Like millions of others, my husband Len and I have always been drawn to the primal energy and raw, quiet beauty of rainforests. Almost 25 years ago, our journey through life led us to the Monteverde Biological Reserve in Costa Rica, one of the last remaining virgin cloud forests in the world.
Here, for an entire month on two separate occasions in the early nineties, we were blessed to be able to temporarily leave behind our busy, often hectic lives, and concentrate on taking the time to do some soul searching, while getting a taste of what it’s like to live fully in the moment.
No phones, no computers, no schedule, no plans. We were two love-struck Floridians in our early thirties on our first trip in 1993. On our second month long adventure in 1995, we were two excited honeymooners returning to the place that had given us time to bond and explore life outside of our usual real life responsibilities and boundaries.
The native Costa Ricans have a lovely saying that is truly symbolic of their unique way of living: Pura Vida, which literally means Pure Life. It is used as a warm, friendly greeting, and as an expression of the inner joy that they feel while living their simple, natural lives—one day at a time. Many of the natives, or Ticos, have an almost childlike zest for life and take the time to fully appreciate and thoroughly enjoy life’s simple pleasures.
During our time in Costa Rica, we experienced the exhilarating feeling that comes from breathing fresh, unpolluted, oxygen-rich air as we hiked under the canopies of ancient strangler fig trees. In the jungle bordering the mountaintop village of Monteverde, we were shown the true meaning of the Pura Vida philosophy while galloping high-spirited horses along the ridges of lush, green volcanic mountain ranges.
From its beginning, our journey seemed to be propelled and guided by a series of meaningful coincidences, with one helpful person leading to another, charting the course for an adventure that eventually took on a slow, sensual rhythm of its own.
As our Pura Vida adventure progressed, we began to feel as if we were slowly moving back in time toward a simpler, more balanced, and healthier way of life. Certain areas seemed to possess an almost magical power to transport us to another place and time.
Clearly etched in my memory is the moment that Len and I spotted a pair of brilliant, rare quetzal birds nesting near a pristine waterfall in the cloud forest. It felt as though time were standing still as we watched these exotic, iridescent, blue-green and crimson creatures with tail feathers close to two feet long, fluttering gracefully in one of their last refuges on earth.
I will never forget the feeling of the powerful, primordial energy of ten-foot waves crashing over us while body-surfing along the rugged shores of Montezuma (a wild, frontier-like town on the Gulf of Nicoya).
I will always treasure my memories of the humble, gentle people that we met in Costa Rica who changed our lives for the better and reminded us just how closely interconnected and integrally related we all are to each other and to our environment.
Our adventures and experiences in Costa Rica also helped to reaffirm our belief in the interconnection between the spiritual mind and the physical body, and the power of one to affect the other. It was during this time in the jungle that I felt compelled to begin writing about holistic health, and organizing and condensing the health related information and ideas that I had collected over the course of two decades.
The Pura Vida Philosophy was the inspiration for my book, published in 2007, titled Pure Life, the Pura Vida Journey. http://www.pure-life.com/pure-life-guidebook.html
Please feel free to visit www.pure-life.com for more info. I look forward to sharing photos, videos, and relevant parts of the book with you via The Costa Rica News over the next few months.
So put on some good music, take some deep breaths, sit back, relax, and enjoy the journey. The best is yet to come!