Pura Vida - Part 2

By Ada Ketchie

A new friend told us the other day that it’s a good sign if people aren’t posting blog posts too often – it means they are busy having great experiences! Now our time in Costa Rica is soon coming to an end and we have barely begun to tell you all we’ve been up to! Oops. The great news is that it’s because we really have been busy. We’ve worked with some amazing partners and we’re eager to share more about them! So where did we last leave off…?

Coming off of the high of our yoga trainings meant facing the reality of truly making Northern Flicker fly – not just in concept but in practice. It has felt vulnerable to try to funnel all of our big lofty goals into tangible and effective action. We’d be lying if we said it hasn’t been a little scary wondering if enough people would say yes to partnering with us. We’ve struggled with doubting if this model can really be sustainable, or if the projects we find will truly be inspiring and worth all that we have poured into this. Trusting that opportunities would emerge has tested us and become an immense part of our learning. Needless to say, the phrase “leap of faith” has taken on a whole new level of meaning for us.

When Nathan and I reunited after having immersed, explored and refreshed ourselves in our yoga trainings, I was elated to find out that he had fully taken the reigns to make inroads on our next project. Building off of the iLa Yoga Retreats promotion, we were able to do a little trade with the Bodhi Tree Yoga Resort. We helped them develop a promotional video for their website and in return they set us up for a couple weeks with a comfy bed (in a room with AC – luxury), three abundant, healthy, all-you-can-eat, meals a day, a reliable internet connection, and yoga classes led by talented teachers. Not only was it a simply gorgeous setting to be in, it provided us with the perfect space to transition into Northern Flicker full-time. Make sure to keep an eye out for when this video launches, you might just find yourself planning your next holiday to Costa Rica.

While this was all wonderful, the question loomed, “What next?” We had a moment (or several) where we, honest to God, did not know. We were hustling to make connections, scheduling Skype calls, and writing emails. With our life savings on the line, our first experience working together, spending an ungodly amount of time with only each other for company, tensions were high and our relationship teetered on the brink of disaster. We were nearly tossed out of the resort after a yelling (and furniture tossing) match that woke every guest, and right as we were about to give up on this whole crazy idea, life delivered. (jokes… but you get the idea)

We got a last minute call to film a two-day event in the country’s capital of San Jose, focusing on the theme of Collaborative Leadership (and by last minute I mean pack your bags, rent a car, and arrive just hours before the event). But it was simply an opportunity we couldn’t pass up (our first real mission-centered gig!). The event gathered together not only people from across sectors within Costa Rica, but also a cohort of international participants from what is called the Global Wellbeing and GNH (Gross National Happiness) Lab. The Costa Rican organizing team has been inspired by the leadership of the Presencing Institute and their framework for social and systemic change called Theory U. Theory U co-author and Presencing Institute co-founder, Otto Scharmar, was one of many inspiring speakers that shared their perspectives with the Costa Rican participants. And on day two, even the vice president of Costa Rica herself showed up! It was a high-powered couple of days, and yet the core intention of the gathering was all about inclusion, empathy, listening, and seeing with new eyes. The call was sincere, “How can we co-lead a movement that transforms the way Costa Ricans listen to one another?” “How can we foster more collaboration to build a true ‘pura vida’ and culture of well-being for all Costa Ricans?” “How can we sense into the emerging future and co-create a better Costa Rica for our children and grandchildren?” These are big questions, and ones that would certainly not be answered in this two day gathering. But it was a powerful step to welcoming people who care about and are committed to ask such questions and be part of sensing into and creating the answers.

We couldn’t have dreamed up a better crowd to tap into than those that attended the Collaborative Leadership conference. We met change makers galore. People working on indigenous rights, the local food movement, transforming education, and many more. We even met one of our soon-to-be surrogate families, Maria Mercedes (co-organizer) and her daughter Ani, who have welcomed us into their home with such gracious hospitality over these past two months.  Making the video for this event has stretched us as we cut our teeth translating interviews in Spanish and managing the huge amount of inspiring content that was gathered. We will be very glad to share with you the final result in the coming weeks.

This event sparked a wildfire of connections and potential partners for Northern Flicker. So much so that we have been connected with more inspiring projects than we have time to help! Quite the dramatic shift from a week before the event when we were biting our nails waiting for even one email. We have a LOT more projects and happenings to share, so more posts are on the way! Costa Rica has been the perfect incubator and refuge for us to test our wings and feel into the potential of Northern Flicker. If you were to sit in on one of the many hours working at one of our host families’ dining room tables, you’d be sure to hear this common exclamation from one of us “We’re really doing it!”

All the while Nathan embarked on his own teacher training in a technique called Pranassage, held at the Nosara Yoga Institute. While he could likely write an entire post on that alone, I can tell you from my observation, he was deeply moved by his experience and has a real natural knack for assisting others to access their own power for personal healing. Next time we’re in your area, I would recommend you book a session!