It is the strangest thing to uncover a need for healing, a broken piece of ourselves we’ve neglected that no part of our conscience detected was being underserved. Yet, these pieces of ourselves go unchecked. Earlier this year, I rode up the winding curves of a mountain road to reach volcanoes in Fortuna, Costa Rica. With all windows down, the trees and plants filled the air with a sweet fragrance, a smell undoubtedly connected with freedom and fervency, while the wind beat against the open frames of the windows. Lifting my hair every which way, it felt like a massage, a dance of some sort, compelling me to tilt my head back against the headrest and fall into a trance.
As soon as relaxed my head, I noticed my shoulders were tense too. Upon relaxing them, I realized my crossed legs were also tense and even my jaw was clenched. Ultimately, I closed my eyes and to my own surprise, I really didn’t have anything on my mind other than gratitude.
I was so thankful for the magic of the car ride, to be among plants that have grown and thrived in one place their entire lives, becoming these beautiful and magnificent things. Not once have they wished to be anywhere or anything else; they are in sync with the power they possess, existing as they were created in all their glory.
I felt washed; cleansed by nature and engrossed with peace. Costa Rican people love to say “pura vida”, which means pure life. And while this phrase applies in nearly any situation, I believe those singular, unquantifiable moments of realization, experience, and joy from merely occupying space really embody this phrase.
In some ways, island people slow down, require less, yet enjoy more. There’s more space for conversation, quality time in town parks, and strolling down the street. Western civilization often excludes this behavior from the overall culture because it doesn’t contribute to the bottom line. In fact, time and time again, I’ve heard people express guilt for not adhering to the restricting expectations of their job, their diet, their workout regimen… myself included of course. I don't think I'll ever be convinced that there’s anything normal about a couple weeks of vacation and an entire year of working before it’s appropriate for you to truly engage in your life for more than an extended weekend or so, especially when they typically compete with a weekly cleaning schedule.
So this week, your challenge is to create space for meaningful moments. Let me know how you do. How can you construct a life you don’t need a vacation from? What does Pura Vida mean to you?