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Date Published: March 29, 2012

My first trip to Colombia emerged from the desire to visit a close friend who recently moved down to Bogota. What I didn’t anticipate was that unexpected experiences would be the memories I would treasure the most.

The asphalt was rough and cold. I saw her paralyzed on the street corner surrounded by police motorcycles, which were parked there in an effort to fence off the traffic. The white neck brace and her bare feet were clear indications that she needed assistance. Our afternoon plans quickly vanished into oblivion as I left my friends behind and walked over to the scene guided by an invisible energy. The policeman explained that she had been hit by a bicycle and that an ambulance was on it’s way.

I realized that the temperature was dipping as I felt a chill even bundled in my mid-season coat. The policemen wore warm one piece suits to ride their motorcycles but she lied there exposed to the weather in black slacks and a thin sweater. Immediately, I took my coat off and, as I placed it on her body, her eyes found mine. Her name was Alba, a gentle colombian woman, probably in her sixties. I could sense her anxiety as she looked at me with open alert eyes, wanting information as to what was going on. I told her calmly that the ambulance was on it’s way.

Her son arrived at the scene, parked his car by the sidewalk and walked up seeming slightly disconnected. He asked his mother what had happened but couldn’t open up to support her. The paramedic explained that she hurt her hip and her right knee was swollen, and expressed his concern that one leg seemed longer than the other. I contributed that it’s almost always that way to calm the son whose eyes were beginning to orbit. Instinctively, I came down to sit next to her and started performing Reiki on both inflicted areas. I imagined Reiki Master Lorraine Meyer feeling proud she taught me how to heal by channeling Universal energy through my hands. A few men around me wanted to know where I was from and I explained I had just landed at midday from Miami, I was simply a tourist. “You came just in time to help out!”, one of them told me.

Time ticked and anxiety mounted, her son distracted himself chatting with my friends, and I moved closer to talk to her. Her eyes quivered with fear. “I hope it doesn’t start to rain”, she confessed to me. “It would be God blessing you”, I offered and she smiled back. Rush hour noises zoomed in her head making her injured body tense as she imagined that anyone could run her over, again. I explained that a secure barrier had been set up. I put my hands over her face and then her ears, sending her warmth and peace. “Why isn’t the ambulance coming?!”, she asked in despair. An accident with a school bus full of children and heavy traffic was creating the delay.

During those forty-five minutes we waited, night fell on us. I remained warm in my thin shirt thanks to the energy flowing through my body. The ambulance arrived with whirling lights and a sharp siren; as they set her on a stretcher her son promised to contact me when the doctors had seen her. A few days later he called to thank me and shared that his mom was at home, bruised, but in overall good conditions. If someone asked me what I would have loved to do that afternoon, without hesitation, I would chose to come down to that street to be there again. I felt blessed by being able to make her wait more bearable.

A breathtaking nature walk in the mountains of Bogota? The idea of guerrillas and armed forces, kidnappings and fear had wiped that peaceful adventure as a possibility from my all-embracing mind. Then, I learned that the city had dramatically changed in terms of security so that next morning, I accepted the invitation and the second memorable experience materialized.

We parked the car on a residential street and found our way down slippery steps, through a graffiti filled tunnel and out to the other side where the access to the mountain was controlled by a gate: it would be open until 10 am. By then, it was already past 9 am and most people were coming down the path with blissful smiles on their faces. They had accomplished their mission. What I imagined to be a short walk turned out to be a two and a half hour immersion into the rain forest. Our restricted exit was a distant consideration.

I found it delightful to be surrounded and breathing in the fresh air surrendered by this magnificent forest. We found a secret path tickled by a creek and made our way back to the main path after jumping over flowing waters and stepping warily on slimy rocks. Delicate pink bell flowers, ferns growing on rocks, lush trees, napping trunks, birds soaring above. As we climbed higher and higher, our lungs felt the altitude and our legs trembled lightly with fatigue. We made it to the pine tree forest with a thick carpet of dry needles below it. Up a ledge and then… the view of the city spread out below us. Standing beside us at this panoramic site, the statue of the Virgin blessed Bogota.

As we turned to start our trek back to reality, thick drops from heaven began to fall on us. Soon, it turned into a heavy curtain of rain and my descent continued in silence, walking down ahead at my own rhythm, the beat of my heart. Coming down: us, the rain, the blessings. A stream formed on my head where my hair parts and water trickled playfully down my face. The forest smelled raw, humid and alive. Each step required my full attention to avoid falling and so it became a kind of meditation. Few thoughts distracted my peaceful trance.

When we got close to the gate, a group was walking back up again; they explained we had to walk around to another exit which wasn’t far away. That passageway was also closed but we found a way to squeeze our way out. Had we limited ourselves fearing we would be locked inside, we would have missed out on this unforgettable experience.

Every single person who gave me tips recommended going to Andres Carne de Res, a restaurant and entertainment venue with endless attention to detail and youthful energy. We visited the colonial part of town, Museo Botero, ate at surprisingly trendy restaurants and bars, explored flower and vegetable markets, among other interesting destinations. Visiting all those places gave us a rich sense of the city; a trip would not be complete without appreciating its verdant nature.

On the flight back home I reflected on my four day escape to a new Latin American destination. I acknowledged the power of true friendship in remaining intact in spite of time and space. The experiences reinforced my understanding that by letting life flow, being alert, and dropping fear… we can live fully. We logged out from our own programming. In that opening of the heart, the joy of life rushed in. The blessings came down.

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