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How Dreams and Divine Guidance Led Me To Costa Rica & The Love Of My Life

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Hey Everyone! Over the next few days I'm going to be getting a bit personal and sharing how Dreams and Divine Guidance led me through a divorce and to a new life in Costa Rica. I've shared my story before in an Amazon bestseller travel diary (not in print anymore) but the esoteric details (psychics, goddess dreams, shamans, etc.) have never been shared publicly before.

First, you can get the short version of the story by listening to my interview on my friend Barbara's podcast: Clean Food, Dirty Stories-- I love the crazy-but true stories Barbara features on her podcast and I'm honored to be included.

Second, this is a multi-part series. If you want to follow along you can click here to be added to a special email list where I will update you everyday with the new segment. You can also follow along via your favorite RSS reader (I love Bloglovin') and/or via Instagram where I'll be posting daily updates to the story.

Third, these posts will be longer than usual and longer than standard-blog posts. Grab a cup of tea or a glass of wine and settle in. . .


Part 1: Divorce


Within divorce there comes a moment when you have to say goodbye—a moment that begins as a moment between husband and wife and ends as a moment with “someone I used to know.” Before I became a divorcée I used to wonder, what’s that moment feel like? It must be the saddest moment in time and space. Is it a moment that you’re aware of as it’s happening—a final kiss, a final silence, a final slam—or does it slip by unmarked? Only realized and appreciated in hindsight? Is hindsight the only way you can live through that moment?

Now that I’m on the other side of divorce, I can tell you that the answer to those questions, like all complicated, tricky questions, is: yes. And: it depends.

For me the moment happened at the Madrid-Barajas International Airport. My husband and I had been living in Madrid for a year. I had taken a hiatus on my Master’s degree from the University of New Mexico and he was getting his career in chiropractic started by working for an American expat in Madrid. Both of us had long harbored dreams of living abroad and it seemed as if they were finally coming true. The only problem: we’d sacrificed our marriage to get there. Joel (not his real name) had gone to grad school in Iowa and I had gone to grad school in New Mexico. It wasn’t the distance that killed us so much as the fact that we were both growing and changing rapidly in light of our exposure to new ideas and new people in our respective programs. The distance, however, did mean that we weren’t changing together.

When Joel got the job in Madrid we agreed to move there together and to give our relationship a final go. Our dream of living abroad was finally coming true and we both knew that if we didn’t at least try to live out the dream together we’d always be plagued with ‘what-ifs’. After giving it the ol' college try, however, we wound up withmonths of heartache and struggle behind us and airport security in front of us.

My beautiful, young husband and I said a tearful, swift, and in-denial goodbye in front of airport security; in front of stressed-out fathers; and in front of vacationing Germans. Both of us were silently praying that we’d find a way to make it work; both of us were silently praying that we wouldn’t.

When it came time to say goodbye, Jowl bent his head towards mine, barely brushing my lips with his and then pushed himself away from me, as if he knew it was now or never. He walked away and I crumbled. My heart leapt out of chest, chasing after him. Silently pleading for him to turn around and come back. Silently pleading for him to keep walking.

Very confusing thing, divorce is.

The vacationing German woman watched me watch him and her eyes held a little pity and a little envy. From her point of view she was witnessing two young lovers for whom parting was such sweet sorrow. Her eyes tried to reach across the language barrier (or maybe it was the crying-stranger barrier) with a consolatory “Don’t worry hon, you’ll be back from your trip and in his arms again before you know it.”

I wanted to secure her pity and kill her envy by telling her that she’d just witnessed the end of a marriage. Maybe she’d wrap me up in her big German arms and let me cry while consoling me with motherly cooing. But I decided against it. All my German vocabulary could get me was more beer.

I looked back at the receding head of the man who, until 22 seconds ago, had been my husband.

I thought about asking the German woman for more beer anyway.

In the six years of our relationship we’d seen each other through grad school, through familial upheavals, the death of grandparents, a move abroad. Our lives, our goals, our personalities, everything not only complemented the other’s but was a direct result of the influence of the other’s. We’d grown ourselves up together. We’d been a blind date gone horribly, drastically, right.

Until it didn’t anymore. What had attracted us to one another eventually became our downfall: We were both motivated. With clear goals in life and an insatiable curiosity for learning and exploring. We had taken the shared road as far as we could go and now it was becoming a daily struggle to live our lives side by side while still feeling that we were, well, living our lives.

Before we were married, during our marriage ceremony even, my husband and I were showered with all sorts of well-intentioned advice about how to make a marriage work. We were told, even warned, that sometimes love is about sucking it up and sacrificing your desires for the good of the relationship. Sometimes love isn’t easy or even pretty. But love. Ah, love.

So we sucked it up and had some very painful, very soul wrenching, conversations. Together we agreed to sacrifice our relationship for the greater causes we’d each dedicated our lives to. It wasn’t easy and it sure wasn’t pretty. But I do know this:

It was love.

And eight years after that fateful day at the Madrid International Airport, I can honestly say I would do it all over again.

Of course, I hadn't come to the decision to end my marriage lightly. I had had months of up-all-night conversations with myself. I had tearfully tried to express to my friends why I was feeling like it was time to end the marriage. There was nothing "wrong" per se. But it felt like I was at a crossroads: spend your life as "Joel's wife" or step on to your own path and create a life and career as "Darla."

In fact, in searching for the reasons and the gumption to end my marriage (and perhaps I was also searching for permission), I sought out my first ever psychic reading and my first soul retrieval with a Shaman.

I also received extraordinary guidance from my dreams.

1. The Psychic

I shooed my husband out of our Madrid living room and told him I had an international call with my thesis advisor. In reality, I was about to ask a psychic about ending my marriage. I was embarrassed, excited and equal parts skeptical and hopeful. When she called my Madrid landline she confirmed a lot of things I was feeling and confirmed that my guides were encouraging me to let this relationship go. I knew that if I went through with a divorce that I would need something to hold onto for the future, something to focus on, so I asked her about my Master's Degree and some plans I had for it. She told me that she saw me going to Costa Rica for research and that I would meet someone there. Someone who was involved in sustainable living and ecotourism. Someone who didn't mince words and that that trait, specifically, would be good for me. She couldn't predict an exact timeline of course, but sometime in the next three years she felt.

2. The Shaman

The shaman wasn't particularly helpful. Maybe it was me. I didn't know what to expect and I was honestly a bit frightened. Journey work was too new and unfamiliar to me. But she said something that I needed to hear and that I'll never forget: "Darla, you don't need permission to leave your husband."

3. Dream Guidance

Two night later, I woke up from an extraordinary dream. The dream was beautiful and empowering and from the outside it didn't say anything about divorcing my husband, but on the inside, I just knew that this dream was urging me to let go of the relationship. As a Dream Guide and Teacher, let me just say that this is why it is so important to be familiar with your dreams. The subtleties and nuances of dream language can only be picked up on and divined by the dreamer-- no outside interpreter would have deduced the same meaning of the dream.

The dream, which is the direct inspiration for my Patron Goddess meditation, led me through a ritual in which I created Medusa as my patron goddess. But. Medusa told me that her secret name was Medea. And when the patriarchy came for Medusa, they wouldn't get her completely because they wouldn't know that Medusa and Medea were one and the same.

I had never heard of Medea before this dream. Where was I during High School English Lit, I don't know. But I knew the key to this dream lied in the name "Medea" and I knew I was being tasked to research. So I woke up and immediately began my quest. I discovered, as you may already know, that Medea was (is) a demi-goddess and witch/herbal healer who married Jason and helped him obtain the Golden Fleece. At some point, Jason is unfaithful and Medea kills their children for retribution. That's a whole other Thing to unpack, but I found what I was looking for in a scholarly examination of the myth: Medea is quietly known as the patron saint for divorced women. And she was coming to me. In my dreams and alongside her alter-ego, Medusa, the goddess of feminine rage who turns men away.

A week later, I watched my husband's beautiful dark head disappear in the crowd of tourists at Madrid-Barajas International Airport.


Tomorrow we'll continue with Part 2 of my story. Although it's a story of divorce and love at first sight, it's also the story of how dreams and divine guidance came into my life as pillars of my lifestyle and life's work. I hope it encourages and inspires you to also heed your dreams.

You can read more about the Medea/Medusa connection here and you check out the Patron Goddess guided journey inspired by the dream here.

In love and Sacred Darkness,