Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Pura Vida! What I learned from the Ticos on Living a Joyful Life

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach eagerly without fear for newer and richer experiences.”  ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

A bright orange sun rises at 5:30 am, but instead of being annoyed, the sweet siren call of rolling waves and Magpie Jays gently nudge me out of bed.  (The promise of strong local coffee and sweet, tropical fruit for breakfast doesn’t hurt).  Costa Rica feels like heaven, and I don’t want to go home. 

Returning from a vacation and getting back to the grind can be tough, but this time I am making the mindful decision to take what I’ve learned from the Ticos and apply it to my everyday life here in the states.  Here’s what the locals taught me:

1.       Enjoy.  In restaurants, in the market, from our tour guides; the consistent advice was to enjoy.  As amazing as everything was, I found this hard to do at first.  I found myself feeling guilty for not attending to work or to the kids.  It took a full day of encouragement from the locals, but soon I was able to breathe and truly see, hear, taste and smell this gifted experience. 

2.       Lose Your Ego.   During my whole stay in Costa Rica, my hair was windblown and messy, and not once did I pull out the straightener. I was way too busy trying to stand on the paddleboard to worry about what I looked like in a swimsuit, and sunscreen replaced makeup so we could play in the sun all day.  While searching for sea life on a shoreline hike it occurred to me the world is so much bigger than I am.  Costa Ricans know this; their world is casual and carefree.  Their body is just a vessel so they can live life to its fullest potential.

3.       Pay Attention.  Anne Lamott wrote “There is ecstasy in paying attention.”  This is certainly true in Costa Rica. From the howler monkeys in the trees to the spotted stingrays in the ocean this world is pregnant with wonder, but you must take the time to explore it.   

4.       Be Kind.  Costa Rica is a welcoming country.  Instead of saying “you’re welcome” the fervent reply is always “con mucho gusto” which translates as “my pleasure.”  What if we acted because it was our pleasure to help people instead of our duty? 

5.       Breathe.  Stop. Be still. Just be. 
Ticos take in these moments daily, and live a fearless life. 

On the day after I returned to the states I attended not one, but two funerals. 
Life is short.
Pura Vida baby……. 

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