I had forgotten what true happiness was until I went to Costa Rica. My visit there this past April turned out to be a major turning point in my life. I had just come out of a divorce a year earlier and was celebrating my first year of independence. It hadn’t been an easy time, but around April I felt the tides within me turning toward a brighter future.
I arrived in Santa Teresa on a Sunday morning where a dear friend of mine from New York had organized a yoga retreat. Months earlier she had coaxed me into signing up. I remember at the time thinking I should conserve money and not take such a lavish trip. After all, there are a dozen studios within a two mile radius of my L.A. apartment that I could attend at a fraction of the cost. But for some reason, there was an overriding impulse for me to go. So without thinking too much, I booked my ticket and off I went.
It was lovely. From the moment I arrived I felt at home. I stayed in a beach house at the Tropico Latino with 11 others and while we joined together to flow through our asanas in the morning and evening, during the day I was left to do whatever my heart desired. Between sipping on freshly-squeezed guanabana juice, long strolls on the beach, galloping on a horse at lightning speed in the rain, or simply lounging in a hammock, I found out the true meaning of “Pura Vida.” By the fourth day I was doing cartwheels on the beach and beaming from ear to ear. So filled with bliss. Pure childlike bliss.
Costa Rica truly changed my life. It infused my soul. Not just within that one week but from the day I set foot back on American soil. I left my job of six years because it no longer brought me any joy. I also changed my career path and decided to go back to grad school to do something that I know is going to be far more fulfilling than my previous work. Essentially, Costa Rica woke me up to my life. I had been asleep for so long and could now no longer deny what needed to be done. What I wasn’t planning on was…
Seven days after returning to L.A. I was back to work. It was a normal morning. Bright and early I arose. I was beaming. I was glowing. I could still feel the dampness from the sea on my cheeks and the sun upon my face as I stepped outside my car on this gloomy, cool L.A. morn. Approaching the door I had thoughts that were related to the grumblings of my tummy. “Should I go for the danish or the bagel? Hmmmm.” As I entered the small and dingy apartment a kind of haze and hush cast over everything. All the attendants were still half asleep and making slow, deliberate movements.
It was an unfamiliar place to me so I headed for the nearest spot to sit down with my heavy bag but before I was able to reach my destination, a figure appeared to my right. I felt as though I were in a dream. He introduced himself, I did the same. Laughter was heard throughout the room at our simple little exchange. Everyone thought we knew each other. For all intense purposes, we should have. Everyone else had worked with him over the last month and a half but not me. And there was good reason for this.
After this playful exchange, I carried on as I’d planned and drifted over to the azure-colored couch smelling very unpleasantly of cats. But no matter. Something had just happened. Something had just shifted. To those surrounding us it probably appeared to have been a simple introduction. The kind that happens millions of times each day, among every culture and in every country across the globe. But, as I would quickly come to realize, this was no ordinary exchange.
One never knows when they’ll meet the love of their life. Thanks to the hours upon hours of sweat-building yoga upon the shores of Santa Teresa, I was able to be present for one of the most profound moments of my life. Completely unplanned and thank god for that. I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.
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