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Pure Life, A Happiness Perspective

Pure Life..  the literal translation of the common Costa Rican saying "Pura Vida."  I asked someone in Nosara this afternoon how their day was going and they replied the same as many others who live in Costa Rica, "Pura Vida." Pura Vida is a decision, a point of view, and a way of seeing life and our place in the world in a positive light. ✨

Pura Vida has less to do with what happens than it does how we take it. It has little to do with how much money we make, how much stuff we have, or what our social standing is. It has to do with how we feel on the inside. It has to do with our world view, the lessons we've learned and how we want to experience day to day life.  Some people think that if you live in the tropics and can make it to the beach for sunset every day, you will be happy. But this morning the demands of traveling with a one year old and four year old were straining and stressing me out, so I took an emergency exit and went to yoga (thanks Katie!).  

Jon Kabat-Zin says it perfectly, "Wherever you go, there you are.” There have been times when I have been in very beautiful surroundings yet been intensely unhappy, anxious or stressed. Other times I have been in situations that were ugly or difficult on the outer world but I had that solid feeling "I am in the right place, at the right time, doing what I want to do," which to me, is  (try this read). Of course, external beauty and a healthy environment invites inner peace but it doesn't make it a given, and it sure isn't handed to us on a plate. Inner peace is something (paradoxically) that we fight for. It is a decision. Freedom isn't just having a ton of money in the bank, although I have tried having money and tried being poor and I like having money better. Freedom comes from a sense of agency: the feeling that we have the say over our life. Pura Vida isn't the "success" that America is built on, and now is addicted to. Pura Vida is the ability to smile in the face of adversity, looking for the lesson and drawing on our strength to face it. Pura Vida is the place inside where gratitude lives, no matter what. Pura Vida is acknowledging the good person we are and seeing the good in others. Pura Vida recognizes that we are all in this together. Pura Vida values nature and the environment because if we don't take care of Earth, where will we live? So I keep coming back to Costa Rica: 

To be reminded that building my inner resiliency is a worthy task.

To practice letting go of the things I think I should do and instead do the things I know are important.

To drop the clock and follow the rhythms of nature.

To re-establish healthy practices and honor creative urges.

And yes, to get warm in the winter and watch the sun set into the Pacific surf. Pura Vida. Ah, Yes.  My times in Costa Rica with my beautiful family will be among my most treasured remembrances, I know this for certain. My time here will be a reminder of what it means to value every breath, for it's own sake, for the gift that life is. Eventually all this ends and we take our final exhale. Breathe in. Breathe out. Join us here next year.

Pura Vida  

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