Would he show up? That was the question that kept circling in my head the moment I woke up on day 6 of my yoga retreat in Potrero, Costa Rica in December of 2012.
I was in Costa Rica to see the shaman Don Miguel Ruiz, author of the Four Agreements, but I’d gotten something much deeper from this young, inexperienced new healer named Adam; who didn’t wear shoes, had a messy car but he had a way about him that made being with him feel like home and unconditional love. It was the first experience of unconditional love I’ve ever felt in a romantic relationship; so accepting his unconditional love took healing or stories and building new pathways.
I could feel the cells in my body responding differently to Adam, so I was curious about learning more. When we said good bye to each other the night we first met, he invited me to spend the day with him; and it was an instant yes for me. He told me we’d be going to a beach called Grande and then out for dinner, and that simplicity seemed oddly more exciting than my yoga retreat. So I let our trip leader know I’d be gone for the day, and I didn’t give him a chance to let me know if they had any policies on retreat attendees leaving the property for the day. I was confident in my decision to go hang out with Adam, but also feeling a little insecure as to whether he’d even show up. It could have very well been a one night stand of healing sessions.
But then I saw him and felt all my doubt release; he emerged from the lobby into the dining area, just at the end of our lunch. He was wearing a shirt with no sleeves, board shorts and still didn’t have shoes on. Part of him looked like a beach bum, but then I knew an entire different side of him, which didn’t matter what he was wearing and if he had shoes on. He had a gift of helping people heal. So on Thursday December 6th in 2012, Adam picked me up at hotel sugar beach precisely when he said he would, and he greeted me in the hotel restaurant in front of everyone with a hug that felt like home. He had no fear and was completely comfortable with who he was being in the world. And I loved it.
When I let our trip coordinator know I’d be taking a day away from the group, he stared straight at me for what felt like a minute, took a deep breath, looked at Adam, the young healer who he’d invited to his his retreat to offer healing sessions and sell crystals, and he shrugged his shoulders, which I took as him giving me permission to play hookie from his yoga retreat with this handsome hippie healer.
Was my yoga retreat turning into something different than what I'd originally planned? A kickoff of my 5 month sabbatical from Align ? Looking at it that way felt exciting. And I'd been doing vision boards, gratitude lists, cord cutting and intentions for a few months, so I was ready for whatever this was with Adam. I’d asked Don Miguel Ruiz how to say yes to love, and he said I needed to say yes to me first. So I was off to explore some yes’s, and he first was saying yes to Adams invitation to come watch him and some friends surf, and then go grab dinner.
To prepare for the day/night, I was wearing my swim suit under a cute light spaghetti strap dress that went a little past my knees, and I packed a beach bag of essentials like water, my wallet, my phone, a change of clothes, some sunscreen, my sunglasses, my favorite scarf and my favorite lip gloss. So I felt prepared for kind of anything. After his hug, Adam took my hand and began to lead me out to his car.
As we got out to the small parking lot of Hotel Sugar Beach, Adam told me his car’s name was Rhonda and I saw a fancy navy Range Rover. But as we drew closer he walked past the Range Rover to Rhonda, who was definitely not a Range Rover. Rhonda was a grey rusty Huandai “Galloper” and only 3 of her doors and 2 of her Windows worked. But Adam didn’t seem to care about any of that, so he unapologetically walked me to the passenger door and opened it for me to get in.
It was a big step up to get into Rhonda, so I grabbed the top of the door and lifted myself into a passenger seat that looked like a dog had chewed it, and it was covered in sand. I also needed to be mindful of where I put my feet because there was quite a bit of trash on the floor of the car. In my mind, the cleanliness of someone's car said a lot about them and where their priorities were. But Adam seemed to not give a shit about any of that, so that left me with the choice to let this matter and judge him, or partake in not giving a shit, a perspective that seemed to be far easier to employ when I was traveling in a foreign country. So I settled my butt into the torn seat, placed my feet firmly on the trash, and away Adam and I went in Big Rhonda for a day of play.
I hadn't left Hotel Sugar Beach yet since I'd arrived Saturday for my retreat and it was now Thursday so everything along this dirt road in Costa Rica was new to me. The road was paved for a few turns and then it formed to dirt, and a few minutes later we turned up a steep driveway and into the parking area of a 3 level apartment that overlooked the ocean. We were picking up his older brother and then we were off to pick up a girl named Daisy as well while en route to Grande, and I just assumed that Daisy would be a gorgeous tan bikini laden surfer girl. Adams brother Alex was waiting out front, so he jumped into the backseat of Rhonda, we got quickly introduced and away we went. And it felt like I’d known these guys forever.
About 20 minutes later we pulled into the parking lot of a dark green building that said “veterinario” on the outside, and I realized that Daisy was Adam's dog, and yes she was a gorgeous girl who also loved and wanted adam’s attention, and I laughed at my silly assumptions. Daisy had been at the vet getting treated for a parasite.
After another 20 minutes or so we arrived to the surf spot at Grande and I felt an unfamiliar comfort coming over me. Being with Adam felt so natural, almost too natural, and I felt myself already beginning to feel sad about having to leave him in 2 days, but I did my best to stay grounded and present in this moment I was experiencing, rather than worrying about a moment that was still 2 days away.
We stayed at the surf spot for a few hours and I went in and out of the water, but had never been on a surf board before, and I didn’t think that day was a good day to begin. But I loved watching them. Sometimes I’d walk up the beach a few minutes with Daisy by my side, and when I’d return within view, I’d see Adam waving at me from the water. His enthusiasm about me and life was adorable. When they were done surfing we stopped and got tacos at a cute local stand at the entrance to the beach, and then Adam extended my invitation past the day’s activities and into the evening, and invited me to join them for dinner. And then he casually mentioned that it was his birthday, and we'd be celebrating it with some friends at a nice restaurant in town. I felt a little embarrassed that I’d missed this somewhat large detail about the day, but he hadn’t mentioned it. And I wondered how he could keep such a big detail about the day quiet?! A birthday? I was used to announcing my birthday to everyone in my path on the day of, and celebrating it for over 24 hours. But Adam was quite different than me, and this was yet another way that Adam’s approach to life surprised me.
I responded to Adam’s birthday invite with an immediate yes, so we returned to his house to shower and get ready. I didn't have a change of clothes, but luckily my beach throw kind of doubled as a dress, so after taking a shower in his bathroom that had certainly seen cleaner days, I used his deodorant, and threw on some lip gloss and one of his crystal necklaces and I was as ready as I was going to be.
The restaurant he chose was owned by Adam’s friend, so when we arrived it felt like we were receiving the royal treatment, and we got the best seat in the house that overlooked the view out into the marina. Adams roommate Steve joined us, and we ordered margaritas and sang happy Birthday. And when the song was complete, I realized I had no idea how old adam was; but I guessed by his maturity level that he was in his early or mid thirties, same as me. So I calmly asked to verify.
“I'm 27” he responded with a smile, and pulled my chair closer to his.
“You're 27? As in just turning 27 or 27 turning 28? Not that it matters, because I'm clearly not 27…” and I felt all my stories about age and compatibility coming down on me, crashing whatever this was that was unfolding between us.
“What are you making age mean?” he asked me calmly, with direct eye contact.
What am I making age mean?! A lot I thought, because I was IN the anti-aging world of skin treatments. But his comment struck me deeply, giving me the opportunity to reflect on what I did make age mean.
“Age is just a number” he replied, and this follow up comment put to rest a lot of anxiety that I could feel brewing inside of me.
Once dinner and celebrating was over, it was after 9pm and we headed back to Adam’s house; and I could feel the question brewing in me...what now?
Do I interrupt this fun we're having and ask him to take me back to hotel sugar beach? Or would it be inappropriate if I stayed here at the house with him? That option felt equally amazing and totally rebellious, so I leaned towards staying, and shyly pulled adam aside and asked, “so what do you think of the possibility of me staying here with you tonight?” My question was bold, but I was optimistic, and he showed me his answer by pulling me in for a tight hug, and I could feel his words vibrating in his chest as he spoke him, “I'd love that.” So I sent my roommate a message on Facebook letting her know I’d be staying over and not to worry about me.
Their apartment was two bedrooms and a large open living room and kitchen that had a large sofa, which would be where his brother Alex would be sleeping now that I’d just invited myself over. When we entered his bedroom Adam got out a pair of boxer shorts for me and a blue Duke University shirt, that had fabric that felt like velvet next to my skin. I was officially out of my comfort zone at every level, but the most comfortable I’d been in a long time. My bedtime and waking up rituals were going to be nonexistent for this sleepover adventure seeing as how I didn’t have any of my skin care products or even my toothbrush with me, but this opportunity felt like it was worth getting a little uncomfortable. I entered his private bathroom and looked around for some usable substitutes, and found some “Clean and Clear” face wash that was sitting on the edge of his dirty bath tub, and felt my skin cringe in response, but smiled. I saw some body sunscreen I could use as moisturizer in the morning, but I'd have to use his toothbrush. Was that even allowed? I poked my head out of the bathroom and asked adam’s permission to use his toothbrush and he grinned in delight at the request, telling me to do whatever would make me feel at home with him. And I loved that response.
I emerged from the bathroom as ready for bed as I could get and crawled into the small full size bed next to this stranger, who somehow wasn't a stranger at all. He wrapped himself around me instantly and we somehow fit perfectly, and I had one of the most restful and peaceful nights of sleep of my life.
When I woke up in the early hours with the sun I felt like my head was spinning. Was I dreaming? Last night was my second night of drinking, so my mouth felt dry and my head was pounding. I looked around the room to recall where I was and what was happening, and my gaze settled on the beautiful man who was still asleep next to me, and everything came back to me. I stared at Adam for what felt like an hour and knew one thing for sure. This man was so handsome and somehow I’d ended up in his arms, in his bed and wearing his boxers and T-shirt. I got up quietly, being careful not to wake him, and wandered out into the living room where I found his sleeping brother out on the couch. The view out onto the water was absolutely stunning and within a few seconds I had 2 dogs at my feet begging for my attention.
Then reality hit. I was here on a yoga retreat which I wasn’t at right now, this wasn’t my home, and my flight home was leaving Costa Rica day after tomorrow at noon to take me back to Utah. And then I felt my mind rationalize what was happening. This was a 2 night (and 1 day) rebound from the 90% awesome relationship that I’d ended just 6 days earlier. Ok, got it. Because there was no possible way a real relationship could unfold with this guy who was nearly a decade younger than me and who lived in a country that was hot and where a bathing suit was the most common article of clothing. And I disliked bathing suits and hot weather. I knew I was overthinking all the goodness right out of this perfect moment, but I also knew it was time to get back to real life because I didn’t want anyone at my retreat to worry about me.
So I quietly returned to the bedroom and brushed my teeth once again with Adam’s toothbrush and used his deodorant with a smile. I felt clean and fresh, so I slipped back into the bed next to Adam and began to slowly wake him up by stroking his bare back with my fingertips, but he didn’t budge. So I turned over onto my stomach and laid next to him scratching his head and listening to him begin to groan and saw a smile come over his lips as he slowly opened his blue eyes and stared right through me.
“Hey baby, how’d you sleep?” His tone seemed like he’d asked me that question a thousand times, but instead of answering him with the same calm, I felt myself almost begin to cry.
What if this was the last time I saw him? He’d given me a healing session, I’d given him his massage in return, and we’d celebrated his birthday. But now what?Would he want to plan something else? Or do we just go on with our separate lives now?
Adam continued smiling at me, almost like he could read the sentences forming in my head and could hear me talking my way out of this opportunity for connection. He placed his hand around my head and drew my head down beside his and stroked my head as he said, “Are you doing too much in there?” And I wanted to tell him all the fears I was having and how confused I felt about how much I liked him, but also how unrealistic it seemed that we could create a life together. Yes, I’d already forecasted a future together and saw the unlikeliness of it.
In our healing session a few days prior, Adam's medicine was telling me to “do nothing”, but if I did nothing, I’d never see him again, right? And then I wondered about the 5 months I’d just reserved to be off from my spa? I technically didn’t have a lot planned for my life the next 5 months, so was this encounter part of my sabbatical? I had a lot to think about and a lot NOT to think about, if doing nothing was the goal. Adam’s words were clearly circling around in my head. And according to him, to allow myself to heal and receive, I’d have to do nothing and go with the flow. The hardest thing in the world for me.
But for now, it was time to return to Sugar Beach. And as for the picture for this post, it was the first picture I ever took of Adam xx.