Costa Rica Day 12 – tired of the beach, but the monkeys were cute

If you are a beach lover, you won’t understand this post.

img_20190403_1010575710792546088286007.jpgDon’t get me wrong. The beach here at the Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio is beautiful. And I got in the turquoise waters for 10 minutes. The water is clear and clean, the sand white.  But one thing I’ve really realized  is that I don’t want to spend a long time at the beach, getting salty, sandy, and sun-tanned.

I guess I missed something when I was considering making this trip. I knew there would be time at the beach, but I thought it would all be spent doing something to help preserve the turtle habitat and conservation in general. I just didn’t get it that half of the days would include hours playing and “relaxing” on the beach.

I didn’t even bring a swimsuit, or “swimming costume” as my British cohorts call them. They all brought large suitcases containing clothes for every occasion, and I think most of them brought two, three, or more swimming outfits – the bikini, tankini,  swimsuit – not too mention a variety of beach footwear. But I didn’t see swimming gear on the list of must-haves and I didn’t see relaxing on the beach in the itinerary.

In my youth I would lie in the sun and work on my tan. A few years ago, after my second divorce, I spent a summer revisiting all that. But I have discovered that I absolutely don’t want to do that any more. It just isn’t my idea of enjoyment.

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The highlight of my day was getting to take a walk alone along the paths in the park, surrounded by tall trees with the sound of the ocean in the distance, or, at one point, the sound of only the forest. I love walking in nature and it was just lovely. I would have stayed there longer but returned at the designated time to meetup with the others only to find that the general consensus was to stay on the beach longer. Sigh.

But I had purposed to go with the flow, not to try to manage things according to how I think they should be based on personal likes and dislikes or how I think life ought to work. I am working on letting things be what they are, not trying to control all my circumstances. I had time to ponder, and really, I am glad to have had this opportunity for this particular experience with these particular people. After all, I want to embrace the uncertainty of the day and let life unfold!

mvimg_20190403_095204167489922657660443.jpgI also got to have some interactions with white-faced, or capuchin, monkeys. When we entered the park, our bags were searched for contraband – anything that would be bad for monkeys to consume was not allowed. The only food one can bring in is fruit and sandwiches. One of my companions had her cigarettes confiscated. After spending time on the beach, we fully understood the reason for these rules. The monkeys, cute as they are, aggressively go after anything that looks or smells like food, and I witnessed one stealing a water bottle!

I had gotten a wrap at lunchtime, and put the paper it cameimg_20190403_1315076763165041934303690.jpg in back in my bag. The bag was close beside me, but when I turned my attention elsewhere for just a minute, a monkey snatched the paper right out of my bag!  Kind of cute, but several other times I had to shoo them away!

I am ready to be home. I have learned that although this has been an unforgettable experience, one I am glad to have had, I prefer traveling on my own terms either alone or with someone I know and get along with well.

After a shower, some air-conditioning, and a glass of wine, I felt so much happier. It’s interesting to watch my changing emotions in different situations, especially when I’m not happy about something but just let the situation resolve itself.  THAT is something to take home!

We went out to a restaurant with this lovely view:

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One more day of this trip – the morning will be spent on a catamaran, the afternoon traveling back to San Jose. The next morning -home! I didn’t get to write as I journeyed as much as I’d hoped, due to the lack of reliable wifi at times. I plan to write about some of the highlights I left out, after I get home. It has been a life-changing experience!

Here’s me at the restaurant. It has been so humid that I gave up straightening my hair.

Pura Vida!

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Off to Costa Rica!

Wow, I can’t believe the day has finally arrived! I write from the airplane, high over the IMG_20190323_111614.jpgGulf of Mexico. I’ve got my computer, my audible book, and my crochet project.  The flight isn’t full, so I’ve got the whole row to myself. I sit by the window, glancing out periodically looking for interesting sights, but right now it is just clouds, sky, and water. Flying on an airplane is an amazing adventure in itself!

I’ve been planning this trip since July of 2017. I think it was a facebook ad. Kind of scary how well facebook knows me. Maybe because I’ve done a blog called Looking for the next adventure! Anyway, I’m traveling solo from Houston to San Jose, Costa Rica, to join a group of adventurers with Bamboo, a global volunteer organization. I almost went to Costa Rica a few years ago, and when I saw this opportunity it didn’t take long for me to sign up. The price was right, and it required no planning on my part other than getting a flight!

Robert and I had just moved to the Woodlands, then gone on a meditation retreat to Garrison, New York. We were planning our wedding, and a honeymoon to Florida and Bimini. But I saw this opportunity, put my deposit down, and put it on the back burner. I was working part time from home, and on the verge of beginning another Ayurvedic course of study. Back then, I thought I would be starting my own business in another year.

But as life unfolded, uncertainties evolved into ideas and plans that eventually became certainties. Robert and I did get married in a beautiful ceremony at home surrounded by the love of family and friends. After a 10 day honeymoon, then Christmas, you’d think we’d chill for a bit. Well, that doesn’t really seem to be in my nature.

Much time was and is still dedicated to taking care of Hazel on weekends, and at that time I still had a weekly date with Sebastian and Hudson. But I went on another Heart-Based Meditation retreat in March – to Sedona Mago Retreat Center. Wonderful place, wonderful being with “my peeps” and connecting with a greater consciousness and my higher self.

I was realizing by that time that I didn’t think I really wanted to do what it would take to start a business. I had a website by then, and had even registered a business with the state of Texas, but I just wasn’t “feeling it”, so to speak. I love Ayurveda, but didn’t want to struggle to make it my bread and butter. So I began to look around to see what case management jobs were available, and sent out some applications. As I weighed the possibilities, I decided that if I got an offer I liked, I would take it.

In June, that is exactly what happened. There wasn’t any hesitation about accepting a good paying job with good benefits in a location that was only a 15 minute drive away and I didn’t have to get on the freeway! I started working for Memorial Hermann Hospital System in August (after taking a road trip with Robert to Iowa in July), and 7 months into the job it still feels like the right move.

When I quit my full-time job in 2016, I had some ideas and dreams and pursued a lot of different angles, but I always know that uncertainty reigns until something actually happens.

Like being on this airplane right now. I started making plans and saving money and eventually bought the ticket. The last month I’ve had fun figuring out how to travel light, ordering some helpful items from Amazon, and getting more and more excited about the whole idea. But really, until I got on the airplane, it was an uncertainty. A life circumstance could have popped up that would cause me to turn my steps away from all this to deal with something that in that moment was more important. Fortunately, that didn’t happen!

IMG_20190323_062805-1.jpgI have gotten away from writing here, although I think about it often. I used it to chronicle my solo travels to Iowa and Montana back in 2015, so I’m gonna give it a go. I have no idea what the wifi will be like or how much time I will have to write – an uncertainty that comes with having someone else plan! But I will definitely write, take lots of pictures, and keep dreaming. I will post as I can, although much of my time the next week will be invested in helping preserve the sea turtle habitat. And hopefully making a few new friends along the way!

 

 

Moving!

In two days, some men with a moving truck will load up all our worldly possessions, drive the 60 miles across Houston, and unload them all in a new space.

The last month has been stressful, to say the least. Talk about uncertainty! We found a place we loved, but for a number of reasons walked away from the deal as the red flags were waving all over the place. Quickly found another wonderful place that seemed to be calling to us, and it seemed to take an eternity to get the YES we needed and to get all the paperwork squared away. It felt like those fight scenes in movies where they suddenly go slo-mo and then everything speeds back up. Totally out of control.

20170623_184003And now, as we sit among the boxes, sorting and packing, feeling the tension build and taking steps to release it ( like going out for pizza, having pillow fights, watching movies), we are so ready to be there and find the new adventures waiting.

This move, as most are, is a leap of faith. We never really know what we are getting into until we get there, right? We may love the house or apartment, but we don’t know it’s quirks. We may love the location, but we don’t really know the neighborhood, or, more importantly, the neighbors.

We take our familiar possessions with us into the great unknown, and work to make them fit into unfamiliar surroundings. And we do that with ourselves, making shifts and changes to fit into the new subculture we find ourselves in.

What people will we meet? What experiences will we have? Where will this road lead?

I am in the unfolding.

Yoga, I love you

I may have mentioned this before, but I am in love.

Since leaving my day job, I have spent more time with yoga, and this love I have for it – it is the real thing.

I was briefly introduced to yoga five years ago at a gym I belonged to. I thought it was pretty great, but didn’t have much time for it. Two years ago, we were reacquainted during my trip to the Chopra Center. The best thing I learned there is that I can have a relationship with yoga even if I can’t sit in lotus or do certain asanas (postures).

Shortly after that I discovered the yoga studio less than two miles from where I live, and began to go weekly, for a while. Then I began studying ayurveda, and since I still worked full time, it was a challenge to get to class, so I stopped going regularly. In the meantime, I began to learn more about what yoga actually is.

The word yoga means union, and is a means to bring your entire being into balance and union with the greater consciousness many people call God. A common perception of yoga is that it is about moving your body into different positions to increase physical fitness, but there is so much more to it than that.

There are eight limbs of yoga:

  • Yama – this is about our behavior, principles, and how we conduct ourselves in life
  • Niyama – has to do with self- discipline and spiritual practices and routines
  • Asana – the postures practiced in yoga, through which we develop habits of discipline
  • Pranayama – this is about the breath
  • Pratyahara – withdrawing from sensory stimulation and looking inside
  • Dharana – concentration, dealing with the distractions of the mind
  • Dhyana – meditation or contemplation
  • Samadhi – transcendence, connection with the Divine, interconnectedness with all living beings

There are quite a few flavors of yoga, and this Mind Body Green piece explains the most common. I personally prefer a very slow flow, with stretching and holding poses for longer periods, a combination of hatha, sivananda, and yin. A have a friend who is dedicated to kundalini. Others love the more workout like flow of vinyasa or the heat of Bikram. There is something for everyone.

I am so happy to have found yoga. Or, as the owner of The Yoga Institute in Clear Lake, Rae Lynn Rath says “You don’t find yoga. Yoga finds you.”

I am elated that I have the time to pursue this practice. Yoga and ayurveda are sister sciences, so it makes sense to me to be able to teach this to those who are following this path of seeking better health through greater awareness.

And so, I have enrolled in a yoga teacher training course! Namaste. 🙂

 

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Semi-retirement and following passions

I went down to the lake this morning with a cup of coffee. It waswp-1473004970418.jpg a beautiful clear morning – birds singing, fish jumping – and it was nice for about 10 minutes. Then the humidity started creating a sheen of moisture on me, so I went back inside. It gave me enough time to decide to write a blog post.

If you’ve been reading here, you know that I recently quit my job. I decided that I would call myself “semi-retired” rather than “unemployed”. After all, I am of an age when many retire, and I do have that 401k, although if I tried to just live off of that, it wouldn’t last long. Anyway, I’m not unemployed. I am picking up some part-time hours doing medical reviews from home.

So, what’s been happening with me since I made the big decision? How does one adjust to not having the boundaries of a 40-hour-week job, after years of arranging the rest of one’s life around that box? It’s mostly mental, I think. (pun intended!)

Day to day life is great. Robert and I continue to find ourselves compatible and happy together, which is such an amazing blessing. I’ve started going to yoga class four times a week, and spend regular quality time with my grandchildren. I love getting to eat at home, preparing simple meals of grains and fresh organic vegetables from the farmer’s market.

Then there is the following of my passion, what I really care about. I am an Ayurvedic Practitioner, and have the intention of introducing those who want better health to a new way of living. (and being paid for it!) There are simple changes in lifestyle that can make a huge difference, that can help with stress, anxiety, digestive and weight issues, insomnia, and overall health management. But I find that I am a bit of a procrastinator, a little stuck. I know that I have something of value to offer, and it is just a matter of finding the clients who want to be committed to making positive changes.

So I decided to get some help to move me in the right direction, and am taking a course with Brian Whetten called Selling by Giving. The premise is that it can “transform the way I relate to my fears and inner doubts, and shift from judging them as problems to seeing that they are reliable course indicators showing me that I am heading in the right direction.”

And I’m not finished being a student. I am studying Ayurvedic Spiritual Counseling with New World Ayurveda. I’ve got skills and knowledge about how to make diet and lifestyle changes, but most people are resistant to change. So in this course, I’ll learn how to “help my clients understand what is truly at the root of their obstacles and have the inner transformational skills needed to permanently overcome those blocks.”  I need this for me, first, because I am as resistant to change as anyone I may try to help. Change always has to start with me!

Sounds like a lot when I put it on paper! And it is, but not too much. I’ve found time to paint, to take walks, to have wine with friends. In the midst of all these plans and possibilities, I remember that what matters most is this moment – am I being kind, compassionate, and loving to whomever is around me, and to myself?