Costa Rica – the land of green landscape, volcanos, beautiful beaches, world-class waves and “Pura Vida” or the pure life.
I arrived last Tuesday ready to embrace everything Costa Rica had to offer and begin another Iron Gypsy adventure.
One of the things on my list was “Latin dancing.” I love to dance; however, one of my limiting beliefs is that when a partner is added — all of sudden I go from a free spirit with a little bit of rhythm to an awkward teenager dancing with a boy at the junior high dance for the first time.
Either way, my idea of dancing and what the universe delivered must have gotten lost in translation – but the experience was very similar in that I once again felt like an awkward teenager.
Stick with me, and let me explain.
I arrived on a rainy night after dark. It’s rainy season and since Costa Rica is close to the equator, it gets dark by about 6 pm and light by 6 am year-round.
I had arranged for a trustworthy tour company to transport me the 90 minute drive from San Jose to Jaco. As a single female traveler, I do not mess around with public transport when I arrive in a new place at night. NOT WORTH SAVING A BUCK!
Everything went smoothly. He showed me around the small city of Jaco, took me to the local grocery store (Costa Rica’s version of Wal-Mart), translated the check-in conversation with the guards at the complex and helped me get all of my bags up to my condo in the pouring rain. He was a genuinely kind soul, and I felt very fortunate.
When I woke up the next day, I literally had to pinch myself. I was in Costa Rica! EEEEEK! I’ve wanted to travel here for so long! A couple of of years ago, I looked into surf camps here. But since I am now living this “nomadic gypsy lifestyle,” why not try Costa Rica for a little longer? Combine surfing and scenery with a city that has highspeed Wifi and the comforts of home – like a coffee pot and a gym with a squat rack. Therefore, I decided to rent a place in Jaco for two months.
My first outing was nice. I saw the beach, checked out the city seeing all of the American options like Subway and KFC tucked in next to the Costa Rican “sodas.”
I checked into a local gym where there were a few others who appeared to be “non-local” but the majority were speaking Spanish and looked very “at home.” I immediately felt disconnected from people and embarassed that I do not speak fluent Spanish. Yes, I’ve traveled to many countries where I did not speak the language. Spanish is different. I wish that I had more command of the language than the few words I’ve managed to hold onto from senior year of high school.
Connection is HUGE for me…And this made me very uncomfortable and ashamed.
Then the rain came…
This time of the year, it’s typical for rain to set in during the afternoon. Sometimes it rains all day. So I committed that I would enjoy the mornings while the sun was out – walking the beach to get to the gym, handling any other errands on my way home and possibly hitting the beach early in the day – allowing me to focus on work in the afternoons when the rain set in.
This was the routine for most of last week. I felt a shift – adapting to a new energy, a new routine, a new culture, a different climate, a language barrier, etc. I usually do feel a shift and a time of transition when I come to a new place; however, during my previous travels I was in each location for such a short time it felt much different. It was much less “permanent.” If the vibe was off – not to worry. I would be in a new location in a week or less.
Then the weekend set in. The shift in energy became more intense.
I woke up on Saturday to rain — and Sunday as well. Plans to go surfing were cancelled due to rain.
As I spent those days alone in my place besides the rainy trips to the gym, my mind began to fixate on everything that was wrong with this situation – AND BEYOND THAT — everything that is wrong with ME.
My inner dialogue was ugly!
So what the “f” happened? How did this positive “Iron Gypsy” completely fall off everything she talks about daily? Everything she stands for? Everything she coaches? Everything she’s worked so hard to change in herself?
Learning to dance
At this moment, I don’t know exactly where all of these bullshit stories came from or why I suddenly became overwhelmed with them – but I do know there is a reason that is bigger than what I can comprehend today.
I know reading this, at least half of you will have an extremely negative response, and I don’t blame you. Looking back at it, I’m ashamed – embarrassed – that I thought this way.
I am completely aware that I was in one of the most beautiful countries in the world, living my dream of helping people live healthier, happier lives, steps away from the beach in a great condo — and I was finding everything wrong with this place, me and life in general.
Yup. I agree. Part of me believes it’s despicable and embarrassing.
So why am I sharing this? Why is someone so dedicated to “self-love” sharing a post about how she spent her first five days in one of the most beautiful countries in the world beating herself up and questioning everything about her life?
Because…It needs to be shared.
Yes, I’m ashamed. Yes, I’m embarrassed. Yes, I’m quite surprised by what came over me, but at the same time – I hear the voice of my soul saying:
Often times we hold ourselves and others to a God-like standard. I catch myself thinking that because I have “done the work,” and have learned the lesson once before that I am never allowed a moment of what feels like going backwards. I expect perfection and a journey forward with no bumps. I judge myself for being HUMAN — when that’s what we are created to be.
If we were capable of being representations of God, living in a state of perfection at every moment – would we be here? I honestly don’t know. What I do believe is that we are here to learn. And sometimes it takes us “falling off our pedestal” – the one we mentally put ourselves on and the ones that we place others on — to be reminded of the bigger picture. We’re here to learn, and we are created to be HUMAN not GOD.
We have God in us – absolutely. When we work with our Creator, we are capable of anything and everything. However, that doesn’t always unfold the way WE want it to. The lessons and the rainy days and the “awkward” dances are there to teach us something. I believe the Creator’s job is not to make us believe we are perfect in every moment, but to help us see that we are perfect in every moment because of our imperfection.
So…now can you relate?
How many times have all of us been in a similar position – where we feel sorry for ourselves, get all “woe is me” – yet we know how blessed we are? And then we beat ourselves up for having those stupid thoughts, and we feel even worse about ourselves.
Ring any bells?
Yes, this can happen whether the situation is a gypsy living in Costa Rica, someone with a beautiful family or famous athlete or performer making millions of dollars a year.
Our location and circumstances do not always dictate how “happy” and sane our thoughts are.
One thing is certain, this was not a setback, but a moment of growth. The fact that I was able to dip so low and pull myself out of it (with a little help from a great mentor) is a victory in my book!
So what do I believe really happened here? What is the lesson? And what did I do to pull myself out of this?
Watch for next weeks’ blog post where I will share what I did to get back to me and how my “dancing” skills and rhythm are getting better every day here in Costa Rica.
But…know this. EVERY IRON GYPSY STORY WILL HAVE A HAPPILY EVER AFTER.
No need to worry mom and dad — or all my beautiful family members, Tribe members and friends throughout the world. I am in LOVE with this place and rhythm I have found here! I mean that!
Since these days are behind me everything looks different – I MEAN EVERYTHING! It even smells different! It’s beautiful and everything I hoped it would be! It wasn’t the location. IT WAS ME!
Most importantly, I am growing throughout this experience and that my friends, is why I am here! I am living my true purpose every day.
The smile you see in the photos – it’s real. When it’s not real, you will know. Also, know this. Even on the days when I don’t feel like smiling, deep down, I know I’m exactly where I’m meant to be.
I’m trusting the process, enjoying the journey, writing my own story and learning to dance – even in the rain!