Costa Rica is a country that doesn’t bother to hide its shadow. Mansions are right next door to metal shacks where whole families live on dirt floors. Educated professionals drive to work past people who live in a primitive state, more like animals in their behavior than people. People selling goods on the street assault the cars when traffic slows. I wouldn’t say that Costa Rica is integrated. Rather the light and the shadow in this place is like a soup of flavors that do not merge. In America, the shadow is avoidable. It is hidden behind closed doors. It is ostracized to ‘that part of town’. Old people are put in old age homes. The sick are confined to hospitals. The only things that are displayed openly are the acceptable, the new, the valuable, the young. It creates a kind of naivety in the average American. You have to have been behind those closed doors to know what is actually there.
Even though we may be dedicated to integration, it is much less comfortable for the disintegrated shadow to be in plain view… To not be able to escape it. It is difficult to live in a place where pain is on open display everywhere you look. It is not comfortable to be an American in a third world country. It took leaving America for my various world tours to feel love for America. It took leaving America for my various world tours to recognize any trace of American in myself. It wasn’t until I brought myself and my entire intentional community to this third world country to live that I realized just how attached I am to certain things that are no longer available to us here. Things like quiet and hot water and Whole Foods and being able to flush toilet paper down the toilet and import products and public protection agencies and being able to communicate with people and road maintenance and reliable electricity and connection to the rest of human civilization.
Familiarity is a serious attachment that is not to be taken lightly. I have found myself in romantic relationships with several men over the course of my life who come from different countries and cultures than myself. I can fully relate to their discomfort now. They said that going back ‘home’ felt like all the tension left their body and they could breathe again. Here, I feel myself tensing against all the things that I do not like in comparison to back home. Like the way that as a Gringo, I may as well have a dollar sign on my forehead. I can feel the way the locals do not relate to me as a person but more as a resource and have no moral issue charging me four times as much as they charge other people. Or the way that drivers take the lines in the road to be a mild suggestion. Or the way that people walk and stop their car literally in the middle of the street. Or the stray dogs that wander everywhere. Or the fact that every building is covered in jail bars. Or the sexual aggression of so many of the men here. Or the fact that it is impossible for a vegan to find anything to eat unless they grow it or make it themselves. Or the fact that most people here are so relaxed that they operate on a time system all their own and do not seem to bothered by meeting standards of any kind. Or the climate... I was born and raised in an alpine climate at super high altitude. My blood feels so thick here in the humid heat; it gives the sensation of molasses running through my veins. I miss the snow. I find myself dreaming about the snow.
It is safe to say that homesickness has set in. When homesickness hits you, your mind starts to isolate you from where you are and from the people there by comparing every unwanted thing about them to how it was back home. It feels like loss. We had so many years to find the exact things that made our heart beat and our soul settle in the place we called home. Now, we have to do it all over again. It takes time to find the things about where you are now that make your heart beat and your soul settle. You have to actively look for them. So often when I travel, I wish that we could establish another world. A world where we take the best of every single place and culture on this earth and establish a new culture out of all of it. Imagine taking the enterprising mentality of America and the efficiency of Germany and the chocolate of Switzerland and the language of the French and the kindness of Bhutan etc… A world where each culture got to pick the very best of itself and give it over so it could be woven together to create a human masterpiece.
Integration is everything. It is everything for this world and it is everything for us as individuals. People live their lives in a state of dis-integration. Most people think they are a unified singularity, but they are not. I know that this will be a whole new chapter of my teachings in the coming years. It already has been, but I have not addressed this issue directly with the public yet. I have not yet drawn attention to the fragmentation that exists within people. I have not yet exposed this as the real reason why our relationships are so impossible to maintain. Life here at the retreat center has exposed this reality with stunning clarity. We are in the middle of hosting a breatharian retreat. Nothing exposes what is not integrated quite like a dry fast. Like shamanic medicine work and breathwork, dry fasting coughs the contents of the subconscious mind to the surface and into plain view. It is intense. It is so intense that it impacts everyone around it. In perfect synchronicity, it is the dry season in Costa Rica as well. The plants give their essence back to the sun at this time of year. It is given back to them in May when the rains return.
The ocean is like bathwater at this time of year. I went out into it this week. I could have spent the entire day in it. Watching the clouds glide over the surface of the water like a lover touching its skin. Feeling the mild thrill of deciding whether to go up over or dive under the oncoming waves. The salt dried itself on my skin. Eventually, I noticed that I was literally glittering in the sunlight. I drank coconut water out of a green coconut with a straw. It is a marvel to me how pain can exist in such close proximity to paradise on this planet called Earth.