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Searching for Inner Peace

What’s the deal with useless worrying? When Mark and I decided to move to Costa Rica, it was literally to save my life. We bought land in Costa Rica and built a house as an investment. We would rent it for ten years or so and use it as a vacation home. Eventually, we would retire here.

If you don’t know the whole story, I had a critical case of necrotizing pancreatitis in late February of 2020. I went into multi-organ failure and developed serious complications. Kaiser Fresno sent me to Kaiser Oakland by ambulance for the highest level of care. I spent almost a month admitted in the hospital. By all accounts, I am very lucky to be alive. I had two major surgeries to repair some of the damage (another 12 days in the hospital). I have less than half of my pancreas.

The pancreatitis was stress-induced, so I tried to be more peaceful. I hired more people to help me both at the office and around the house. Mark retired from Madera Superior Court both to keep an eye on me and to help me at the office. He did everything he could to keep my stress level down, but I had another attack in August of 2021. That attack only took me out for a few weeks, but again proved how detrimental my life-style was.

In November of 2022, Owen, Linda and I went to a 15-day permaculture class on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica. One night, Owen, Linda, and I were sitting in the jungle, looking at the stars and talking. Owen told me that he wanted me to be around when he had children, but was worried I would not make it. This really scared me because my own father died at 55. It pains me to think that if he made different life-style choices, he would have got to know my two amazing boys. He would have loved them so much! This was the smack in the face from reality that I needed, but I had a million reasons why I could not stop practicing law. I had clients and financial commitments. Owen asked what would happen to those clients and commitments if I died. Perspective! We got out a notebook and tried to come up with solutions.

Mark arrived in Costa Rica after the permaculture class. We decided that the best solution for me and my clients was to sell the practice to another attorney. I would train that attorney for five months and then step back working remotely.

In December of 2022, I actually sold the practice to another attorney. According to our contract, he would take over the business and pay expenses (including the lease) commencing on June 1, 2023. Unfortunately, when he realized that actual work and expenses were involved, he decided to pack up his stuff (actually, he sent his wife to pack up his stuff) and leave me with the mess.

We considered postponing the move or working remotely, but I ended up in the hospital with blood pressure 155 over 95 and the doctors worried about me having a heart attack. My blood pressure typically runs low. After I was released from the hospital, we got the typical blood work back. My lipase, the indicator of pancreatitis, was at 68 (for me – it typically runs between 8 and 12 when I am not having an acute attack). Mark and I realized that if I hadn’t gone to the hospital and stopped preparing for trial, I would have had yet another pancreatitis attack. We decided that we had to close the practice. My body could not handle the stress.

When we made the decision to close the practice, we knew that there would be financial consequences, but we knew we would be fine with living on a budget and renting out the house. Logically speaking we are fine. Now, as we sit in the pool looking at the view, we let this crazy monkey-mind-worry creep in. What if we run out of money? What if we never rent out our house? Can we afford to run the air conditioning?

Last night, we had a crazy storm. The lightening lite up the sky and thunder crashed and echoed all around us. We got four and half inches of rain in a couple of hours. We haven’t had power for over twelve hours. It was pretty dramatic. We are fine. The house is fine. My baby avocado trees are fine. The jungle has returned to normal. The sky is blue. I have already been visited by four toucans and about a dozen green parrots and it is only 6:30 in the morning.

I’m trying to be more like the jungle and trust that every storm will pass. All is well. Everything will be fine. Even as I type this and try to really feel it, I am worried about how long our food will last on ice and whether I should run my wet towels into town for laundry service or leave them hanging. Then I'm irritated at myself! How can I have this perfect life and perfect view and still worry.

The bottom line is that I’m a work in progress trying to calm down!

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Live in today... faith and trust for tomorrow, and who really gives a fuck about wet towels! 🥰

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