I recently returned from a week in Costa Rica, the land of Pura Vida, a relaxed, “don’t worry, be happy” way of life that has made Costa Rica one of the happiest countries in the world.
Having this trip come so close on the heels of my journey to Peru’s Lake Titicaca and the Stone Forest was a true blessing. Some of you may have read my post-Peru reflections in my AYNI blog post in which I shared how the trip inspired me to slow down and live more mindfully.
My recent journey to Costa Rica built on that theme and gave me an opportunity to step back and consider ways I can live life with greater ease and grace, to integrate some of that Pura Vida vibe into my life.
Coming back to city life in the US after each of these journeys made me realize what a fast-paced, anxious world we have created. They also made me see how easy it is to get caught up in those stressful energies even if we know we value a more simple, healthy way of life.
But I have come to see that we don’t have to get caught up in the mad rush to always be doing more. We can opt out of the frantic pace in ways big and small.
Because prolonged stress contributes to many forms of dis-ease, it is important for us to look at how we can reduce stress and live life with greater ease. This is extra important for those of us with more sensitive, empathic natures.
If we are highly sensitive or empathic, we are more attuned to and more easily influenced by the energies around us. Therefore, it’s important to create personal boundaries that protect our internal state and enhance our well-being.
Here are two books that I have found to be inspiring and helpful in living life at a more relaxed, sane pace. While their titles have a similar theme, the two books present very different approaches:
I first read Slowing Down to the Speed of Life when I was in my early 20’s. I was only a few months into my first job out of college and found myself overworking and feeling incredibly stressed. At the time, I found the ideas presented in the book very helpful and comforting.
Since then, I have read the book several times. Each time, I gain a better understanding of how profoundly out thoughts impact our perceptions of our world. This book is not about fixing anything on the outside; it’s about becoming aware of thought patterns that lead to stress and unhappiness.
SLOW: Simple Living for a Frantic World is new to me. It’s about one woman’s journey to change her life after being diagnosed with postpartum depression.
After seeking help for her depression, the author comes to the realization that her hectic lifestyle was contributing to her ill health. This book offers many ideas on how to simplify one’s life and live more true to one’s values.
I believe we all deserve to live lives full of love, laughter, joy, and ease. And I feel it’s within our power to transform our internal state and our external realities to create the lives that will make our hearts sing.
If these ideas resonate with you, I’d love to hear from you. Feel free to email me with any questions, comments, or to share any of your personal experiences. Big hugs and blessings to you.