How 20 years in Costa Rica earned me bad-ass goddess status
I have been living and working on the beach in Costa Rica for over the past twenty years. Your first thought is probably something like: “Oh you are so lucky…you live in PARADISE!” And I would agree with you, but there is so much more to paradise and my story starts something like this…
As a sheltered and privileged California girl who grew up on the coast of sunny San Diego, I never quite had the opportunity to see much diversity or to experience hardship. Life was sweet…and yet from a very young age I struggled with the ‘big questions’ about life and what was truly meaningful. Fate brought me to Yoga at the impressionable age of 19 and from that first yoga class I knew I had found my path.
When my mother took-off and moved to some remote beach jungle in Costa Rica I decided to follow in search of adventure. So I purchased a 1968 VW van ($1000 back then), built a bed inside, and packed up what little I owned of value. A friend from work and myself excitedly hopped into our home-on-wheels and headed south to Mexico where our m
onth-long road trip through Central America would begin.
Being naive and innocent I never really worried about the infamous ‘bandidos’ in Chiapas just waiting to rob tourists, or the corrupt national police throughout Central America who lived off of bribes and thievery, or the stories of foreigners gone ‘missing’ all along the coast. We eventually arrived in Costa Rica although nearly everything we owned had been stolen, but physically unharmed and safe (obviously protected by some kind of angels). I should have realized at that point that I was beginning what I now call the great purification, and the process of building my bad-ass warrior skills had begun.
So why would I grant myself the self-proclaimed title of Bad-ass Goddess anyway?? Let me now share with you just a few of the things I have endured, learned, and experienced in my jungle paradise. And then I will go on to share why I think these skills are latent within each of us and that my divine destiny is to inspire and help others remember and uncover their own authentic path and supernatural powers.
Costa Rica is infamous for its myriad creepy crawly insects that take-on colossal sizes and variations. I have learned to navigate (and maybe even feel comfortable) within the insect world. For example, I have been bitten by scorpions over various parts of my body at least 10 times, and while you might think one builds a resistance to the venom, the reality is that it seems to be more intense each time. The last time I was stung was equivalent to a full-on acid trip. My legs turned to rubber (couldn’t even stand), my tongue and teeth went numb (unable to speak), and the venom left excruciating pain throughout my limbs for hours. So I cancelled my morning Yoga class and resigned to move through it as elegantly as possible (who needs psychedelics when you got venomous creatures happy to inject you).
Spiders come in Uber-size here in the jungle and they have no concept of where your house begins and their territory ends (nor should they). I have gotten particularly adept at removing hairy tarantulas the size of my head out of my bedroom as unharmed as possible. I recall one night when I had a boyfriend, he jumped on the bed screaming in terror and left me to do the dirty work!! Come on man…where are your BALLS now???
Starting to feel more connected with all of Mother Nature’s creatures means realizing that us humans are not the only species here that deserve to exist and grow and thrive. A goddess lives in mutual respect and relationship with all the Divine’s creations and strives to overcome fears and phobias that may inhibit this process. I have learned to be calm in the face of my reactive fears and accept that we are simply a part of this whole wonderful matrix of beings trying to make the best of it.
Bad-ass Goddess training fully underway…
Let’s talk about driving skills and the unpaved dirt roads that I have battled for half my life. Now I am not particularly a good driver, but I have learned to maneuver through some of the worst road conditions a third world country can offer (Costa Rica is not officially a 3rd world country but their roads are). Not only does one have to have their eyes peeled for potholes the size of the Great Lakes, but around any corner there could be a herd of cattle or the random horse just cruising down the middle of the road. Also, truck drivers have seem to have missed the Universal rule that ‘slower traffic stay to the right lane’. Drivers are totally unpredictable and will try and pass you on a blind curve or just plain stop dead in the center of the street to say hello to a neighbor. In order to survive on the roads one must exhibit laser-sharp focus and quick reflexes (some protective Mantras chanted along the way may be a good idea too).
Understanding one’s anger, frustration and the occasional outbreaks during times of unpredictable chaos and possible danger serves us wherever we reside and in any heightened circumstance. We all experience a wide range of emotions throughout the day… it is one of the beautiful aspects of being human and full of feelings. Mindfulness practices like Yoga and meditation can help us to find a sense of un-attachment to the constantly changing inner landscape of our emotional body. My alternative lifestyle has pushed me to learn to step-back from intense situations to assess more clearly through a calm and patient lens.
The word patience comes to mind whenever I think about my life here in Costa Rica, and anyone who has spent time here knows that there is a pace of life completely different from what most of us are used to. As much as we may want things to happen in a certain time frame or rhythm, most likely we are going to have to surrender our personal agenda and drop into the flow of “Pura Vida” (a Costa Rican saying that has a ton of meanings and usages but refers to the idea of living with tranquility).
Along with patience comes to mind the idea of acceptance, and this is where my story gets very serious. Without going into too much detail (you can read my other blog “A Gift Wrapped in Darkness”) I will share with you the event that changed my life forever and catapulted me onto the path of complete and utter letting go and acceptance. And while my ‘story’ could have occurred anywhere I believe that my fate brought me to Costa Rica to do the very challenging work that my soul had chosen for this lifetime.
Over seventeen years ago, while driving along the isolated dirt roads that led one from our small beach town to the nearby village (where we had to go to do things like banking, doctor visits, weekly grocery shopping, etc) my car lost control and flipped over in a full 360 degree roll. I was driving with my 10 month old son and my mother. My baby did not make it, and he died from head injuries a few hours later in a nearby clinic. My mother was knocked unconscious and spent 3 weeks in the hospital recuperating from concussions. I was left nearly unscathed physically, but had to endure the most heartbreaking loss that any human being can go through: the loss of a child.
This wound, though healed, is always and forever a part of who I am. It lies underneath the surface of my smiling face and light-filled laughter that fortunately I have discovered once again after years of grieving and sorrow. The list of what I have learned from this loss goes on and I am continually realizing that within myself is an inner strength and fortitude beyond what I could have ever imagined existed. I know that nothing in this life is permanent, and that all life must eventually return to its Source (whatever you may believe that to be). I strive to live a life full of passion and desire and light, while not denying that darkness is a necessary component to the wholeness of this embodied existence.
Bad-ass Goddess integration…
There have been so many other things to push me deeper into wholeness and allow me to awaken my superpowers and personal master within. I recall my second son’s birth…one that took place a month early and without a doctor in sight. I labored him into this world in my living room with just my mother and baby-daddy to motivate and soothe me through the quick but highly intense experience of natural childbirth. The fear of loss fresh on my mind, I had to summon every particle of stamina and trust that I could find within myself. I have learned so many damn times that we are NOT IN CONTROL…that we must ultimately surrender our will to the strange ways of this crazy, messed up (but so absolutely beautiful) world that we share.
Let me finish by saying that I truly believe that within each and everyone of us resides a Goddess or God (men not excluded as the goddess energy has no gender) that waits to be awoken. Our daily lives are full of opportunities to expand our bad-assness and awareness skills which allow us to live more potently, more passionately, more skillfully. We are each a unique inspiration and expression to be refined and polished so that we may radiant our love and beauty. So no matter where or how you chose to live your life…get that fire going and light up your heart. The world needs you.