I took a leap. I booked a ticket, hotel and a car. I had a travel buddy and a destination. What we would do, who we would meet, experiences we would participate in-these were all unknowns. 5 years ago, I would have laughed at the thought of going on such an unplanned getaway. I needed a list of where we were going, when, how, who, what time and what I was eating. The thought of traveling without structure alone would have given me anxiety
And now, I sit here and just got back from one of the most life changing trips I have experienced; and it had everything to do with timing. They say that timing is everything when it comes to most things in life; in the workplace, in your relationships, in opportunities that arise. If something is not meant to be-it’s not the right time.
Flexibility in my life is something I have always struggled with from an early age. I love control. I love having control in my life and in situations that arise. If I wasn’t in control, I would feel out of my body, anxious, on edge, nervous, and most of all fearful of what would happen. I never truly trusted my body or my mind if I wasn’t 100% in control all of the time. After competing in 2 shows, I had a sense of feAr that I would never be able to look like “that” again. I became disordered in my eating patterns, turn down even healthy food if it wasn’t planned in my day, turned down social situations and only focused on myself, my workouts, my daily routine of food prep and sleep.
I may have looked amazing, but I was hurting inside and was one of the unhealthiest mentally I had ever been. My disordered and strict lifestyle led me over the edge of stress which landed me straight in the hospital undergoing the most serious surgery of my life. Seeing my life flash before my eyes was a wake up call that no matter what-I was going to be in a new relationship with my amazing, beautiful, strong, talented, passionate, driven, and whole self.
My surgery as horrible as it was, forced me to take a deeper look into what is the meaning of happiness? Is it the way I look? The way others see me? Where I live? What I wear? I came to the conclusion that my happiness is none of these things. Happiness is something deep within that no one else can judge you for. It is what gets me out of bed in the morning. It is enjoying providing an outstanding service to my clients in improving their lives through movement and health. It is reaching a wide audience and challenging them to see what makes them
I took this trip in the midst of my crazy schedule, non stop city life and at a time in my life where I was not feeling my happiest. I needed to get out. I needed to step outside of my daily grind and slow down. I needed to not think about a thing but “what time is it and do I have to wear pants” (seriously, we asked this a few times; had bikinis on of course ) I was finding myself stuck in a place that I truly felt scared I could never get out of.
As a single female in my late 20s I am sure many of you can relate to feeling of “what and where am I going with my life” half of my friends are engaged, getting married, having babies and the others are single and dating and trying to“figure it all out” there is this overwhelming sense of “omg I need to do more and date more and be out and about more and always reach for something”
I took a step back and thought about WHY I was having these thoughts? Why did I need someone else or something else to make me content with my life? I have numerous conversations with my amazing mother and she said something that resonated with me
“For a woman who has such an admirable and incredible sense of self control, how do you let others take so much power from you?” She was speaking of my dating life of course.
I recognized a pattern of letting others have this power over me and I was repeatedly finding myself in the same situations of reaching for something I didn’t even truly want. When I realized this abusive behavior I was putting myself through it became clear that I needed to change the way I saw myself. I need to see myself how others see me: happy, funny, incredibly passionate about my work, self sufficient, independent and with a zest for life.
OFF TO COSTA RICA!
My Costa Rica trip was planned back in March and it could not have come at a more appropriate time. I went with my friend and co worker, not knowing her for more than 4 months. I knew it would be life changing but I never recognized the quintessential, undeniable timing of this trip for both of us at this pinnacle our lives.
We had our flight, a car and a hotel booked on the most precious, secluded surfer town in Costa Rica called Playa Negra. We arrived to CR and began our hour drive to Playa Negra. We spoke no words but simply looked around at the greenery, the cows, the men working at the local bars, the women holding babies, the potted holed roads, shack like houses, next to scary living conditions but through all of that; the smiles. These people had a sense of ease, fearlessness and happiness that I had never seen before in almost all of the places I have traveled. They wake up and have each other. They take their time and appreciate the sun rising and setting each day and how grateful they are to have this life. While Waiting for our organic smoothies in the morning cafe, sipping on fresh Costa Rican coffee with steamed milk, we wrote in silence. Stress was a big focus for me.
The Lifestyle in playa Negra has an overwhelming sense of calm. I flashed to those times waiting for my coffee at Starbucks at 8:30am on a Monday and the woman in front of me taking a full minute to find her money and how agitated the line became. I would glance back and see 10 pairs of eyes glued to their smartphones. Can we not stand and wait for our coffee without being attached to social media? Can we not look at each other in the eye and say ” good morning” with a smile? Why are these things so hard for us to do? No matter what time or where, in Costa Rica everyone always had a smile on and would say “hola!” with meaning.
Overall I gained a sense of perspective from my travels. It was a time to clear my head and my thoughts and focus on the world around me. It was a time to hold no judgements.
We woke up with no plans every morning. We took yoga. On the beach. Literally. There is no better way to take yoga while listening to the waves crashing on the sand. My thoughts were few and far between. I had nothing on my mind besides that very moment of having the gift to be able to practice in another country, on a beach, with my friend. I focused on me which I rarely do and am even scared to do. I finally allowed myself the ability to let go and embrace whatever emotion came to me.
Beyond the yoga classes, dips in the ocean, handstands in the pool and long walks in the afternoon rain, This trip gave me a lot of time to think about what I am looking for in my life. It is so important to me to reflect on what it is that brought me to this moment and continue feeling this sense of bliss and happiness when I returned home. I made a promise to myself to always put myself and my feelings first. I know what I want and now its up to me to stay true and go after it.
ME? SURFING? YES!
And you guys, I surfed. Holyyyyyy moly. No wonder surfers look so good! This is one sport that not only challenged my body physically like nothing I have ever experienced, but it challenged my mind as well. Immediately I was drawn to something way deeper than just the mere aspect of surfing the waves. The ability to ride a wave is not attainable without having a flexible and open body and mind. I learned quick that the ocean is something that I simply cannot control. Our guide, Javier With Pargos Adventures was incredible! If you visit the area, there is no other guide I would choose.
I am so used to having control over every situation that arises-I used to be so rigid with my control that I would miss out on opportunities if I felt out of whack. With that said-there was no better time in my life to put me on a board in the middle of the ocean-how’s that for no control? Immediately I learned that I must go with the flow of nature and let the ocean move me. After every wave I got pushed off of and frustrated with-there was another one just waiting for me to try again. They never ceased. I could not pre determine how I would ride the wave, how I will get up, how I would feel when and if I fell-I could only try to become one with ocean and let it take me.
Surfing challenged me to be honest with myself and my fears.
It sounds corny and cheesy but the act of riding waves is much like life-you have to be able to constantly adapt and learn to let things happen. Much of life is out of our control and we are tested most when we get thrown things we aren’t prepared for. Will we come out on top? Will we learn from our mistakes. The first wave that I got up, I rode it all the way in and was engulfed in the biggest smile I was able to conjure up at that tense moment. It felt happy, relaxed, accomplished and like there was no other place that I needed to be at that very moment. My time was happening right then.
This trip opened my eyes to the world around me. Observing so many people who were so content and stress free forced me to think about my passion and drive for life. I woke up everyday with a smile and never questioned myself in a moment of nothingness. Back home I tend to get antsy; should I be doing more? Should I be out and about socializing? What am I missing out on. I hardly take a moment to breathe and enjoy my own company and my surroundings.
It’s ironic that being in a place where I was forced to be at ease and peace was the one place that I could finally visualize all of the incredible things I want for myself and my career in my future. There is no waiting. The time is now and the moment is now. Catch the wave and ride it in.
I hope you all can learn a little something from this post and realize that your ultimate happiness is 100% in your hands. Change something, try something new, take a chance and ride the wave.