New beginnings

What the caterpillar calls the end, the rest of the world calls a butterfly- Lao Tzu

Dawn, the reason I was given this name- New beginnings. The first rays of light to every day since the beginning of time. This is a difficult post for me right now because I wouldn’t say I like to take breaks on anything, but after looking within myself and looking at the direction of the blog and where it was going, it’s time to put a pause on the blog for now.

 

The main focus of the blog is to get my message out there to all womxn. To be seen as a womxn who may be gay, but not leading from sexuality—leading from my feminine empowerment, my own experience. 

 

Womxn- This message is for you and I want to get this out to the masses.

Take advantage of travel, even through fear, step towards it knowing that there are no limits or boundaries through self-expression. You can achieve whatever your heart desires. I want all womxn to live the life of their dreams, no matter what others may say.

 

Unity from a place of individuality!!!!!

 

Learning to love myself along the way ❤

With the current focus, I feel my message is not getting out to who needs to see it, so I will reset and continue to write.

 

I know a womxn is out there that will resonate with this and can help market so it reaches my sisters. If this is you, please reach out at d34lil@yahoo.com.

I need someone that can post my writings as well as market them to womxn around the world. 

The Life of an Empath

Empaths be like- I got 99 problems and 89 of them belong to other people – Unknown

The past couple of weeks have been a rollercoaster of emotions in Taiwan. Having gone through the pandemic in America, I thought I would be used to it. Taiwan is a small island and they have been highly successful in locking the island down. My quarantine was no joke, I was locked in a room for two weeks checking temperatures 3 times a day. The only time you could open your door to get your food. It received a text at 10 am from the police. Time to report your temperature. If you didn’t respond soon enough, the police were at your hotel room.

When I started hearing about airline pilots going around Taipei, my senses were heightened. Why weren’t they treated like we were? Last week, 16 cases were reported in Taipei and people began to get nervous. I didn’t panic, but others started to and I noticed I was picking up on their emotions. The life of an empath. Not only was I feeling annoyed with people, but also I was sent in people’s fears and panic.

The numbers are rising, but nothing compared to what I saw in the States. I do believe that being such a small island, and seeing what the world went through, I pray Taiwan learns from others’ mistakes and makes the right choices. Hundreds of cases now in New Taipei City. As I write this, they just shut down schools from 5/19 to 5/28. 

 

Later on in the day, I met up with a friend who has lived around the world. She is very direct and will tell you how it is, which I appreciate. She said, You have to remember Dawn, you have been through this before, you have experienced the panic, the anxiety in the States. Taiwanese people have not. This is a small island compared to America and people are scared. I have learned so much from this woman in the short time since I met her. She really makes me think about my narrow minded American point of view. Even though I have worked on it, these views still need more effort into changing my mindset. I am in someone else’s country. I need to respect their culture and view of the world.

In the US, my solitude during Covid times was going to a piece of the beach back at home where no one went. No matter the weather, from March 2020 until I left for Taiwan, I was there. Last weekend I went to a local beach with my friend, the birthday girl, Bree and it was just what I needed to calm the mind. To my friends who are experiencing this lockdown for the first time, find your solitude in the midst of chaos. Find your joy!

On the outside looking within

Tears are words that need to be written

Nine months into living in Taiwan and one journal is complete. This week, I began a class on female archetypes. One thing about taking spiritual courses that I’ve found is that not everything will resonate with me.  Some classes are more helpful than others.  I usually learn something from the content or others in the course that I can take with me.  Sometimes I’ll meet people in the class and we connect, which leads me to someone else.  That is how I found my healer, Sara. 

What is an archetype?  It is a very typical example of a person or thing.  In this class, we learn about the feminine archetypes: The lover, the wise woman, the hunter, the mother, the maiden, the huntress, and the queen.  Learning about the roles of these archetypes has hit me hard in numerous ways. First, seeing my wounds for what they are. It’s rough. Don’t feel good about myself, and this was exposed in my lessons. I am not taking care of Dawn. Lack of self-care from not eating healthy to just not feeling motivated to do the things that lift me up. I haven’t been taking baths, meditating like I used to, journaling, and getting out. All those things light me up. It feels like my flame has dimmed.  I think I’m avoiding meditation because there are things that I don’t want to see about myself. As soon as my eyes close, I cry.

I’ve been disconnected from sensuality for a long time, and I don’t feel at home in my own body. The pleasure I get in the world is from nature. I need to find that pleasure within me. Then connect that joy with other humans. I will get there. I never give up on myself, no matter what. Deep down, I know I’m a gift from the Universe, and I chose to come down to Earth to live, to heal, and help others. I’ll figure it out.


Second, this class exposes just how little representation there is in the spiritual community of LGBTQ  humans. From my perspective, I have participated in numerous courses and spiritual workshops, and many times there are 1 to 2 members of the LGBTQ community. I found myself frustrated with this as I read posts about sisters and their lives that are unrelatable.  I asked the Universe to help me find a group that can understand all of Dawn, that can truly empathize and relate to my relationships with women. Maybe I’ll start my own spiritual support group for gay women where we can having relatable discussions.


 If anyone is interested, DM me @agaygirlinanexpatworld

My ultimate Woman Crush

Last week I had the opportunity to watch someone I have crushed on for decades, Drew Barrymore. As I watched her interview Demi Lovato, I admired the growth, maturity, and just pure, authentic love she has for humans. Although I have never met her, I feel like I was watching someone I knew turn into the person she was meant to be. When did my Woman Crush start? Lol.  I’m dating myself here. I remember seeing E.T

in a drive-in theater and feeling some way about her.

 

 I should have known then that I like the ladies. Lol

Drew is about the same age as I am and when she wrote her book as a teenager, I ran out to get it. The strength and courage she had to emancipate herself, go to rehab, and live independently was inspiring. After reading her book, I started following her career and watched all of her movies. From Boys on the Side to Poison Ivy, I wish I had this badass, rebellious side to me. In high school, I followed the rules and played it safe by hiding my sexuality, and seeing her be unapologetic for her actions was beautiful.

As life moved on and I lived my college years, there wasn’t much time to follow her like I used to. If she showed up on TV, I paid attention. If you didn’t know I was gay in college, all you had to do was look at my walls. Pictures of Drew Barrymore and Janet plastered near my bed. Lol. 


When I moved to NYC, I remember walking into this frame shop selling prints in the West Village. My ex called me over, “Dawn, check this out.” It was a print of Drew Barrymore in 1920s attire that she did to raise money for AIDS. I had to have it. It was in my possession until last year when I moved abroad. Through the years, she established her own film company. I went from a party girl to a therapist and college professor living around the country and now abroad in Taiwan.

As I watch clips of her show, I saw a different person than the one I used to watch in my younger days. The evolution of Miss Barrymore made me contemplate my growth. Thank you Drew for showing me it was okay to be my authentic self, even when I wasn’t ready to do so. You will always be my number one Woman Crush. 

Weekend excursions!

The clearest way into the universe is through a forest wilderness- John Muir

Saturday, my friend invited me out with her friends to a bar. Bars were my scene 10 years ago, but I decided to get out of my hermit mode and join them. The place had a relaxed vibe to it. Too bad I went on their last day of business. It’s one of the only black-owned businesses in Taichung and I wanted to support them. I didn’t stay too long but had a good time meeting new people from all over the world and hanging with my girl Bree. Whenever I lived in cities, one of my favorite things was to take a walk around at night or sit on a rooftop and conversate. As I walked home, I soaked in the sounds of the city. The scooters zipping by, the overall calmness of the streets at night, and animals who come out of hiding when the darkness arrives. 


Walking allows me to be fully present and notice things that I can’t while driving. The next day I woke up early to go on a hike. I signed up for a Meetup event to go into the mountains in Pinglin, New Taipei and explored the area. I never go into these events with any expectations, and usually I’m pleasantly surprised. Getting to these mountains was an experience in itself. High-Speed Rail, to the subway, bus to another bus. Actually, getting there was not the issue; it’s coming home that can be a struggle. The event planner, Peter, is a nice guy. Great personality, knows English well and is a leader, making sure everyone was okay on the hike.

Our first stop was this amazing river called Beishi River. The scenery was so lush and bright green. The water was an extravagant shade of aquamarine and people were paddle boarding. If I could have, I would have stayed there all day soaking up the environment. Instead, it was on to the mountains. Taiwanese drivers can be crazy, and I find bus drivers to be the worst. The way that they handle the twists and turns of the hills with reckless abandonment, I found myself saying, “God, you with us? We might need you.” This drive was definitely not for people who can get sick.  

 

The scenery took my breath away as I stepped off the bus and into the vast greenery of the mountains. It reminded me of my time in Peru.  I couldn’t help but think of the shaman class I’m taking and how important and influential the mountains are. I noticed there were rows and rows of little trees. Our leader told us that they grow tea up here because the climate is just right for the plant. As we began our hike up the mountain, I noticed that everyone took their time, stayed back, and supported others who needed a break. My Shaman teacher, Puma, told me in the Andes a leader is someone who’s not in the front but is in the back encouraging and lifting others up, making sure everyone ends up at the finish line together.

I’ve been on a couple of Taiwanese hikes and never asked how much longer we have to go. Lol. They will say only a short distance, but that doesn’t correlate with reality. Ten minutes longer really means thirty minutes. I felt so blessed to experience nature, learn and see things that I couldn’t see in the States. The Rolling Hills and the tea plantations have such a majestic appearance. It seems like the perfect place to grow tea: Mountainous terrain, much rain, good soil, and it’s close to water. On my hike up the mountain, I talked to this Taiwanese woman named Jenny. She told me some of the history of this area in Taiwan. She said in Pinglin, not the popular Oolong tea, but a tea called Baozhong tea was brought to Taiwan 100 years ago from China. After sightseeing and taking pictures, it was time to go into old Pinglin to eat.  


Tea is their way of life in this quaint little town and this was evident as we strolled through the streets. Most things sold have tea in them, and the neighborhood’s decor included teapot statues and lamps And that lit up the sidewalk. By the time we arrived at the restaurant, everyone was hungry.  It was a tiny restaurant and the owners were so happy to see our big group arrive. The food was all local produce farmed in the area. It was nice to have some authentic organic and see a variety of greens besides romaine lettuce. The owner brought bowl after bowl of sweet potatoes, radish cakes, kale, cabbage, chicken soup, and noodles cooked in tea. After we ate, I bought a box of local tea and can’t wait to try it. Overall, a fantastic weekend of meeting new people while exploring new parts of Taiwan.  

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Adventures abound on the east coast of Taiwan

Jobs fill your pockets, but adventures fill your soul

This blog post is dedicated to the people who lost their lives in the train crash yesterday. They were looking forward to going on vacation and spending time with family. Instead, some were injured, while others lost their lives. Prayers sent to everyone impacted. RIP

 

Four-day break and it couldn’t come at a better time. My friends and I headed to Eastern Taiwan, to a town called Yilan. Driving is always an adventure here, especially when you can’t read the road signs. We arrived at the highway, only to see the police there. They basically were saying, “No, go another way” I forgot, but on holidays you can only travel during certain hours on the highway.  

 

My thoughts

  • Oh shit! 
  • Ok, Dawn, follow the traffic.   
  • To the mountains we go. 

The scary part is when you are driving with no cars to follow. The first time that I stopped, an old Taiwanese man tried to help.  He got me a little further.  At the second stop, a young gentleman knew a little bit of English.  He was able to navigate us through the mountains and onto our destination.  A three hour drive turned into five hours.  Lesson learned- Check the highway closures before a road trip.

Finally, we arrive at our destination!  My friend wanted to get a pedicure, so off we went.  She found this place called Candy’s. I thought to myself, “No way this place is open.” I sent a line message to the owner and then thought, “Dawn, just ring the bell.”  Slowly, the door opens and out comes this cute young woman with all these kids. Thank God my friend Jamila knows some Chinese.  Let the negotiations begin!! This woman was trying to sell us numerous things, but I wanted to keep it simple. After many conversations, we finally settled on a price.  After the long drive, I was just happy to sleep on a comfy chair.  


Before this trip, I went to the dentist for tooth pain. He put me on anti-biotics and I was hoping that it didn’t impact my trip. I was feeling the effects of a stressful drive and tooth pain. After my appointment, I went back to the hotel to relax.  I spent much of the night trying to find medication for a headache and Hydrogen Peroxide.  One was successful, while the other, not so much. The pharmacist had Hydrogen Peroxide, but it looked like a concentrated dose that shouldn’t be put in your mouth.  I just had to laugh through the pain. 

Woke up today, ready to hit the beach. I’ve been looking forward to meditating at the beach for some time. I drove to Neimei Beach and it did not disappoint. The drive was excellent, navigating through the winding streets of the fishing village.  Seeing all the fishing boats and the merchants selling seafood on the sidewalks reminded me of home. As I approached the parking lot, I saw a statue, Guanyin guarding the beach. Always a good sign for me.

To see the luscious green mountains as the backdrop to the beach was so breathtaking. This beach is different than anything that I’ve seen in Taiwan.  


The sand is dark, and the rocks are flat and tiny. As I sat down, closed my eyes and meditated, the sounds of the sea hit differently than home. I took deep breaths in and out as I noticed this new sound. What was this? It was almost like a wooshing sound. 


I opened my eyes to the waves crashing against the rocks and as the water retreated into the ocean, it rubbed against the rocks making this sound. Sitting there in silence, I focused less on my pain and more on this sound, feeling grateful for experiencing the ocean from a different side of the world.

The sea is my home!

The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one and its net of wonder forever- Jacque Cousteau.

I only scratched the surface on how the ocean impacts my life with the last post. I grew up in a community where the sea was a way of life. It provided some of my family members with a way to make a living. From fishermen to scallopers, familiar faces would go out on trips for weeks and put grueling work in treacherous conditions.


These jobs are not for the faint of heart. The physical toll put on your body is not only harmful but dangerous. These trips leave no matter the weather. Every year, I would read in the paper that someone was lost at sea. We have a church at home called Seamen’s Bethel, and in it are names of ocean adventurers lost at sea that date back to the whaling days.

Some of the stories told in the novel Moby Dick were written about New Bedford, Massachusetts, and include this church.

Two years ago on Christmas, I had a terrific conversation with my cousin’s son. He’s in his early twenties and is a scalloper on a boat. He explained to me some of the jobs that he has had on the ship. At first, you are given the jobs that no one wants to do. If you survive the first couple of trips, you move up to more manageable work. Many people go into the industry because it’s a very lucrative job without going to college. He’s been able to buy a house for his mom, a boat, and a new truck. He told me it’s not really about the money; he loves being on the ocean. He feels the most peace and tranquility on the water. Whenever he can, he’s back on the boat.  Home isn’t being on land but the water.   

This conversation has been on my mind because this has been how I’m feeling. I need to be near the water for peace of mind.  If I go some time without sitting and meditating by the ocean, I am off-balanced emotionally.  I was hoping to go home this summer, but with two quarantines and having to pay for Covid tests, it’s not feasible. 


The homesick feelings have surfaced, knowing that I can’t go home and enjoy what summer has to offer. I’ve been trying to look at the positive aspects of being here. Next week we have a long weekend, so I’ll be off to Eastern Taiwan, Waio Beach.  

Água é vida

-Be the ever-changing wave that expands, flows and carries within an eternal ocean of love- Roxana Jones

The ultimate blessing- Growing up near the ocean. From the age of six or seven, I remember going to the beach. Every summer, my mom would take us to Round Hill where we would have swimming lessons in the ocean, no matter the weather. On cold days, we would slowly move our bodies towards the murky Atlantic Ocean. In August, the jellyfish would arrive and we would try to navigate our bodies to avoid the creatures at all costs while trying to swim.  

 

As I got older, the ocean still played a massive part in my life, but now I could decide when to go. I often would drive with friends to local beaches and enjoy being in the fresh air. When I went to college, this behavior didn’t change. I just rented summer places near the ocean. Some of my friends were lifeguards down in Cape Cod and I would go with them to work. Thank God they didn’t have to save anyone after the huge parties we had many nights. Lol. I thought I would always have access to the ocean, but that wasn’t always the case where I lived.

I remember the first time feeling landlocked when I lived in DC.  What an awful feeling. The ocean gave me such peace; being so far away was frustrating.

The ocean has always been like a relative wrapping their arms around me when I needed to be comforted. It’s where I drove to after finding out about 9/11 and when I found out friends and my ex passed away. It was the only place I could go to let myself grieve after my grandmother crossed over.

 

Over the past four years, I’ve evolved spiritually and noticed that my bond with the ocean has only grown stronger. My connection makes sense since I’m a water sign and Neptune is in my fourth house.

  • Neptune- Ruler of the sea
  • 4th house- home/inner life

 

I began to meditate at the ocean and what a game-changer! I could sit and quiet my mind like nowhere else. Answers came to me and many life decisions began to take shape. I would go to the ocean two to three times a week, whether snow, rain, or sun, and watched as the seasons changed. It’s so fascinating how the sea and the animals adapt to the conditions. My favorite time at the beach is in April or May, just before the tourists invade. I would sit in silence and observe Osprey diving into the water with such force to grab fish. The boats still docked, gave one a clear view of the opening to the vast ocean.

Once covid hit, I began to teach classes at home. This time allowed me to go to the beach, which I took full advantage of. It truly became my safe space, in a country that didn’t feel safe at that moment. Until the time I left for Taiwan, I continued to go to my little spot on the beach where no one ventured.

 

Upon moving to Taiwan, I was consumed with adjusting to a different world and the beach took a backseat to my life. I feel like my mental health continues to be impacted by my lack of time ner the water. The beach is a  2 1/2 hour drive and I’ve been three times since being here. Last week I felt a beach trip was necessary. Even though it was raining, it brought so much life to my soul. The familiarity of that smell of the salt water, the sounds of the powerful waves crashing on the rocks, and my feet in the wet sand made me feel home. I need to get here more often. Thank you. 

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Soul quest… Into the mind!

If we surrendered to Earth’s intelligence, we could rise up rooted like trees
- Rainer Maria Rilke

What a great weekend for a retreat. Living in the city can be trying… from the pollution to the traffic, to all of the people. So overwhelming at times. As soon as I stepped out of the van, a sense of relief took over with the mountain’s energy, which put my mind at ease. 


After getting settled, I started to participate in workshops. As someone who hasn’t found a type of yoga I connect with, I’m not interested in classes. I appreciated that the organizer of the event had workshops in mind, body, and spirit. 

I participated in a series of workshops throughout the day. My favorite one was on essential oils and stress relief. The main reason for this was the presenter. She was hilarious. I love being around people from different cultures. Many cultures are blunt and just get to the point. This woman epitomized that as she let us know what to do versus not to do while cussing along the way. “Rosie, I like this woman!” Her class so informative and gave the participants valuable information. We were able to create our essential oils to bring home, which was great.  

As the day wound down, some amazing acoustic singers starting strumming their guitars and singing. Many different languages from the singers, Spanish, Chinese, and  English. The music fit the group that had joined me on this journey. It’s been nice to connect and meet some spiritual humans. I finally got a chance to meet someone who supported my blog. Such a great, kind soul. I appreciate her company this weekend.

Night time- Cacao ceremony with Leone. I’ve participated in the ceremonies before, so I was excited about this. In the previous ceremonies, I found the cacao so bitter. In this ceremony, the shaman mixed the cacao with rose and other herbs, which gave a sweet taste. The ceremony was beautiful, and it featured concepts I’m learning in my Shaman class. I was able to release some fears and feelings of self-doubt that had crept into my life over the past couple of weeks.

I love mornings and usually wake up early to start my day off right. My fantastic path begins before I even step out of my bed—mediation and affirmations of gratitude. Today, I  decided to take a walk on the Skywalk witness some marvelous views of the sunrise. I feel my name is so fitting for me, Dawn ( 黎明 Liming in Chinese).  

Sometimes I forget to be careful when I do things on my own. I was walking on the sky bridge and noticed that my arms were collecting webs on them as I walked. “Dawn, watch out for spiders.” To be surrounded by butterflies, the sound of birds welcoming us to the new day, and the river flowing is a true blessing—the silence of humans, yet the joyous sounds of nature.

 

After breakfast, I was able to talk to Leone, the shaman who ran the cacao ceremony. She’s been traveling to the jungles of Peru for years and learning their wisdom.  It was nice to share with someone who truly understands some experiences others may not.  

 

While it was nice to be at a retreat, I find myself not relating to a certain kind of energy anymore. While most of the people were kind, I notice specific energies. I haven’t been around a group of people since covid-19, and I find I recognize more when people have a low frequency. Everyone is trying to figure out this thing called life, and for some of the people that I saw at the retreat, my prayers are sent to them. I’m thankful for this opportunity and all of the hard work put into making this retreat great. I sincerely thank all of those who organized this event to make it a great weekend.

Saturdays with the fam!

Family- Life’s greatest blessing, a group that dreams, laughs, plays, and loves together. Those of whom you can always count on. Ever present, not only in the good times. Most precious gift ...

I look at the clock, 3:30 p.m. on a Saturday. Then look at a picture of myself, my grandmother (I call her vovoa’- means grandmother in Portuguese), my mom, brother, cousins, and nieces. Saturdays have always been family days. From the time I can remember, my mom would bring us to my vovoa’s or my aunt’s house every Saturday afternoon. 

My earliest memories are at my vovoa’s house. My uncles aren’t that much older than myself, and I can remember them getting forced to babysit us. We would all go to Saint Joseph’s Church to play in the parking lot. LOL. They were not too happy with it. I also remember them taking us sledding and almost going into a busy street at Brooklawn Park.


 I think the funniest moment was the time we went four-wheeling with my uncle Steve’s brand new truck and he hit a tree. “Don’t tell your grandmother!”

After my uncles had their own family, we found ways to be entertained. There was a pool table downstairs that we used and would play outside. Then my aunt moved next door to my grandmother so we would see her much more.

I don’t know if it’s a Portuguese thing, but families I knew lived close together. Most of my family lived right next to each other. My grandmother lived on the first floor, my Uncle Mike second floor, my uncle Steve third floor, and aunty Kathy, the next apartment over.

As I got older, we began shopping on Saturdays with my vovoa’, cousins, and aunt. My grandmother always liked shopping and going to the mall. I don’t know exactly when it began, but we started to go for coffee at Dunkin Donuts (A coffee shop that began in New England). Every week we would sit and talk about events going on. My vovoa’ would love to tell us gossip. Speaking on the phone, gossip, and being the neighborhood watch where her favorite activities.

 

I grew up and moved around the country, but I would do Saturdays at vovoas’ chatting over coffee whenever I was home.  For the last four or five years of her life, I felt blessed to be home and experience being around her more often. I cherish these memories so much. As she aged, her mobility impacted her getting in and out of the car. We still tried every Saturday to go out. If she didn’t feel like leaving the house, we would bring the coffee to her.

 

Due to her not being able to care for herself, my grandparents were placed in a nursing home. Every Saturday, we went to the nursing home and brought her coffee. As the days went by, my grandmother developed dementia, but her spirit still shined and she always could make me laugh.

She passed away in July 2019  and Saturdays became my most challenging day of the week. I miss her presence. With moving to Taiwan, I’ve been busy, usually traveling on the weekends. When I’m at home on Saturdays, I think about coffee Saturdays and how I miss them. Today is one of those days where I’m missing home and the simple things it can bring. I miss being able to go to the store and read labels, going to my favorite restaurant, and driving without scooters on the road. Don’t get me wrong, I love Taiwan and feel blessed to be here, especially during this time of Covid.  At times, I do yearn for the particular comforts of home, and this is one of those days. 

Vovoa’- I lit the candle for you like you used to do for me every time I traveled. You would only put it out once I arrived to my destination safely. I love you!  Until we meet again.  

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