I have this beautiful life.
February 18, 2020- Tuesday, Arrival Day- Costa Rica
It’s time to escape New Jersey and fly off to nature lovers paradise. Myself and yogi friends, old and new, will be soaring above the clouds to land in the beautiful Nicoya Peninsula, Santa Teresa, Costa Rica.
Thanks to Danielle Wilkinson (our wild child), our leader, special soul, and owner of http://www.aquarianyoga.com this dream is coming true. She brings forth a spiritual connection and vision for all of us to share on this retreat week together, not to mention insane fun!
We have days and nights of wide, long beaches to walk and soak in gorgeous Pacific sunsets. Santa Teresa is a surfer lovers dream come true. Guaranteed waves. Yoga, mediation and adventure, sunshine, good friends and food- what’s not to like?
I’m ready! After our flight to San Jose we take a short 20 minute hopper plane and we make http://La Casona and Palm Grove our home for the next six days.
There are 2 houses on the premises. Oceanfront. Jaw dropping. Tropical. Period. Can we move in forever, please?
Our adventure explorers soul seekers include Danielle, Kenny, Cherylee, Helena, Brenda, Hyacinth, Amanda, Patty, Jim, Cate, Savitri, Stacy, Glen and myself. (+Katie and Chris)
Chris and Katie greet us with a Mango/Peach welcome drink and sliced pineapple. Katie is the owner of http://yogabohemia.com and our host/ Badass. She is love and light in the flesh. Chris is our talented soulful personal chef who will now proceed to spoil us for life.
I look up at the sky. Did I just see God smiling down? A few of us walk through the open glass doors to the huge pool surrounded by flowers and fauna towards a winding stone path to the ocean past the Yoga Shala.
We hit the beach for a swim in the Pacific.
We are then served a beautiful meal on a huge hand carved wooden dining table.
– Chris explains that our meal is a typical Costa Rican plate. We have salad, rice, beans, and stir fried mushrooms , peppers and onions with plantains or chicken. Beautiful herb teas of every color. Oh Yum.
Later we share out thoughts and dreams in an opening circle. We are now officially united.
Yeah. I am not in New Jersey anymore.
February 19, 2020 – Wednesday Day 1
Every morning we are invited to sunrise mediation on the beach at 6:30 AM. A time to go inward, listen to Mother Nature roar in and out, silent reflection, golden sun. Time for journaling, collecting small stones and sea glass. Our goal for the day- “Choose a stone that speaks to you and your intention”. As we carry this with us, we are reminded of the strength of our words felt deep within our hearts. ( look close- these stones actually spell LOVE)
Later tonight, these stones will blend with the Pacific Ocean and our intentions will be given to the earth.
8:00 Am- We are blessed with a beautiful meal prepared by Chris’s loving hands. Refrigerated oats with mango and coconut, hard boiled eggs, and fresh tropical Pineapple, Watermelon, and Mango! . Divine and Delish!
9:30- 11:00 AM- Its time for Yoga! Kundalini and Yoga Flow Combo on the Shala with our talented teachers, Danielle, Cate and Sivitri. We move our bodies and still our minds. Pure Bliss.
Time for lunch Tacos! (I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like taco’s!) Crazy good.
Its Tico time in Costa Rica!
The rest of the afternoon we are off to explore the town or whatever our hearts desire. The waves, the surf- (our expert surfer dude Kenny, can always be found catching a wave!) or the funky laid back town of Santa Teresa. Some us enjoy a massage under tropical trees at the shala, great coffee or a surf lesson!
As the sun begins to set, we share a beach cacao meditation with Danielle and then a special cacao ceremony led by the beautiful Hyacinth. We are smudged with sage and walk towards the beach as she drums and we sing medicine songs. We give thanks to the great spirit and Mother Earth for all our blessings. Hyyacinth’s gifts award all of us with inner peace and nourishment for our minds, bodies and soul. We sip our medicine and feel the power within reaching deep into our souls and shared energies.
The music of the ocean, the gentle breeze brings us back to reality and soon its time for another fabulous meal! Local fish, Beets, Veggies and Potatoes. Simple and Delicious! Thank you Chris and Katie for your warm, open hearts.
We chat is up a bit and then its time to sink into our comfy beds and dream of the adventures that day 2 will bring!
February 20, Thursday – Day 2
After our sunrise meditation, we are treated with another mouth watering breakfast. There is a bakery in town that makes Empanada Croissants with spinach and cheese. (and other goodies). Okay, so I have literally died and gone to heaven. This is truth.
The energy from this sustains me throughout the day, which I will soon need because today we ride on ATV’s to Montezuma waterfalls! I hop on with my new bestie Amadma for the 45 minute ride. (including photo ops on the way to practice tree pose!)
Once there we enjoy Ceviche and salad for lunch at Bar Y restaurant on the beach.
Montezuma is a tiny, quaint village perched at the edge of the sea known for its magnificent waterfalls, natural beauty and abundant wildlife. It definitely puts your happy face on.
The ocean breeze and blue skies accompany us. Life is good! Pura Vita! A bit of shopping in town for some T-shirts and jewels seals the deal.
The hike to the waterfall is about 20 minutes. Not bad going down- (up will be another story later!) We jump off the cliffs like the badasses that we are. Choose your cliff! 10, 20, 30 feet? Then climb up the rocks to get back. Success. Check!
Back at the Shala, we are treated with a special guest, Daniel, who leads us thru a somewhat challenging hip opening Yin class. To help us forget the possible discomfort of holding, Daniel tells ancient stories as we stretch our bodies. It works. I leave feeling happy and healthy.
Dinner is on our own tonight. I get lucky and share the last amazing croissant empanada with Hyacinth. Happy camper. Happy Yogi. Now I can go to bed and dream of moving here to open a bakery shop.
February 21, Friday – Day 3
Is this all we do on a Costa Rican Retreat?
Eat healthy luscious meals, drink fruit smoothies, sleep in luxury, practice yoga on the beach, share giant hugs in circle, read good books, journal to empty our crowded brains, swim in blue/green waters with colorful fish, ride the waves, experience new adventures, meet the locals, have great conversations, meditate, enjoy 80 degree weather, dance and sing, get massages, stare at sunsets for hours, snap photos of igauanas, lizards and monkeys, and eat chocolate from the gods?
Yup. Thats what we do.
If you have a problem with that, well then I guess you have a problem.
Today was also Zip lining canopy tour day through the rainforest, photos of sunsets, an Alchemy Identity workshop with our always joyous lovely Brenda- ( Who are you?), and another kick ass dinner – Pork chops or Vegan sausage, beets and onions with mango sauce, Sriracha and BQ sauce.
Yeah, just another day in paradise. Hey, somebody’s gotta do it.
February 22 Saturday – Day 4
I wake every day at 6 a.m. I do this at home too. I like peace and quiet in the early morning hours, like to watch the sunrise and hear the birds sing. But here, I get up early for other reasons. In Santa Teresa I am surrounded by Mango trees and Papayas. Coconut Palms and Howler monkeys. Apples and limes. Fresh Pineapple. The sound of ocean waves. Sand in my toes and the sun on my face. Can I package this up and bring it home?
Today, most of us leave early and and hop in our private van to the island of Tortuga. It’s snorkel boat trip day! After hearing about possible rough waters, we switch gears and head to another piece of land (we’ve named it Gilligan’s Island) to wait for further instructions. But, who cares? We are in heaven! We spend an hour or two swinging on a rope, collecting shells and swimming in the blue waters.
Our guides are the sweetest and most accommodating. We are served fresh pineapple, watermelon slices and a few Imperials to share!
Before long we get the green light and we are off to Tortuga to swim with the fishes! Yellow, blue, green, stripes and polka dots! I get my gear and jump in. Me and Patty hold hands and explore the deep blue sea. Others spotted a giant turtle. Life is good underwater too.
Lunch on the island is next- fresh tuna, roasted potatoes and veggies. Super Delish. More swimming or shopping. Coconut drinks in the shell. And, of yea, I take a walk on the beach with an 8 foot peacock. Just another day in Costa Rica.
After the glorious boat ride back to paradise, Danielle leads us in a meditation on the beach followed by a powerful Shamanic journey at the Shala. Loved ones appear, tears flow, hugs follow. The journey continues …. thank you Danielle!
Soon afterwards, appetites are up again and we devour another special dinner of fresh local fish, Congor (that you can only catch here I believe) cooked in butter and garlic. We are so spoiled.
Some of us go out, but I hit the sack after a quick swim. I need to process and absorb, sleep and dream.
February 23, Sunday Day 5
I won’t let my brain know that this is our last full day here. I instruct her to stick that thought in a drawer way in the back and I move forward.
I sit on the beach with Stacy feeling the energy of the powerful ocean before me. I breathe in the waves and let go of fears and expectations of others. I float off to another dimension. Have I landed on another planet and someone forgot to tell me?
Today is chill day. Time for self reflection. Hugs. Laughter. Stories. Smiles. Dreams. Yoga. Breath. Sand, Swims. Massages. More incredible food from mama earth prepared with love by Chris and Katie.
Oh, did I forget to mention horseback riding on the beach at sunset?
I almost chicken out but in the end, my warrior self comes through. Yeah!! I ride. I weave through the forest and the beach over rocks and water on Shapita, my horse. She’s a beauty. Our guide, Glen, Kate,Savitri, and another guest Allison join too. As promised the glorious sunset arrives as we approach our villa.
Let go of comfort zone. Check.
There is no way life can get better than this. But it does.
tonite we gather on the beach for a Dharma talk with Katie. Who, by the way, is not only beautiful, strong, and smart, she has a way of making everyone feel special. Her greeting is always “Good morning sweet soul.” I love that and will now steal those words.
She explains her journey and shares the knowledge she has gained so that we may all find love, peace and beauty in our hearts. We learn the meaning of Bhakti Yoga. The Union of Self Realization. Be like salt,(be humble) be like a chicken, (see the good in others) be like a crane, (be patient) be like yourself( be the seeker). Also, we go over the six pillars of practice. Now it’s time to continue on our own journey. We will not always be able to live on the beach surrounded by sweet souls. The real world is sometimes challenging. But now I have the seeds. They will grow. They will sprout. My heart will fill.
Speaking of filling- Its time dinner! Roasted Cauliflower, broccoli, mashed yams with ginger. Okay Chris and Katie can you fit in my suitcase?
And the finale tonight- Yoga and then the Fire ceremony on the beach with a massive star filled sky. Magic. Period. Thank you Mother Earth and Father Sky.
Thank you Danielle for your vision and endless love. Thank you Kenny for your open heart, hugs and ears. Thank you Katie for your smile, wisdom and generous heart. Thank you Chris for your hands that prepared loving food from momma earth. Thank you Cherylee for sharing your space and your heart -my roomie! Thank you Jim for your enthusiasm and stories of lands far away. Thank you Cate for just being you. Perfection. Thank you Sivitri for your soothing voice and gentle yoga practice. Thank you Patty for your presence, your abundant nature and swimming with the fish with me! Thank you Brenda for your endless joy and love of life. Thank you Helena for your presence and warmth. Thank you Stacy for gentle heart and conversation. Thank you Glen for saying you are happy everyday! Thank you Hyacinth for your beautiful gifts and sharing them with all of us.
February 24 Monday Day 6
This is a day I’d rather not write about so I won’t. (but I will say the hopper plane back to San Jose was actually smooth and fun!)
I enjoy my last yummy breakfast or maybe its dessert! Sliced bananas with drizzled hazelnut sauce and coconut flakes! (Oh yeah, I am stocking up on jars of this chocolate concoction back at the NJ ranch!)
It feels odd that sand is no longer between my toes. 🙁
Farewell Costa Rica and beautiful friends – until we meet again you will be forever in my heart, soul and dreams! (with sand!)
I have this beautiful life that I share with friends and I am grateful.