While recently in Costa Rica, at our service-based yoga and adventure retreat, we had a special opportunity to see grace in action.  The retreat participants, all twenty of us, spanned from ages 8 to 80.  The entire group participated in a beach clean-up where we collected nearly 300 bags of trash (from a 4 km area non-inhabited by humans ... this was trash the ocean carried and spit up onto the shores) and we also installed solar lights in people’s homes, a school and a church.  To see the expression of “wow - we NOW have light!” on people’s faces was beyond inspiring.  It was AWE-inspiring!  In the home of one woman who had recently gone blind in one eye, she and her two children flipped the light switch on.  Just prior, she told us how much her children loved to draw art and read, and yet once the sun went down, they simply couldn't. Batteries for flashlights were a luxury. We walked through the home and were amazed at how dark it was, and it was only noon when we visited.  Daisy flipped the switch to turn on the light and as her kids jumped for joy, she grinned with an expression that could only be described as divinely-inspired gratitude. 

We also hiked in the Corcovado National Park - eight hours of hiking to be exact!  Along the way, we saw four species of monkeys: howlers, spider, squirrel, and capuchin.  Sloths came out to say hello.  Coatimundes (relatives of the raccoon) liked to scavenge around the floor of the forest, and bats liked to hang in the creases of palm leaves.  Scarlet macaws filled the trees with the most brilliant colors of red, yellow and green, filling the trees like ripe apples.  On our journey, we couldn't get over how when we walked, mesmerized by these animals, they would hang out without any sense of fear or distraction.  They felt safe.  They were home and we were the visitors.  The term most appropriate for their spirit was “tranquilo” (tranquil spirit).  We learned so much from these creatures … basically how to simply BE.

In the Osa peninsula, we stayed at an eco-lodge (Luna Lodge) where we heard stories about all the hardships and sacrifices it took to build a place that would honor the land, provide work and housing for the locals, protect the animals and rain forest, and be a place where people could visit, respect, and learn from the land.  The owner, Lana Wedmore, was an icon of grace in action … a true blend of passion and purpose.  She described how, decades prior, she had a “wake-up” call from a White Hawk in the region (a very rare bird).  The message she received was that she was needed to be a voice for the animals and rain forest - they needed help with protection.  She has been marching that mantra ever since.

After arriving home, it was clear, we could help Lana save this special part of the world.  Developers were eyeing the area for building condos and expensive resorts.  We understood the risk of an important migration corridor being destroyed.  Lana started a foundation to purchase the land adjacent to the Osa Peninsula to be preserved, the White Hawk Foundation.  She’s going toe to toe with developers without help from the government.  We will be hosting Lana here in California for a dinner, dance, and auction on November 14, 2015.  I am honored to work with Lana and a team of local people, moved by our experience, to put passion and purpose into action.

I must act upon what I feel in my heart to be true.  Together with loving partners, I can make a difference creating positive change, one small act at a time. Lana inspires me.  I am here to follow the path of passion and purpose … with action.  In this spirit of giving, my spirit feels tranquilo.  Aaaaah - divinely-inspired gratitude.