When I speak to friends back in the States, they always have the same response. “You must be loving it there in paradise.” Their words convey a perception that I am spending my days drinking piña coladas on the beach. My friends assume our move to Mexico means a life of luxury, ease and perfection. The weather, scenery, culture, and food are amazing down here, but there is a truth about paradise I want to share.
The definition of paradise according to Merriam-Webster is “a place or state of bliss, felicity, or delight.” Paradise is not perfect weather or amazing food. Paradise is not an ocean view. Paradise is being able to experience the bliss, joy and delight in the weather, food, and view. Paradise is being able to experience bliss, joy and delight even when not surrounded by natural beauty. Paradise is a state of mind and a way of life. Paradise is a place within, not a location without.
We have all had times in our lives, difficult times, when we wanted to run away and join the circus. When we want to leave our current lives to escape to a foreign land. However, most of the time, the problem is not where we are located but how we are approaching life. No matter where we are, we bring along with us all our own issues and baggage. The setting may change, but the challenges are just the same. This is seen daily in my new community. Not everyone down here is in paradise. Many of my fellow ex-pats spend their days complaining. “This isn’t good enough. This isn’t fast enough. This is not the way I like it.” These ex-pats are surrounded by the same “paradise” I am but they do not experience any of it. Wherever you are, you have the choice to create paradise or hell.
The paradise I experience is of course aided by the location, but I need to mentally create the state of bliss. My new location did not take away the personal growth work I am doing. My new location did not remove the need to make money. My new location did not magically make difficult people easier to deal with. I still need to work on myself, work for a living, and work on my relationships. A few years ago I learned the quote, “Before enlightenment, chop wood and carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood and carry water.” This phrase points to how we are in a human experience and no matter how enlightened we are we still need to go about the same daily human experience as everyone else. The same goes for living in a resort town. Yes, the view is gorgeous. And yes, I have laundry and grocery shopping to do today. Oh, and I might be triggered at the store and have to work through my response to it. Life goes on. And it is up to us to make each and every activity blissful.
How can you begin to create paradise in your life? Where is there beauty and wonder you could stop and recognize? Where do you need to disconnect from tasks and reconnect with experience? What viewpoint could be shifted to bring you a bit more bliss?