It was an icy cold morning when I left my house in Salt Lake City in a taxi bound for the airport. It was going to be my second trip to Costa Rica and I was just beginning month 2 of my 5 month sabbatical to go seeking me. The difference in this Costa Rica trip vs the one a month prior was that this trip was just about me learning how to be with Adam and experimenting with having no schedule, no expectations and letting it be okay to have relaxing and doing nothing as my primary goals. I didn’t have anything I particularly needed to accomplish the next 10 days except exploring this new love with Adam, and that was enough. I felt nervous, excited and giddy with excitement all at once, and I found myself talking with strangers more often than usual telling them about what I was doing; I was pressing pause on my work life to explore love in my personal life. Everyone I shared my story with expressed that I was inspirational, which felt nice to hear and it felt like I had synchronicities unfolding more often than I was used to. For instance an older couple sitting next to me on the last leg of my flight into Liberia was also going to Potrero and taking the same eco trans shuttle, which meant we’d be on the same shuttle. And because I always opt for aisle seats when I can, this couple in the middle & window seats were a captive audience for me as I shared my story more deeply, and we talked almost the whole flight as well as throughout most of the shuttle ride. They asked about my life, my business and what was taking me to Costa Rica, so I told them about this adventure I was on of taking 5 months away from my company at home, to explore who I was outside of work, and what it meant to say yes to love. I opened up about this self exploration tour I was on, and how Adam came out of nowhere when I declared I wanted to say yes to love. This couple loved my stories and seemed to be cheering me on as I continued to follow this unknown and somewhat unfamiliar feeling of love, and they even asked what I would do long term if I stayed with Adam. Would I move to Costa Rica? Would he move to Utah? I actually hadn’t thought that far ahead yet, as both scenarios seemed crazy to imagine, so I told them I was just going to focus on enjoying the now and see what unfolded. An answer that wasn’t very like me; perhaps Adam was rubbing off already. The shuttle had a drop off point in Potrero where Adam was going to meet me, and I loved that this couple got to see me off the shuttle and into Adam’s arms. And as we pulled up to the drop off point along a strip of stores in Potrero, I saw Adam’s unmistakable car Rhonda parked waiting for me, and I felt my heart beat speed up and butterflies in my stomach. From the window of the shuttle I watched him get out of the driver’s seat and stand beside Rhonda waving and smiling and wearing a brightly colored sleeveless rainbow tie dye t shirt with an enormous red heart on the front and back. He complimented his rainbow love shirt with board shorts and of course no shoes, and he just looked like a sweet hippie beaming love and he didn’t give a shit what anyone thought. I’d told the couple a lot about Adam, particularly how his appearance and lifestyle was a bit unexpected being how intelligent he was, and I looked at them seeing Adam for the first time through the shuttle window, and I could tell he wasn’t what they’d expected either; and I let that be fine. I said goodbye to them, thanked them for the lovely conversation, reminded them to look for my spa the next time they were in park city on vacation, and with that I exited the shuttle and entered Adam’s warm and loving embrace and felt them watching us as they shuttle continued on its way to drop them at their destination up the road. Adam felt like home, which helped this decision I was making to be there with him in Costa Rica feel more comfortable.
After the shuttle pulled away Adam loaded my bag and backpack into Rhonda and we stopped in to see his roommate Steve in their crystal shop just a few doors down, and his roommate asked, “So what are going to do while you’re here?” I got a little uncomfortable with the question because I had no plan for my time and I’d just plopped myself into Adam’s life with just a few days notice. It was getting quite real now, this no plan with doing nothing being the strategy. I really wanted to be the me that could live in the moment, and I called this version of myself “vacation Harriet”, and I’d meet her every time I got on a plane and had to use my passport. Vacation Harriet was completely relaxed, was fine operating without a plan or schedule and she knew how to go with the flow. But as much as I wanted vacation Harriet to be the main one on this trip, that’s not what happened.
I quickly realized after 2 days that days that not having a plan, a destination or a to do list for this trip gave me a little anxiety, and I craved something purposeful, so my mind came back to the yoga retreat company we’d been discussing and envisioning over our Christmas trip together, so I made that my big focus, and began creating stress around it. Adam and I had light heartedly chosen the name Gateway Explorations, so I went with that and started a Facebook business page and began posting quotes several times a day to build momentum.
But momentum for what? What were we building? I wasn’t entirely sure, but the truth was that I felt guilty relaxing in Costa Rica while still receiving a paycheck from my company Align in Utah, so I created the need to host a yoga retreat, in order to prove to people (aka myself) that I was being productive and purposeful while in Costa Rica.
In the creation of this entirely new company in a new country, and in a new field that I had zero experience in, bigger questions and needs began unfolding. What was our vision? What would our logo be? What would our website say and who would build it? When would our first retreat be and who would be teaching the yoga on this yoga retreat since I wasn’t an instructor. A lot needed to be done and it was a lot of work, so my brain loved that because it helped me feel purposeful. However, it was also interesting to observe in hindsight my ability to transform this light hearted and fun trip with Adam into something not fun and stressful.
I’d accidentally made our new yoga retreat company Gateway Explorations into a new full time job for myself. Seems I had a story in my head that I needed to supplement my sabbatical with another income generating activity, something that was never in the plan to begin with. The original plan was for me to NOT work and to do nothing, in order to see what came up. But the stress and unease of not working, ironically created stress, so I created work for myself to solve that. It was a great opportunity for introspection that I was not taking, but Adam was, and he just gently and lovingly gave me feedback on the stress and busyness I was creating for myself, but still, at the time I refused to see it and marched onward with this new mission to inspire the world.
Every day while on this do nothing trip, I’d take several hours to find and share inspirational quotes on the Gateway Exploration page, to my maybe 100 loyal “likes.” This became a way that I felt important and needed because I was getting validation of some sort. And when I didn’t post my inspirational thoughts or quotes 4 times a day, I felt like I was letting people down. It seemed that when I didn't have the energy of my spa around to validate me, I needed to create ways to get that validation in Costa Rica, because I didn’t know st the time how to fill that cup of self validation or acknowledgement on my own; I was needing others to fill it for me.
And when I wasn’t working on Gateway Explorations, I still didn’t allow myself to completely relax. Sure we'd go play in the ocean, we'd go on walks on the beach, we'd cuddle and talk and explore the gorgeous area, but I also busied myself with cleaning out my email account, cleaning out pictures on my iPhone, cleaning out my iTunes folder and cleaning out my computer in general. So this time of “doing nothing” in Costa Rica was a time where I was doing a lot of clean up in various arenas because I’d never slowed down enough in my life to make these things matter. I was certainly making space for something, though I didn’t realize it was me I was making the space for; space for me to heal.
Towards the end of this Costa Rica visit I felt like everything was finally working out on the business end for Gateway Explorations, so I let myself rest. We had a date for our first retreat, we had a location, we had a website that was on its way to being created by my long term website designer, and I’d created what seemed like the most fun yoga retreat itinerary I could possibly imagine. As for the actual yoga instructor for this yoga retreat, that was still up in the air, but I’d planted a seed of inquiry to James, my favorite instructor in Salt Lake City, to see if he wanted to join us. The plan was to have one local and 1 non local instructor, so I’d still need to find & meet a local one.
After some of the logistical details were coming together I was finally able to shift some of my self induced stress of the yoga retreat into something fun, which ironically was what it was supposed to be all along. It was just me who was making something exciting and new into something heavy and burdensome, and now I was able to see that I was doing that and laugh at myself, a little.
But through it all, Adam stayed himself and was the kind light hearted light that he’d been the moment I met him. And things between he and I were going incredibly smoothly and I felt grateful that even when I showed glimpses of non vacation Harriet (work Harriet), he was still head over heels for me and showed me with his words, actions and presence. Adam was helping me see that I was indeed a strong-willed woman, and quite the fighter, though it seemed perhaps I was fighting love and happiness, things that I’d been seeking my entire life, but once I had access to them, I had no idea how to handle and have. It seemed like the seeking of love and happiness and being in love and happiness and having healthy communication were two entirely different muscle groups, and I was getting a lot of exercise in this new muscle group, but feeling lots of growing pains.
By the time I left Costa Rica this trip I felt like a new Harriet was blossoming. I’d set myself up with a new business that had all the moving parts falling into place, which meant when Adam came to Utah, we could kick back and relax and have some fun. And we only had to be apart for about 6 days before he came out for an action packed visit #2 to Utah.
And little did I know that that trip would change the course of my life forever. But that’s another story.