It’s been awhile since I’ve written. I think it’s because I’ve been exploring less sharing of myself with the world and instead turning to friends and to my program. Isn’t that the point, though? To find people with whom we can work out this conundrum of humanness and share in the challenges of simply being alive?
Yes, it’s more difficult to say some of these things to someone’s face rather than to write it into the ethers, but that’s the purpose of my own, personal evolution: Real, raw, imperfect, authentic connection with other people who ‘get it.’ Just in case this isn’t abundantly clear: Being a human is HARD. Make no mistake about it. The best chance we’ve got for living the best life we can is to embrace the challenges and to lean on each other.
Still, there are certain things that someone like me can only fully express (and learn from) in writing, so I can’t imagine ever giving up on ‘Life Is Caramel’ fully. Some folks are better at expressing themselves through painting, film, music or some other creative endeavor. Mine happens to be writing. (side note: If you haven’t yet honed in on your creative genius, please stop reading now and experiment with ALL the stuff until you find it. I am positive beyond positive that you have at least one incredible creative thing that is yours and that it will also save your life, so please trust me that it’s worth the investment of your time).
Last time we left off in Puerto Viejo, I was living in a small casita where I shared two thin walls on either side with my neighbors, and my landlord almost stole my bed. Still, I found the place charming in many ways and I got to practice the fine art of ‘rolling with the punches’.
Somehow, by the grace of God (and a woman named Dawn), I am now living at one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen in my life. An unassuming gate, just off the main road and not far from town leads to a 1.5 acre private jungle property that has been transformed into a luscious Garden of Eden by the aforementioned owner who is also an award-winning artist and botanist. Bromeliads of all colors lovingly line the various trees. Plant life straight out of Dr. Seuss books are in abundance. A private, salt water swimming pool sits comfortably in the middle of it all, fully surrounded by luscious wildlife. Bananas, limes, jackfruit and more are found growing in treasure troves in all corners.
My place, for the time being, is on the ground floor in the one home on the property; a place where I get a spectacular eye-level view of it all. Every morning I am awoken by various types of colorful birds that seem to be as grateful to be on this land as I am. The second floor is an entirely separate living space, and maybe the most beautiful I’ve see in Puerto, with its Thai design, huge balcony and walkway out to a private meditation studio. I have been in charge of renting this upper space out to vacationers who are looking for a more luxurious experience in this magical (yet somewhat rustic) Caribbean town. (Shameless plug: If you are ever interested in visiting Costa Rica, I would love to have you stay here. Check out the airbnb link: Luxurious Jungle Paradise Mention Lifeiscaramel.com for a special discount.)
That said, upon returning from Guatemala (where my last post left off), I felt restless.
After a few days of witnessing babies being born (did I mention I cut an umbilical cord?) and traveling hours to small villages to provide healthcare to those who couldn’t afford it, I wanted to be more proactive in serving those who are less fortunate than me. After all, why do I deserve my current lifestyle when there are so many people who have experienced struggle on a level that is unfathomable to me?
I was inspired to change my path. Maybe Costa Rica has been a place for me to grow, but not an end point. Maybe the best thing for me was to return to my home country for further education so that I could do more.
After discussions with many people in the field, I began to look into going back to school to obtain a master’s degree in social work.
However (and here’s the point of all of this): I was open to being wrong.
In the past, I have made decisions and dedicated myself to achieving them; it was all or none for me. A few years ago, if I had begun the process of applying to a higher education program, my current life would take a backseat to my goal. Even if it began to feel wrong, I would push forward no matter what.
This time, I have decided to take things one small step at a time. It turns out that I can begin the process of applying to school while also giving myself fully to my life here in Puerto. When I let go of my own expectations and simply dedicate myself to the next step instead of the end goal, I get to enjoy all that I am doing and let life present itself instead of my forcing it.
At this point, it isn’t looking like this is the right time to be going back to school – it might never be. However, in letting go of what I think is right for me and instead embrace new possibilities, I get another opportunity to make choices that are best for me.
The other truth is that, even if I don’t do the incredible things that some people in this world are doing, I am doing my own incredible things. They might not be as obvious and apparent to some (or even to me), but that’s the benefit of sharing myself with friends who interact with me every day; they remind me that I have achieved my most successful accomplishments just by letting go of some control, staying open to what comes my way and listening to what feels right…one day at a time.