Sunday, November 15, 2009

My Year of Hopefulness - Finding Pura Vida

Every now and then go away, have a little relaxation, for when you come back to your work your judgment will be surer. Go some distance away because then the work appears smaller and more of it can be taken in at a glance and a lack of harmony and proportion is more readily seen." ~ Leonardo Da Vinci

I don't know how the folks at Daily Good are able to sit in my head 24/7 but they've done it again. This quote showed up in my inbox today, the day I leave on a vacation I've been planning for almost a year.

I’ve had the good fortune to travel a lot as an adult – both for work and for leisure. It should have come as no surprise to me that my travel to Costa Rica would be just what I needed to lift myself up out of sadness, disappointment, frustration, loss, and anger of the last few months. I agree that so often what’s needed is a change of self and not a change of scene – I just find that a change of scene, even if it’s just for a short time, kick starts the change of self.

I left for the airport at 5am – my preferred leave time when I’m traveling. I like to jump up out of bed, throw on my clothes, grab my bags, and run to the M60 bus that carries me away to LaGuardia airport. On the bus this morning, my mind was still reeling from some circumstances in my life that I cannot change. I just couldn’t let go; I couldn’t clear my head.

I boarded the plane and stashed my carry-on bag. I was worried. “Are my disappointments going to follow me around for the next weeks? Are they going to ruin this vacation I’ve been planning for almost a year?” I thought. And then I heard the announcements come over the loudspeaker in Spanish. I have been practicing my Spanish, reminding myself of vocabulary and grammatical structures that I haven’t thought about in years. The excitement began to mount.

I leaned my head against the window as we backed away from the gate, my Spanish phrasebook in hand. “Please God, let this go well,” I prayed. The whirring of the plane’s engines put me to sleep for about 30 minutes, and I woke up to a face full of sunshine. We had broken through the cloud cover. We had soared to a place where my disappointments could not go – I literally felt them fall away and go crashing to the ground below. I imagined them as angry little characters down there on the ground I could no longer see, shaking their fists at me as I went on my way without them. And then they hung their heads and sulked away, lamenting the one, me, who got away.

In Costa Rica, the common greeting that people exchange is “Pura Vida”, which literally translates to “Pure Life”. From the moment I set foot in this beautiful country, I vowed to embrace that as my motto going forward, no matter where in the world I am. I will be my one guiding principle for how to live each moment: with the feeling of being truly alive. The time of contentment and “good enough” and “maybe tomorrow” is not an option anymore – I left those sentiments back there with my disappointments, far below the cloud cover.

The image above is not my own. It can be found here.


COL said...

pura vida. !diviertate!

runner52 said...

Enjoy your time away....I just caught up on the last few blogs...the one about someone dragging your name through the mud hit home...some people will go to whatever length to achieve at the expense of strong

Christa said...

Thanks, Col! It has been wonderful so far - so glad to be here!

Christa said...

Hi runner52,
You are so right. This incident with this person was a little shocking, though I think I have found a way to get past it and move this person out of my life quickly. Thanks, as always, for your support!