a spiritual experience

Today was my second full day in Nosara, where, despite all manner of round-the-clock bird and monkey calls, it’s impossible for me not to sleep like the dead. I assumed like any other vacation away from the kids that I’d maintain the same 6am internal alarm clock my son has cursed me with for the last six years (notice how I specifically reference Kellan here – if it were up to Kathryn we’d all be sleeping until 9am every day…very soon I sense we’ll be taking many mother/daughter trips to all corners of the world and sleeping our faces off in every last damn one of them). But not here, not in this place that feels to me as if it’s producing actual joy from every leaf, wave and creature I encounter.

Not only do I sleep better than I can remember ever sleeping before, but I have none of my usual fear of all tropical creatures – remember the gecko in my room in Bali that caused me days of anxiety, albeit one of my more entertaining blog posts? That experience, along with last year’s girls’ trip to Tulum fraught with scorpions, snakes, lizards, behemoth moths and a bat in our room have taught me well.

Upon check-in:

Me: “Okay, Adrian, let’s have a serious conversation about what sort of things might scare me around here.”

Adrian: “Um, okay….”

Me: “What do you got? Snakes? Lizards?”

Adrian: “No, we don’t really have anything like that here. You know what a gecko is?”

Me: (fuuuuuuuuuck) “Mmmmmhmmmm”

Adrian: “They’re super tiny (makes hand gesture to show me something that is maybe 2 inches long).”

Me: (large wave of relief washes over) “Oh, okay, no problem”

Adrian: “Yeah, that’s about it.”

Well guess what? Adrian is a motherfucking liar. Yes, there are tiny geckos. There are also giant lizards, bright red poisonous crabs and an unnaturally fast-moving snake that nearly slithered right over my feet on my way to get a massage today. But here’s the crazy thing – I’ve barely flinched at the sight of any of them. My massage therapist nearly came out of her skin today (no pun intended) when I said, “oh, there’s a snake”, as casually as if I’d just noted the color of the sidewalk. For those of you who’ve been witness to my irrational fear of anything that lacks fur (exception: mice) and moves with what I would call reckless abandon, you know what a big deal this is. I have no explanation for this phenomenon other than to tell you that I feel like this is my other home. Every new sight is incredible, yes, but also strangely familiar. I cannot stop smiling. I am by no means fluent in Spanish, but I seem to have retained considerably more vocabulary and grammar than my peers who took the same number of classes in highschool and I’ve been told in multiple Spanish-speaking countries now that my accent sounds legit. Is this all just coincidence or is there really something more spiritual happening here for me in Costa Rica?

For now, I’m just going with the flow. I acknowledge that my experience here is very limited at this point and that I’m far from living the local life and the lack of Western amenities that must entail, but another thing I’ve learned is this: the extensive expat community that I read so much about when I was researching Nosara consists not just of Americans, which I originally assumed, but of people from all over the world – Europe, Australia, Canada, India, South America. Again, is this really a coincidence, or is there a more powerful force at work here – a unique gathering of seekers, perhaps?  I did learn that this particular area of Costa Rica is one of the world’s rare Blue Zones where people live considerably longer than in other parts of the world. If the spirit and joy I feel at the cellular level here isn’t fleeting after all, then I can’t say I’m surprised.

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