Recently, my family and I went on vacation to Nosara, Costa Rica. What a glorious week of sun and fun mixed with the rains and mud of the “green season”. Swimming, surfing, ATV tour, horseback riding, and lots of good food and fellowship with our family and the local recovery community all made for a wondrously eventful and action packed week.
On our last morning there, on the way to the airport, we decided to have a final breakfast at a beautiful, boutique hotel called La Garta Lodge. Outside the restaurant was a sign that read, “Bad roads bring good people.” Hmmm… now there’s a thought to ponder.
One of the interesting quirks of Nosara are the roads. Unpaved, lots of bumps and curves and potholes makes for an adventure all in itself. People say, “You have to really want to be in Nosara to get there”… it’s common to pass a mixture of ATVs, horseback riders, bicyclists, walkers and even some goats traversing the muddy, bumpy road to paradise.
I remember when I first walked into the rooms of recovery. Much like the road to Nosara, my history (and my spirit) were marked by lots of bumps and bruises, detours and delays. I had fits and starts of stopping drinking and then starting again, only to arise remorseful and wracked by shame. The vehicle that is my body and spirit were pretty badly mangled.
Walking into a recovery community filled with smiling, laughing, happy faces was an unsettling feeling for me at first. Knowing where I had come from and how I had gotten there begged the internal question for me – what in the world is there to be so happy about? After some time and lots of action I began to realize that it was, in fact, the rough and tumble journey there that mattered most. Not only did it qualify me to participate with enthusiasm, it enabled me to smile and laugh (eventually) with my fellow travelers. We ALL had bad roads that led us to each other.
Perspective is an amazing thing. I have the choice in life to dwell on the negative aspects of any journey. I also have the choice to celebrate the lessons found, and to enjoy beauty of the evolution of the human spirit. I am so eternally grateful for my muddy knees, scrapes and bruises. For only there have I found the empathy and forgiveness, not only for myself, but for those I encounter and grow with daily.
In the end, I agree with the sign. It is surely my experience as I travel the road to Happy Destiny with you, my fellow traveler. Pura Vida – meaning ‘pure life’ or ‘simple life’ is the national mantra of Costa Rica, and for today, mine as well. Let’s keep trudging… shall we?
Peace and Love.
Marsha Stone, CEO