A few weeks ago, I was sitting in this cozy café in Tamarindo, on the western coast of Costa Rica. It was around the corner from our condo. Its owners were a young and fun couple, and the café had great coffee, chai and pastries. I spent quite a lot of time there during our two week vacation. A lovely respite from the heat outside, and a wonderful break from swimming and surfing.
We got to know the owner a bit. One day he showed us a few mind teaser games. Disclaimer: I suck at these sort of games, like the Rubik's Cube. When I was a child, my sister Martina would sit with it and get it all done while I would give up after getting only one side complete. I have no patience whatsoever for these games.
I was sitting there in my wet bikini, with my chai, trying to solve this little mind teaser the owner had handed me. I sat looking at it, and had given up before I even started. It looked impossible. Mike, my husband, tried it and solved it quickly. My son Carl also succeeded. I then decided to take up the challenge. After a few minutes I found myself trying the same moves over and over. I was totally concentrating on the task at hand. Nothing. I was staring the mind puzzle down. Nothing. At that point, I started looking up to see who was entering and leaving the café. Suddenly I was engaged in a chat with the owner.
I was still fiddling with the little mind teaser, but at the same time totally immersed in a conversation about whether or not Costa Rica is a world leader in nature conservation, and about José Mujica, the former president of Uruguay, about whom I had read awhile back. Suddenly voilà, I ended up with a metal piece in each hand. I had solved the puzzle! All while doing what I love, chatting away.
This seemingly insignificant episode made me think about deeper things in life. When we are focused on a goal that we have set, it is so much harder if we obsess over it. It is so easy for us to become “paralyzed” at times. Tasks seem daunting. Unattainable.
However when we let go and work from a space of flow and openness, and do not try to control the outcome, but put play and laughter into our endeavors, we accomplish so much more. As we do not see all the pathways ahead, we cannot even imagine what the end result will be, or if it is even attainable. By trying to control every step of the way, we limit both ourselves and the outcome, as opposed to working from a place of flow: Being open. Being flexible. Doing the things we love.