seashells

Costa Rican Dream

By: Katie

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I was playing in the surf, kicking the little waves as they washed up on sand. I was with my friend Anna (a different Anna), and she said that because of the buoyant salt water, the shells on the beach were always different, always changing.

Anna turned away to swim, and I went back up to the beach to move our belongings to a better spot. They were in front of a little shop that would be opening soon now that the sun was above the horizon, and I didn’t want people kicking it around.

I found a sunnier patch and looked to where the cliffs jutted out to the south and saw snow on the top. It wasn’t a high elevation, but I had surely never seen snow on those Costa Rican cliffs. I’m also pretty sure I saw an airplane depositing more snow. I didn’t bother trying to rationalize it.

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After setting down our items, I walked back to the water and saw a smooth patch below the waves in the sand. When the water ran back into the ocean, I reached down and picked up some kind of gold promotional Starbucks card. It was all in Spanish, but I could tell that I had one 14 points.

I woke up from that dream, saw the snow outside, and was supremely pissed off.

I won’t analyze it too much, but you can feel free to in the comments. I’m more impressed than anything that my subconscious brain was able to translate that Starbucks card into Spanish, although it’s more likely that my brain just convinced me that a bunch of gibberish was correct Spanish.

Even though I woke up to another blisteringly cold day in Illinois, I’m grateful for where my brain sent me last night. It’s been almost a year since the Costa Rican yoga retreat last year, and I’ve been geeking out on Instagram watching everyone taking a retreat there now. Every picture pulls me back. Every video lets me inhabit a body still in that place.

For an hour (probably just a few seconds IRL), I was transported back there, and I could feel the water and heat, I could smell the wind and salt. I could bask in the company of a friend who is currently half a country away, proudly living her own adventure.

I don’t know what the airplane distributing faux snow on the cliffs meant. Something about artifice maybe?

I don’t know what the Starbucks card meant. That I may be coming into the incredible value of 14 Starbucks points?

But what I woke with ringing in my ears were Anna’s words about the seashells. “Don’t worry. Because of the salt water, they’re always changing. It’s different shells every day.”

I’m giving real-life Anna full credit for my subconscious’ Anna’s words.

We’re different every day. We’re forced to be because of the way life constantly washes into us. Sometimes it comes in a gentle lapping wave, and sometimes it slams into us with the force of a tsunami. Either way, it brings new shells and sloughs away the old ones.

It’s also fascinating that even when we think we don’t know what we need, something deeper in us knows. I imagine my brain screaming at me every time I’m like, “Ugh! I don’t know what I’m doing with my life!” My brain’s in there going, “OMG just LISTEN to me!” Finally, it generated a dream just to be heard and told me exactly what I needed to hear.

The last year has been tough. I’m not alone in that. 2017 was a trying year for most of the people I know. Despite it being a hard year, it was also very transformational, the changes coming on in rapidfire succession. I’ve been unable to figure out which Katie is the correct Katie in a year of discovering new pieces of myself around every corner, and it’s left me feeling ungrounded and floaty.

But this message of renewal, of the inevitability and ok-ness of constant change is exactly what I needed to hear. This sensation of ceaseless transformation is not an alien state -- it’s what life is, so get used to it and accept it with passion.

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