Pura Vida – it means, pure life.
“What does it mean to be living 100% of life, 100% your life? What has opened you up to your 100%?”
These are questions that I asked myself last year during a trip to Costa Rica, where I experienced “Pura Vida” during a simple family vacation. At that time, an intentional slowing down occurred, and I was able to experience being with myself, my son, and my husband. I appreciated the simplicity and ease with which Costa Ricans lived. Costa Ricans use the saying “Pura Vida”, to greet each other, to say goodbye, to show appreciation, and to shrug off what can’t be changed. For me it was a saying that created calm and ease and was an expression of gratitude for all of this life that we have been given. It was an expression of something I had wanted to discover more deeply, and so, I was curious.
When I think about Pura Vida and the context in which it is used, there is an inherent idea of sufficiency contained within it. Relating it back to my own journey, I had always wanted to be more than who I was, to do more than I was doing. This is a habit I have had to unlearn, and one that I continue to work on, though with new perspective and understanding. In the past, this resulted in a busy life focused on things outside of me to help me feel like life was good. I was always pursuing something new, chasing after happiness.
In truth, at that time, my life up to that point could still be seen as a good life. But what I had come to realize, whenever I slowed down enough to observe what was going on, was that life lived that way wasn’t sustainable, and that in many ways I was numb.
Why was this the case? Part of the reason was because I wasn’t embracing 100% of my life. It comes back to the idea of 50/50 balance of life, or 50/50 balance of positive and negative emotion – because life is experienced and motivated by our emotions. For so much of my life, I was constantly resisting or avoiding the negative parts of life. There was a resistance against the fear of my own mortality, there was a resistance of the sadness and disappointment that naturally come throughout life, and there was a constant push to be perfect, which was a resistance against my own humanness.
I was a doctor. All of the achievements that came with that accomplishment interestingly only given me a fleeting joy (though thankfully, it was regenerative as well.) Overworking, overeating, and looking outside of me for happiness, I had also lost the ability to enjoy the journey and lacked an appreciation for all of the good things in my life.
When my son turned one, it had been a year that I had been trying to figure out a new way of life on my own. I was struggling still. I asked myself, “What is my aim here?” It was to find out who I was, to transition from my old self into a new version of me, and to ultimately recreate my life from blank slate. Without even initially knowing that life coaching would be the solution, I found my first coach. There was something about her message that resonated with me and I connected with her at the time when I needed it most in my life. And perhaps because I wanted to change things so badly, I believed that this was the solution for me. Now, of course, I know how this work can be so powerful.
Coaching was both inspirational and transformational. I soon developed fuller awareness of my “self” and my feelings, an awareness that had been absent in my life prior to this point. I was no longer numb. This unearthed a lot of things for me, things that I continue to work through even now. It wasn’t easy, and it still isn’t easy at times. But on a whole, life was easier. And for sure, it was real, and I was living my life.
I am living my life, and in a much bigger way than I ever imagined, and it’s because of coaching.
A huge part of life for me is about connection. It is why I have pursued my work as a physician and as a life coach, and through connection with others is when I experience the most joy.
Life for me is also about creation and creativity. Existence alone is good enough, but by contributing in the world, by creating something in this world, it amplifies our experience of our existence. Sometimes though, fear, uncertainty, and other aspects of our humanness get in the way of that amplified experience.
On the day that my son was born, with my son laying on my chest, and my doctor by my side, I observed various facets of life. I saw a new life – in my son. I saw the preservation and delivery of life – through my physician. It was in that moment too, that I realized: I create my life. That realization would inevitably bring me to life coaching, and to becoming a coach myself.
Why? Because life coaching – whether you coach yourself or you coach someone else – is a way of guiding the creation of life. A life coach is someone who helps people develop belief in themselves to overcome the fear and uncertainty that are a normal part of human existence, so that those people can create and live their biggest, most amazing lives. Empowerment through coaching is one of the most profound things a person can achieve. Coaching helps people experience their own version of Pura Vida, and then learn how to create that for themselves.