"The philosophy behind Choose Again is a positive one, and perhaps most importantly a healing one." Doug Chalke
"Over the course of last summer I was feeling that I was working so hard in a stressful job that I was likely going to drop dead from a heart attack. I did not want that to be my life story, and I wanted to have time to experience whatever it was that was important to me before the Grim Reaper arrived. I therefore resigned from that job.
Of course, then I was faced with the question of what I wanted my remaining time to look like. After struggling with this question for a while, a friend of mine, Dianne Rice, suggested that Angie and I go to the Choose Again retreat at Nosara last November. She felt confident that the experience and training there would help me sort it out.
So, on the basis of “we’ve got nothing to lose” and “a week in Costa Rica cant’ be bad”, we went to Nosara with Dianne. Of course, in a travel/personal growth experience there are many components which make up a success or failure. Our first surprise was the absolutely spectacular beauty and setting of the retreat. It was set in an architecturally stunning building located in one of the world’s “Blue Zones” (a healthy place to be). This beautiful spot was built by the Omega Institute of New York specifically for personal growth conferences. In fact, when we were there it was full of people from around the world taking those courses (it only operates certain months of the year).
Our group had a small, but beautiful, portion of the physical location. We had one table at which we all ate and, interestingly, the “Omega crowd”, who were undergoing their own training, often appeared envious of “whatever it was that we had that was special” during the week. The food was a choice of vegetarian or began, and it was of the highest quality. A beer/wine and chocolate bar, on a patio overlooking the jungle, provided an opportunity for late night reflection and discussion.
Our days followed a structured format with group meetings in the morning and evening, and time off in the afternoon. Diederik runs a tight ship and kept us “on task” at all times. There was definitely time for some adventure activities in the Costa Rica jungle. However these fill up quite quickly, mostly from the Omega attendees, so a good travel trip is to sign up for what you want to do during the week immediately upon arrival. That goes for the massage appointments with the many masseuses they have on site (since our free hours were limited to a short time during the afternoon). What was billed as a “jungle canopy tour” actually turned out to be zip-lining down the jungle mountain sides (much to the surprise of several participants). It was a great bonding experience.
Apart from all that fun, there was the real work to be done and the reason we all had gone to Nosara. Our group represented a wide spectrum of “reasons why we were there”, but of course in the end and at the core we are all the same.
With Diederik’s leadership we all worked through our different issues and over time I came to care about everyone in the group. I think of them often, and worry about how they are doing travelling on their own roads. We were assisted along the way by staff which Diederik brought to Nosara, all of whom were exceptional. And what did I learn? Perhaps, not surprisingly, I came to recognize that it is the journey and not the destination. More surprisingly (to me) was my conclusion that the best chance of meeting my goal (to live the time I have remaining in a meaningful way) is to take a spiritual path. For me that was the lesson of Nosara.
The philosophy behind Choose Again is a positive one, and perhaps most importantly a healing one. As the old saying goes, “how many psychiatrists does it take to change a light bulb?” Answer: “Only one, but the light bulb has to want to change”. If you’re at that point, I can recommend Choose Again as a positive, healing philosophy to help you get there."
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