This week marks the tenth anniversary of Choose Again in Costa Rica. Ten years! It is quite incredible to me that the idea of a spiritual residential center in a strange tropical country, underfinanced and without marketing of any kind would take form and not only that, that form is growing in scope and breadth. The original funding for this idea came from Veronica Dahl, Christine Walters, Greg Lynch and Eric and Anne Andrew. Why they jumped in and said YES with such conviction and love, I will never really understand but gratitude has been my state of mind on many a day when I look at what we have collectively
While I was working at El Cielo, our residential treatment center, I first heard the phrase “This is what Love looks like right now” used by Diederik, in response to what looked like an adverse situation. I didn’t really know what he meant, but as he said it, I felt a sense of relief, and an acceptance in myself that had not been present the moment before. Over the next few weeks, I saw he and other co-workers respond in the same way to apparent difficulties. This was not yet a tool I was using, but I became more curious each time I heard it, at the sense of relief I experienced.
As I am writing this article in the early part of 2015, I am now six weeks home (in the Netherlands) from an intensive stay at the Choose Again Centre in Costa Rica. I met Diederik four years ago in the Netherlands during a one-day workshop. It was there that I was introduced for the first time to his six steps to freedom. I still remember that Diederik then said that I am able to quicken my way out of negative emotions. That intrigued me and I was curious how. And I must say that I was immediately touched by Diederik’s approach: open hearted and uncompromising. I never thought I would get an opportunity to visit Costa Rica but end October 2014 I got the chance to go.
With Maurice, a good friend of mine I went to Costa Rica. For three weeks I participated in the intensive program of Choose Again. What a blessing!
My work with Choose Again began three years ago in April of 2012. I arrived at the center filled with fear, feeling defeated by life, crippled with old habits and generally miserable. Mine was a case of all or nothing, I had to find a better way of thinking and being or there was not much point in going on.
I had spent 25 years desperately seeking fulfillment in external things, drugs and alcohol, food, money, relationships – everything to try and fill up a kind of dull empty, “missing” feeling. I treated everyone in my life as though it was their responsibility to make me happy,
Yesterday, we hiked up to the Big Tree, one of my favourite hikes. It can be rigorous, with a steep uphill climb, a stream crossing over slippery stones, and occasionally some muddy patches. The Big Tree is really not very big, but it looks it until you get quite close. The view from the tree is spectacular, It is a multidimensional sighting of a long streatch of Lake Arenal, the houses and roadway of the tiny town of Rio Piedros below us, the windmills on a nearby bluff, and miles and miles of gentle rolling hills, in all different shades of green. Calves, cows horses and trees dot the landscape, and I often feel here that I am living in a time far removed from the present.
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