Unity Church of Ames

The Lessons of Costa Rica

Mid Week Faith Lift

April 2, 2014

The Lessons of Costa Rica

Susan Wolfe, guest speaker

As reported by Rev. Deb Hill-Davis

This past Sunday Susan Wolfe shared photos and descriptions of her experiences in Costa Rica this past winter.  She went to Costa Rica to attend a class on permaculture and experience the warm weather, beautiful beaches and surroundings and the Costa Rican lifestyle.  Her three weeks ended abruptly when she was called back to the states to be with her dad who had suffered an aneurism in his stomach.  He has since recovered, but it was a difficult and abrupt transition from the beauty and peacefulness of Costa Rica to the stress of a modern hospital in Phoenix, Arizona.  Thank you Susan for sharing your beautiful photos and telling us about your experiences…..the good, the bad and the really tough!  We are blessed and grateful for your sharing!  If you have a chance to view her presentation on our Vimeo link, it is worth your time to see some of the beautiful sights and places in Costa Rica.

Susan began by introducing us to Mario, her first host and showing us the place she stayed at the start of her journey.  It looked like a lovely home, nicely furnished….but NO hot water in the shower. Life begins to simplify!  The fruit trees growing in his yard did make up for this as she adjusted to life in Costa Rica.  She described the decorated oxcarts that were part of the settling of Costa Rica, each family having its own motif.  And coffee trees are all over the place, growing especially in the mountain areas, and sugar cane and bananas growing wild too!  It was quite warm, at latitude 7, which is fairly close to the equator so the sun is intense.  They put shade coverings over the gardens to protect the plants from the intense heat.  Open windows and open air buildings are the norm…..permanent summer!  Ahh….sounds good after the winter we have just had!

What Mario observed was quite insightful in that he remarked to her that Americans “live to work” and Costa Ricans “work to live. ”  There’s a talk in that observation….or “that’ll preach” as they say in the trade.  It would be really blissful to try the Costa Rican plan of “working to live” for a bit….without constant cell phone and computer distractions!   I did just enjoy a 5 day Silent Retreat which was a blissfully quiet experience with the absence of phone and computer.  Three hours for lunch each day, during the hottest part of the day, also sounds like a good deal to me!  On the other hand, the composting toilet looked like a bit of challenge….nuff said!

Susan was in Costa Rica to study permaculture and here is her description of what that is, transcribed from the video. Permaculture is an ecological design system for the sustainability in all aspects of human endeavor. It teaches us how to design natural homes and produce abundant food systems and food forests, how to incorporate backyard animals and how to build biodiversity to protect wildlife.  Permaculture also teaches how to regenerate degraded landscapes and ecosystems, harvest rainwater, develop ethical communities and economics and much more.  As an ecological design system, permaculture focuses on the interconnection between things more than on the individual parts, which Susan noted fits very well with her understanding of Unity!  She was certainly able to experience the unity of all life with the beauty of Costa Rica, the flowers, birds, plants, trees and beaches.  The there are 54 varieties of humming birds in Costa Rica, along with toucans and other birds seems almost magical, doesn’t it?  

And then in the midst of this magical paradise came that phone call, that intrusion of “reality” that a loved one, in this case Susan’s dad, was deathly ill.  Life has a way of having its way with us even when we have made “plans” for what we want.  Things often do not turn out the way we have planned and when we resist this both internally and externally something happens to our energy.  It gets clogged up or blocked.  Susan shared a beautiful poem by Hafiz:

                                                        “I am a hole in a flute that the Christ energy moves through”.

The flute is your body and the hole is you.  All the negative ideas we identify with are like beans stuck in the holes of our flute so there is no air moving through.  We remove the blockages bean by bean.  When we do this, we can hear the beautiful sound we are created to make.


Rev. Deb & Susan



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