they are not whole. They are in process.”~Gary Zukav

The mountains have been speaking to me here as have the sweet sounds of birds and crickets chirping, wildflowers, butterflies, and humming birds dancing from tree to tree. The bus ride South from Niteroi to Penedo was, mostly, pleasant-until the night sky settled in and the road began to twist and turn…Manuol and Sonhia (Renata’s aunt+uncle) welcomed me to their haven surrounded by varying colors of lush, green flora, banana, mango, and other indigenous fruit trees. The dogs Zeus and Bella are the protectors of the property-pobrecitos had to be put away every time I wanted to lounge by the amazing pool!

Manuol con los niños

“Ahhh, this is the life!”~Little Miss Sophia

La Reina

Penedo was founded in the early 1600’s and although agriculture was the chief, economical activity, the land had been depleted as a result of rigorous coffee plantations. In 1929 the region became a utopian hub where the Finnish settled with the intention of boosting the economy with the introduction of cultural tourism. Young, idealistic pioneers transformed this rural area into a touristic center that flourished between the 1940’s-1970’s. It was a composite of Finland’s vegetarian, naturalist movement that coincided perfectly with Brazils exotic, tropical landscape.

Today there are numerous pousadas, bed and breakfasts, scattered throughout the region transforming the environment, to a certain extent, preserving old buildings as they incorporated elements of Finnish architecture to construct themed environments. There’s literally a place called Santa Claus Land where you can experience Christmas year-round-they call it “staged authenticity”! The Finnish also introduced saunas to the country-over a quarter of the homes in Brazil have incorporated this tradition. Saturdays have been designated for symbolic Finnish dancing and music which seems to have been adopted by a lot of Brazilians in the area. Brazilians have definitely taken tourism to the next step, working to revitalize the area, as gastropubs and artisanal breweries germinate throughout the town.

Santa Claus Town

The Mantiqueira Mountains surround Brazil’s first National Park Itatiaia, defined by rocky, mountainous peaks and countless waterfalls-located between the states of Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais-approximately an hour away from Penedo. Unfortunately, I had to undergo an emergency root canal (I’m convinced some of the most skilled dentists reside in this country-Muitos obrigados to my team-Gabriella, Flavio, Flavia e Anna!) in the largest city in proximity to this region called Resende, and was unable to explore the park. According to the Tupi tribes, indigenous people of Brazil, Itatiaia translates into “many-pointed rock” which was apparent from various perspectives along this municipality.

Linda Mulher se Selva

Finally, un GRANDE beijo to my dearest Manuol y Sonhia! I couldn’t have been blessed with greater parents in this part of the world-especially the homemade cooking-from mamão to yogurt with calda de jabuticaba, sopa de ervilha con arroz ,carne seca com abóbora y couve, salgadinhos, coxinha com catupiry, risole de carne, casquinha de siri, empadinha de palmito (the list goes on+on…) and of course our lovely outing to feast on pizza de abobrinha italiana & linguiça calabresa com catupiry! The knowledge you have blessed me with along my journey has been immeasurable and I thank you, from the bottom of my heart! From Manuol’s impeccable garden to the exposure of the teachings of Alan Kardec, and the lovely friends, of Sonhia-I have been filled with the utmost love and wisdom! Thank you, a million times over, and I am beyond thrilled that you will be visiting us, next year!

Bolo de Cenoura com Chocolate

Mis padres en Brazil:)

Coxinha com Catupiry e Risole de Carne

Crossing Guanabara Bay

June 6, 2019

Instructions for having a life:

Pay attention.

Be astonished.

Tell about it.

~Mary Oliver (“Sometimes”)

Fabio picked me up my final, full day in Rio and we worked our way to Parque Nacional Pedra Branca, where the pristine, desolate beaches of Prainha and Grumari extend, just West of the city. It’s one of the worlds largest urban, natural parks and the beaches are predominantly known for the waves, with some of the best surf in 🇧🇷!

Praia Prainha

Surf’s up Cariocas!

Fabio y Yo

Surrounded by varying species of birds, countless categories of flora+fauna, including the morcego fruteiro (bat fruit tree) which is nearly extinct. We lounged on the praia, where a little mermaid popped out to greet us, embracing the dense vegetation of the Atlantic Forest as we gazed out into the endless sea.

Vistas for days…

Pequena Sereia

Poco a poco, we worked out way back to Rio, proper, where I spent some time meandering through the Botanical Gardens-a haven in the midst of the bustling city! People still reside on the property and word on the street is that the residents are ancestors of the original tenders of the gardens who have resisted to re-locate off the grounds.

Lily to lily…

Orchids Galore

Across the Guanabara Bay, a bridge connects Rio to Niteroi, approximately 13 km from the city. This is where my darling friend Renata, who inspired me to commence this journey in Brazil, originally comes from; she moved to Pacific Grove our freshman year of high school and it has been a pleasure to cultivate a blossoming friendship as I become more familiar with her culture and city of origin! Fabio and I parted ways as he dropped me off at Queen Jardim for Carol’s (Renata’s bestie) birthday! We dined on fine pizza and spent the evening celebrating the life of a fellow garota maluca, or crazy girl!

Sanduiche de João:)

Tres Belezas

The following few days were spent connecting with Carol and her charming family-exploring Campos de Sao Bento, the central park of Niteroi, surrounded by more, impeccable beaches-Tiririca, Itacoatiara, an Itaipu-with panoramic views of Rio! One of the best parts about traveling is immersing oneself into the life of the locals-so grateful for my newly acquired Carioca family!

Lucas my ♥️

River of January

June 2, 2019
As I began, tentatively, planning an itinerary I noticed how intimidated I felt and how much fear was coming to the surface. I’ve been longing to share my experiences with a significant other and began questioning whether or not I “should” do this thing on my own. As the doubt continued to arise, I was certain that this was the best remedy for me right now-leaping into the unknown-becoming more intimate with my fears.
Pao de Acucar
The luxury of not having to take care of anybody but oneself comes with the gift of traveling on your own. As my research unfolded, I learned that Rio de Janeiro literally translates into River of January-the month I was born! The afflicted feelings began to pass and I started becoming more aware of all the synchronicities that were aligning to shape this journey-both inward and outward. As my curiosity expanded, I remembered how many doors had opened up in the past; how many wonderful companions I had met along my other, solo adventures. A sense of lightness began to cast beyond the darkness, as I delved deeper into the wonder of my heightening senses.
Praia Copacabana (Mauricio’s Casa)
After 28 hours of travel, through the Panama City airport, I was welcomed by the captivating Corcovado mountains. Greeted by the most impeccable sunrise, I landed safely into the heart of a city surrounded by mountains, rivers, forests, and over 400 miles of coastline divided into three divisions: Guanabara Bay (Baia de Guanabara), the Atlantic Ocean and Sepetiba Bay (Baia de Sepetiba). My new friend and most trustworthy driver, Fabio, picked me up from the airport and took me directly to Praia Copacabana where I was Couchsurfing (CS) at the house of an Italian diplomat, Mauricio. The first floor flat overlooked the praia (beach) where his housekeeper, Margaret, tended to me with genuine care, attention, and fabulous Filipino food! Not to mention, the precious time I spent with another CS member from Malaysia, Emily, who spunked around the city with me as we stumbled upon a local market where we sipped on the best Caipirinha, Brazil’s national cocktail made with cachaca, engaging with the colorful Carioca’s of Riooooooooo:)
Escadaria Selaron (Emily)
Ching Ching
Mulheres Lindas
Seeking to share experiences through my lens; to share the impressions being made by this incredible culture and it’s vast territories, left me feeling dumbfounded as to where I might begin…I was in awe at how diverse the people of this country are and how much contrast exists within this UNESCO World Heritage Site. The infrastructure reminded me of Iran and I couldn’t help but draw comparisons between the two countries; so similar, yet so, very different. The Cariocas, local people of Rio (a Native Indian Tupi word for Portuguese homes that eventually came to depict the people themselves), are most welcoming, laid back, and so full of energy! This urban paradise is loaded with activities ranging from beach volleyball and merely lounging on the praia, to exploring popular attractions such as Pao de Acucar (Sugarloaf), with its immaculate views, to Parque Nacional da Tijuca, the largest urban forest in the world, and its countless waterfalls.
Parque Nacional da Tijuca (Fabio)
China Vista: Tijuca
The entire city is blessed by Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redemeer), a 125ft Art Deco statue of Jesus, constructed in 1922, revered as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. “Founded” (although there were clearly inhabitants long before the invasion) in 1502 by the Portuguese, through the end of the colonial period in 1822 when Brazil gained their independence, Rio was considered the city of slaves having been the largest Port of arrival in America (Wikipedia). In 1808, the Portuguese Royal family escaped the reign of Napoleon traveling from Lisbon to Rio, commencing one of the greatest economic expansions of its time!
Christo Redentor
Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas
As my knowledge of Rio developed, I continued to explore barrios (neighborhoods) ranging from Urca, Leblon, and Ipanema, all the way to the municipality of Cabo Frio, also known as Cold Cape. My dear friend, Manan, who trained with me at the Yoga Well Institute in Berkeley, happened to be in Rio when I arrived, and joined Fabio and I, on what turned out to be quite the adventure, to this magical, biological reserve. It’s unique micro-climate invited us to swim in the warm waters of the Atlantic and laze on the fine, white sands of Arraial de Cabo.
Arraial de Cabo
Cabo Frio (Manan)
After having taken respite on the countless beaches of Cabo Frio, we worked our way back to the hustle and bustle of Rio where I began indulging my way through the city; devouring Pastel de Camarao (Shrimp Empeñadas) and Bolinho de Bacalhau (Codfish Croquettes), accompanied by local, Brazilian IPA’s. The next morning, I stumbled upon an organic restaurant, called Graviola, where I delighted in my first Açaí bowl-a popular palm fruit, usually served as a smoothie, topped with nuts, granola and fresh fruit:)

Açaí Bowl

Empório Grão e Cia

Beyond the coastal attractions in El Centro, or city center, we stumbled upon the Real Gabinete Portugués da Leitura, the Royal Portuguese Reading Room. Built of limestone in 1837, exposed to a rather rough area of downtown, you enter one of the world’s most beautiful libraries; filled with the largest collection of Portuguese literature. The Neo-Manueline structure, considered a decorative, Portuguese gothic style of architecture, was very much influenced by the Far East and shaped the culture of the architectural movement during that time.

Real Gabinete Portugués da Leitura

Stained Glass (el dentro)

Livros sobre livros…

And so it is…the first week of my mental formations, disclosed in one entry. May the sharing of these perceptions offer a taste of my experiences in a city of over 6 million inhabitants; a city of wonder, filled with inconceivable sights, sounds, and the most darling people-oh, que cidade maravillosa🙏🏾💛🇧🇷