In December of 2009, I was at the beginning of a pretty big transformation. Preparing to close my Yoga studio and sell my house, I really had no idea of what was ahead, and that scared me to the core. I was always a planner, but this time, I honestly had no Plan “B.”
Even my business partner questioned that. “What do you mean, you don’t know what you’ll do next? You always have a plan.”
She was right. I did always have a plan. Eventually, I became exhausted by always having a plan and working so f***ing hard and non-stop towards the “goal.” Somehow, I knew that I was missing some of the deeper connections in life by being so head strong and fiercely focused.
Preparing to make the announcement that I was closing the Yoga studio, I needed some space before transitioning from the life that I had grown almost too accustomed to. So, I returned to Nosara.
I had been retreating to Nosara, Costa Rica since 1999. I first stumbled upon her magnificent beaches on the second stop of the surf trip I took with my boyfriend. It was back in days when there was not much in the way of cell phones or internet, and about half the surfers in the water than there are now. As we prepared to head to the next surf break, I felt a pang of despair in leaving, and each place we stopped after, I felt homesick for Nosara.
Since that original adventure, I returned to Nosara every chance that I could. So when I needed to chill and get my head on straight to tackle my dissolving life and and upcoming holiday season, I booked a 2 1/2 week excursion to my home away from home. My friend, Jimbo, handed me the keys to his house at the top of Playa Pelada. It was the perfect getaway.
It was on that trip and in the space of “not knowing” that the next chapter in my life began to surface. Through a connection of events that could not have been planned in my typical fashion, I was invited to the Finca Un Amor (AKA the Costa Rica Yoga Spa) by a friend whom I had not seen in almost a decade. She welcomed me to her house (the Casa Madera) just beyond the open gate that I always wondered about. I had passed the large Aztec wall and magnificent wrought iron gate many times through the years of my travels to beaches north of Nosara.
A few nights later, I was given a tour of the property and stood at the top of the land at sunset. With my bare feet on the ground under the Pachote tree, I somehow knew I was home.
Within hours of feeling that call of the land, I think my remaining intentions were heard, because I was hired to lead the first Yoga Teacher Trainings and Retreats that were offered at the Costa Rica Yoga Spa when they opened, that following spring.
I spent the next 5 years on the land, and eventually moved into the Casa Madera where I sat at that afternoon at the kitchen bar drinking lemonade with Yesim and Sonja, talking about future life.
I know now that the land of Finca Un Amor is powerfully transformative one. In that day’s conversation, my intentions were heard, magnitized and manifested. In the 5 years since, my life has been catapulted in ways that I could not have imagined.
The many adventurers, students and travelers from across the globe have become my teachers, my mentors, my friends…and sometimes my self-appointed family or soulmates. The rate and the depths to which we have journeyed, danced, loved and fought with one another on this powerful land has literally blown my mind. And, when I feel the devotion that many bring to their Yoga mat, the meditation seat or the space of the conversation: this is what has inspired me to deepen my own relationship to my self-study.
This sacred land that became my home five years ago offered her secrets when I became quiet. The elements and plants became my teachers: they escorted me into new worlds of greater clarity and purpose. The people and the culture have taught me how to live more simply and appreciate the rhythms of life….both here and everywhere.
I have learned to listen to the messages under the surface, love more radically and serve more compassionately. I have learned to slow down and see the mysteries of life in even the most mundane of moments. I have learned to get quieter at times, and louder at others (now…if I can only figure out if I am doing the right volume control at the right times…) I have learned to stand strong and fight harder for what I am passionate about. And, when all else fails… I have learned dance it out!
I am learning how to trust in the right things and the right people, but more importantly, in myself. I am learning to receive divine guidance (and not be scared to call it that…or whatever else I want to call it). I’m learning to act on the subtle directions with greater confidence.
I am learning to forgive myself and others for unconsciously operating from blindspots of fear. I am understanding that our conflicts have the potential to transform our spirits and our physical world. I am learning to soften into these rough and uncomfortable spots. (This is a hard one for me….but,) I am gradually learning to let go of what is not mine to hold within the dance of conflict and misunderstanding. I am learning to ask for what I need, but more importantly, let go of the expectation that it will (or should) come from something outside of myself.
I am learning to celebrate life more, and laugh daily. I am learning to give space and nourishment to my desires and urges; for they, too will benefit others if I act consciously on them. I am learning to say yes…and no and maybe…and be unapologetic for changing my mind, or wanting what I want. I am learning to love myself in such deeper ways than I knew possible. I am learning that this self-love and acceptance has nothing to do with an outer expression, and everything to do with an inner radiance. (Niralambaya Tejase…)
All of these lessons, I am quite sure, have been catalyzed by the leap of faith and the invitation to this amazing land, surrounded by her wild nature and inspirational inhabitants. And now…I approach the time where I will once again take the next jump, and write the next chapter.
For those of you who have met me along the way at CRYS…either in person, or in hearing or reading the stories of my recent journeys, I am deeply honored and forever changed by this time, this place, and our perfected meetings that taught me so much.
I am preparing to return for one last offering at the Finca Un Amor. The Retreat of Transformation begins in a couple of days, and as I spend time in contemplation, creativity and gratitude for where I have been, and where I may be going… I am sending out deep waves of love to all of you who have inspired me along the way. In the dissolution, the other side can be a beautiful creation. This is what the dance of transformation has the potential to provide. So…now…get out there…and DANCE!