We’ve been back in Texas for a month. Re-entry was arduous. Difficult. It was as bad as I feared. We touched down late on Sunday night. My hubby met me at the airport, but I would be lying if I said that I was happy to be back in Austin. It was pure joy to see him and I couldn’t wait to hug my son and greet my dogs, but part of me wished that it was I who was

Bienvenidos a Puerto Jimenez. Pura Vida

Bienvenidos a Puerto Jimenez. Pura Vida

waiting for them. I would be standing at the little metal gate that keeps people and stray animals off the one tiny runway in Puerto Jimenez, Costa Rica. I would be standing on the half-paved road, just before it takes a ninety degree left turn to circumnavigate the runway. I would be right beside the cemetery feeling excited but deeply calm. Relaxed. Grounded. I wish it was I watching him and my boys emerge from the little colorful twin engine plane. Instead, I tucked into his arms and couldn’t shake the sadness of my paradise lost. Those monkeys! What would I do without their 5 am wake-up cacophony? I felt like crying. And, that’s exactly what I did. I cried Monday morning. Hard. It’s been a long, long time since I’ve imploded emotionally like that.

Symphony at Sunrise: Waves, Monkeys, Birds, Peace

Symphony at Sunrise: Waves, Monkeys, Birds

I’m not sure why, exactly. I just know that in Costa Rica I felt more connected to the earth, to nature and to the universe than I have in years. There was a calm sweetness to that place where the jungle meets the sea. The people were happy, life was simple and natural. The joy and the reverence that the Ticos had for nature of all kinds, animals, birds, the ocean and the jungle was pure. Pura vida. Pure life. That’s what they say there. I heard it often among the locals. “Gracias,” I’d say. “Pura vida,” they’d reply. “Indeed,” I would think.

I was not alone, though. I was on a trip full of amazing women. They

Jungle Jane's 2016

Jungle Janes 2016 and Light Blessings

are smart, and fun and brave. They are tough, full of wonder, resilience and joy. They were up for the adventure, for the challenges and the adrenaline; we hiked, surfed, kayaked, climbed and rappelled, we conquered and overcame. We shared all that. We each connected to ourselves, the jungle, each other and the experience in different ways, but I’m sure that I’m completely unerring when I say that the trip was profound, in some way, to all of us.

We hiked for miles and hours through the jungle. The paths were treacherous and though we brought with us an assortment of injuries (recent-ish knee surgeries, to barely mended broken feet, to torn hip flexors) we were not dissuaded. It was not easy. Tough women, all. We 2016-01-18 17.22.40 - Copytromped through streams and we smeared mystical river mud on our faces. We drank from springs and enjoyed pedicures from fresh water shrimp. We exalted with monkeys and searched for toucans and sloths. We gave them names, like Spencer. We marveled at the noisy macaws; we watched pelicans, hawks, falcons and “frickin” frigates. We never missed a magical sunrise. We studied the thousand shades of blue water and noticed how light played with colors, in the trees and in our hearts. We practiced yoga. We enjoyed healing massage. We bounced down long and dusty jungle roads. We snapped photos and faked a few. We got muddy, sometimes bloody and bitten by bugs. We donned harnesses and climbed 80 foot trees, only to jump off and swing like Jane and hang in the air like a spider from a web. We chewed fear and spit it back out. We cheered each other on, and picked each other up. We rappelled a 100 foot2016-01-22 15.08.41 - Copy - Copy waterfall. We kayaked in mangroves and searched for crocodiles and snakes. We ate fresh cracked coconuts, drank the sweet water and held paradise on our tongues. We kayaked in the ocean and witnessed the sunset. Testified. We drank it in together and stored it away within ourselves. We sang SO loud. We ate delicious food. We embraced jungle hair and fresh faces. We laughed, oh God we laughed. We danced with the locals. We shopped the Friday artisan market and maybe we had a drink or six. We lit a bonfire on the beach with our Tico friends and played the bongos under big, delicious stars. We found Orion and found ourselves in the moment. We gazed upon a full and glorious moon. We walked silently, barefoot in the sand and watched our moon shadows dance beside us. We lived. We loved life. We discovered things in ourselves and relished our friends, old and new. Beautiful things.

Experience always shifts us. We came home slightly different people than those we were when we arrived. Better ones, I think. The Osa just does that.

Pura vida, amigas.

Pura vida, indeed.

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More posts on the Costa Rican Adventure: Countdown to Paradiso, Excitement, Adrenaline, Lost Hats and Itineraries, Adventures in Tico Time