BORED in ECUADOR: What I Did To Deal With It

Rainforest: Ecuador

Rainforest: Ecuador

Ok I’ll admit it. I’ve had many times in the last four months when I’ve gone into a hairpin turn and become really, really, REALLY bored here. I thought that living full time in Ecuador was going to bring me total peace and tranquility. Serenity at the very least.

I thought Ecuador was going to be the place where I finally healed my body completely and for the first time in my life allowed my mind to totally rest.

Wasn’t that the point of all this? I was taking a period to TOTAL TIME OFF after all wasn’t I?

Imagine My Surprise

Imagine my surprise when I found myself struggling with capital B, BOREDOM!

 I’m. Sooooo. Boooooooored!

I have to laugh when I read that last sentence. Remember how your parents would react when as a kid you whined, “I’m sooooo boooooooored!” They’d shake their heads and say, “How can you possibly be bored? Go outside and play?!!!” Then you’d be shooed out the door.

Well I wondered that myself as I heard my fathers voice in my head as I sat on my balcony looking at the beautiful Pacific Ocean,

“What is wrong with you? How could you POSSibly be BORED here? It’s so beautiful here! People would kill to be sitting here where you’re sitting right now! What’s the matter with you Mary Anne?”

Funny how those parental voices never really go away isn’t it?

Help Me, God, To Figure Out this Boredom Thing

So I sat down in meditative reflection and asked for Help from The Universe. I had already learned in my life that it was a Spiritual Law that you had to actually ask for help before you could get it. I figured it was worth a try before I went totally out of my mind:

“Help me God to figure this boredom thing out. I cannot go on like this. I’m just getting more and more annoyed and angry about being here. What do I do?”

First I saw that I needed to figure out what was wrong before I could fix it and make some changes.

Living In Rural Ecuador Is Very Different

I could see clearly that living at the beach, while a life long dream, perhaps just wasn’t stimulating enough for me. It certainly didn’t have  many of the things I had been used to in the US.

The beach on The Coast here is a really very rural environment. That has been new and very different for me to adjust to. Dirt streets. No live music. No live theaters. No coffee shops.  No “shopping” period and not even a movie theatre unless I wanted to take an hour bus ride into the closest city, Portoviejo. In fact I only saw my very first take out coffee cup yesterday after 4 months time of living here?!

The people here are fishermen or restaurant owners. I could have a conversation with people here only if I was buying something from them. I could only buy so much food and stuff for a week.

On the other hand, living at the beach without any distractions could be great if I had a project to work on. Lack of distractions by outside stuff could make me very productive.

But my issue of boredom was clearly deeper than all that stuff.

No Distraction From Myself

In short, I realized in one hard slam of awakening, that here living at the beach, THERE WAS ABSOLUTELY NO DISTRACTION FROM MYSELF.

And there was nothing providing me with the adrenaline rush of my previous daily life either. This meant that I finally had to face all those feelings I had been avoiding by running from this job to the next, from this project to the next, from this appointment to the next.

So what’s left when there’s no adrenaline rush and no distractions to distract you from your own thoughts and feelings?

Well, you have to deal with yourself. Uh. Oh.

(Can you suddenly hear that old Twilight Zone Theme Playing?)

Stepping Into Intellectual Free Fall

I realized I had to embrace what was here and what it was provoking inside of me rather than fighting it.

On the one hand, I became aware that being here has given me the free time I’ve always said I wanted. I had set it up so I didn’t have anything to do that I really HAD to do in any given day. That was initally a very healthy instinct actually.

I just hadn’t planned for the feelings that would come up as a  result of my decision to give myself all this free time.

I also felt like I had gradually worked myself into a kind of  intellectual free fall, coming down from my increasingly obvious addiction to work and relying on work as my identity.

I Had To Do Something Different

I decided I had to make some changes and do something different or I would go mad.

Boredom Is Not A Bad Thing. It’s What you Do with It That Matters.

Boredom isn’t a bad thing as long as it doesn’t paralyze you. So I decided to take some specific steps to find a way to see if I could work with it instead of resisting it:

5 Ways To Alleviate Boredom

1. A Dedicated Place to Work:

Since there are no coffee shops to go sit and work in, I had to figure out a place to work in the condo where I live. I went into town on the bus and for $25 I bought a very small desk that is barely wider than my lap top computer. I set it up in the bedroom right next to the air conditioner and in front of my window overlooking town and the ocean.

Suddenly I had a comfortable place to work at whatever I wanted to write or research. This felt good. Like I had my very own dedicated “thinking spot.”

2. Changing My Morning Routine

Funny thing. All this time I’ve lived in front of a very large and beautiful  hill and truthfully, I hadn’t really noticed it. I spent most of my time looking out the front of the condo overlooking the ocean side. But when I sat down at my little new desk, I finally really SAW the hill. Suddenly, I wondered to myself, “I wonder what’s up there? Perhaps tomorrow I will go up there and find out.”

Ever since, this walk up “La Loma” (the hill) has been the beginning of my morning routine. Before food. Before opening my computer and getting on my email to see if anyone has (hopefully) written me a message. I now walk La Loma BEFORE everything else.

My morning walks have changed my perspective on everything. I suddenly love being here in this space. It may have something to do with having a place to actually go outside of it to get away, even briefly. I don’t feel so much locked in the big white tower of condos here.

I also didn’t know there was an entire reserve of birds and kapok trees and paved streets and beautiful homes right above me. Now I delight in listening to the birds and sitting on the top of a concrete water cistern at the top of the mountain overlooking the Pacific Ocean way high above the condo to meditate, think and relax in nature.

3. Exercise Comes First.

I gather my thoughts along the way as I sweat massive amounts amounts as I huff and I puff up the nearly vertical hill. I’ve lost 13 pounds so far just putting exercise first in my day.

Before, I would wait until the sun was overhead and it was 100 degrees and then I would blow the whole thing off telling myself, “It’s too hot. I’ll get a bad sunburn.”

Not anymore!

After I get home, I drink two glasses of water, have breakfast, take a shower, write out my goals for my day and only after all those things are done, do get to work at my computer with all my new ideas. It feels great.

4. Reducing Sugar and Caffeine

I had also noticed how I reached for sugar and caffeine as way to cope with my boredom. So I decided to feel more of the difficult feelings and reduce the things that prevented me from feeling them. That was a bit rocky at first but I’ve come to really enjoy tea and drinking lots of water rather than reaching for the cookies and other substances like coffee that always shot me into the adrenaline stratosphere.

Let me be clear. I did not totally eliminate these things, I just reduced them. I’m the kind of person that if you tell me I cannot have something, it’s all I can think about. So I took the more moderate approach and so far it seems to be working.

5. Getting To Bed At A Reasonable Hour

Now instead of piddling around on my computer in my bored haze at night and then being angry with myself that I wasted time doing nothing productive, I shut down my computer at 6, have dinner, read a good book and then go to bed at a reasonable hour. I’ve read 13 great books so far (I read fast) and it has been such a delicious luxury and fun too!

When I get into bed, I tell my brain, “The MA Brain Shop is closed now. Any new thoughts, feel free to come on back in the morning when I will be ready to hear you. But don’t bother me when I’m trying to sleep. Good night thoughts!”

I’m Not Bored Any More

As a result of these 5 simple steps, I am channeling all my creative energy into writing a new book, writing this blog (And my Words To Thrive By and Mary anne Dorward Blogs too!)  keeping up with all my social media things like Twitter, Facebook etc, ghost writing a new book for a client and still having time in my day to read, rest and reflect.

So I’m feeling more internally tranquil and my daily life is much more balanced. As a result of that, I am feeling more rested and also much more productive.

Moving To Ecuador Is Turning Out To Be A Great Decision

Ecuador is turning out to be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made for my own total health and well being! Whoo! Hoo!

How Have You Dealt With Your Own Boredom?

So I’m curious. How have you dealt with your own boredom?



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2 thoughts on “BORED in ECUADOR: What I Did To Deal With It

  1. Hi Mary Anne, I find that one of the things I so look forward to in the morning is reading your latest Footprints In Ecuador entries. This most recent contribution for instance has given me the opportunity to reflect on my own boredom. And although I don’t quite have the solution(s) yet, at least I’m thinking about it. I tend to want to “miss” what I don’t have, or used to have such as the freedom to participate in some of my most treasured sporting activities.

    Everyday with rare exception I am tasked with managing & dispensing medications, laundry & meal prep, pet control, financial management, generating income to make up the difference between inflow and outflow, thinking about where we will live next – when “this” lease expires, driving to all the doctor and other appts… I need to stop. I’m getting a headache. The list goes on and on. Ouch!

    Maybe I’m crazy but if I can list, I mean a “really” make a complete list of all these daily, weekly, monthly tasks, then at least I’ve identified them. Once that’s done I’ll stand them all on end (figuratively of course) and begin looking at them like tall trees on the side of a snow-covered mountainside.

    I used to fear skiing trees for obvious reasons; at the very least they hurt when I ran into them. But one day a ski instructor friend suggested that I ski the holes between the trees rather than ski the trees. Focus on the openings between the trees rather than the trees themselves which will send you to the ER or worse!!

    OK enough of my ramblings. I’ll add this to my list and hustle off to the kitchen to get breakfast prepared.

    Big Jeunesse party tomorrow. Star Pacific orders to place and taxes to get working on! Trying to see the holes between the trees!

    XXOO❗️❤️ Eric

    Sent from my iPhone-Eric



    • Dear Eric,

      Thank you for your amazing reflection. I appreciate so much you taking the time to allow all of us to glimpse behind the scenes in your daily life’s challenges. I absolutely LOVE your ski instructors advice to ski the holes between the trees instead of the trees themselves!!! I really think that is what I’m trying to do here. But first I need to see the trees and what they bring up in me as you did. In fact, I see now that the “trees” of my own boredom etc are becoming great catalysts for growth and personal expansion.

      My own boredom, anger, fear (wait till you see tomorrow’s post about how to keep yourself safe!) and discomfort and frustration and lack of what I had expected has turned out to be a very fruitful journey of budding awareness, patience, creativity, adaption, ingenuity, and yes, gratitude.

      So as you look at your own daily (boring at a times) tasks of making breakfast, dispensing meds, laundry, pet control, I would suggest that you consider the feelings they bring up and how you can creatively make them into your own spiritual practice. Rather than focus on what has been taken away in areas such as extreme sports and freedom, see if you can make the tasks themselves a “gateway” to your own serenity and peace and acceptance of “what IS” at this moment in your life. As they used to say in some Sci fi movies, “Resistance. Is. Futile. Earthling!” The more we resist I have found, the HARDER things get. What is is right in front of us. If we tackle that with all the spiritual focus we can, like you do on riding a tough vertical hill on a road bike, each task becomes it’s own hill (or metaphorical tree) to master by riding it through with full and complete attention. Dong so, I ahve found, helps me be at peace with what IS rather than fighting it and being so focused on what ISN”T that I drive myself totally insane.

      Just some thoughts as you “Chop wood and carry water” as the Zen Masters say enroute to your own Enlightenment. Everything, absolutely everything and anything, can be a gateway to your destiny as a fully spiritual AWAKE soul. OK. That’s getting a bit out there from skiing the trees but I think we all tend to focus on skiing the trees we are trying to avoid rather than focus on the holes that get is where we eventually are wanting to go. Since Peace and Serenity are where I want to direct my soul, I’m going to head there.

      So, what is your eventual True Destination Eric? That will clarify a lot what tasks have been placed before you right now at this moment that are most perfectly designed by you to take you there!

      And thanks again so much for writing today. I think I am going to write a blog in the near future called “Skiing The Holes vs The Trees.” Thanks for sparking my imagination to think in new directions! ~ Warmly, Mary Anne


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