Yielding to Life

One of the first things I noticed after arriving in Costa Rica was the interesting relationship Tico drivers have with yield signs. There weredozens of them on my initial ride into San Jose, far more than I probably encounter at home in any given week. Here, there seem to be quite a few creative interpretations of what the signs mean, and I enjoyed observing this as part of my initial landing here. ceda

I grew up in a place where I spent a lot of time studying the art of yielding. In my hometown of San Antonio, Texas, the intricate highway system includes yield signs at just about every off-ramp I can recall. My mother would (and still does to this day) get especially peeved at the drivers who blew through the yield signs, who from my recollection were more often than not men in cowboy hats driving insanely oversized pick-up trucks.All this musing on yield signs the past few days – and maybe my whole life – became meaningful for me when I found myself navigating a situation related to my travel plans. I came here with plans to visit just two places that are not particularly close to one another, but not all that far given it’s such a small country. I’ve traversed much bigger distances in places like India and Vietnam by train and bus and have never had any issue getting exactly where I wanted to go at relatively little expense.Long story short, I found that getting from my point A to point B here was not the easy, tropical breezy task I thought it would be. For the first few days after I arrived, I spent a good amount of time emailing and calling various transport options only to find that the timing was off or the expense was ridiculous since I would be booking a 6-person van just for myself. And yet, I persisted, feeling determined to make things happen exactly as I envisioned they should.

Finally, on my third day here, after time on the phone with a particularly slow and cranky bus line agent, I felt the need to just take a pause. In a short moment of meditation, I got the message to explore if there was an intermediate place to travel to, allowing me to break up my travel time, see a new place and avoid the inordinate expense that seemed inevitable if I pushed through with the plan I came here with.

With just a little research, I confirmed that indeed there was a great option, one that would let me travel by boat and spend a night in the little beach town of Montezuma. When I sat with this possibility, I noticed that my body felt at ease. I was able to let go of all the physical tension that had accumulated as a result of this search.

In that moment, I felt like I had just yielded to life. Instead of trying to push through, like a crazed Texan in a giant truck, I slowed down, let go of my plans, and saw another way.

This experience reminded me of something I’ve already known, but can easily forget: Anytime we encounter continual obstacles to a plan, it’s generally worthwhile to consider other options. Doing so requires mindfulness to consciously slow down and realize we are attached to a plan, and openness to consider that there might be some alternative way of achieving the outcome we desire.

In the end, I got to where I needed to go, and I did so in a far more scenic and adventurous way than I even initially knew was possible. When you yield to life, you also may get a much more fulfilling and robust experience than you had even imagined possible.

So, the next time you feel like you’re pushing through a bit too hard, just remember to yield a bit to life and not be this guy: