I’m no Christian but the bible says “Love thy neighbor”. It’s a great lesson to learn, but what if your neighbors are guerilla rebels?
“I sense we will be in Mindanao soon” my intuitive boyfriend, Joemar, told me last year. The very thought gave me a visceral reaction. There was absolutely no way we’d be going there. I had no interest in being in an island they tell you not to go to. “You’ll get kidnapped!” Muslim rebels with the funny MILF acronym that makes me think of something else every time. Terrorist groups. Al-Queda links. With all of the things I’ve heard from other tourists and foreigners, It seemed like a red zone.
I had no idea then, but I would make the decision to move to Mindanao less than 6 months later.
We arrived on the foothills of Mt. Apo with my friend, Julie, and new business partner. In a random twist of events, we had gotten connected online and all of a sudden, impulse or intuition brought her out to see me in the hopes to relocate and become an expat. I recalled my boyfriend’s prophetic insight. We stumbled on a nature co-op and biodynamic farm near the Mindanao jungle that Joemar had already been to and knew the owners well. I already felt like I was home. The tranquil environment felt like a completely safe space.
But hearing the hushed tones about the rebel army slashing the farm’s banana crop, and bullying them into paying fees had me worried. We went to a beautiful hot springs just minutes away uphill and I tried to brush aside our guide who told us a young local had been killed there by the New People’s Army over a personal vendetta. I was scared to take the leap. Was I really crazy enough to move into a vulnerable area? That night, I had nightmares that we were being ambushed while I hid in the attic. I woke up crying and wished there really was an attic.
Beyond that, everything felt so right and I was certain I had seen the space in my dream. I had been here before. Except that I hadn’t. My soul was aligned here. I could live consciously, meditate daily, and volunteer my tech skills toward the local community. The grade school had 10 computers left untouched because the local teachers had no idea how to make use of it. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to provide a better education and give them more options with their future. I felt like I was being called into my soul mission.
Really, Universe? You’re going to put me here in the middle of guerilla territory?? Intuition tells me this is my next path; the perfect place to contribute and be of service. But intuition scares the shit out of me. Our only respite was the co-op; hidden away like some sanctuary. It couldn’t be that bad, I reasoned. Researching online had me thinking I was relatively safe. The rebels have no history of kidnappings or bothering people. Further west was where the real red zone was, and the warnings were mostly overblown. Mindanao isn’t actually as dangerous as everyone and the media has you to believe, and some parts of Mindanao, particularly where we’d be living, are tame.
No, it couldn’t be that bad, I reassured myself.
I’m at my parents house now, in the US for the summer but come September, I’ll be moving to Mindanao and I’m afraid. Not just the rebels (least of all them), but of what this will mean and how this will shift my entire being. Stepping into your soul purpose is the most radical thing you can do because whatever it is, it’s going to be against status-quo.
Stepping into your purpose, in itself, is an act of rebellion.
It means standing in your power. It means living raw, fiery and BOLD.
For me, that means living simply with a native style hut (solar powered, air conditioned and hot water accessible), co-founding an online-based university with our physical space for workshops and retreats, co-founding an alternative healing magazine, writing my first book, meditating daily, eating self-sustainably, inner-work and yoga, and oh, moving to a nature co-op in the rainforest jungle with some seriously bad neighbors!
No sweat. I can “turn the other cheek.” My biblical lessons will only help to accelerate my path to living with intention. I’ve got the best roommates on board; a black belt Filipino martial artist boyfriend and a retired veteran ex-military friend. We’re in this adventure together.
And I’ll finally train to be an expert Filipino martial artist to cross it off my bucket list. I’ll wield sticks like lightsabers and fulfill my Star Wars fantasies.
Living with intention is going to get a lot more real.
I’ve moved cross-continental, I’ve volunteered in the slums of India, I’ve walked 800km in Palawan island, I’ve started a business, but moving to Mindanao will mark a new chapter of my life filled with renewed creativity and unbridled ambition.
Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage ~Anais Nin
This is my fearful adventure.
This post is part of the My Fearful Adventure series, which is celebrating the launch of Torre DeRoche’s debut book Love with a Chance of Drowning, a true adventure story about one girl’s leap into the deep end of her fears.
"Wow, what a book. Exciting. Dramatic. Honest. Torre DeRoche is an author to follow." Australian Associated Press
"… a story about conquering the fears that keep you from living your dreams." Nomadicmatt.com
"In her debut, DeRoche has penned such a beautiful, thrilling story you’ll have to remind yourself it’s not fiction." Courier Mail