the KARMA SHACK history
The name of this website might be a total mystery to some of you, but others know exactly where it stems from. It is the name of an existing little building, located on Little Corn Island, Nicaragua, and has housed my yoga and massage studio since 2011. The history of The Karma Shack is the sweet story of discovering my true path in life, one little step at a time.
In 2010 I was renting a little wooden cabin with a thatch roof in a hotel on the beach. It was tiny (9x10ft), but cute, and I fitted in quite well with the few belongings I had. There was a bed, a table, a few shelves and probably 4 square feet of floor space left.
I was earning my living by making crafts and selling them to tourists. I have always loved making things, so it was very fulfilling to be able to make my money using my own hands, carving these little trinkets out of coconut shells. The fine work demanded tremendous focus that would put me in a meditative state. I could sit and work for hours, until my arm and shoulder hurt. Kids coming by selling baked goodies were fascinated by my work and helped me by blowing the sawdust away.
During these long days of carving, small epiphanies about life would sometimes pop up from nowhere. I called them my coconut wisdom: “don’t push too hard, or it will break” (duh!), “it’s all about what you leave behind, not so much about what you take out” (better!), “there is beauty to be found in anything ugly.”
My sales pitch: ‘I pick the coconut, husk it, drink the water, eat the meat and then create this beautiful piece out of the shell that is left over as trash’. People loved it and I sold quite a lot.
I would stash the cash in a yoghurt tub.
With tons of spare time, I was practicing yoga every day, outside on my little deck. Then, three consecutive rainy seasons were so extremely wet that my cabin was standing in a permanent pool of water for weeks. Wading birds and swamp turtles became my new neighbours while the iguanas had moved up into the trees. The wood of my cabin was so damp that the poor electric wiring made my doorposts shockingly conductive. The island was saturated with water. I passed weeks without being able to do any yoga. My deck would be soaking wet, my cabin did not have enough space inside. I started to feel edgy, stiff, unfulfilled.
I realised I needed to create a space for my yoga because there was no such thing existing on this little island at that time. And if I was going to create that space, I figured I might as well make it big enough to give small yoga classes and start offering bodywork, since I had those skills anyway…..
The plan for the Karma Shack had been hatched, although the name had not appeared on my radar yet.
My mind started playing with the options of renting or building, maybe leasing a little piece of land….. My coconut-based budget wasn’t really big, so my plans stayed quite humble. On my birthday I was swimming along the shore when my eye got stuck on a deserted beach shack: a rickety roof supported by a bunch of posts, only a partial back wall, and a tiny little rusty tin shack in one corner. The floor was just sand. I knew that place already for years, but now ideas started to sing in my head, and I let them play for a bit.
While I was sitting there in the warm shallows, staring at the possibilities ahead of me, the name for the Karma Shack popped into my head.
I didn’t lease that particular shack, but the name stuck. I ended up building a 12x12ft wooden cabin with a thatch roof, on the property of the hotel where I was living. My commute would be 20 steps. It was my own design and I did a lot of the construction work myself. From the moment that the roof was finished and the floor varnished, I was in love with that little building. It was born from my desire to have a yoga space, not from the need to create a commercial source of income. It had been created from a place of love, with love. My investment bank was my yoghurt tub, money made with creative love. While I was putting the last finishing touches, I realised that even if I would never even get one single client, I’d happily just live in this little shack, finding as much fulfilment in that way as when it would become a thriving business……. which it did.
July 1st of 2011 basically turned out to be the launch of my true life. I had no plan and no expectations, I just started: teaching yoga and working full time as a body worker. I didn’t know what was coming. The whole thing from the very first seed of an idea, through the building process, to the first day of business had just kind of evolved naturally from day to day. Without effort I had been in control in every moment of the process. It felt just totally right. Before I knew it I was on a steep learning curve of spiritual growth and self empowerment. Every day of work in the Karma Shack seemed to bring new lessons, new opportunities for growth, bringing more depth to my life. It overwhelmed me, but in a good way. I felt grateful every day.
I started to read up on all sorts of topics related to health and well-being, yoga, meditation, nutrition, spirituality. Especially once I got myself a Kindle, a world of information opened up to this remote island dweller that had been relying on visitors to lug new books all the way from the US or Canada down here for me to read. Now they were one-click away. It changed my life.
Everything I read, experienced and learned seemed to be perfectly timed to apply either to my own life or to the issues that my clients were bringing up on the massage table. While at first I preferred to work in silence, concentrating on the energy exchange and letting my clients fully relax under my hands with the soothing sounds of a live tropical beach and jungle in the background, after a while I let my clients talk if they wanted. I guess a massage table is similar to the couch or comfortable lounger in a counsellor’s office. It invites people to open up. Sometimes the depth and healing effects of these conversations seemed quite far-reaching. My urge to just share all the information that I had assimilated, all the experiences that I have had, and all the wisdom that seemed to be randomly brought forth in my consciousness during these sessions were all thrown into the mix. A massage in the Karma Shack was becoming much more than a good squeeze and rub of your muscles. But it wasn’t just me and my hands. I had help from that little building with its very soothing and calming charm, and the relaxing embrace of the jungle garden around it. A package deal of healing inspiration. And I was personally benefiting from it as much as all my clients, every single day. Feeling energised, uplifted and grateful non-stop. Joy!
A few years into my Karma Shack career I realised that the only purpose of life is being of service. It is the most fulfilling way to live your life, and I started to get this itching feeling that that sweet little shack was just the beginning of something much bigger and profounder. I still haven’t really been able to define how or what, but I did feel that I needed to share on a bigger scale everything that I now know that has enhanced my life in a physical or emotional way. In the Karma Shack I mostly share one-on-one, sometimes little snippets in yoga sessions to slightly bigger groups. A blog seemed the next logic step on my path, to reach more people at once. The only possible name for it was The Karma Shack, to honour the enormous positive impact that that little business has had on me, my life and my well-being.
I hope that everything I share here can contribute to the personal growth and well-being of my readers, help them find their happy self, become the best possible version of themselves, and start to live at their highest potential and vibration.
The Karma Shack, at your service:-)