From the mountains to the rain forest

I thought being in the mountains was my favorite – until we took a boat ride towards the Arenal Volcano and La Fortuna. The sight of this active volcano with it’s ever changing cloud cap is simply breathtaking.

On the way our guide spotted a monkey in a a tree and a cayman in the mud. It is amazing to me that they can be seen, their camouflage is so good.

Before arriving at our hotel, tucked into the rain forest, with a view of the volcano from its fabulous veranda, we spent a little time in town. I ate a “tipical” vegetarian lunch, consisting of white rice, black beans, a little salad, plantain, and vegetables. I’ve had this meal in various forms since I’ve been here, interesting to experience the different interpretations.

My new friend and roommate, Mandy, and I then walked across the beautiful park and found an amazing chocolate shop where I splurged on an iced coffee. I can’t seem to resist the Costa Rican coffee – which may explain why I’m writing this at 2 in the morning.

img_20190331_164630_12100005406616165741.jpgThen we went to the sloth park. It was disappointing to learn that we wouldn’t see a sloth up close and personal as they spend the majority of their time up in trees. They are much safer from predators there. However, we had an excellent guide with a good telescope and i did get a couple of pictures and a video. We also saw some birds, a blue-jean frog, and leaf-cutter ants.

I was super tired by then and ready for the hotel. A short ride took us to La Princesa Ecolodge, tucked away in the forest. The view of the volcano is fabulous, and the sound of the whistling cicadas accompanied us as we ate our evening meal on the lower veranda dining area. I think it was the best meal so far! One of my traveling companions shared a glass of white wine with me, and as we sat discussing the events of the day and the expectations for tomorrow, we all agreed that the trip was just getting better and better.

(the above was written at 2 am. now it is 6:30)

When I got up, the stickiness was gone from the air. I sit on the wide veranda, after having done a few yoga stretches, listening to the morning sounds – the birds, the insects, and the people in the kitchen. I am hoping for coffee soon. We are taking a short walk in the forest to a waterfall, then a chocolate tour a little later.

Wifi is on and off, all the time. Uploading pictures is uncertain. Videos are even more unlikely. I have loads more pictures I’d like to share, but they are stuck on my phone for now. But here is my first look at Arenal Volcano this morning.

img_20190401_070715-19042343608999062625.jpg

Morning Introspection

I went down to the lake this morning to drink my coffee. It is coffee, although I am gradually decreasing the coffee and increasing the Raja’s cup. Blended with butter, it is delicious.

The lake has a lot of vegetation floating on it. Robert thinks it is water hyacinth. Much haslake with water hyacinth gathered along the pier and boardwalk where I sat, contemplating and watching the birds. Lately, when I look out the window, I don’t see many birds. But sitting, they come. I don’t know the names of most of them.

There are gulls, of course, and an occasional egret. I think the large black bird is a grackle. There are smaller birds that flit quickly over the water, and seem to really like the water hyacinth islands. I wonder if there are insects there that are easy to catch. I saw a lone duck, flying low, quacking as he went. I wonder if he’s trying to catch up to his friends.

My favorite is the pelican, but there were none to be seen this morning.

My thoughts recently are wandering to the future. I want to stay in this present moment, mindfully, enjoying the beauty of the morning. Yet, I am in a spot where my life has had another turning point, and I have set a goal.

Next June, 2016, will see the culmination of some of these goals and the beginning of something else. It’s that something else that keeps causing me to wonder.

Sometime last summer or fall, it had become clear to me that it was time to think about my future. I don’t want to stay at my job forever, or even for a few more years. I want to travel, even live a gypy’s life, maybe.

Goal #1: save as much money as I can, for the time when I leave the job. Goal #2: work full time until June 2016. I will have been there for 6 years, and I will have had enough. I sometimes feel like I’ve had enough now, but practicality still reigns somewhat. I think there’s still purpose for me there. That month, I will be 59 1/2, the age of being able to withdraw some monies without penalty.

Those were my only real goals until I made the decision to enroll with New World Ayurveda. Not only is the course of study exactly what I am interested and the cost affordable, but the concluding week long intensive is in….. (drum roll, please)… June 2016!

A major shift has occurred since I began this study, a shift in my soul, a new sense of purpose. Robert, my partner, says it is visibly noticeable. I’ve had people ask me what  is happening, I have a more peaceful appearance. I can feel it inside.

I think it all started when I learned Primordial Sound Meditation and began the practice of twice daily meditation – March of last year. I don’t understand how it works, but it does.  I started stepping out of my comfort zone more and more, with painting, writing (this blog), decisions about ridding myself of toxic relationships, and other issues related to how I live day to day.

So, as I sat thinking on this, enjoying the beauty of the morning, I realized that the wondering about what would happen in June of 2016 was turning into worrying.  I was sitting in a place of beauty, so I closed my eyes, felt the air, took a few breaths, and decided that the best thing to do would be to write about it and let it go. I opened my eyes, drank in the beauty once more, and went inside to write.

Sunday stream of consciousness writing

foggy morningI opened the windows last night because the air inside felt stagnant. After all the rain we’ve had, it warmed enough to be comfortable. This morning there is fog, and some kind of floating plant matter in the lake. I can hear the birds, but don’t see them. Feeling the cool air, wrapped in my fuzzy blanket – it’s almost like having a patio! The air inside is fresh again.

I had joined a group on meetup and was going to go running with them this morning. If I hadn’t changed my mind last night, I’d be there right now. But I had the realization that those days are over. I don’t want to injure my body again. I pushed it to its limits and last year it protested with a back injury, and with  gentle yoga and moderate walking I am finally pain free. Why would I put myself in the position of reinjuring myself, my body seemed to ask me? So here I sit, my body softer, but happier, enjoying the morning. I’ll do my yoga in a bit.

I was determined to finish  A Woman’s Book of Life, and I did, last night. This book is amazing, as it traces a woman’s life from birth to death. I needed to read it at this time in my life.  As a result of this read, I am more okay with my life as it has been, and more accepting of my own aging. At 58, I am considered “elderly” by the younger generation, and I am going to embrace the uncertainty of what that might mean.  I am studying new things, learning to trust my intuition in new ways, and, on the physical plane, trying to let my crazy graying hair be what it is, which in a way is more challenging than anything else!

I listened to the first part of the first lecture of my new class with New World Ayurveda. The main thing I learned is that ayurveda is consciousness based healing. This is so exciting to me. As I’ve mentioned, I am a nurse working in a hospital and it is a revolving door for so many with chronic illness. Traditional western medicine only looks at the body, then divides the body into parts. Thus we have all the specialty areas, and doctors focusing down to just one organ, and prescribing a pill which will only manage symptoms. I am excited to be learning to look at the person as more than just a body.

Last night, we watched The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. The first one, not the current one in theaters. Excellent, fun, movie! I wonder if part 2 is as good.

Today, I will spend some time with my sweetheart, Robert. It’s a beautiful day, so perhaps we’ll go to the park and sit in the sun. I want to paint a bit, read, and see how life unfolds.