This could be heaven right here on earth…

This could be heaven! It could be, couldn’t it? It’s up to us to create it…right here!

I’m on a tropical farm in Costa Rica. My mornings are spent working on the farm, and then in the afternoons I might swing on a hammock looking out into hills – reading, writing, reflecting. Then in the evening we all share food together – talking, holding, supporting. I have everything I need here.

I arrived last Saturday. It was fairly gruelling to get here – hills I’m used to but the farm is far into the country side and so much of the journey was on track roads, hilly track roads, which meant there was a lot of stopping and pushing. It took a while. I screamed a bit. I sweated a lot. But I eventually arrived, and when I did it felt like I had come home.

I found this farm through help-x, which is a platform that connects people who need help with their projects and people willing to give their time to help with those projects. Help-x is grounded in the gift economy. For my work on the farm each day I get 3 meals a day and a place to sleep. It is not a commercial farm. It is a farm that uses bio-dynamic and permaculture principles and seems to provide those that are working upon it with a space for nourishment – emotionally, physically, spiritually.

Much learnt, much growth, much happiness

The week has been wholesome and varied – although there is some routine around meals there is much flexibility and much flow. I have done lots of different physical tasks – I’ve prepared beds to plant new crops such as ginger, peanuts, and things I’ve never even seen or heard of before; I’ve helped build a small wall; I’ve pulled down vines from trees; I’ve turned compost and harvested lemons and bananas. Physical work needs to be part of my daily life.

There has also been space to explore who I am and understand more deeply what it is I have to offer others. I have always enjoyed and been nourished by deep communication. Yet it was with some surprise to me that I found myself offering to facilitate a sharing circle and then offer an introduction to non-violent communication. The circle went well (we will sit again) and I’ll maybe give the introduction into non-violent communication tomorrow. These are processes I have been working with personally and found helpful for some years and so it is a true blessing to feel supported enough to share them – to even believe that I can share them. There has been space to share and explore the deepest sense of me and, like physical work, I need that too in my daily life.

With such balanced nourishment of my being the happiness I have been experiencing here has been deep. It’s not only the moment to moment pleasurable sense – sharing tasty food, daily fun and laughter, encounters with familiar and unfamiliar animals, but also in the sense of human flourishing, which doesn’t preclude difficulty and struggle (read about different types of happiness here). I feel at peace, I feel content, I feel in flow with the current of life, present, and connected. This level of happiness in my daily life is spellbinding.

Intentional space

We are currently just four. Tatiana and Jonathan have been here a year and a half. Chris just a few months. People have come and gone from this space over the years and each person has left a little something of themselves here. It is ever evolving. There used to be more people here I’m told. An intentional community, but circumstances changed for the owner and now there are just a few longer term folks, who are holding the space with deep care, and shorter term volunteers. Communities always ebb and flow and this one seems ripe for flowing.

Currently it is the wet season so I am the only short-term volunteer here. I thought I’d stay a week at first, but I’d like to stay a little longer. In fact, I have already fantasised about staying here much longer, to live here. It really is my kind of space. I felt it as soon as I arrived – through the nature, the abundant nature…through the structures, the organic structures. It was through the people mostly though – for me it is always the people – their eyes alive and dancing, their hugs warm and enriching.

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Views from the kitchen out to the back yard

It is a space that is not operating in the same way as the society in which I grew up in. To me it feels like a haven so that I can more easily create a heaven inside of me. Or as I wrote recently I experience paradise when all that surrounds me and what is taking place in my inner state reflect one another in perfect and eternal oneness. That’s not how I feel all the time here but I have been in touch with that possibility in most of the moments this week.

Such spaces aren’t an accident. I’ve encountered many spaces like this before. And such spaces have involved many people coming together to create them, to create an alternative. It’s never perfect, it’s not supposed to be, it’s more an acceptance of the imperfectness and the willingness to look at, and each time I come and then go, I grow confident in my belief that something different is possible. Perhaps it could be heaven, right here on earth. Or perhaps actually not, but it certainly could be a whole lot better – and we will need to step together to create it.

9 comments

  1. Hey Christopher , I just came across your writing ( and Journey ) for the first time and I read it with great interest. You have chosen the ‘ adventurous life ‘ , available to all but lived by the few 🙂
    I can personally relate to a lot of what you write about. I enjoy your clear and honest words and your courage to share your inner world ( and struggles ) . I am looking forward to reading more .
    Btw. I , too had an encounter with a nasty canine riding innitaly and was given a bamboo stick which fitted across my handle bars by a local farmer …. from then on all I had to do when approached by an aggressive dog was raise the stick , which happened quite a few times . I never actually used it but it’s showing worked and it felt really good to have on board . Enjoy !

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Elmar, thanks for your words. I feel uplifted and inspired that you appreciate my courage to share the inner world. Encourages me to keep writing. Thanks for the tip on canine encounters – I tried a stick for a bit but I couldn’t find a good place to put it and every time I tried to get it out I lost balance and speed. Perhaps I need to revisit that idea!

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      • Hi again , sounds like you need a bit of stick practice 🙂
        Anyway, how are your spirits currently ? Long journeys , I learned , have their own rhythm of ups and downs , not just regarding the geography one tries to to cross but also on the inside …, joyous solitude can slide into loneliness and equally, an unexpected encounter with an extraordinary fellow human can lift one’s mood serve as reminder of why we are ‘ on the road ‘ and that life is a journey even for the couch potato . I haven’t read all your posts yet and therefore don’t know what tickles your mind but for me ‘ aliveness ‘ is one of those words that resonate deeply .
        Also, even though I don’t write blogs or communicate with a lot of people on my travels I do have ‘ companions ‘ in the form of writers , poets ,,philosophers etc. who accompany me on my inner explorations and delight me with their wisdom and clarity as well as the beauty of their words .
        To travel like you ( and I at times ) do in some ways is a huge privilege I feel and one of its greatest gifts is ‘ time to be present ‘ and ‘ time to think deeply ‘ without distraction …
        The world needs people like you doing what you do ! We need explorers , not just of the outer regions of this planet but also of the inner drives and motives that make us humans tick, give us meaning and purpose and connection .
        Travel safely , Elmar

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you Elmar, your words are supportive. Spirits are up and down – I agree just an unexpected encounter can change everything. To be honest I really miss reading – I don’t nearly read as much as I used to. Currently I am reading “The Way of Zen” by Alan Watts and that is awesome. Yes company – is important – words of another are some times enough to get one through a dark time! Travelling safely – Christopher

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      • Hey man , now I have to smile …. Alan Watts is one of those ‘ companions ‘ of mine that I was mentioning 🙂 . David Whyte is another . Yes , reading is a must to stay ‘ in conversation ‘ with the world … In case you haven’t heard of them , there is an American publisher called ” Sound True ” that puts out talks / teachings/ poems etc. by Alan Watts and many others , I have quite a few in my iPod .
        I have found that a great way to listen to some deep thinkers without the weight of a book …
        Alan’ s teachings ( some in his living room ) are wonderful, he is such a great story teller and entertainer . Check out Sounds True , they have great music , too. If you can’t access their stuff let me know . Perhaps we can find a way that I send you a data stick ( not bamboo 🙂 or something …
        Be well , travel safely , Elmar

        Liked by 1 person

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