It’s funny how many people ask me what it’s like to live on an island referring to my life in Costa Rica- which is, of course, not an island at all- when the one I do live on is in Toronto.
I guess that’s counter-intuitive for most who don’t know about it this gem in Toronto Harbour or Latin America geography in general.
Well the answer is it’s farkin’ wonderful! I absolutely love the pace of life, the country air, regular campfires, the plethora of blackbirds, cardinals, heron, warblers, swallows, sparrows, ducks, swan, geese, howling coyotes and the gentle cradle of houseboat living. I saw a mink slinking along the dock just this morning. Every night the city lights up like a birthday cake for me and my guests and I have 570 acres of car-free parkland, sandy beaches and bike paths practically to myself. On top of all this it only takes me 10 minutes to scoot across the harbour in my little James Bond speedboat (circa 1979) to the big city where my trusty Harley Davidson waits patiently in its underground lair. What a lucky motherclucker.
Now that I am back in the city or close to it, I find myself acutely aware of the tension and anxiety so many people create and carry in their attitude, postures and general approach to life and work. I guess the six months I am away every year allows me to forget just how prevalent it is.
In addition to chopping coconuts, hammock time and surfing my ass off, I did a lot of work this past winter with Costa Rican business owners who are transitioning from serving locals to a mix of native residents and a growing ex-pat community. Doing so requires that they understand more than another language. Equally important is understanding the unique expectations of their expanding market and how they will engage with them.
I love being able to connect the dots for people who know the connection is there but just cant find it. In Costa Rica that usually means explaining and facilitating the cultural gap between locals and ex-pats such as myself. Back in North America I find it more about breaking down the constructs we create and buy into including those about how hard we have to work to be happy.
Whether it’s about building or maintaining a position, all of us have a belief about the way things are or should be done. My job is to point out it’s not the only way. Once we accept that the sky’s the limit!
Most people know that freedom comes from letting go of these constructs and yet they resist it, sometimes with all their might. I used to be like that. Now I value my freedom too much to allow it to be stuffed, buried or stifled.
Freedom. Yeah baby. Bring it on!