Bruce and I are sitting in hammocks outside a studio apartment under a thatched roof canopy made from tree trunks that have had their bark stripped away and been stained deep red. There are insects singing like cicadas in the trees and it's warm. not hot. We just finished surfing for the first time in our lives. Our instructor was Jose, a man who looked to be about 23 who had a broad smile, an easy way if teaching and was 33. When I said I was shocked at his age... He said his grandfather was 105 and still going strong. I have met so many friendly people here in Costa Rica. They are so kind, helpful and easy going. I mean, I'm sure there are some jerks here and there. I'm sure of it. But I haven't met one yet. The driving itself is amazing. Just my style... Insane. There street signs that suggest there are rules, but as far as watching what people do vs. what they say, there are no damn rules, but the cool part is, no one gets mad. They just go with it. I had to cut a guy off in San Jose and it just happened, and when I got cut off, it's just the way it is. The traffic is door to door, bumper to bumper in San Jose, and all the while small displacement motorcycles are weaving through everything, dodging trucks and monstrous pits in the street. One wonders how many are gravely injured every year in the city, but again, it all seemed to flow so smoothly.
As I write this two very strange sounding birds just got into a massive disagreement in the tree tops.
The thing is... I'm at peace. Regarding the surfing, while each ride was only a few seconds and I fell most times, I loved every minute of it. I enjoyed it so much. The first time I got up, and rode... really rode... it felt like flying. I outran the wave a bit, and then the wave caught me again, and I rode a bit further. Jose said we were doing well, that many people don't ever get up. But this is why we're here. To surf. To practice. So we both put in the work. In that work I experienced one of the greatest moments in my life, as unexpectedly wonderful as my first kiss and watching my son take his first breath, came when I was standing looking at the surf coming in, and I turned just in time to see my son stand with an east one two flow and ride... and ride... and ride... balanced... sure footed, then he fell off the board and came up with a huge smile. "I'm loving this," he shouted at me over the running out wave that had carried him to the beach. I think about the world he grew up in, cold winter days. No brothers. No sisters... A broken home because she refused to work on the marriage because if it was work she was out and conflict was never allowed...
I think about the broken pieces of my life... Health... Fears... Career... And in that moment in the Costa Rican sun, standing hip deep in the Pacific surf, I saw his heart open to challenge and failure, and in doing so full-out he found success and joy, and I see that heart beating fast with the love of adventure and life... In the moment, everything became whole. Over the last four years I've faced some of my greatest demons in my life. So many days I would wake up hopeless and I had only one thought. "Just keep going." I didn't know where I was going to, just to keep moving, as though on a mountain ridge in a deep snow storm. No vision of the summit or even a few feet ahead. Total white out. Cold. Alone. Blind. Just keep going. In the last year, there have been many good days, but always laced deeply with sorrow and loss and a sense of being broken. But as I've taken on this challenge to change my heart and live like those who get the most out of life. Forgiveness, positive future vision, deep 'now' practice.... I have been rising. And today... "Just keep going" had already become so ingrained I didn't have to say it any more. I'd just get up and do it. One more day. One more day. One more day.
Yet today... Today became and still is as I write this... One of the greatest days of my life. Riding a wave, seeing my son flourish... Sitting in a hammock under a rainforest canopy... Just keep going shifts so easily into "Be". No effort. No worry. I found the ability to find grace and joy in the Washington winter in an empty house. So coming here... I don't need this place to be happy.... So the happiness it brings me is magnified until the heart fills and runs over. I am at peace today. Whole. My son is thriving. Every moment of my life led to this. And I love this. So I love every moment of my life. I am deeply grateful for every grace and every challenge.
What day is it in my 365 day challenge? Today. ...and there is no challenge. I am. This is.