A Slower Rhythm
Costa Rica is where I find myself once again, settling into a much slower rhythm of life. It has always been the pace that suits me, as if realigning and reorienting to the way things naturally are as opposed to the ways of being and doing we have all been trained to behave our modern culture. As I sit here writing from my porch, feet resting in a hammock, howler monkeys overhead, surrounded by lush greenery and musical birds, I already have the deep satisfaction and contentment that comes from a full and rich morning.
I was awakened this morning by the sunlight coming through my window and made my way outside before 5:30. It felt late, with the sun already high overhead on the empty beach. I walked quietly as the sun began to make its way ever so slowly over the line of trees along the beach.
Even at this early hour with the sun high overhead, the heat burned down upon me as I walked meditatively to the nearby mountain, now green from the recent rain. There is an inland area of beach I have discovered as the ideal spot for my morning exercises. Being in Costa Rica near the Nicoya Peninsula, I have become aware of how moving and embodying my physicality seem to happen almost effortlessly. There is no gym, no treadmills, no Fitbits or Apple Watches; just the elements Mother Nature has provided.
Most mornings I will do some stretching or Ba Duan Gin, which are a series of movements originated by the Shaolin Monks in China. I also carry my bamboo stick with me every morning and naturally flow into some stick movements I discovered in Asia. These originated from a Vietnamese monk and contain a number of traditional yoga postures that can be noticed within the movements. The monk created these as a form of Moving Meditation.
Additionally, I have found a large tree trunk to be the perfect size and weight for more strength building exercises. The experience of moving and exercising this way on a beach with the waves crashing in, using the surrounding elements as natural equipment is truly Zen. No fancy gym membership required.
By this point in the day, I have gotten up and outside into nature early, I have walked 3-4 miles, meditated, exercised and am ready to make my breakfast and coffee. I reflect on my walk back. It is a Monday morning and surfers have been out flowing in with the waves for a couple of hours now. In Costa Rica, no one will be rushing into traffic to sit for an hour, while making their way to a job in a sterile office.
Perhaps this way of living contributes to an overall lower stress level and longer lifespan, living in alignment with the flow of nature as opposed to living outside of that rhythm in a very different and linear construct of life.
As I continue along this path and journey, I once again realign myself to the way of life and rhythm of living I set forth 10 years ago, the very first time I came here to Costa Rica on my first solo adventure.
Live simply. Live quietly. Love others. Leave a small footprint.
Thank you for reading Zen and Ink Journals and coming along on the journey.
Zen and Ink Journals represents hundreds of hours of writing over the past decade, sometimes from a train in remote China or a coffee shop in Kyoto, a hammock in Costa Rica or a simple cabin on a mountain in Boquete, Panama.
Zen and Ink Journals is a simple offering of words in the hope of inspiring others to a simpler, more mindful way of life in these chaotic times. I invite you along each month on the journey for a glimpse of the larger world, reflections on living more simply and quietly amidst the chaos of our modern world.
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