What did I bring home from Costa Rica? I brought home some great photos, some jewelry from a local artist, and some great skin products. However, these are just trinkets. The things that meant the most to me that I brought home were some simple life lessons.
First, upon returning home I noticed how sterile and controlled we try to make everything. We control the lighting, the temperature, the humidity, the noise. When teaching and practicing yoga in Costa Rica, we had the pounding surf, the pouring rain, and mangos exploding on a tin roof. It was not quiet, sterile or controlled in any way, but it was the most connected I have ever felt as a teacher and practitioner. By the end of the retreat students didn’t even react to the mango explosions and we only had a mini-reaction when mating lizards fell from the sky onto someone. Everyone stayed calm and barely moved. They discovered that peace of mind came from within in the midst of a storm, rather than secluded away from everything.
Second, I was amazed at the way people were able to live in harmony with the land. Solar energy for power, well collections for water. In the high season, water is in great demand in Costa Rica. In the green season (which is right now), there is plenty of water, but sunlight can be unpredictable. Many people who live there depend on mother nature for their power and they see the value of conservation. As Aaron said, “When you have to generate or maintain your own power, you think twice before leaving a cell phone plugged in.” It certainly made me more aware of my personal energy consumption and how to be more mindful.
Third, I found myself humbled and amazed by the people that surrounded me. Not only the people that came on retreat with such open minds, but the ones that hosted us and cared for us along the way. Everyone smiled, everyone treated us like family. Their love of one another, the land and their home was evident. There was an openness to the people that surrounded us. No jaded quality, no shame, no self-deprication, just kindness.
This trip was a reminder of who I am and who I hope to become. I see now the beauty of wildness and things that aren’t contained and managed. I appreciate natural sources of power and hope I never take more than necessary. I am humbled and in awe of this very special place and its people. In the words of a new friend, the Osa peninsula in Costa Rica is a small piece of heaven on earth.