Costa Rica: Pura Vida

Pura vida, goes the saying here in Costa Rica. Pure life. At first, I thought it was just a marketing strategy created by the tourism industry to attract more tourists. It turns out, it is the way of living for the Costa Rican people. To reflect their perspective on how to live a truly untroubled life. In a state of just going with the flow, always. No matter what may be happening to you or around you.

Spending some time at a surf camp here, in the beautifully expansive (and blue!) Pacific coast. I can say that it has been difficult to adjust to this lifestyle. And I ask myself, why? This is the life I have been pursuing for most of my adulthood. Now that I have finally committed to it, I have been questioning myself everyday this past week. Feeling restless. Overthinking everything. Wanting to give up. Wanting to scream and say: fine ego, you fucking win! Doing my best to reel myself back to the good place I was in before. A place where the true, happy, full of love self was floating in a cloud of excitement and perseverance.

How do we keep ourselves motivated when life gets weird? How do we recognize our true voice in the midst of confusion and emotional blurriness? After sometime of practicing meditation, it is still very hard for me to acknowledge, that the negative emotions I am feeling are not my true self. I must confess, I know how to indulge in emotion very well. A habit that is very hard to break. That I have been fostering for decades. Early traumas that I’m still trying to breakthrough. And It feels easier than being happy. Sounds odd doesn’t it? Because being happy (at least for me) means that I have to let shit go.

Pura Vida my way out of it. Leave the baggage behind. Or take the baggage someone else gives me and throw it out the fucking window. You, I, we, are not responsible for it. We are only responsible for ourselves and our own emotions. Take Pura Vida and roll with it down the mountain. Straight out of the blurriness and on to a path of equanimity. It’s been hard. But on those moments, I show compassion to myself. Acknowledging that I am confused and sad and allow myself a minute. Just A minute. As I walk (or drag) myself back to equanimity road. Taking a deep breath. Thinking of good moment filled with joy and love, then getting back up and continuing down the path towards true peace and a life lived with heart.

All of a sudden the path seems clearer and golden with endless possibilities around me. Butterflies, hummingbirds, wind, rain, trees. All seem to be walking with me cheering me on. Pura vida they say, Pura Vida!

PS After writing this. I stumbled upon this lovely passage from Zen poet Ryokan, that is worth sharing:

The rain has stopped, the clouds have drifted away, and the weather is clear again.
If your heart is pure, then all things in you world are pure…
Then the moon and the flowers will guide you along the Way.

Magic is real!

Nicaragua: The Magic Is Real

Once upon a time, there lived a little girl so afraid of her sensitivity that she decided to create shields that would protect her from being too vulnerable. Decades later as that girl grew up to the woman I am today, the shields became more of a hindrance than a protection mechanism. My mind would go over and over conversations I should be having with people. Conversations about boundaries, love, sex, you name it. My mind went through it. But then came the outward silence. I would say nothing. That all changed in Nicaragua. A fertile land full of vast jungles, volcanoes, lakes, stretches of beaches that seemed to reach the other side of the world. And ocean waves thundering down so heavily you could feel the sand shake. This is where the new story begins.

Nicaragua, a country going through their own transformation. As they try to recover from a crisis created by individuals who are trying to impose the same shields I have been trying to rid myself of. Only on a bigger, more oppressive scale. I am not one to talk about their experience in their country, only my own.

In this case, the adventure took me on a heart-expanding journey I wasn’t expecting. Where I had to show up, be brave and courageously say what I had been wanting to say to the amazing soul I had been traveling with for almost a year. Never had I said “I love you” to someone I cared so deeply for. Intuitively I felt my time running out. Perhaps ignoring it a little, hoping the outcome I had played out in my head was magically going to happen. In my mind the story went like this: I would say “I love you” and he would say “I love you too, we should keep traveling together and you should move back home with me when I return back to Europe.”

We came to Ometepe. The incredible island on Lake Nicaragua that is home to two volcanoes. Concepcion is the biggest of the two and we decided to climb that one. The toughest most grueling hike I’ve experienced in a while. After the difficult uphill climb, we came out of the great jungle to a clearing in the clouds with winds so powerful I felt as if it was going to lift me off the ground and take me into the sky. Grey, cold, and a bit scary. We turned around and came back down. A day after the climb I decided I was going to take the leap and say what I wanted to say. I went in, knee deep in anxiety with a knot in my chest when I blurted out “you know, I love you” what came next took me back to the top of the volcano. A grey, cold, scary place where I felt my heart get sucked into the dark whirlwind leaving me behind empty. He decided we should go our separate ways.

During our time together he would lovingly call me a witchy woman who believed in the magical realm of fairies, Forest spirits, and whispers of the wild. I have always relied on my connection with that. To understand what may be happening in my life or where I should go next. The morning after, we said our farewells with love and compassion for each other in tears as I walked out the door in direction to the other side of the island. To a place within the woods, steps from the lake called El Pital: a chocolate paradise. After a tearful walk to the entrance, I look up and find a big colorful sign with fairies that said: “MAGIC IS REAL”. I laughed and sighed knowing we would be ok and well taken care of by that which we perhaps cannot see.

Out of this experience, I learned a few things. One, being courageous is NOT easy but worth it. Now, I feel weightless and more in tune with my true self than ever before. Shedding perhaps the toughest shield of them all. Two, always love first. No matter what. Walk into the space or situation in love. Then walk out in and with love. Every time I feel the sadness coming up, I tell myself “love and expand”. Going back to a place inside time where I can remember how amazing it felt to be together. This exercise has made the biggest difference. As I go through this transformation to a more truthful version of myself. And three, magic is real! For all of us. We just have to try to be open and willing to embrace it.

P.S. To you, dear friend and former traveling buddy. Thank you for being compassionate, caring and loving all the way through. May you find some magic everywhere you go!

Taking the leap

Have you heard the expression “floor is lava, FLOOR.IS.LAVA!” before? Kids use it when they are deep into their imaginary games often using this phrase to jump from one place to another or step fast and light through a field. Never did I think that at some points in my life the whole floor would become lava (figuratively speaking) and I would have to jump, take a leap of faith and believe that the flow would take me where I needed to go. More often than not these leaps made me scared, sad, confused, happy and everything in between. But through them I found many lessons, adventures, heart breaking and expanding experiences that led me to places I never thought I would see, feel, taste and hear.

I hope that through the experiences written on this blog you might be able to find some comfort. Knowing, that even if sometimes the floor may become lava or feel like it’s been removed from under you, it will be ok. Together we can create a sense of belonging. Belonging to a community that cheer each other on as we look down into the fiery stream below. Leaping and slowly letting ourselves go with the flow and trust we will end up someplace magical.