I remember sitting on the plane on the way here to Costa Rica thinking, well I don’t feel any different. I had manifested this great move, this experience and opportunity. I had figured out a piece of life, and yet, I was still me, with all of my bullshit. Oh there you are my friends: worry, self-doubt, and complaining. I had already faced several pieces of myself in the last year, and gratefully so. Now, I was seeing others. What parts of me are showing up? What parts of me are on the surface, obvious, and which ones are still hiding waiting to be revealed? Was I expecting some great shift in who I was? Was I expecting to have morphed into a whole new being? I guess so. But, I was already realizing that was not to be the case. I can’t outrun my fears, outrun my misunderstandings, or my lack of confidence. I keep hoping for something to be different so that I can be different. Ha! The difference comes in perspective.
Each moment we encounter is meant to teach us something, to illuminate a part of our lives that is hidden. Sometimes we have to pop around, jobs, relationships, etc., in order to begin to see a pattern. All of life is about bringing that which we cannot see into our awareness. Since I had now removed everything that was familiar about my environment, all that was left, was me. The questions and fears that ruminated in my mind were still there. Even the fears about the answers to the questions were present and prevalent.
Sitting on the plane, I found myself asking the same questions that had plagued me for years.
Will I get up every morning before six to be on the “right” dosha time? Will I meditate, chant and practice pranayama and asana as regularly as I “should”? Will I be that super great yogi doing all of the “right stuff”? All of these rules, programs that I have been wanting to put into place – would they happen? Or would I still be “lazy and undisciplined”? Would I now have the determination to live the life I imagined? Will I develop into the woman I want to be?
Isn’t it funny how when we want to be something, we can’t quite seem to get there? What is that? Oh yeah, we stand in our own way. I am notorious for that. I’m also staring at my old friend, “you are not good enough”. Hmm. Can you tell I’m hard on myself? I wondered if moving to Costa Rica would allow me to find balance. Or better yet, could I learn to forgive and love myself, unconditionally?
Heightening my building apprehension were fears concerning my new “job.” How much was I going to have to work? I knew there was going to be a large requirement of my time in the hotel, but I was worried. I was. Could I handle working six days a week, again? I didn’t want to. But that was the commitment. I wondered, would I have the time I needed to focus on my personal “work”: writing, practicing and studying yoga? I wanted to honor my commitment and their need. I also wanted to have free time to explore the land, to relax and let go. I mean, truthfully, I’m a big fat cat who needs her down time. I didn’t want to give all of me. I felt the need to stand my ground. I had to make my own self respect and self care a priority, while balancing the needs to my new employers. I’d spent what seemed like a lifetime over-extending myself. Moving to Costa Rica created an opportunity to change that. I questioned myself more. Even though this felt like a dream come true – what had I actually created?
The “work” I really wanted to do during my time in Costa Rica was write. I had worry here too. Would I finally be able to put my thoughts into words? Would I find the time, or rather, be able to make the time? And most importantly, would I stick to my own self-proclaimed deadline? On that note, would I let myself have rest that is well earned? Or would I feel like I have to keep busy, working, keep writing, practicing, studying? It was interesting to me to watch the fear of being overworked dance with the fear that I’m not doing enough. I knew this journey signified the completion of an important Life Cycle. But, was I good enough to tell my story?
Once I landed, I was fascinated. Everything felt foreign, yet familiar. The environment, the language, the people, the experience were all different. Yet I was still the same. I felt out of place, and right where I belonged. I felt strong and confident in my decision to leave the United States. Externally, I was not the least bit worried about the leap I had taken. No, my worries were personal, and deeply internal.
Arriving in San Jose, I found myself in a cooler climate than I had expected. Before I left LA, I had several conversations about what the heck to pack. Now I wondered, did I bring the right clothes? I was already concerned that I had brought too much, but now the question was, did I bring enough? Good Lord. Well, I had what I had, and I was going to make the most of it. Cie la Vie.
Once I reached my new beachside home, the weather was more true to what I had been told. The first few days were the hardest. It was hot! And humid. And lots of mosquito bites. My hair was a mess, and forget about make-up. Not happening. The vanity I could deal with. The humidity might be a problem; there was no break from it. Would I be able to take these conditions for a full 5 months. Like, I was seriously concerned at one point. I caught myself in a moment of lets hurry up and get out of here and move on to the next thing. What is that about? I was in the fire and I wanted to run. Oh shit, how do I get out of here? I laughed at myself. I’m in paradise, already looking for an escape. When life gets uncomfortable, I want to flee. How can I quickly get to the next part that might be more fun, more peaceful? I could see myself clearly. For once I was so completely grateful that I had no way out. Honestly, thank you God for not giving me an alternative; not that I even wanted one or would have taken one. When one is being refined by the fire, we have to stay in it long enough to transform. I knew I couldn’t fight it, I could only allow it to do its work. Hallelujah that I was here for a duration, not just a week. I was thankful that my time on the yoga mat had trained me to sit in the uncomfortable. There was no denying the significance.
I did wonder though, how did I create such heat and humidity for myself? Like I’ve said before, I left the south to get away from some of this. Yet here I was. Oh wait, I remember. I kept complaining about the cold in my home. I was living with people who were always hot, therefore rampant a/c. I was ready for none of that for a while. Well, I got what I wanted. I mean I did ask for tropical. So why the hell am I complaining? This is where it is important to make a note to self. I don’t want the pendulum to swing the other way and I end up somewhere frigid. Although, for a short time, I welcome that also. I think. We’ll see. I’d wanted the experience of living in different cultures. Now, I am lucky enough to live that opportunity. I am enjoying this journey, and look forward to that which is to come. At least I see now how my thoughts about my present create my future. I will be more mindful.
Before I left Los Angeles, there was a little voice in my head wondering, Will I return tail between my legs, crawling back saying, “Forget it guys. It doesn’t work. I failed.” Fortunately, even in this fire, that thought never occurred. That’s why I released everything. No car, no storage, no bank account. Only me, moving forward, trusting in the Universe. Not.Going.Back. I can’t live in the world of fear anymore. I have seen the power of how our intentions, thoughts, words, and actions shape our reality. I will continue to ride this wave. It’s amazing when our desires unfold before our eyes and we step into living the life we imagined. I just keep being reminded that there will still be trials and tribulations. Perfect is in the eye of the beholder, and when we can see our world as perfect just because it is, that’s when we experience true peace. I’m still working on that.
As far as my job in the restaurant is concerned, I do work more than I prefer for my life these days. However, I chose this opportunity with all of its responsibility. I can’t change that now. More importantly, the physical heat that I was experiencing with the climate was matched by another internal fire of sitting in an uncomfortable place with nowhere to go. I was seeing myself in others: the person I had once been, and one I do not choose to return to.
It is clear to me that life in this moment is not about how much I’m working, how I’m being treated, or the systems I do or do not have in place. Rather, it’s about how I react to such circumstances, and how I treat myself in the process. I have never been particularly good about standing up for Me. I have given too much, and then complained when too much was taken. I find myself concerned about whether I am being ungrateful and complaining. Or if I am simply coming to the end of my rope where I say, I am not going to take this anymore. I pray it’s the latter.
My physical practice time that I was worried about has been graciously set by the sun. I awaken with the dawn. I have not yet set a good schedule for myself and all of my practices, and yes, that still causes me some anxiety. But I have to be grateful for the small wins, those baby steps that are in place. I am in transition. As such, it is important for me to be kind to myself. When I take a step back and look at all that I have accomplished, the view is so much prettier than looking at how far I have to go.
And though I sometimes struggle with what to write about, I am writing. Even if only one other person reads my words, I am doing the work. That’s what matters to me at this time. Unfortunately, my time for writing is what gets rearranged when I need a break from all of the seriousness. I have plenty of distractions that beckon me to find the balance. But the structure is working itself into place for me. And as Deepak Chopra says, When I do not resist, I am in Grace.
I will say though that the “work” in my writing is showing up, especially in this particular blog. It is one big massive puzzle that I am trying to put together. You know, maybe one of those that has a sky and a lake and they look exactly the same, yet are different? The one where all the borders match each other so it’s difficult to find the outline? I can’t even imagine the sheer number of pieces that are in front of me. My internal dialogue taunts me:
This is hard! What am I even writing about?? Is this going to come together? I need a bite to eat. Ok, now I need coffee. Oh wait, my sister is messaging me. Whew, I need a nap…How about sit down and plug in, Connie?…Ok, fine. How about this chair? Oh wait, my back, maybe I need to lie down for a bit.
I mean geez.. I’m putting all of these obstacles in my way to avoid doing the hard work, even in something that I love. I feel like I’m looking at a collage of puzzle pieces just waiting for them to put themselves together. But no, I have to start the arrangement, and then the pieces will begin to fall. But I want it to come easy. Remember when I said when life gets difficult, I look for a way out? This journey to Costa Rica is allowing me to see this part of me. I am showing up everywhere. Thank goodness for that. I can see clearly, and that has been my prayer.
They say life is a journey, not a destination. They wrote that for me, whomever “they” are. My life has often been about the destination. I like to get where I’m going. I often wonder, what moment am I actually trying to get to? Bliss. But doesn’t bliss come when we are content in each moment? We are searching for it, moving towards it, all the while it is available to us, daily. I recognize that the path to get to said place is full of lovely things. Sometimes those “things” are roses, sunsets, a love affair; a random, beautiful stop on a long road trip. Sometimes those “things” are lessons, hardships, opportunities to grow; seemingly unpleasant, but in the end, worth it.
Yoga has taught me much, including that I can’t get to the big pose without building the foundational structure first. Writing shows me that though my words in my journal may flow pretty well, putting a piece together takes diligence and patience. I’m allowing myself to keep doing the work, keep taking the steps. For this blog specifically, keep revisiting without stressing over the timeline and let it unfold in its time. So even this journey towards the end of this puzzle is important. The destination may be the finished product, but I am finally not rushing to get there. Now I am gratefully allowing myself time to breathe. Thank you Costa Rica. Pura Vida.
Wherever I go, there I am because I am me. I follow me everywhere, I am my own shadow. Now, however, I am learning to love even those parts of me that cause me stress. I am learning the right ebb and flow of when I am fighting the current, pushing the river, and when I am gracefully riding the current. I am recognizing when I am too hard on myself. I see my fear and my worry, and I too am tired of complaining. My tagline is fearless journey because that is my work, it is my process, and a work in progress. And in all honesty, there is no one I’d rather be on this journey with, than Me.