Brian and I just got back from Costa Rica. It was the first time he left the country since he went to Canada on a fishing trip in 1999 and only the second time to have left the country at all. Somehow I always thought traveling the world together would look different. Somehow I thought he’d be alive when he landed in a new land.
The trip to Costa Rica was a gift from a very dear friend who also happens to be a student of mine. It was planned, booked, and paid for long before Brian died. It was very difficult for me to go, but some part of me knew it would be a crucial step in healing for me and I knew that Brian would be furious with me if I skipped it.
This post could be incredibly long if I let it get there, but I am still processing. There are things to which I still cannot put words. The yoga was so deep and powerful, both on and off the mat. If you have the chance, please please please study with Silvia Mordini. If you have the chance, please please please take a trip with Alchemy Tours. If you have the chance, please please please say YES!
I wear Brian’s ashes in a necklace. It is beautiful and elegant and made from sterling silver. I had planned to take it off when I swam in the ocean or did other things because the idea of losing it is traumatic. I know that’s irrational. I have pounds of his ashes and the necklace can be replaced and, if it fell off and spilled the ashes, it’s likely that would be Brian making that choice to stay there. Still, the idea of losing it… well, I’ve already lost so much.
The 2nd day in the jungle, our group took at 3.5 hour hike through the river to a couple of waterfalls. It was beautiful. It reminded me SO much of the countless days I spent with Brian hiking through creeks and the woods. Interestingly enough, rivers and creeks in CR look almost identical to the rivers and creeks in MO, only the trees on the banks are different. We came upon the first waterfall and there was a gorgeous swimming hole at the bottom. I swam across it and joined the group of people who were lining up at the top of the waterfall. They started diving into the pool. This terrified me. Lately everything terrifies me. While the jump was probably 10 or 12 feet, from above it looked like 25. When diving off a cliff (indulge me here,) you not only jump down, you have to jump OUT to clear the rocks at the bottom. I wasn’t sure I could do it, but I did! I jumped and I survived and I laughed! I swam to the other side and sat there breathing. I put my hand on my chest to feel my heart and realized that I still had the necklace on. Brian had jumped with me! In that moment, I became a aware of a few things: 1) that necklace is very well made. 2) I am not afraid of dying – dying actually seems pretty okay most days, but I am afraid to LIVE! and 3) I had just crossed an item off Brian’s Bucket List. So I jumped off a few more times for good measure and then we hiked on to another, bigger waterfall. No real swimming there, but the view was amazing! On the way back, our guide was looking for our exit from the river back to The Sanctuary. I had been down there the day before and had noticed some very interesting plant growth at the mouth of the trail. It seriously was the only marker, but I remembered it and ended up being the one to find the path back. I used the skills Brian taught me. He was there in that moment.
Over the next week, I continued to cross Bucket List items off for both me and Brian. Swimming in the ocean, snorkeling Tortuga Island, talking to the wild monkeys, writing his name on the beach, diving through large waves in the ocean, zip lining through the jungle canopy. And for me, I achieved my aspirational yoga pose. Breakthroughs, each and every one, and he was with me the entire time. It got me to thinking that this whole saying YES thing and crossing off items from the list and living doesn’t have to stop at the jungle. It must not stop at the jungle. I must continue to do these things at home and everywhere I go. I have to say YES. I have to live. I have to because the difference between living and existing is enormous and he’d want me to live just like I want him to live on. We’ll do it together, this saying YES thing. We’ll cross off list item after list item until we’ve done it all.
Next up? Riding a mechanical bull.
Pura Vida, Brian. Pura Vida!