If you follow me on Facebook, it’s no secret that I just got back from an amazing trip to Costa Rica. A combination of yoga retreat (sponsored by Twisters Yoga), jungle adventures, and relaxing by the pool, it was kinda perfect. We stayed at the Blue Osa resort on the Osa Peninsula. Right on the beach, but surrounded by jungle on all sides.
Every morning started with this view:
Our accommodations can only be described as a luxury hut – one solid wall, a tin roof, and screened the rest of the way around – pretty much open to the jungle save for a private bathroom and some bamboo privacy partitions (falling asleep and then waking up to the sounds of the rainforest is something I won’t soon forget!)
The pool was pretty amazing too:
The weather was hot and humid – but when you’re pretty much living in your bathing suit and have both a pool and an ocean to jump into at any time, it really doesn’t matter. When I did stay out of the water long enough for my hair to dry, this is what it looked like:
We did lots of yoga, in the most beautiful studio you can imagine, with the sound of the birds, monkeys and waves in the background.
There were monkeys everywhere:
We went hiking in the jungle, swimming under a waterfall, kayaking in the mangrove forests, and even met a 2-week-old howler monkey at the Corcovado Animal Sanctuary.
But for me, this is where a major shift occurred:
On the way back from the animal sanctuary, our boat captain dropped anchor right in this very spot, and brought out a basket of snorkel gear. He encouraged us to drop over the side of the boat to explore the coral reefs. There was another boat nearby, and a dozen or so people were already happily swimming around, exclaiming about all of the colorful fish. And oh, how I wanted to be one of them.
The problem was, I didn’t have my bathing suit with me – just the clothes I was wearing, which were not conducive to snorkeling at all.
A choice had to be made – miss out on what would certainly be an incredible view of the ocean, or strip down to my underwear in front of complete strangers and hop in the water. Yikes. My first thought was “Oh hell, no – I could never do that!”
But then…I remembered the words that I say over and over again on this blog, to my clients, and on Facebook when they are worried about what people will think if they exercise in public:
NO ONE IS LOOKING AT YOU. REALLY.
And even if they were? WHO CARES?!?!?!
Was I really going to miss out on the chance to swim with the parrotfish just because I didn’t want strangers seeing me in my underwear? Um, no.
So I thought about it for all of 15 seconds, shucked off my shorts, tied my tank top up below my bra and jumped.
It was incredible. The colors of the fish, and the texture and shapes of the coral were simply gorgeous. After awhile I abandoned the breathing tube completely and just dove down as far as I could to really see the coral close up. I was amazed at how soft and fuzzy it looked – nothing at all like the coral you find washed up on the beach. It was so clearly a living organism it took my breath away (and I was very careful not to touch, of course). The fish were so cool – bright and colorful, some swimming really fast and others just sort of floating lazily around. It felt like being in a Pixar movie. If I’d had my GoPro with me, I would have taken tons of video, but I think that was a blessing in disguise, because knowing that I only had one chance to see it all meant that I really had to experience it first hand rather than behind a camera.
Turns out that the coral reefs and fish were so engrossing, so beautiful, so amazing that I actually forgot I wasn’t wearing a bathing suit – until I had to get back in the boat and suddenly found myself grabbing the captain’s hand to help me make the first step up and OMG here I am standing in front of a complete stranger half-naked!
It was totally worth it.
If I had listened to Whinona, my inner mean girl, who says things like ‘Everyone is going to be thinking about how fat you are, and how you have no business stripping down to your undies in front of all these strangers’ – I would have missed everything.
The moral of the story? Don’t let fears about how you will look keep you from doing anything. Not that race you’ve been dying to run, that dance class you’ve wanted to try forever, or even getting up in front of a crowd to sing Karaoke. Whatever it is…DO IT.
And if you’re so inclined, why not tell us about it in the comments?