Friday, January 11, 2008

Courting the Muse in Costa Rica

I have arrived in Costa Rica and settled into my daughter's tiny apartment in San Jose. The apartment is quite charming.

My purpose for coming to Costa Rica is to write with the intent of publication, spiritual rejuvenation and to visit with my daughter so that the two of us can work on spiritual rejuvenation.

In addition, a long time friend, Stephanie Berry, also my daughters godmother, will be joining us. We will all collaborate on a joint writing project that we are very excited about although we have no idea what it is going to look like. But that is the beauty of it and the mystery of it. Being in a new place pushes the envelope. We don't have any expectations about how this will look or should look! Even as I do quite ordinary things I am mindful that I am in a place where people speak a different language from me, have different cultural customs and beliefs and that I am the "other"; the "outsider." How will that impact my writing and what I bring to my writing? I know it has already provided me time that I do not manage to have in the states. I am attempting to access parts of myself not so easily available in a familiar setting where I take so much for granted such as who am I? why am I? etc.

I have already done an amazing amount of writing. I finished one piece and have now set it aside. I isolate myself daily and write and read during the day. At lunch time my daughter breaks for lunch some days and we visit the local vegetarian restaurant. Today I will have the entire day to myself.

Today will be the first day that I will venture out on my own. I always have "visitor's anxiety" whenever I travel abroad. I believe it is a combination of feeling like "other" magnified by my lack of language skills and my extreme self consciousness. I will take my daughters Spanish dictionary with me when I go out.

Journey to Costa Rica
I had the most amazing experience coming over. My flight in Chicago was delayed and as a result I missed my connection in Dallas. I had to stay over in Dallas and fly out the next morning. American Airlines upgraded my seat to business/1st class along with another passenger, Chris Vaughan. It turns out that he lives in Madison, Wisconsin and attended a Unitarian Universalist congregation there where he really enjoyed the minister. He also is an adjunct professor at the University of Wisconsin and teaches in the Dept of Wildlife Ecology and the College of Agricaultural & Life Science. We talked extensively about ecology, Fair Trade, chocolate, his farm, and the life he has made for himself over the years living and working between the States and Costa Rica. He has created a lifestyle that reflects his passion and commitment to preserving the environment and living simply. I shared some of the things that UUs are doing to conserve energy and the environment. I wish him the best and even went on line to find some UU websites that reflect some of our environmental actions and involvements and sent them to him.

Well, time is awasting and I have lots of reading to do in preparation for a class that I will be serving as Teaching Assistant in titled, The Art and Ethics of Strategic Peacebuilding. Sharon D. Welch is the Professor. That was another surprise, Chris' daughter just graduated from the UN Peace University that my daughter had suggested that I might want to take a class at. Chris also teaches conflict resolution/management and promised to send me his syllabi.

Whenever I have encounters that feel almost "magical" I know that it is the energy in the universe responding to my direction for certain types of people and resources to show up in my life. Learning to manipulate and direct energy is a powerful tool in self awareness and development. It can be and is a potent resource in healing and transforming ourselves and the planet.

Perhaps, I will talk more about this in a future posting.
Well, back to the writing and reading.
Rev. Dr. Qiyamah A. Rahman

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