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your depth of understanding, and talent at sharing it amaze me. Speechless… and for your sharing of it.. Thank you… deeply. *sigh, its like coming back into my body through acceptance….. Sherrie on space2live
Sherrie
During one of the harder times in my life I found Brenda’s website
and reached out to her. To say the least it has been one of the best
decisions I have made. Being an extrovert I never quite understood
what it meant to romantically involved with an introvert. Brenda does
an incredible job listening, giving in the moment feedback, and helped
me understand the how an introvert functions. She helped explain to me
that I am introspective extrovert, and this gave something to identify
with and allowed me t…
Evan H.
Brenda has truly opened up a space for introverted types on the ‘net, and her self-revelations are always inspiring. Her voice is one I always look forward to. She is one of the writers that actually played a part in my return to writing.  — S.E. of Sunflower Solace Farms
S.E. of Sunflower Solace Farms
That courage and dedication you so generously share with the world, has inspired me to push myself a little harder, persevere at each task a little longer, dig a little bit deeper to where the answers just “feel” right to both my humanity AND my spirit. Your insights have reinforced my direction and given me additional tools that help me clear my path. I’m wired into my creativity as never before and the new music is pouring out of me faster than I can record and produce it; this is the Un…
Gary
This is me. This is me from the day I was born. For so long I felt misunderstood and rejected, even by the people closest to me, because they could never understand my need for solitude, and I had no idea how to explain it to them. Even now that I know more about Introversion and have a more informed understanding of my hard-wired need for solitude, it’s still very difficult sometimes to help my loved ones understand this profound craving for time and space all to myself. This is one of the best…
Sharon
For the first time in my life I could truly explain, through your words the way in which I experience life and myself. Brenda… It all fell into place. I had found myself and had such a moment of clarity. It felt like such a big weight was lifted off of my shoulders. Finally I felt like it was ok to be me. I was not the only one. I had found people and a little space where I fit in. … I was at work and crying on the inside. Emotions ran wild inside me. I was ecstatic, sad, confused, motivated, i…
Niko
You’re so honest in your writing. It’s bold. It’s frank. It’s wonderful. I could definitely see the work you are doing here as a useful book. It could save/make a lot of relationships! — Jimmi Langemo
Jimmi Langemo
I think I want to print out your articles and hand them out as a sort of relationship waiver form. “You want to be my friend?….You are interesting in going out? Here read this first. Sign here to acknowledge that you have read and understand the enclosed material. Thank you.” Seriously. I think it would work. — Guerin Moorman
Guerin Moorman
I have been dating an introverted man who I am very in love with for almost 2 years.  Reading your posts have helped me to be more supportive and understanding to him especially during the times when he needs space.  I just wanted to thank you for your weekly posts and let you know how helpful they are for someone who is in a relationship with an introvert. C.M. on space2live
C.M.
BRENDA: thank you SO much! Your advice is exactly what I need to do. I am amazed how much you “get” me after only exchanging a few messages!… Again, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You’ve helped me more than a year of therapy sessions! – Megan on space2live
Megan

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Noticing Real Paradise

beach Dominican RepublicI’ve been researching and writing about awareness for my upcoming book. My schedule did not allow for time to write a new post this week but as space2live is approaching its sixth year anniversary (February 11), I thought it would be interesting to re-run one of the first pieces I ever wrote. It was originally published on February 21, 2011 as Real Paradise. While re-reading Real Paradise, I noticed how much I noticed while on this long ago trip to ‘paradise’. I was very aware of details, of grit and beauty around me. It made me want to wake up, slow down and become aware again of the extraordinary in every day. I hope this serves as a reminder to you to take note and enjoy it all too.

Much love,

 

 

 

Our tour departed through the gates of our pastel all-inclusive resort and ventured out into the real Dominican Republic.

Our mode of transportation was an open-air diesel truck with ear-splitting brakes.  Our Dominican guide didn’t speak to us the first twenty minutes of the tour.  He focused on the seedy strip of road we traveled.  Our eyes gathered images of buildings guarded by men with shotguns,  street- kids not in school, and lottery booths.  Our ears heard speed bumps (brakes) and our noses smelled exhaust fumes.  The grit of the strip reluctantly delivered us to a Garden of EdenSpacious and green. We passed coconut groves and lone mango trees.  Raul, our guide, came alive and taught us how to tell a coconut tree from a Royal Palm.  A coconut tree’s trunk has a relaxed curve like a child’s belly.

Our first stop was a sugar cane and tobacco farm.  Everyone in our group climbed out of the truck and received a chunk of raw sugar cane to chew on.  The soft woody cane released a sweet syrup as we chewed.  When the syrup was all gone we were left with a wad of insoluble fiber to dispose of discreetly.  Raul said they still harvest sugar cane with machetes because it provides more jobs for the locals.  Hmmm.  I pictured glistening, bare backed men singing in the fields.  Probably slightly more romantic than the real scene.

We climbed back on the truck and drove up a hill to a tobacco shop and souvenir menagerie.  Next to a tent full of painted fluorescent parrots, a buttery brown skinned gentleman introduced us to leathery brown tobacco leaves.  He used a primitive wooden box to roll a cigar.  Fragrances and oils were added to the tobacco to enhance the taste and smoke.  Inside the dim smokeshop we ran sample cigars under our noses and discovered hints of cherry, cinnamon and chocolate.

We drove up into the Oriental Mountain range.  I have never been on a rougher road.  Raul called it a free mechanical massage.  It felt more like a free mechanical bull ride. We drove through a stream and craters that begged to be in a Ford F150 commercial.   Raul jovially introduced the truck’s open bar; a cooler with beer, Coca Cola and Mamajuana (mama-wanna).  Mamajuana is the Dominican drink made from rum, sticks, leaves and honey.  It’s believed to be an aphrodisiac.

Next stop was a farm owned by a woman named Maria.  Maria and her five children entertain visitors on their land where vanilla, cinnamon, cacao, coffee and bananas grow.  The Dominican version of an apple orchard.  I wondered if visitors to the U.S. find soybeans and corn exotic.  We watched as Maria wiggled her hips, sang and smashed coffee beans with a giant stone pestle.  We sat on wooden benches and drank pure brewed coffee in little glass mugs as the sun winked and flirted through palm leaves.  The farm workers placed ground cacao beans mixed with raw sugar in the palms of our hands.  We ate the mixture in small pinches, tasting it deeply. I threw back a shot of Mamajuana.  I didn’t feel any of its magical powers, but I did fall a little in love with the whole scene.

We drove back down the mountain (same road) and pulled up to a corner.  Two Dominican women sat chatting in the doorway of a rundown shack.  An Indian woman behind me noted how the Dominicans seem to really enjoy lifeThey take time to sit and talk.  I nodded knowing the heavenly feeling of a good conversation.  Another woman piped up, Well, I get anxious if I have too much free time.  Even when I go to sleep my mind is just going and going.

Several Dominicans gathered around our truck. We were told not to give the locals money but some of the others passed out bags of airline peanuts to the  children.  A seventeen or eighteen year old girl with dewy black skin approached our truck carrying two semi-naked babies, one on each hip.  She just stood and smiled.  A flower by the side of the road.  I had a feeling the tour truck was part of her daily routine.  As we drove away, she walked back to her tin home.  I watched as she picked up one of the toddlers by the arm.

Later in the drive, a moonfaced man ran along side our truck waving his arms above his head shouting Hola!  He seemed so happy to see us, like a seven-year old chasing the ice cream truck.

Our last stop was a private beach for tour companies.  From a distance it was breathtaking; aquamarine waves kissing the feet of a rocky cliff, playing coy with the sand.  Up close the white sand was littered with bottle caps and beach hustlers.   I spread a towel on the warm soft sand, grateful to be off the jarring truck.  I watched a stray dog nose her way along the beach.

As we departed, I noticed a dirty old Kawasaki parked under a  palm tree.  Behind it, the pink sun dipped its toe into the light blue water.  It struck me as the perfect image to capture the essence of the real Dominican Republic; unnatural grime balanced by natural beauty.

 

 

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7 Comments

  1. […] If this post spoke to you, you might also like Real Paradise.:) […]

  2. Elizabeth February 24, 2011 at 9:00 am - Reply

    Such a vivid picture, Brenda. I felt like I was around for the trip. Thanks for sharing your world in such a masterful way!!!

    • brennagee February 24, 2011 at 9:38 am - Reply

      Awww. Thanks Elizabeth! It’s a pleasure to share it with you. Thanks for reading.:)

  3. Dad February 21, 2011 at 12:37 pm - Reply

    Hey Bren….loved the story….and can’t wait to hear more when we see you later this week….Heard you got socked with another blizzard (so did we)….just when the snow had almost disappeared!

    • brennagee February 22, 2011 at 8:58 am - Reply

      Can’t wait to see you! It’s a winter wonderland here.:)

  4. allwaysunmended February 21, 2011 at 12:34 pm - Reply

    What a wonderful post, Brenda! Thank you for bringing me along on your vacation … I could almost taste the salty ocean air!

    • brennagee February 22, 2011 at 8:58 am - Reply

      Thanks for reading Jess. I appreciate your writer’s opinion.:)

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