Lessons From The Jungle (Part 3) - EP 013

pleasure & profits podcast Mar 07, 2024


In this episode I share Part 3 of the lessons and reflections from my recent retreat in the Costa Rican rainforest. The retreat focused on the Art of Attention and a deep and reverent connection to nature. It was held at a location that is stewarded by a loving and thoughtful staff – a love that beautifully permeates everything.

Over the course of my time in Costa Rica, including three days in San Jose, before flying home, I received so many messages and lessons and reflections, that I’ve decided to share them with you in this 3 episode series.

Listen in for Lessons 9 through 12 in this episode, and be sure to check out Episodes 10 & 11 for the first two parts of this series.


This episode includes lessons 9 through 12:

Lesson 9: We don’t have to go it alone
Lesson 10: Fear & excitement often feel the same
Lesson 11: There is magic in unplanned moments
Lesson 12: The choice is yours



  • Choose excitement over fear when faced with opportunities for growth.
  • Embrace unplanned moments and find joy in the unexpected.
  • Remember that you have the power to choose how you navigate difficult situations.


Episode Chapters

00:00 - Introduction to Lessons from the Jungle

01:29 - Lesson 9: We don't have to go it alone

09:32 - Lesson 11: The magic of unplanned moments

12:31 - Lesson 12: The choice is yours

13:44 - Conclusion


I hope you enjoy and be sure to check out Episodes 10 & 11 for the first two parts of this series



Pleasure & Profits Podcast, Episode 10 - Lessons From The Jungle (Part 1) 

Pleasure & Profits Podcast, Episode 11 - Lessons From The Jungle (Part 2) 

Pleasure & Profits Podcast, Episode 3 - Learning to Listen with Rochelle Schieck

Angharad Picton, Astrologer & Qoya Teacher

Sacred Rebels Oracle Deck, by Alana Fairchild


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Episode Transcript

Hello and welcome to Pleasure & Profits, I’m your host Rachel Anzalone and once again, that was the sound of the Costa Rican rainforest because this is part 3 of a series I’m calling Lessons from the Jungle. This is the final episode in this series. 

Some weeks ago I had the pleasure of spending a week in the jungle on a Qoya Inspired Movement retreat. As often happens, there were so many insights that came from this time away from day to day life, in a place so connected to nature, with time and spaciousness to listen to myself and to the messages nature has to share. 

What was intended to be a single episode sharing these insights, has grown into 3. As I said, this is the final episode in the series. If you haven’t listened to Episode 10 or Episode 11, that’s where you’ll find part one and part two, and be sure to check out Episode 3 where I’m in conversation with Rochelle Schieck, the brilliantly skilled facilitator of the retreat I attended and founder of the movement practice that has been so informative to the way I work with clients and to my own way of being in the world for the past 9 years.

In episode 10, I covered lessons 1 through 4. In episode 11, I covered lessons 5 through 8.

And now I’m going to pick up here with Lesson #9. I hope you enjoy. 


Lesson #9: We don’t have to go it alone. 

On the second full day of the retreat, I found myself consumed by the watery emotions of an experience that is both deeply personal and also, I believe, widely shared. I won’t get into the details of it here - maybe I will someday down the road when I have a clearer perspective. On this day though, I found myself fully enveloped in a brew of emotions, dancing between hopefulness and grief, sadness and desire, appreciation and loss. As sunset was nearing, I sat on a piece of driftwood on the beach watching the sky change and breathing in the ocean air, trying desperately not to drown in the flood of emotions I was feeling. 

Passing by me, Rochelle paused and we had a light exchange, probably something about the sky or the surf,  but intuitively she could tell something was weighing on my heart. She sat down, put her arm around me and I began to cry. I shared with her all of the things I was feeling, including a sense of needing to find an answer, some resolution in order to be okay, and also the feeling that there was no answer to be had. She listened and held space while I let the emotions flow.

And then she said, “Have you asked the ocean for help?” 

I had not. 

“Maybe that’s a good place to start.”

A few minutes later, she went on her way to join our companions for a sunset swim. 

I made my way down to the water, away from the crowd, dropped to my knees and laid my soul bare to the ocean. I told her everything I’d just shared with Rochelle, and then some. I told her that I did not have the answers to my questions, but that I trusted she did. I asked for her support and guidance. And then, in a bold move, I handed the entire situation over to her. I told her I trusted her to know what’s best for me and for all involved and that I was ready to release my small, overly-human attempt to control the outcome. 

A sense of relief, of letting go, of loosening my grip, came over me. I took a deep breath, looked down, and there, right in front of me was a live sand dollar making its way across the sand near shoreline. If you’ve never seen a live sand dollar before - I don’t think many of us have… I saw my first one at another beach in Costa Rica a few years before - they look just like the no longer living ones we’re all familiar with, but instead of white they’re a reddish brown, and they have tiny legs all around their bodies that they use to move an bury themselves down in the sand.

One of the women in the group was nearby with her young daughter, so I scooped up the sand dollar and carried it over to show them. We went down by the water where I could rinse it off and show her how it buried itself into the sand. Within a moment she reached down into the sand and found ANOTHER SAND DOLLAR! alive and well. She said she would add a drawing of the sand dollar to the journal she was keeping of all the animals and bugs she saw on this trip.    

In case you’re wondering, sand dollar symbolizes transformation, rebirth, prosperity, spiritual growth, and awakening.

I took this all as a message from the ocean that my message was received and I that I could comfortably release what had been occupying so much of my energy for such a long while. 

The ocean was telling me that she had my back. 


Lesson #10 - Fear and excitement often feel the same.

On Tuesday night, after the spectacular breathwork session I talked about in Episode 11, I woke up in the middle of the night to a torrential rain storm. Being in the jungle, surrounded by giant leaves, and in an open air bungalow, it was deafeningly loud! I felt like I was inside a waterfall. I laid there listening to thousands of big fat raindrops landing on big flat leaves all around me. It was exhilarating! There was no going back to sleep until this was over.

Once it finally began to wind down, there was the rhythmic drip of the residual water making its way off of my roof onto the leaf-covered ground. Desperate for sleep, I finally popped in my headphones, switched them to the noise canceling mode and went back to sleep, forgoing my morning meditation to make up for the middle of the night lost hours. 

Later that morning, as we began our Qoya Inspired Movement class, I pulled a card from the Sacred Rebels Oracle deck and laughed when I saw the image and the message it held. The picture was a big snowy owl, in front of a full moon, and the writing on the card said ”After The Storm” 

Here’s a snippet of what I found on the accompanying pages: 

“There’s a thunderstorm about. It is either headed your way or just passing through now. Don’t make a thunderstorm mean more than what it is though. You don’t have to fear it. You might even feel excited about it. After all, a thunderstorm is just nature’s way of gathering energy together that needs to be released. With a release of tension, relief and freedom soon follow, often with a fresh perspective and perhaps the gift of a promising hopeful vision for your future. You don’t have to fear it. You might even feel excited about it.”


In episode 10 I shared about my experience at the sacred waterfall 2 days before this rainstorm. I shared that I felt called to climb up onto the rocks and feel the water coming down on my face and body. That experience took my breath away, a bit like a cold plunge, and I recognized in that moment, in that experience, that this feeling was familiar  -  a mix of fear, excitement and exhilaration. 

It reminded me of another waterfall, one that I had become intimately familiar with a few years before, when I ventured to rappel down it. Getting pounded in the face with ice cold water while suspended 100 feet in the air from a rope, feet pressed against the slippery rocks… I remember the intensity of the fear and the excitement in those moments as well. 

“You don’t have to fear it. You might even feel excited about it.”

Fear and excitement feel so similar. Perhaps it’s all about how you view the experience you’re in at the time. Fear and excitement are words that describe emotions, but the physical sensations are so similar, sometimes identical. 

The difference is that when we choose fear we shrink and hide and when we choose excitement we are propelled forward. 

By no means am I an adrenaline junkie. At least not compared to some people I know. But I am fairly comfortable with a pretty significant amount of risk. More, I think than the average person. 

And what I know about being comfortable with risk is that it requires a significant amount of trust. 

Trust in yourself to be able to work things out, no matter what happens. 

Trust in a higher power that they’re holding you and won’t let you fall. 

Trust in a universe where we are one with all that exists. 

Trust that there’s always a favorable outcome and a next right opportunity coming our way. 

Trust in our ability to partner with the universe to create the outcome we desire, or something better still.  

My question for you is this: 

When you feel that sensation of adrenaline rising, heart rate increasing, breath intensifying… 

Can you choose the emotion that leads you forward, allows you to expand? Can you choose to be propelled forward instead of shrinking away? 

Knowing that excitement and fear can feel very much the same, when faced with an opportunity for growth and expansion, can you choose EXCITEMENT over fear?

But perhaps more importantly, WILL you choose excitement over fear? 


Lesson #11 - The magic of unplanned moments.

On the afternoon of our closing ceremony, we made our way down the mountain and onto the beach, where the most beautiful arrangements had been made for us. 

There were mocktails and snacks, a tent for lounging, complete with bean bag chairs, another tent with a long and low dining table set in preparation for our dinner. In between those tents was a DJ and a beachy dance floor, really an open air section of sand with lights and a disco ball strung up from the trees above. And at the far end of the spread, there was a circle of seats placed around a ready to light pile of wood. 

For a couple of hours after arriving we lounged in the shade and bathed in the sun listening to the beats the DJ was laying down, accompanied by the live music his partner was providing. We swam in the ocean and watched the sun go down. When it was time, we dried ourselves off, and cleaned ourselves up as much as we could in the sandy sticky state we were in. 

While we were waiting for dinner to be served, the dance floor began to fill. It was a hot and sweaty beach dance party. 

And then it started to rain. 

Rather than deterring us, the rain seemed to ignite us! 

And we danced and we danced in the rain on the beach with the disco lights in the most magical of unplanned moments of pure enjoyment. Pure freedom. Pure pleasure. Looking around at the joy-filled faces of the women around me, bare feet in the sand, rain soaked hair and clothes, moving their bodies to the music, I thought - ‘there’s no way this moment could have been orchestrated by any mortal. Only the divine could create this magic. Or this group of soulful women partnering with the divine.’  

It’s in moments like these where things don’t quite go to plan, where things teeter on the verge of chaos, where we release expectations and just go with the momentum of the moment that the most profound experiences can happen. 

We danced until the very, very final moments when the staff finally said they couldn’t wait any longer to serve our dinner and we had to wrap it up.

As the DJ played the final song, he and his musician companion, expressed so much gratitude and told us how happy it made them to see us dance and to really enjoy the music and the beach. 

And I wondered how many retreat groups they had played for who, instead of letting loose and embracing the experience, stood around chit-chatting like tweenagers at a jr. highschool dance. And how many would have been upset at the rain and ran to hide under the tents instead of throwing themselves even more into the experience. 

We expressed our deep gratitude to them for creating this magical atmosphere, where, in partnership with nature, we could embrace the unexpected and just have a fucking fantastic time. 



Lesson #12 - The choice is yours.

A few days after the retreat ended, when I was still ACCIDENTALLY in Costa Rica - that’s a story for another day… 

I was sitting in a cafe with a couple of my fellow accidental tourists, talking about all sorts of things… travel, family, business, astrology, how happy we all were to be eating meat after a week at a vegan retreat center… 

When one of the women, a brilliant and talented Welsh astrologer, Qoya teacher and coach named Angharad Picton casually said the most profound thing. I scribbled it down immediately and read it back to her. 

“I said that?” she laughed. 

You absolutely did, my friend. 

With a tiny bit of editing, (I have 4 signs in Virgo after all) here’s what she said: 

Sometimes the ocean is calm and sometimes the ocean is rough. 

When it’s rough, you get to make the choice: 


Either ride the waves

Or dive underneath them and come up the other side

OR, you can stand in place and get pummeled by them

The choice is yours. 


I hope you enjoyed these lessons from the Jungle. 

I’m so grateful and feel incredibly blessed to have had the opportunity to travel to Costa Rica almost every year since 2016. It really is one of the most beautiful places in the world, both in the experience of nature and in the love and joy that the people of Costa Rica bring to everything they do. Whenever I’m there it’s an opportunity to connect more fully with nature, with myself, and with the people I find myself surrounded by. 

And I’m so incredibly grateful that I get to share these experiences with you here. Thank you, thank you, thank you for listening. 

Until next time, I’m wishing you even more pleasure & profits. I’ll see you soon. 

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