Have you ever thought about how complicated it is for the universe to bring two people together?
To get the right folks in the right place at the right time, there are tons of strings to pull, planes to delay and sleep to disrupt. When you think about it, it seems like a complex web of interconnected impossibilities unlikely to pull off.
I arrived in Nosara, Costa Rica in early January. When I moved here, I knew very little about the area; I just knew I was supposed to show up and write the book that I’ve been carrying around in my head for nearly 15 years.
I didn’t know there was a retreat center called Blue Spirit right up the beach. Didn’t know that a Kirtan chanter called Krishna Das would be holding a workshop there in February, and even if I did, I wouldn’t have splurged on the week-long retreat. One of my pass times here is watching my bank account dwindle every month.
But, as the universe would have it, I attended a fundraiser in late January where the Krishna Das workshop was being auctioned. Few people were bidding and the price was right, so I placed a bid.
And I won, finding myself at Blue Spirit for a week of chanting, yoga and community.
For Kristin, it was all about snow. The snowstorm in the Northeast kept her from leaving her home in Boston on time. Since she would be arriving late, she extended her stay in the back end to get a good week of R&R in. She’s had a tough year at work and wasn’t about to miss the opportunity to take in every bit of the Costa Rican vibe she could get.
As unlikely as both our journeys were, we both made it to this remote haven in Central America. Still, somehow, between Tuesday and Saturday, Kristin and I didn’t meet.
Kristin had some nudges. “Oh, you’re interested in Shamanism? Mary has studied with a Shaman, you should talk to her.” “You want a shuttle to Playa Guiones on Saturday? Mary is taking one at 11:30, you should catch that one.” She passed on both suggestions.
For me, I was always engaged with other people or, more often, my writing.
The book I’m working on was conceived of in early 1999, on a trek that I often describe as the fulcrum of my life.
The trip was an act of desperation. My business was thriving but inside I was dying.
I had spent nearly 15 years planning high profile events, winning awards and growing my company. But frustrated with constant management and employee issues, I awoke every morning in a constant state of dread. I was in a trap of my own design, outwardly successful and inwardly desperate. I began to stare at the ceiling wondering, “Is this all there is?”
So, in an attempt to regain my footing, I did what anyone would: I took a silent walk across the Sahara Desert.
Admittedly this was out of my comfort zone, as well as that of my friends and family. Prior to signing up for this trip, my idea of a vacation was a week at the beach. A spiritual adventure was showing up at church on Christmas Eve.
On that trip, twenty strangers and I stepped out of our skins and into a place of faith and gratitude. I experienced my first brush with meditation and self-reflection. While there, I figured out that there was much more to the world than landing the next deal and paying the mortgage. I peered out the tent flap and knew there was more.
That’s what I’m writing about—the journey from success to self. A travel guide for professionals to navigate their successful careers while staying connected to their inner spirit.
The workshop ended on Friday night. Saturday morning, I wandered over to a table at breakfast and sat down next to Kristin. This was the first morning she awoke in time for breakfast, she later told me.
“You look familiar,” I said.
“So do you.”
We stared at each other for a moment.
“We were in the Sahara together,” she said, just as I realized the same thing.
And so we were. And here we were. Nearly 15 years later, both writing books that were germinated in the desert. Both still on our journeys, picking up just where we left off.
Meeting again, in another remote place in the world, once again in a place of faith and gratitude.