It has been a few days since our Run Like A Girl adventure camp ended, and I have had some time to reflect back on it. I am not the same person that arrived at Chakra on November 9th. I was lucky enough to share a week with 16 amazing people, 13 of which I had never met. For months we all mulled over the idea of this camp, how it would go, what it would be like. The picture I painted in my head was far from the masterpiece that transpired. Originally the camp was meant to be physical and challenge everyone and while it still did that, the spiritual and mental rewards were far greater and deeper than anything physical. I will be honest and say that normally I am an anxious person but for this, I decided to just let it happen. Pura Vida I kept saying to myself.
The day of November 8th was nothing shy of crazy as we drove around the city of San Jose buying the last of the supplies and all of the food for the camp. We packed up the back of our pick up truck like a puzzle, careful not to miss anything. My nerves were buzzing, pulsating through my body, making me nauseous with anticipation. We then met (most of) the group at a typical restaurant, Casa de Lalys for dinner. As we sat down at the table and introduced ourselves, all of my nerves were put at bay. The adventure had begun!
We all piled into the bus at 7am sharp on November 9th and started the 3 hour drive up into the mountains to the village of San Jeronimo. The rain poured down, but our spirits were soaring high as we reached the elementary school. We gathered under the roof of their soccer field/basket ball court and met the president of the mountain guides and community council. We were given organic cold-pressed Raw Juicery fruit and veggie juices as we listened attentively to our task at hand. Armed with paint brushes and smiles we quickly transformed the school, adding much needed colour to an old mural, adding our own, and enhancing other structures with a simple splash of colour.
We started our community project in the rural village of San Jeronimo as strangers but everyones defences dropped immediately, and friendship bloomed amongst all of us. After a delicious, locally cooked meal at the elementary school, we started the 5km hike up to Chakra. We hiked to the end of the road, in the rain, our feet covered in mud. When we arrived at Chakra, everyone settled into their rooms. As the sun went down, we gathered on the main platform for candle light yoga. In the mountains of Costa Rica, where there is no wifi, no electricity, no distractions, we all found a deeper connection…. with ourselves, with each other and with nature. We sat there on our mats and released the sound of the universe with 3 OHMs. The energy was tangible. Once yoga was completed all of us embraced one another. That was it, we were family.
Over the next week, the weather only got better. The initial rain had a beautiful way of bringing us together on the main platform that first day and establishing our connection. I witnessed people over come fears, achieve new things, push their own boundaries, melt deep into relaxation, chant and sing freely, hug, cry and laugh. We nurtured ourselves with healthy local food, we breathed in fresh mountain air, we drank pure spring water, and slept (almost) under the stars.
We planted 12 trees in front of Chakra, which in coming years will bare fruit for our camps. We climbed up a 30m tree, repelled down rocks and waterfalls.
We sat under a giant rock, moved down to the river years and years ago when ice occupied Costa Rica. We trekked to an impressive waterfall and watched as the clouds teased us with the impressive few.
We chanted and sang our hearts out to the mountains, we sang “Porque Te quiero tanto, tanto tanto, porque te queiro tanto con todo mi corazon” to ourselves, to each other, and to our loved ones. We were all moved to tears as we shared an intense connection of love and gratitude. In savasana we reached new heights, new levels of awareness, of inner peace, of pure love.
On the final day at Chakra, a group of us pushed ourselves to the beautiful summit of Ena, a 3200m peak in the international park of La Amistad. We did it was a team, with encouragement, positivity, support and friendship.
We all conquered something that day, a first ascent, a push to our limits, our farthest distance, our longest time on our feet, the desire to turn back. 12 hours in the mountains, we were greeted by the other group who hiked to Piedra del Tigre (Tiger Rock), another gigantic rock from the ice age, with cheers and claps.
As we greeted the final morning at Chakra with sun rise yoga and sore muscles, we felt nostalgic. We made the trek out of Chakra back to San Jeronimo and made our way to the beach of Manuel Antonio. We all resisted checking our phones despite being back in service, and on a bus with wi-fi. The smiles from Chakra were painted on our faces, the love lingered and the connection remained strong.
But as we settled into our hotel rooms, reconnected with our loved ones a far, and updated our statuses on facebook, I witnessed how fast the energy and connection we had created left us. It wasn’t any of our faults. It’s just how life is. When you there are no other forms of connection, you realise the deepest form of connection that truly unites us all. I noticed a shift in everyone, including myself. I felt anxious, wired, and overwhelmed. In the national park of Manuel Antonio we walked gravel paths and saw sloths, monkeys and iguanas in the trees above. We swam in the ocean and played on the beach.
We surfed our first waves, stand up paddled and balanced on our slack line on the beach.
Natures high vibration from which we had been in only hours before seemd so far away. I was worried that we had lost the connection. But how wrong I had been. As we said our goodbyes we cried, shared our love for each other, and our gratitude for the experience that was now behind us.
I feel so blessed to have shared this experience, to dive deep into ourselves, and leave with inner peace, a greater understanding, and more love in our hearts. No matter how far away you are, or how disconnected you feel, remember that you are as much of a part of nature, and the universe as you are a part of your family. You are a child of Mother Earth, Madre Tierra. Do not severe that connection completely. Put down the phone, turn off the screen, take off your shoes and walk bear foot on the earth. How blessed I feel to have a small piece of untouched, unspoiled nature at my finger tips, and how grateful I feel to be able to share this unique place with others.