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memoirs of a massuer headerManuel Antonio is not for everyone. It is a beach town that caters to the parts of us that are lazy and aloof. I see families, lovers, and friends arrive here salivating for change. We live with an alternative lifestyle to not enough hours in a day, the “realities” of life elsewhere seem so distant. I’ve heard from many that the over stimulation of nature….both jungle and ocean… make them feel so… free. It roots itself into the psyche because it is all around us, sleeping to jungle sounds make city dwellers feel like they are camping! In my 17 years here I have come to believe that Manuel Antonio operates on its own unique level. It is a place that can bewitch the most stringent, it can surprise the most mundane.

The level I am referring to is meditation. I believe Manuel Antonio forces us to be more aware of ourselves by changing the culture we are used to. Simply by alternating the repetition of day to day living, and the habits we are all used to, produces the opportunity for self-contemplation. This alone stimulates change. Change is something, I have grown to believe through my massage work, most people are willfully fearful of. Don’t be! Why would humans be afraid of change when everything around them is changing….plants, weather, ocean tides, and the sun and moon cycles (to name a few). Do we actually believe ourselves not to be one with our environment? Are we evolved beyond that? I think not. However, in order to pick the fruit from a tree we must first cultivate the roots and the trunk. That means we must work with fears, frustrations, disappointments, and irritations, the painful aspects of life. Then, if we are lucky, we might be able to pick the flowers from our beautiful gardens.

Suffering and misery is all around us. We must first see the world and our life experience as it is. When we see the truth of suffering, and misery, we open the door to beauty, song, and yes, even ecstasy. When we ignore the painful aspects of maturing we only mask the true promised land. Even then, enlightenment is never attained. We are grounded in living situations that dreaming is only a temporary escape, real escape is impossible and not human. I believe Manuel Antonio can give us a sense of realism, especially when combined with meditation. which makes us better people. When we have space we can undo neurotic games, self-deception, and our hidden fears and hopes. By doing nothing we give space for breathing. To not grasp anything too tightly is a meditative practice….give it a try. By letting things go, with a touch of discipline, we are ready. Too much or too little is wild and chaotic. Awareness of our selves is enough….breathing and neutrality can be challenging, yet enough.

I believe Manuel Antonio to be a gem of an environment for helping ourselves. I suggest everyone take at least a day to themselves in order to experiment. Many of the locals I know live this way not because of the tourist dollar, but because it is within them. Most of us will not compromise our way of life in order to fit in or to suit other people’s projections. The pulse here is one of resilience, especially in the last few years. Extreme environmental damage, low numbers, and slow high seasons, in my opinion, has allowed the cream to rise to the top. Those left standing have much to offer. Our enjoyment is based on our own happiness, which we want to transfer to everyone we come in contact with. My life has blossomed because of you, the people reading this. We want all of you to taste health and freedom, if it is a day, a week, or a year. Welcome to Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica, and to a community that flies its flag of peace, multi-cultural understanding and a freedom and acceptance of everyone. Leave with a tan and a smile on your face, then go spread paradise in your home town by living in the present, accepting hardships as reality, and sharing what you have learned. Pura Vida.

(Todd Pequeen can be reached at 8830-7727 or via e-mail at tpequeen@yahoo.com. He works independently at his tree top studio or at your location. His free time is spent reading, writing, surfing, traveling, and spreading the love.)

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