You can read part 3 here: My Experiment: Part 3 – Always Wanting More
Costa Rica is perfect for slowing down and breaking patterns.
The other day, I felt myself slipping into old patterns of thought. I rode the bus over to the next town to run errands, and I encountered several struggles that prevented me from completing my tasks. Then the bus back to my village was over an hour late. Sitting there, at the crowded bus stop, I felt my mind getting all wound up, irritated and annoyed, which led my body to become tense and stressed. These are the feelings I came to Costa Rica to escape.
Luckily, I started feeling better once I got back home. Being back closer to the ocean, in my smaller town helped. Then around sunset, I went for a walk on the beach. Ahh, the feeling of dusk, the earth winding down from the day. The ocean takes on the hue of blue steel, the darkening sky tinged by hints of fire. The beach was practically deserted, no sounds or sights of humanity to mar the peace. The tension melted away and my mind unwound, dissolved in the glory of nature.
After dinner I sat on my porch, in the dark, just listening to the ocean and a sonorous orchestra of insects, punctuated by the occasional rumble of a car trundling down the dirt road out front. The neighbor’s light provided just enough contrast to barely discern the outlines of the jungle. Soaking in the sounds and the feeling of nature, I was immersed in a deep feeling of contentment.
Slowing down, breaking old patterns, deprograming my mind. I used to get so wound up, and the tension would just stick with me, winding up tighter and tighter until I felt I would crack. I can see how I could get back to that, even here, if I’m not careful. Between working my part-time job and dealing with the idiosyncrasies of Costa Rican life, I could easily find minor annoyances to get bent out of shape about.
My meditation teacher once said, “Wherever you go, there you are.” She was talking about people doing exactly what I’m doing, running away to a new location in hopes of running away from unhappiness. The problem is, if you’re creating the unhappiness in your mind, you’ll take it with you. I’m beginning to see how that could happen, if I’m not vigilant.
But being here, in this new environment, provides opportunities to help me break out of these old patterns, if I can be aware enough of what’s happening in my mind to take advantage of those gifts. Taking the time to slow down and walk on the beach at sunset; not trying to do too much and fill my time with distractions; surrendering to the astounding beauty of the surrounding nature and the relaxed pace of life; these are all advantages of living here that were lacking in my previous home in the states.
Now I need to work on not getting wound up in the first place. Not reacting according to my conditioned programs when things don’t go exactly my way. Breaking patterns is tough, deprogramming is challenging. But it’s better than the alternative of my old life 😊.
Read Part 5 here: Finding Balance