From the time you are a little kid, dreaming is all you know. You dream of your future family, your future job, your future children, and you even dream of your future house.
In those dreams, you never harbor pain or illness and you never harbor disastrous chaos. Yet, once you reach your dream life, you realize that disastrous chaos comes along with the dream that you signed up for, and the disastrous chaos is a part of the magical journey.
For myself, the disastrous chaos that I chose to embody along my own journey was illness, and that illness led me to find the most beautiful place on earth: Costa Rica.
After being ill for three years, I was at a loss. I had gone to every doctor and to every healer on the face of the planet and nothing worked.
My illness came in the form of nerve pain, a full body rash, and inflammatory weakness of my organs. Even if a doctor numbed me with drugs, my illness still returned and it got worse every single day. It robbed me of my social interaction, my opportunity to care for myself, and my ability to have happiness.
In the beginning of 2017, I decided to accept a job offer for a wilderness therapy position in Costa Rica as my symptoms began to heal.
This was the dream I had always had since I was a little girl. I accepted the job in the month of March and I had plans to move to this new country in the fall of that year.
I was overly excited and I used every moment of my life until the fall of that year to cure the illness that had robbed me of everything.
With bags in hand, the first of September came, and I was ready to hop on the airplane. Two days before, my illness began to act out with a vengeance.
I knew that I had to go and visit this country, even though my illness was back, so I decided to make a quick decision that changed everything.
I pushed my flight out a week and I repacked my bags with a large chunk of change, ready for an adventure. I was now off to the beautiful land of Costa Rica for two months by myself, unemployed.
Arriving at the SJO Airport in Costa Rica, my rash was worsening. The air was moist against my skin and sweat was dripping down my back.
I was anxiety-ridden and feared for my body as wild tourists and desperate locals surrounded me. I scheduled my stay at a hotel in the Costa Rican rainforest, and I drove four hours to hit the deepness of the jungle.
When I arrived, I was greeted with love, and my hotel room was air-conditioned and absolutely beautiful. Yet, the seclusion, the bugs, the overbearing jungle, and the hot weather was not my friend. I did not know how I was going to handle this as I was not in the busy city of Los Angeles any longer.
For three days, I heard the bugs sing as the rain fell, and I felt the sun beam through my shaded windows, but I couldn’t get myself to walk outside of my hotel room as illness took over my body.
I was bed-ridden for days and I was utterly depressed. It was as if I was experiencing the psychedelic medicine called Ayahuasca before I had ever even taken it. I had cuts, bumps, and bruises all over my body, and I didn’t even come out to the hotel lobby to eat my complimentary breakfast.
After a week of horrific pain, I made the decision to pack my bags and head home. As I prepared to gather my things and schedule my return flight home, I received a phone call in my hotel room. It was the front desk, asking if I was enjoying my stay as they had not seen me exit my room.
Fumbling over my words, I came up with a beautifully crafted lie, and I told the hotel lobby that I was enjoying my time. They offered to give me a complimentary tour, so I could explore the luscious land of Costa Rica. With bravery in hand, I decided to take the tour and give this beautiful country one more shot.
The next morning, I was picked up and taken out of the rainforest for an ocean jet-ski experience. As the salt water hit my face and my legs held me up on my vehicle, I burned in pain.
My body cried as I bounced along with the waves while the sun beat hard on my aching skin, but I had noticed that I had a smile on my face.
It was the most fun and the most pain I had experienced in a long while, and I soon began to realize why I was in Costa Rica in the first place. I began to understand that my illness had truly taken everything from me, and it was my job to take my power back.
The next morning, I awoke and my illness had miraculously dissipated. I did not have any open cuts or bruises on my body, despite my sore legs, and my skin felt refreshed. The red hives that covered me had turned to a nice tan and I was ecstatic.
I felt like I was reborn into a new life and I didn’t know how to react. It was, indeed, a miracle. I was beyond happy to be in a body for the first time in three years. In fact, I had the strongest desire to hike throughout the beautiful jungle of this moist region, and I didn’t care if mosquitos were about to eat me alive.
It was as if the water, the air, and the beautiful people of this country healed me, and my negative attitude dissipated to the sound of the bugs that whistled through my hotel room window.
After this odd occurrence, I took advantage of everything within this country. I unpacked my bags and canceled my return flight, ecstatic to embrace all that this country had to offer.
I bathed in the jungle of the rainforest, and I let the moist air sink into my skin, healing the remaining internal wounds I had. I went to the hot springs in the center of the country, and I bathed in the volcanic mud that cured my body.
I visited the beaches of this country, and I stayed within the beautiful towns that fell into my lap each day. The wild winds and the calming waters of this country healed me, and the “pura vida” attitude of this culture lifted my spirit. There was nothing that could stop me from being all that I was, and I am now forever grateful for the gift that this country gave me.
Written by Erika.
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