Author: We Love Costa Rica

For Sale By Owner – Beautiful House 2 BR, 2 Bathrooms Close to the Beach – Playa Bejuco – USD $150,000

For any questions you have about this property click here to contact the owner.

This fully renovated 2Br/2B house with full laundry and screened patio is just 600m from Playa Bejuco.

The house in Jardines del Pacifico carries a full title. The gated community was completed and turned over to the HOA in 2006.

The development has low HOA cost at $1500/yr which includes landscaping of the beautiful fully mature Jardines del Pacifico plus 24hr security, community pool, trash pickup.

I am represented by Abogada Silvia Vega in Jaco.

The registration number of your property is 6-132773-003.

The community has a strong rental history and the location has boomed recently as the Estorillos Town Center with grocery, gym, and multiple restaurants/small businesses is in full swing.

Playa Bejuco offers one of the best surfing beaches on the central Pacific with two hotels, scarlet macaws, spectacular sunsets and extended low-tides that open the miles of beach for walking.

Just 30km to Jaco for all amenities including the best dental and medical services, banks, etc. Only 14m to Parrita for much of the same.

The house is fully furnished with new items shipped from the USA including kitchen items and appliances, TV and recliners.

Full Cable Tica TV and internet are in place and sufficient for work-at-home USA jobs.

Every detail has been attended to ensure that new owners have absolutely no issues with any aspect of the property.

Brand new 2nd (master bedroom) bath & 3 new split-unit inverter A/C’s. New security fencing at rear, Like new roofing (fresh paint and new screws), new patio screens, fresh paint inside and out, patio doors, tree-trimming, everything.

Contact Info

Ron Poppell
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 772-979-0463

For Sale By Owner – One of a Kind House at 3400 ft. – Grifo Alto, Puriscal – USD $195,000

For any questions you have about this property click here to contact the owner.

This one of a kind house sits at 3400 ft offering panoramic views of the Central Valley. One hour to San Jose and equally close to many Pacific Coast beaches. The home is located in a small new housing development called Villas Galavista, which was begun with this house in 2013.

This home is offered virtually turnkey with all appliances, furniture and most accessories to stay.

The home exterior is 80% glass on three sides which opens the panorama from every room in the home. And yet privacy is assured due to its unique elevation in relation to other properties.

The basics of the home:

  • Lot size approximately 1/3 acre (1100 sq. meters)
  • 1287 sq.ft. indoors (115 sq..meters)
  • Outdoor under roof spaces provide an additional 1000 sq.ft. (90 sq. meters), including a 15×16 ft. patio facing west giving perfect outdoor space for entertaining and away from seasonal breezes which are predominantly from the east.
  • 40 ft x 14 ft great room with kitchen centrally located between dining and entertainment areas at each end of the room.
  • Large granite island counter with ample cupboard space in island as well as above and below the rear countertop (also granite).
  • This kitchen is a dream for those who love to cook as it was designed for just that, as well as entertainment space on the island sit-up counter. All stainless appliances (Samsung) include microwave, gas range and twin door refrigerator with in-door ice/water. All new in 2013 and will remain with the house.
  • Utility room with stacked washer/dryer (LG) and utility sink, storage shelving.
  • All lorel hardwood construction of ceiings, interior doors, custom china cabinet, Murphy bed (2nd bedroom), large wardrobe unit (combination 18 cupboards/drawers and hanger closets) and 8 ft. long desk
  • 2 bedrooms, each 13×13 ft. (3 piece master bath additional)
  • 2nd bath (3 piece) adjacent to 2nd bedroom
  • Non-slip ceramic flooring inside and out.
  • Lots of large (5×6 ft approx..) windows – 15 in total, each topped by sliding windows to provide ample ventilation.

Grifo Alto is a small but friendly, no crime community located approximately 14km (8.7 miles) from Santiago de Puriscal, the largest town in the area. Basic grocery needs are readily available in Grifo Alto, known for perhaps the best drinking water in Costa Rica. Santiago hosts a wider range of shopping and service needs and “big city” shopping is an hour’s drive to San Jose.

The home is located approximately 900 feet (300 meters) from the main road and regular bus transportation.

Contact Info

Bob & Linda Beavis
Email: [email protected]
CR Phone:8902-4808
US Phone:937-732-8052

costa rica home for sale by owner san francisco 14

For Sale by Owner – Beautiful and Spacious Home in San Francisco, Costa Rica – 4 BR, 2 1/2 Baths – USD $379,000

For any questions you have about this property click here to contact the owner.

This spacious, 4 bedroom, 2 1/2 bath home is in San Francisco near the top of the San Isidro de Grecia ridge at an elevation of 4800 feet. We are approximately 45 minutes from Juan Santamaria International Airport. Daytime temperatures are usually in the 70’s to low 80’s and in the 60’s at night. No heating or air conditioning is needed. This home is in a private and quiet location.

The living, dining, and kitchen areas are of an open design well lit by an abundance of windows in the daytime and well-placed lighting at night. The kitchen has quartz counter tops with ceramic tile backsplash , native Costa Rican hardwood cabinets, gas cooktop, a waist high built in oven, and large stainless steel sink.

There is also a small mural of custom tile on the backsplash behind the cooktop . There is ample counter space and storage space in this well-designed kitchen. In the hall behind the kitchen is a large custom built pantry to match the other cabinets. The kitchen window looks out on to the landscaped garden.

A large – 3 1/2 meters by 3 meters – mural by a local artist adds color and provides a feeling of nature in the home.Large glass doors lead from the living area to the huge covered patio outside. There is space for a dining area, barbecue grill, and lounge chairs, to enjoy the wonderful climate and beautiful views .

Hot water throughout the house is provided by a solar system with a 300 liter tank and electric backup on those rare days when there is little to no sun. Lighting is largely CFL and LED. There is extensive outside lighting with dusk to dawn LED lighting on the garage and parking area.

On the first level there are 3 bedrooms, one full bath and a “powder room” Bedrooms are good sized, have a ceiling fans and large windows with garden views.

The master bedroom is on the second floor and is large enough to easily accommodate a king sized bed, bedside tables and dressers and an entertainment unit. The large windows provide views of the central valley and the Grecia watershed area. There is a private balcony looking to the west. There is also a walk-in closet.

The master bath has a large shower, hardwood cabinets with granite counter top, and a ceiling fan.

The large garage (450 sq. ft.) has plenty of work space, shelves, a 2500 Liter water tank and pump, as well as room for a car. There is ample off-street parking.

Both the house and the garage are fully alarmed with remotes for the house alarm.

The grounds were professionally designed and feature an irrigation system. Many tropical flowers and fruit trees abound. The entire property is fenced and has several gates for access easy.
This property is near protected areas, thus there is an abundance of birds to be seen, and many places to hike. The location is quiet and tranquil.

This beautiful property is surrounded by a coffee finca, the owner is a very good man who has been farming here for many years. He has been very helpful, has given us good advice, and has become our friend.

If you are seeking a beautiful, functional home, with privacy but not isolated, this house is for you!


  1. Open Floor plan
  2. 4 Bedrooms , 2 1/2 Baths
  4. Bodega
  5. Beautiful mural
  6. Solar Hot Water
  7. Titled
  8. Survey
  9. Patio
  10. Balcony Ceramic Floors
  11. Cook Top, Oven Pantry
  12. Ceiling Fans
  13. Large Inside Laundry
  14. City Water
  15. Garden
  16. Irrigation system
  17. Large Garage
  18. 2500 liter water tank
  19. Ample off-street parking
  20. Fully Fenced
  21. Fruit trees
  22. House and Garage Alarm

Things That We Will Miss About Our Home
1. Friendly, helpful neighbours
2. Sitting on the patio enjoying the gorgeous views of the mountains, the central valley and the garden.
3. The mild climate.
4. The natural light in the house.
5. The privacy, yet only about 150 meters to the bus stop.
6. The open design of the home is spacious yet usable.
7. The stunning mural which seems to bring nature into the house.

Contact Info

Cynthia and Greg Thomas
Phones: 2494-0205

For Sale by Owner – Beautiful Casita in Costa Rica – Central Valley – USD $160,000

For any questions you have about this property click here to contact the owner.

A perfect property for a couple or single person located in the mountains at 3300 feet with Central Valley Views that really sparkle at night. This two bedroom/ two bath home is well designed to maximize space and provide great views with floor to ceiling windows. It is currently an income producing property for the owner who lives next door. Built in 2015 with concrete/steel A-1 Building Systems and built to a 9.0 earthquake standard, it has the conveniences that make it a very comfortable home such as a separate laundry room with a washing machine and room for a dryer, storage, stove, refrigerator, microwave. It comes fully furnished. $160,000 USD.

Where exactly is the home located?
This home is located in Grifo Alto, a short distance from Santiago de Puriscal

How long does it take to get to the nearest international airport?
Actual distance if I was a crow 15 miles but it is about 1 hour to drive

When was the house last on the market?
It has not been listed on the market

How far to San Jose in A: Miles and B: Minutes travel time?
San Jose is about 40 miles away and travel time is about one hour depending on traffic.

Do you know who designed your home?
We designed it with an architect/engineer

Do you know which builder built your home?
Yes, our local general contractor who built our second home and many others

Do you know which architect designed your home?

Did you do your own interior design or did you have a professional to help you?

What are the exact measurements of the land in square meters and square feet?
The property is 559 square meters (6,017 square feet)

How many square meters or square feet of construction in the house?
The house is 109 square meters (1173 square feet)

How big is the living room?
About 30 meters squared; 322.9 square feet

How many bedrooms are there? What sizes?
Two bedrooms, the master at 16M2 or 173 sq ft, guest at 12.2M2, or 132 sq.ft.

How many bathrooms?
There are two full baths

Is this an individual house or condominium?
This is an individual house

How much is monthly maintenance?
Not applicable

Is there a maid’s room?

How many floors?
One, no steps

How big is the garden in square meters and square feet?
There is no formal garden although there is a lawn

Is there a swimming pool? If so what size?

In what year was the home built?

What type of construction?
Concrete and Steel A-1Building Systems

How many telephone lines?

Is there cable internet access in your area? If so which company?
Yes, this property has DSL internet through the phone company

Is the owner of the property a person or a corporation?
Corporation although since corporation owns additional house on same property would not be sold or transferred. Resurvey will be done at sellers expense.

What is your asking price?
$160,000 US Dollars

Will you offer seller financing?

Has your home been featured in any architectural or real estate magazines?

What feature of your home have you most enjoyed?
The view

Please be as personal as you can when you tell us what are your top ten favorite things that you will miss about living in this home?
We have enjoyed living in this house prior to building our main home just next door (however with plenty of privacy). Many a day and night we spent sitting on the patio just enjoying the weather, the butterflies, birds, the quietness and views. It is close to the entrance to this development so often neighbors would stop by for a cup or just to chat. Our water system in Grifo Alto is contained for the community and is among the best in Costa Rica. We can drink out of the tap anytime without having to do anything to the water. On those days we don’t feel like driving into San Jose, we will take the public transportation which is excellent, timely and close by. Due to the elevation, we do not need air conditioning or heating as the daytime temps are warm while the nights are cool enough to sleep. Our Tico neighbors are among the best.

The best way to contact us via email to [email protected] giving us your contact information and we will respond by either email, phone, FB, or text as you choose.

Costa Rica Timeshare Rentals and Resales IMAGE 1

Costa Rica timeshares offer a lavish, yet affordable way to vacation in this tropical paradise. With added accommodation amenities and plenty of fantastic resort features, Costa Rica timeshares can’t be beat. Most of these properties can be found in Guanacaste, an area known for its breathtaking beaches and unspoilt parklands. The most cost-efficient way to buy or rent a Costa Rica timeshare is to go through the secondary markets on websites like

Costa Rica Timeshare Rentals

16565765 - pool with a view of the green side of arenal volcano, costa rica.

16565765 – pool with a view of the green side of arenal volcano, costa rica.

For a one-time, low-cost vacation option, Costa Rica timeshare rentals offer the perfect solution. These rental units are made available by owners who are unable to visit their timeshare on the given year. In return, they advertise their units at a low weekly rate. Even if you don’t end up staying the whole week, you’ll still likely come out on top in comparison to the price of area hotels. Not to mention the added value of timeshare amenities that will make you feel right at home on your vacation, with plenty of room for everyone to spread out and relax. Additionally, Costa Rica timeshare rentals are a great way to try before you buy if you’re not ready to commit to ownership just yet!

Costa Rica Timeshare Resales

48539273 - outdoor restaurant table among the nature

48539273 – outdoor restaurant table among the nature

Owning a Costa Rica timeshare has many benefits. For one, it is a cost-efficient way to indulge in luxurious, annual vacations. When you buy on the secondary market, you can save upwards of 70% off resort pricing while also skipping the high-pressure sales pitch by shopping from your own home. Websites like are also able to refer you to reliable brokers and closing companies for the smoothest possible transaction from start to finish.

Typical Amenities in Costa Rica Timeshares IMAGE 4

65156646 – relaxing beach scene with reclining beach chairs and palm trees in costa rica

Timeshares make exceptional vacation accommodations because they are chock-full of great features and amenities to make your vacation great. While amenities vary by suite size and resort, properties like Condovac La Costa offer units equipped with full kitchens, living rooms, whirlpool tubs, dining rooms, and private terraces.

Costa Rica timeshare resorts also offer on-site services and activities to enhance your stay. Popular Costa Rica resort, the Villas Sol Hotel and Beach Resort offers a full-service spa, all-inclusive dining options with on-site restaurants, watersports, swimming pools, jacuzzi tubs, and complimentary Wi-Fi. A timeshare vacation gives you a full vacation experience without ever having to leave the property!

Find the perfect Costa Rica timeshare resale or rental that fits your vacation needs and budget by browsing the impressive selection on

For Sale by Owner – Casa y Casita – Main House 3 BR, 2 Bath – Guest House 2 BR, 2 Bath – Tronadora – USD $290,000

For any questions you have about this property click here to contact the owner.

Live the dream! Nestled in the hills only 3 blocks from the small peaceful pueblo of Tronadora, (outside of Tilaran) and overlooking Lake Arenal, is a birder’s paradise (with an extra bonus of the occasional visit from howler monkeys and sloths). Awaken each morning to birds singing, cows lowing, and monkeys howling in the distance. This property is 6000 meters – 1.5 acres (including a small section of woods with trails), a 3 bedroom 2 bath main house, and 2 bedroom 2 bath guest house (both built in 2008).

The main house, (176 meters total, covintec/concrete construction) consists of a great room with glassed and screened front porch facing Lake Arenal, kitchen with dishwasher and garbage disposal; MASTER bedroom with lake view, own entrance, walk in closet, ensuite bath; GUEST room also with lake view, own entrance onto an outside porch, 2 closets, air conditioning/heating unit, and bathroom; and THIRD bedroom is being used as an office. The 2 car GARAGE is attached (electric opener and tiled floor). All doors, closets and cabinets are solid cedar; screening and ceiling fans throughout. There are 6 skylights and vaulted ceilings.

The guesthouse (casita) is a small (concrete block, 68 meters) 2 bedroom, 2 bath home with a layout similar to the main house but on a smaller scale, and located a little bit lower on the property. The guesthouse also overlooks Lake Arenal, has master bedroom with ensuite bathroom and walk-in closet, also second bedroom and second bath and laundry room. The extra home offers an income producing opportunity as well as a place to host family and visitors. Unlike most homes in Costa Rica, both the main house and guest house were made to U.S. standards and can actually flush toilet paper!

Total land is just over an acre and a half (6000 meters). Many trees, fruit trees and plants, including pineapples, bananas, lemons, mangos, jocotes, etc. The property perimeter is fenced, and there is an electric gate to enter the property, and a concrete driveway. Pathways through the small area of wooded property ensure a relaxing and easy walk, there are also stairs to the back of the property. On one side a neighbor has a small coffee and macadamia farm, and there are coffee plants and macadamia trees in our woods as well.

Both homes are supplied with excellent (treated) and plentiful city water supplied by the pueblo of Tronadora. There is also a tank of (potable city) water constantly refreshed. These two tank systems have supplied us with water when the pueblo was without water (for days after a bad storm).

There are solar panels (grid tie net metering agreement with the electric company), rainwater is collected in 2 tanks, and there is a simple option to use rainwater or city water for toilets (or watering). The 2 car garage has wiring and plumbing ready for solar hot water. Currently, there is an on-demand electric water heater connected to all hot water faucets inside the main house, and a hot water heater/tank supplying hot water in the guest house. There is garbage collection weekly. There is one phone landline, and high speed (DSL) internet is connected to both houses. The house is owned within a corporation (S.A.).

The distance from the road affords peace and protection for us and our pets, yet the property truly is within walking distance to downtown Tronadora (3-4 blocks). There is a well stocked grocery store, several restaurants, bars, the bus stop, small hardware store, churches and the soccer field. There is an unpaved road that runs beside the lake, and is no more than half a mile from the house, which offers fantastic hikes and sightings of monkeys, birds, an occasional sloth or coati, and other wildlife.

The property is about 5 miles from Tilaran, which has the district government, the 24/7 medical clinic, (there is a medical clinic about 300 meters from the property but not 24/7) and restaurants, supermarkets, post office, gas stations, hardware stores, banks, etc. The average temperature is in the 70s year round. This side of the lake has less rain (more wind in Jan and Feb) than the other side of the lake. Liberia international airport is about an hour 15 minutes away, San Jose (and international airport) is about 120 miles (3 – 4 hours away).

House and guesthouse are turnkey. Most furnishings are included, kitchen equipped, towels and bed linens go with the house; a awd 1996 RAV4 can be included. Leaseback is available. It’s time to make that change you’ve always been thinking about….to a warmer, more tranquil life!

More info at
Contact Tim Johnson at:
Email: [email protected]
US phone: 904-638-5221
CR phone: 506-8839-4008

For Sale by Owner – Reduced Price House & Rental Unit 5-Bedroom, 4-Bath, 347 sq. meters – Puriscal – USD $185,000.

Located high atop Puriscal with panoramic views to Alajuela and San Jose, the 3-bedroom, 2-bath main house is partially furnished and the 2-bedroom, 2-bath rental unit is fully furnished. Lots of upgrades within the past year including new deck tiles and support structure, new septic system, new ceiling, totally new kitchen cabinets in rental unit and more. Over 2700 sq. ft. of space plus another 1000 sq. ft. of deck and patio space. Conveniently located within walking distance of Maxi Pali for all your shopping needs.

Available for your inspection, call WhatsApp +617 482 3707 or email [email protected]

Where exactly is the home located?
Jonquillo arriba, frente tanque AYA

How long does it take to get to the nearest international airport?

When was the house last on the market?
Currently advertised on FSBO and Craigslist

How far to San Jose in A: Miles and B: Minutes travel time?
41 km, 1 hr 2 min

Do you know who designed your home?

Do you know which builder built your home?

Do you know which architect designed your home?

Did you do your own interior design or did you have a professional to help you?
Pre-existing house.

What are the exact measurements of the land in square meters and square feet?
471 sq. m., 5069.80 sq. ft.

How many square meters or square feet of construction in the house?
347 sq. m.

How big is the living room?
587 sq. ft. & 205 sq. ft.

How many bedrooms are there?
5 Bedrooms

How many bathrooms?
4 Bathrooms

Is this an individual house or condominium?
Multi family

How much is monthly maintenance?
Internet $30, water $20, electric $40 & $20

How many floors?

What type of construction?
Steel & concrete

How many telephone lines?
Currently 2

What is your asking price?

Will you offer seller financing?

Has your home been featured in any architectural or real estate magazines?

What feature of your home have you most enjoyed?
The view and patio

What is the ‘folio real’ property identification number?
(This will not be published but we must have this information which will be checked) The ‘Folio Real’ number should be a 6 digit number follow by a dash and three digits like as in 000.000-000 1597751-000

Please be as personal as you can when you tell us what are your top ten favorite things that you will miss about living in this home?
1. Beautiful panoramic views
2. Aerial view of city lights at night
3. Watching birds soar by
4. convenience to Puriscal center
5. Escape from cold Winters in the states
6. Warm days – cool nights
7. Central location to San Jose and Pacific beaches

Making Good Relationships Better – The Repair and Re-Pair Way to Happiness

It’s tough to be happy with life when you’re unhappy with yourself.

It’s tough to be happy with your relationship when you’re unhappy with your partner.

That parallel is deliberate. When a critical aspect of a situation is disappointing, the entire arrangement is also likely to be disappointing. Can such disappointment not only have similar causes but also similar solutions?

Let’s explore how that’s possible.

Many couples are conflicted about their relationship: feuding with their partner and conflicted within themselves about the value of their connection. They feel that something is missing, something is wrong, but their fights to correct the problems only make things worse. The partners also struggle with themselves about the costs and benefits of their commitment. They feel the relationship too good to leave, but it’s too unsatisfying to stay.

So they remain out of fear, feeling unhappy, stuck, and upset with their “disappointing” partner and with themselves for not having the courage to go after that missing “something”. and unhappy with their inability to make the relationship better. “Why can’t I make things better between us?”

Can we improve our relationship enough so we want to stay rather than fear leaving?

Can we improve our relationship with ourselves enough to become happier with our life?


To solve these problems, we will need to make changes in our expectations and attitudes about our RELATIONSHIP and ourself. Giving up our attempt to fix your partner, or transform ourselves. The solution lies in repairing how we see and treat our partner and ourselves. In how we RELATE to our partner and ourselves.


Let’s begin at the beginning. Why do we pair up in the first place? For great sex? For a larger combined income? Security? To fill the gaps in our sense of self? Love? All of the above and more? Sure!

Humans have a profound need for some deep, solid connection with another. A connection that leaves us feeling loved and lovable, safe, seen, accepted, secure. And pairing up with another promises to meet those needs. Having such a connection enables us to withstand and overcome many of life’s pains, disappointments and tragedies. And, ideally, our relationship can inspire us to become our best self.

So why then so many unhappy couples?

Often because few of us know how to actually create such a fulfilling, loving connection.

Some relationships (our unique pattern of feelings, interactions, history and meaning) grow love.

Other’s destroy it.

We want a good relationship, but what does that involve? What does it “look like”? It helps to have some “picture” of what we’re trying to achieve. And some concrete plan to get there. Fortunately for us, scientists have been carefully studying relationships that meet our deep needs and those that fail, looking for the distinguishing characteristics of each.

Probably the most well known, highly regarded relationship researcher is Dr. John Gottman. His studies have identified the “Marriage Masters” and the “Marriage Disasters”. Both type of bonds show us what to aim for and what to avoid in order to have a deep, satisfying bond .

Remember both types began their relationships with love and high ideals regarding how they would relate each other! But the “Masters” deepened and improved their connection, while the “Disasters” damaged or even destroyed it.

Both types may have started with the same aspirations, but how they actually treat each other when disappointment occurs is the key difference between these two kinds of marriages. (Note that these principles apply to unmarried couples and those considering marriage as well.)


In “Master” relationships, the partners deliberately strive to have regular positive interactions, rather than just enjoying such encounters when they occur. We’ve all heard, of course, that “marriage takes work.” The Masters regularly engage in that work by producing at least 5 positive exchanges for every negative contact. Especially during conflicts when it matters most.

Masters have high positive to negative interaction ratio because they deliberately act kind and generous, caring and considerate, showing fondness and admiration to each other. That’s what most of us were hoping for. But many think it occurs automatically and doesn’t require work

Since no person, no relationship is perfect (see Brad and Angelina), there will always be things that bother each of us about the other. Here, too, the “Masters” deliberately go positive by intentionally looking for things to praise about each other-rather than criticize. The Masters look for opportunities to show fondness and admiration for each other.

Is any of this missing from your relationship? Could the Masters’ approach could improve your bond?

No, this isn’t just a pollyannaish, “La La Land” denial of our partner’s reality. Nor is it an insincere show of “love”. The Masters give real love and get real love in return. They help each other grow. By giving their partner the benefit of the doubt rather than a “guilty” verdict.


Reverse the Masters’ picture and see the problems that the “Disasters” create in their relationships: more negative than positive interactions. Hostile, abusive, attacking, basically seeking things to criticize. Defensiveness and counterattacks. Ignoring or minimizing a partner’s positive qualities or efforts. Emphasizing their shortcomings.

This isn’t a hard-nosed, “honest” judgement of our partner’s imperfections, it’s an exaggeration of them. A strategic overstatement meant to crush our partner. The belief that WE know the “truth” about our partner.

The “repairs” such attacks are intended to produce in a partner may actually destroy their incentive to change. Creating resentment and defiance instead. And misery for both.


If we reduce the essence of each type of connection to one word, those words would be: safety and danger.

The Masters feel safe with each other. They’re not on edge expecting the next personal attack. They’re relaxed and at ease. They’re safe because they’re kind to each other.

The Disasters feel their partner is a lethal danger to their self-esteem and emotional well-being. They’re tense, wound up, on edge to defend against the next personal attack, because they’re cruel to each other. Absolutely certain they are right and their partner is wrong.

Which conditions create and nurture the relationship that you need?


How do things get so bad?

As already mentioned, all relationships begin with high expectations and a commitment to make things “truly wonderful”. But how we handle the inevitable disappointments and setbacks will determine the ultimate quality of our connection.

Some actually think that criticism and contempt will motivate change and improve things. Some believe that they can punish and coerce their partner into “growth”.

But that collides with our need to be fully accepted and loved as we are. And it deeply hurts when that acceptance and love isn’t given. Some expecting their partners to change for them, at first try persuasion. This double standard, “you change-I stay the same”, arouses hurt in their partner and more conflict between them.

And almost always, they have the same double standard, expecting us to change while they remain the same.

So when we try to improve the relationship by changing each other, we end up changing nothing except causing damage to our connection and to each other.

When our efforts to persuade a change fails, we escalate to nagging, criticizing, complaining. And they nag, complain, and criticize us in return.

Feeling we are entitled to better than they are giving us, feeling that WE ALONE are the injured party and THEY ALONE are the cause of all relationship problems, we feel justified in any and every attack we make on each other. We look for things to criticize. And we don’t hold back when the opening occurs. Tension grows. We feel anxious around each other and prepare to defend ourselves-rather than feeling the safety necessary to grow.


In conflict, we almost always focus exclusively on what they’re doing “wrong”, while we’re, typically, blind to our own part in the problem. What if that approach is the problem? That approach preventing the solution the original problems and creating more problems along the way?

We both tend to forget that we EACH contribute something to our unhappy situation. We’re both trapped in the delusion of our own “complete innocence” and their “absolute responsibility and guilt.” From such a perspective, THEY must change and we are ENTITLED to that change.

Since, typically they feel exactly the same we get nowhere. It’s an impasse. Who will back down and change? Who will “win”?

No one wins that way.

How would the “Masters” handle this dilemma? They might have prevented it in the first place by avoiding criticism and attacks. And by showing fondness and affection.

OR….since no one, no relationship is perfect, how would Masters “undo”and repair the damage and resolve the impasse?

They would end the self-satisfied delusion of innocence and…..gulp…face the painful reality of THEIR contributions to the problems and the conflicts.

Yes, WE FEEL the IMPACT of our partner’s part in the problem: the hurt, the disrespect, the dismissal, the sense of rejection, and more. So THEY MUST BE the cause of everything? Right?

What we don’t feel is the IMPACT of OUR actions on THEM: the hurt, the disrespect, the dismissal, the sense of rejection, etc that THEY feel. So we don’t SEE our part. They do.

They’d don’t see THEIR part. WE do.

And neither of us see the pain under the rage. “She’s just a b….” “He’s just a d….”

Both are hurt. And BOTH need to own their part of the problems. No one is an angel or the devil.

Repairing a damaged relationship will make us feel better about our partner, our relationship, and ourselves: all critical elements in the big picture of our happiness.

NEXT TIME: MIGHT repairing our relationship with ourself improve our overall happiness?

Tony Johnson is a retired university mental health center psychologist who has been married for 45 years….because he did make these changes. He can be contacted for consultations at: [email protected]

For Sale By Owner – Contemporary American Style View Home near Puriscal – 3 Bdrm / 3 Bath – FURNISHED! USD $430,000

For any questions you have about this property click here to contact the owner.

Located at 3400 feet high in the temperate hills of Puriscal, this contemporary home, completed in 2015, boasts a spectacular foothills and ocean view from Puntarenas to nearly the tip of the Nicoya Peninsula. Ideally situated within approximately 1 hour of beaches, airport, and Santa Ana/Escazu shopping, the house features loads of comfort and convenience features in approximately 3200 square feet. Friendly, social Gringo neighbors are also well integrated with the local Tico community. Owners only moving back to U.S. due to family commitments.

The main floor has an open floor plan with large kitchen featuring solid granite counter tops, plenty of storage with slide-out/pull-out shelving and soft close drawers, stainless steel appliances, Blanco granite composite double sink, dishwasher and disposal. Large island with eat-at bar.

Living/dining area has accent/ambient lighting, electric fireplace, floating wall shelving, built in rear surround speakers, floor outlets and double sliding glass doors with “disappearing” screen feature. Master suite consists of large bedroom area with reading nook, dual storage/linen closets, patio access, and walk-in closet with built-ins and floor safe for valuables.

Master bath has tons of counter space, dual sinks, vanity, enclosed toilet area, and fully tiled walk-in shower. Second bedroom/den has built in computer desk, file drawers, and book shelves.
Full guest bath is adjacent. Laundry room contains utility and clothes closets, lots of storage cabinets, sink, and sewing nook. Fully enclosed attached garage has automatic door and
separate storage room.

Huge patio with cantilevered no-pillar design and stainless steel railing is perfect for entertaining and enjoying the magnificent views and sunsets. Lower level consists of large guest suite with separate entry, private patio, and full bath, and extra attic storage.

Best of all, this home is offered FURNISHED! No need to spend thousands to ship containers and cars. All major furniture (except master bed), all
major appliances, all outdoor furniture, and lots of other items included. Well-maintained 2008 Toyota Highlander (approx. 110,000 miles) automatic AWD with
3rd seat is available for only $5000 additional.

Price is $430,000.00

This is your turn-key Costa Rican dream home! Just pack your suitcases and go!

Additional features:

  1. Motorized front gate.
  2. Imported Italian porcelain tile throughout.
  3. Ceiling fans in every room.
  4. Pre-wired for internet.
  5. All major appliances (Samsung, LG, Whirlpool) brought from U.S.
  6. Rinnai on-demand gas water heater with optional re-circulating “always hot” capability.
  7. Dual 100 lb. propane tanks with auto-switching valve for ultimate convenience.
  8. Concrete fiber roof tiles make house virtually sound-proof – no rain noise.
  9. LED lighting throughout means long life and low cost.
  10. Dimmable lights in kitchen, living room, and dining room.
  11. Reliable DSL internet.

Contact Steve Brink at:
Email: [email protected]
US Phone: 480-409-1740
CR Phone: 506-8712-4012

For Sale by Owner – Ocean Plaza – 2 Story Commercial Center Constructed in 2006 – Los Sueños Resort and Marina

For any questions you have about this property click here to contact the owner.

Ocean Plaza, a beautiful, two- story commercial center constructed in 2006. It is located on the busy road to Herradura Beach and is the last commercial building and on the same side of the road as the entrance to the exclusive Los Sueños Resort and Marina.

* Location, Location, Location, Gurus in real estate will tell you this is the best possible location for a business which provides services to a major attraction such as Los Sueños. With two road entrances including a long road frontage of 140 meters, and ample paved parking, this Mall is an opportunity not to be missed.

* PROPERTY SIZE: is 6,430 square meters. The rentable area the first floor is 398.3 sq. meters, the second floor is 516.4 meters. The first floor is rented out completely with the exception of a kiosk of 13.3M2. The second floor has 283M2 of rentable space available.

* FEATURES: Awnings over parking stalls directly in front of stores aid accessibility, especially during the rainy season. The mall is disabled-friendly, featuring a Schindler elevator with glass panels overlooking the waterfalls and fish pond. There are quality, large-capacity public washrooms on each floor and private bathrooms in a number of the locals. A garden runs the length of the passage on the second floor, and there is an enclosed balcony with a suspended garden, a sign tower, concrete art in the floors and on the walls of the two women’s bathrooms. The mall has a new video surveillance system with multiple high resolution cameras located at strategic points throughout the mall.

* Additional revenue is realized with a thriving storage business.

* Parking: there are 45 parking spaces directly in front of the mall on the paved area with an additional 70 spaces available even after the potential development is constructed.

* PERMITS: Mall business license, health and environmental permits are complete and up-to-date.

* MAINTENANCE: Routine maintenance is done on all systems including but not limited to fire prevention systems, elevator, waterfalls and fish pond, treatment plant, and the water holding tank; water and sewage quality is monitored and approved by the ministry.

* DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITY TO THE EAST OF THE MALL: An open area to the east of the mall is currently part of the mall property and has land use approval for additional commercial and or residential development of up to 10 stories. If someone is interested in the mall only or the lot only, the two could be segregated and sold separately with the services shared.

The new construction which could be a hotel, condo, or apartment tower with commercial space could be attached to the existing Mall at the first and second floors to match the current mall if desired.

Outline plans are available.

The closeness of apartments or hotel rooms to the services of the mall could be very appealing to potential residents of the tower, and the retail locals, especially on the second floor, are more rentable and at higher prices with clients living so close.

Herradura has the expensive Marriott hotel and also has cabins, but offers nothing in the mid-price range. There is a demand for accommodations for both short and long stays in this price range. Potential clients include several different categories of crew members from the marina, and both Costa Rican residents and permanent foreigners holding semi-professional jobs for both short and long stays. More specific information is available.

* SERVICES: Preparing the land for construction, and putting in the services is a major cost of any construction. In this case the majority of the work and cost has been covered as the well, water tank, transformer and public bathrooms were all designed with a future phase 2 in mind.

* FINANCING The Owner can offer up to 40% financing of the purchase price to an approved buyer.

Ms. Catherine Louise Whitehouse
Email [email protected]
Phone Number 1-705-243-9446
Mobile 1-705-868-5924

wlcr feature you don't know what you got till its ogne

Oh! You Don’t Know What You Got…

…till it’s gone…

Ever notice that you’re occasionally unaware of happiness until it’s gone?

“And I thought routine household chores were a major pain, until we had a huge hurricane and flood. Now that I’m rebuilding, I didn’t realize how good I had it before this mess. Didn’t realize how happy I was. What I’d give for those happy days now.”

How can that be? Afterall, happiness is the ultimate goal of all our efforts. We improve our lives, solve problems, and seek love for their immediate benefits and for their contributions to happiness. We never say “Yes, she’s happy, but is she rich?” But we always wonder, “She’s rich, but is she happy?” because we know rich is a means to happiness. Happiness is not a means to something else. Happiness is our ultimate goal.

So how could we fail to recognize the ultimate feeling when we have it? And why does it fade? Evolution provides some answers.

Nature “engineered” us to be able to feel happy. We can’t fly, echolocate, or live in ice water, but we can be happy. And unhappy.

Why feel both? Why not just happy? Wouldn’t that better serve nature’s goal of survival?
Actually both happiness and unhappiness, like pain and pleasure, better serve survival. We need both but, of course, prefer one over the other.

Yes, we’re able to be happy. But we’re “designed” by nature to focus on the negative, at the expense of the positive, because of the negative focus’s survival value. The positive doesn’t usually endanger us like the negative. So happiness can be ignored when we’re in danger.

Nature also “programmed” us to seek more. If one meal satisfied our hunger but not our nutritional needs, we’d starve. And while happiness is a reward, incentive, motivation to lead a happy life, like with hunger, permanent happiness would eliminate the drive to improve life and our survival. So we want more happiness and thus, we may overlook our current happiness in our quest for more.

costa rica landscape

Our “mores” include the resources necessary for our own and our species’s survival: air, food, water, shelter, security, and connection to others. We also want things that improve the comfort of our life and our sense of self, but are not necessary for survival. Take that Range Rover. Beautiful, superbly engineered, and we look SO GOOD driving it. But it’s way more than we need for reliable transportation. A BeGo can do that. But the Rover makes us feel so good about ourself.

So nature, evolution, it seems put us in conflict with ourselves. We crave and require happiness. But when we get it, we often ignore it or become dissatisfied with that level of happiness.

How can we be happy if we end up being unhappy with the happiness that we have?

Resolving a basic source of our unhappiness, a personal sense of inadequacy, unworthiness, helps a lot. Because that drives much of our craving for more.

No human is anywhere near perfect. Regardless of what was said about Sir Isaac Newton- “nearer to the gods, no man has come”, we are not “gods”. Not even close. But we can learn to feel good enough. And reduce the happiness canceling drive for more.


Remember that both happiness and unhappiness are eMOTIONS-feelings which put us into some necessary “motion”. “Programs” that move us to take survival enhancing actions. Happiness means we’re living a good, overall, life. It “says” to us “keep up the good work”. Unhappiness “says” something’s wrong with how we’re living: “make a change.”

You might argue that rather than “moving” us, unhappiness cripples us, immobilizes us.
How does that help? It doesn’t. We must be careful to distinguish between depression, a mental illness that does paralyze us and unhappiness-which moves us to improve our life.

We’re often unhappy because our conditions change. They’re continuously changing in ways both big and small. So if we hope to base our happiness on circumstances, we’d better prepare to face a lot of unhappiness.

By realizing that happiness and unhappiness are emotional, inner states not states of the world, we see where our focus must lie. Inside. But most of us focus almost exclusively on attaining happiness through external means. Sure, we can’t just feel good about a lack of water. We must HAVE the condition of water. But many conditions are experienced as “unhappy” because of our MINDSET. Our emotions are influenced by conditions MEDIATED by our mindset: by how we tend to see and respond to those conditions.

We Live in Two Worlds

We live in an external, physical, social, objective world and an inner, cognitive/conceptual, personal, subjective world. And we often mistakenly believe that the external one is the key to our happiness.

So we intensely pursue the “good life”: a prestige education leading to a high paying/high status career that provides a magnificient home, a luxury vehicle, and attendance at exclusive parties. Or so the movies tell us about the Western dream life.

But if it’s actually the source of happiness, we must ask why do so many leading such a life engage in drug and alcohol abuse, face criminal investigations, DUI’s, divorces, and bankruptcy? (See “Wolf of Wallstreet”).

And why might some rickshaw puller struggling through the heat and mud and degradation of life in a Mumbai slum, only to return, after a long, hard day, to a home made of plastic sheeting and a dinner of rice and salt, be happy? (See “Happy”).

Maybe happiness is more a matter of our inner emotional life than of our outer world?
And might how we feel about ourselves be a key factor in our happiness? How, afterall, can we be happy with our life if we’re unhappy with the person leading that life? Our life is not something separate and distinct from us. Our life is not like a wardrobe that we can take on and off. It’s something we DO. Something we create by our choices and actions.

If that life’s not going well, or more correctly, when we’re not living our life well, we’re unhappy with our life and it’s “liver”.

Unhappiness Implies We’re Not Enough

Just as we seem to always want more from life, we often want to BE more. Underlying that sense that “we need to BE more” is a BELIEF that we’re NOT ENOUGH.

So how do you see/treat yourself?

Consider a few questions:

Are you self-critical?
What part of yourself are you most critical of?
How severe is your self-criticism?
“I’m occasionally down on myself.
“I’m often harsh with myself.”
“I’m constantly brutal in my self-criticism.”

What benefit do you expect from your self-criticism?

What impact does it actually have?

Does self-criticism really improve who you are? Does it really promote growth and happiness?

Might it be a source of your unhappiness?

Even if you made hugh mistakes, made enormously wrong decisions, taken unquestionably bad actions, (join the crowd) will severe, brutal self-criticism undo any of that?

Will it really move you do do better in the future?

OR might it cause you to overlook your strengths? Might it prevent you from seeing what you’ve got till it’s gone?

Let’s Review…

YES, conditions do matter. Try to be happy when starved, parched, and exposed to searing heat.
And, since conditions continually change, we must continually adapt to restore and retain our happiness. There’s no “one and done” in happiness.
The best adaptation lies within, lies in modifying our mindset about those conditions. Happiness is, afterall, an inner emotional state. Impacted by external circumstances. But best managed by our inner response to the outer-by our mindset. For example, “Yeah, I’m miserable. But I’m still alive.”
Too often, our mindset is the source of our unhappiness. We diminish or eliminate our happiness by focusing on the negative and by wanting more.
Especially when we are negative about ourself. Try to feel happy when you’re negative, rejecting of who you are. When we’re “never good enough”, when we always must be “more” just to be OK, it’s hard to be happy.

Ready to explore better living through compassionate self-acceptance?

Tony Johnson is a retired university mental health center psychologist. He happily lives and learns in Ojochal. He can be reached at: [email protected]

Avalon Country Club Condo Apartment For Sale PA1-306 in Santa Ana . Walking Trails, Lake, Swimming Pools, Restaurant, Tennis Courts, Gym, Panoramic City-Light Views. – USD $250,000

If you are looking for a luxurious, fully furnished, top-floor, executive type apartment with a fabulous view in a very convenient location, then you’ve found the right page for the Avalon Country Club in Santa Ana.
avalon country condo costa rica sale by owner 2

Where Exactly Are These Luxury Apartments Located?

  1. – The Country Club project is located in Santa Ana (founded in 1658) and it is one of the fastest growing ‘executive’ areas in the Central Valley although you can still enjoy its small town friendliness.
  2. – Living in Santa Ana, Costa Rica means you are only 3-5 minutes to the main highway into San Jose.
  3. – 5-10 minutes to the Forum Office Park 1 & 2 and the Costa Rican Stock Exchange depending on the traffic.
  4. – You can drive from Santa Ana into the capital city of San Jose in about 25 minutes.
  5. – You don’t really need a car because there are regular buses that travel from Santa Ana into San Jose all day long for way less than $1.
  6. – There are several new shopping malls in the immediate vicinity. The Forum office park is about one mile away. Within a fifteen minute ride you shall find MultiPlaza, Plaza Itzkatzu, Automercado, Hotel Intercontinental, Comfort Inn, Marriott Courtyard and the residential developments of Valle del Sol, Bosques de Lindora, Villa Real and Puerta de Hierro.
  7. – The drive to the MultiPlaza shopping centre, the Plaza Roble and Trilogia Offices is less than ten minutes.
  8. – To get to one of the best hospitals in Central America – Hospital CIMA, will take you about 12 minutes.
  9. – According to the Santa Ana municipal website, the altitude is between 847 – 1,022 meters above sea level with hot, sunny days and cool nights.
  10. – Santa Ana is one of the best municipalities (ranked #2) for improved collection of taxes, using their resources more efficiently and providing better better services to those taxpayers.
  11. – The entrance to the new highway that takes you to the beaches on the Central Pacific Coast is only ten minutes away.
  12. – Living in Santa Ana you are minutes away from many international schools.
  13. – The Juan Santamaría International Airport in San Jose is only 30 minutes away

avalon country condo costa rica sale by owner 3

Looking For Offshore Income?
This Condo Apartment Already Has a Long-Term Renter if You Want to Use It as an Investment Property.

If you have serious interest in buying this farm for sale by owner, please e-mail Allan Benjamin
[email protected]
for more information and phone contact.


Ever conclude that the pursuit of sustained happiness is hopeless, a lost cause? We may have the right to “pursue happiness”, but it seems that happiness also has the ability to reject our courtship. And does so quite regularly and successfully. Why does it sometimes seem so damn hard?

Although rooted in the word happen, most experiences of happiness don’t just occur out of the blue. Some do, but most often we must create them; ever try to bake a cake without a solid understanding of the fundamental principles involved? Without baking skills? How’d that go? Were you happy with the results? As in baking a cake, the better we understand and skillfully APPLY the principles of attaining the desired result, a cake or happiness, the better the results.

So, what are the principles of happiness? As complicated as happiness is, research has reduced it to three basic elements: genes, conditions, and choices. Furthermore, studies have discovered that happiness is about 50% genetic, or inborn temperament, 10% conditions, and 40% life choices. Each of those three elements makes contributions to our overall happiness, so happiness ultimately comes down to some aspect of who you are. While some of our happiness is out of our control, a big chunk is up to us. In each of the three areas, you are the key to the results.

It’s In Your Genes

The genetic component of happiness doesn’t mean people have a fixed level of happiness that never changes, that they are always happy, or that others are permanently stuck in misery.
We’ve all known people who are blessed with joy filled natures and hardly anything seems to disrupt their balance and throw them into negativity. They’re easy going. And, if they do experience some downer, they quickly recover their happiness. That’s because the genetic component is more like a set point; the level we naturally return to after the inescapable setbacks of living. It’s like a thermostat set at 70 degrees, when the temperature goes down, the furnace turns on and restores the warmth to the preset level. So, some return to a higher level of joy set by their genes after a setback, and others typically revert to feeling down, negative, and pessimistic at some lower level.

Genes have other impacts on our happiness. But we can also impact those effects.
Humans, for example, seem to have evolved a negative bias. We tend to look for the worst, expect the negative, and continually prepare for danger. While this enhances our chances for survival by keeping us vigilant for risk, it can make happiness harder to attain and maintain. Being too comfortable can blind us to the dangers in our environment. There’s no possibility of happiness if we don’t first survive, so this tradeoff makes a great deal of evolutionary sense.

We also seem to be programmed to become “habituated”, “used to” our life’s reality. That shiny new car, that wonderful new house, or that perfect new relationship eventually becomes old hat. Been there, done that. What’s next? We seem to be genetically programmed to a certain degree of discontent. That’s not all bad either, discontent is one of the things that compelled early humans to leave dry Africa and hunt for better conditions. We also can adjust to negative situations so they don’t bother us much as time passes. Another adaptive advantage.

So does this mean our innate need for happiness is a lost cause? Irredeemably blocked by our genetic realities? Not at all. Recall the last time you were happy. Regardless of genes, happiness is not impossible. Afterall, 50% comes from conditions and choices.

Unconditional Happiness? How Can That Be?

Beyond the three basic contributing factors, happiness can be reduced to two categories: Happiness from within (genes and mindset) and happiness from without (conditions). This distinction provides us with a clearer view of happiness and better ways manage our ultimate well-being.

Happiness from without refers to the external conditions that produce or reduce good feelings. Happiness from within is the source that we have inside us, and the one we have the most control over: our reaction to those external events.

Living, as we do, in an ocean of inescapable external conditions, many of them will naturally have an impact on our happiness. When we feel safe and see our physical, emotional, and social needs as fulfilled by the circumstances of our life, we tend to feel happy. Things are going our way; the world and I are in harmony, not in opposition. So, freed from worry and want, we experience the world as a place that welcomes us and meets our needs…and feel happy.

But, when we face deficiency, frustration, adversity, we feel unhappy. Imagine happiness as a level of life that we reach for from a level below that ideal. When conditions thwart, obstruct, hinder, or impede closing that gap between where we are and where we want to be, we feel unhappy. And we often take the indirect approach, trying to change our inside (our feelings) by changing our outside (the circumstances of our lives). The “unconditional” approach to happiness goes directly to our “inside”.

But if conditions are “inescapable”, how could we possibly attain “unconditioned happiness”?

Conditions can assist or reduce happiness.

Some conditions are sometimes under our control. We do, for example, have some choice in where we live and work and who we partner with, and how we spend our fleeting and precious life moments. But as carefully and effectively as we sometimes arrange our life conditions to produce happiness, we are never, ever guaranteed those circumstances will remain unchanged. What one day brought us happiness may the next day be completely reversed. And if our happiness is totally dependant upon those ever changing externals, our happiness is always at the mercy of events often beyond our control.

This has led some curious and restless beings to seek unconditional happiness; happiness that is not at the mercy of shifting, changing reality; a happiness that is not vulnerable to unchanging change. And to achieve that, we have to turn our focus inward, away from changing externals.

Two Means of Attaining Unconditional Happiness

As mentioned, there are two types of general happiness, from within and from without. And there are also two sources of inner happiness: 1) A flexible ability to rebound from unwanted change and restore our happiness by managing our perceptions of those changes. We don’t escape changing conditions but we manage them effectively. And, 2) The discovery of place within us that is always happy regardless of externals.

More about option 1: Remember that we can manage and maintain internal happiness by managing the MEANING that we give to the changing externals. The weather changes for the worst. We may be powerless to restore the sunshine, but are enormously capable of restoring our good feelings by changing our perceptions of that event. Our choices are to feel sorry for ourselves, OR we can realize that the world wasn’t created especially for us and that sometimes the external reality will be at odds with our wishes. If we cling to some notion of how things should be, of what we are entitled to, we’re going to find ourselves frequently in a damaging – to us – adversarial relationship with reality, and that’s a fight we are unlikely to win. For instance, instead of thinking the world is unfair, we can be grateful for how good the weather has been recently. By doing do we change the MEANING of the changing weather, and thereby change our feelings for the better. The whole damn universe is not out to screw us, even though it seems that way sometime.

Another way to manage the perceptions that impact happiness is to remove our SELF-IMPOSED conditions to happiness. Many of us have an IF ONLY mindset . . . if only I were rich and famous or, WHEN I’m rich and famous, THEN I’ll be happy.

Ask yourself, is it really impossible to be happy BEFORE being rich and famous? Am I setting unnecessary conditions on my own happiness? Am I myself, rather than reality, preventing my own happiness? If I see happiness as something only possible under certain conditions, am I denying myself the pleasure of happiness that can occur before achieving my goals? Am I afraid to free myself of those self-imposed conditions because I fear losing my motivation to become rich and famous? Does being rich and famous really assure happiness?

Our Inner Core of Happiness

The second option asks: WHO are you, really? Your thoughts and feelings? Your perceptions? Your physical sensations? Your history? Your experiences? Your personality? We are all those things . . . more or less . . . and those things can change; they come and go.

The spiritual masters who have achieved unconditioned happiness would point out that we are what is permanent and unchanging in us; our awareness. The unchanging, permanent observer behind that impermanent river of thoughts, feelings, etc., is who we really are.

And what does meditation show us about that awareness when we remove thoughts and feelings? It’s calm, peaceful, content, happy. And UNIMPACTED by conditions.

So unconditional happiness is enjoyed by going to the condition of peace and happiness always within us: our awareness. Our knowing that we know. The innermost observer.

YOU, at your essence, then are happiness. No, not the “kids turned loose at recess” type of happiness. But the calm, imperturbable type of awareness.

I know. I know. All this sounds kinda flakey, airy-fairy to the western ear. But, may I recommend that you explore it, experience it before you reject it?

To sum up, there are 3 basic approaches to optimize your happiness:
– Manage the external conditions of your life—-to the extent we can.
– Manage your REACTIONS to those conditions—-learn the skill of changing our mindset.
– Manage your access to your imperturbable, calm, inner happiness—learn to meditate.

Change ourselves, improve our happiness.

Any of this make sense?

Tony Johnson is a retired university mental health center psychologist. He explores, learns, and lives happily in the Southern Zone. He can be contacted at: p[email protected]


Paradise, We Have A Problem


Have you been happy lately? I certainly hope so.

When and why did you experience that wonderful, essential emotion? Did you solve a difficult problem, putting your life back on track? Did a situation turn out better than expected? Did you receive longed for appreciation and recognition from family, friends, or coworkers? Did you glimpse a blue morph butterfly?

Such conditions are likely to produce happiness in most people. And a change in those conditions are also likely cancel that happiness. So humanity has sought to identify and hold onto “the right conditions” for happiness. Some have sought to negate the power of conditions completely by pursuing a “no conditions” happiness. And in between these options, we’ve discovered how to respond when conditions change by changing what we have the most power over: our mindset.

Happiness is in Our Hands and Heads

Since conditions constantly change, if our happiness depends on those conditions, our happiness will be at the mercy of any changes. According to the “conditions free” approach, rather than trying to create or maintain happy conditions, we must, instead, access our unchanging “inner core of happiness.” This approach deserves it’s own column and is better understood if we carefully explore the “conditions plus mindset” way to happiness.

We do not live in a vacuum. There is no conditions free condition. That would be just another type of….condition, some circumstance in which we live and conduct our lives. So we immediately see a difficulty with the “conditions free” approach-a difficulty we will try to resolve in that later column. Here we will explore the interaction between us and our conditions that produces happiness.

Most conditions (like the weather, the economy, the traffic) are out of our control. Ever try to change the weather?

Some circumstances are within our power to change, at least to alter or improve. We can’t change the weather, but we can reduce the weather’s impact on us by carrying an umbrella or wearing a warm coat. We can almost always adapt to our reality. But our greatest capacity for happiness lies in our ability to change ourself in response to difficult conditions.

central america

Change myself? MOI? Are you serious?

The constantly changing nature of life shows why some thinkers would search for a “conditions free” way to happiness. It would eliminate the constant effort to change or sustain conditions, or change our attitude, or just endure. For now let’s acknowledge the necessity to adapt to conditions. It’s in our genes, after all.

Every life form has evolved to survive under certain conditions. Polar bears would die in the Sahara Desert and camels would die in the Arctic. That’s why they have survived in their conditions of origin and usually nowhere else. But remember, 99% (!) of all species that ever existed have gone extinct. Survival is never a “one and done” event. Conditions change and what worked previously may not work well in the “new world”.

Species have developed a myriad of ways to adapt to their world. Outer coverings, the ability to extract nutrition from available resources, ways to evade predators, and, most importantly, the ability to reproduce in sufficient numbers to ensure the survival of their species, even when numerous individual are lost. (Think sea turtles. One in one hundred makes it to adulthood.)

Humans share many of those same adaptations. But our species also possesses certain cognitive advantages unavailable to many other forms of life. We can change our minds! And our MINDSET. But since this happens all day, every day, we may neglect to see how important that is to our happiness and survival. Fish don’t know they’re wet. Some of us don’t see the power of our mindset-our way of looking at things-in producing happiness.

Back to our weather example.

Yes, “it’s raining perros and gatos”, but do I have to absolutely HATE the rain? (He asks during rainy season.) Do I have feel that the rain is a deliberate effort by the universe (or the Pacific coast) to frustrate and defeat my happiness? Or is it a situation totally independent of me? Unconcerned about me, UNAWARE that I even exist?

There’s no “magic wand” to convert rain to sunshine. Hollywood can only convert Pictures of rain into Pictures of sunshine. But there IS a mindset that can change actual rain from being a miserable experience to at least tolerable or maybe even pleasant.

You’ve planned a glorious celebration at your favorite beach. This time of year, you and your friends might have it all to yourselves. But you wake to a pouring rain. Seabirds down at that beach have few options other than seeking shelter. It’s highly unlike that they think “Hey, we’re BIRDS! We could fly out of this rain and into the sun. Let’s go guys!”

Humans, another two legged species, have numerous options (including flying elsewhere if it makes practical sense). We can pitch a fit, moan and groan, and whine about how “This sucks. This isn’t fair. Stuff like this always happens to me. I’ve been planning this party for weeks. Why rain NOW??” The party is called off AND we spend the rest of our day feeling miserable. The rain “ruined” the party and we ruined the remainder of the day.

We could go to the beach anyway, hoping the skies will clear. It could happen. We could make the best of a bad situation and spend the rest of the day in some pleasurable or productive activity. Catch up on reading or responding to our emails anyone?

To enjoy one of those outcomes, we have to “change our minds”. We can salvage some happiness by thinking: “It’s not the end of the world” “We can go some other time” “What would a good way to spend this time?

Best of all, we can realize “This ISN’T personal. The weather isn’t trying to ruin MY day”. In doing this we take the personal sting out of this setback. By removing the personal element from this equation, we eliminate a big part of why this is so upsetting: “It’s happening to ME! And that’s not right. I deserve better than this. And if I don’t get it, someone must not see my IMPORTANCE!!”

The rain is not really a plot to make me feel bad. But we all can understand how it could make one feel down and frustrated. (I just washed the car yesterday, for example). More importantly we need to see it’s NOT PERSONAL. It’s not “out to get us”, like that old intimate partner may be. So our fall back position when conditions are beyond our control is to control our attitude, control the MEANING we give to conditions…..and restore some happiness.

Think about that for a moment. The boss denies us a promotion as a punishment for our questioning some of his plans. The department committee had recommended our promotion since we met all the requirements. But the boss is angry about our “defiance”. And refuses to endorse us for advancement. This is personal. This IS meant to hurt and humiliate us. Coping with this set back is another story. But it can be done. When an undesirable outcome isn’t personal (the rain), WHY ADD the extra pain of a personal insult when none exists.

Rain does not mean that the universe fails to see my importance. It just means too much moisture has evaporated up to the clouds….which have become too saturated to hold that moisture any longer.

Change the meaning. Change the feeling.

Unlike the Zen master, few of us can easily achieve condition free happiness by going to our inner core of happiness. But we all can change our reactions to situations. We all can realize that happiness is always a result of a simple equation:

Conditions + Mindset = Happiness.

A Counter-Happiness Mindset

But the typical mindset of many of us is to see situations that we regard as negative as being: PERSONAL, PERVASIVE, and PERMANENT.

We suffer from some serious illness. Yes, it’s personal. I suffer the arthritis, not some other guy. But is it PERSONAL in that the “universe” has singled me out for this problem?

Am I being punished for not living a healthier life? Is this a sign from the heavens that I am not worthy of better health? Really??

Do problems with my joints mean PERVASIVE problems in every aspect of my life? Yes, it’s harder to move. But does that mean I’m denied pleasure, comfort, ease everywhere else in my existence? Not really.

My condition is chronic. But is the pain really PERMANENTLY severe? Is there nothing I can do to relieve it-even a little bit?

But if we-usually-unconsciously-see our condition as personal, pervasive, and permanent, we again make a bad situation worse!

So watch for those 3P’s and don’t worsen negative conditions.

And Add That “Attitude of Gratitude”

Another key mindset shift that protects and improves happiness is that famous “attitude of gratitude”. As 12-Steppers know well, even if they have ruined their lives with drugs and alcohol, there is STILL much to be grateful for. To begin with, they’re alive. Off the path to perdition.

Being grateful on a regular basis shifts us from being totally negative (but don’t deny the negative) to including the positive in our overall outlook. Do you know anyone who’s extremely negative AND happy? Even they have something to be grateful for, even if they can’t see it.

So we can’t escape or change all the conditions of our lives. I, for one, think Planet Earth is wondrous and don’t want to try those other planets. But we can respond to our conditions in ways that enhance our experience, our happiness.

Realize that happiness is not easily attained or maintained. But UNhappiness IS easily reached and made permanent. Be realistic about our situation. Don’t exaggerate the negatives and overlook the positives. “Let’s be real” as a famous shrink says.

And our inner core of happiness is also a real option. See you next time.

Oh! Thanks to Kenny Rogers and the First Edition for our title: “Yeah, yeah. WOA yeah! What condition my condition is in…

love shack

It’s a Love Shack, BABY!!

Life is great in Costa Rica. I don’t need to tell you why. But I would like to suggest a way to make it better still.

Doing for others is one of the most certain ways to increase our happiness. And there’s a lot of need and opportunity to help here in CR. People, kids, the environment, sea turtles, and stray dogs and cats.

One of the volunteer opportunities happening in the Uvita area might suggest what you could do in your own CR hometown.

Recent developments have made this an exciting time for the Coasta Ballena animal rescue community. A new rescue center has opened in the Zona Sur and an old center, DAWG, has learned some new tricks. There are plenty of zaguates, so the two shelters will be kept very busy.

Updating its facilities and its brand, DAWG has improved its housing area and greatly remodeled its adoption center.

Once a simple canopy with a portable fence to contain the adoptees, the center has become the “Love Shack”.

This goes right along with DAWG’s new slogan, DAWGisLOVE. And it creates a more fun place for viewing the homeless.

That old canopy is now a delightful play on that hit wedding party song, “The Love Shack”. With an elaborate bamboo exterior and a more comfortable interior resting place for the animals, the strays are also kept cooler in this new resting area.

Bamboo planters decorate the exterior and small tree trunk stools provide seating for children playing with the puppies.

All material and labor was donated by DAWGisLove long time caregiver extraordinaire, Jackie.
The mother of the “Bamboo Family”, Jackie is an expert in types and uses of bamboo. The “Family” lives on a large bamboo farm. And they can be contacted at [email protected]

The updated, more festive adoption center and free popcorn make it a place to visit on your Saturdays in Uvita. Dr. Fernando, owner of the Centro Veterinario, has generously allowed DAWisLOVE to use part of his building and parking lot.

The best part, of course, is lovable puppies, kitties, and fabulous “used dogs” to give and get love from.

Starting to see the possibilities for giving in your community?

All animal shelters needs people with MANY skills: animal care, marketing, soliciting donations, maintenance and updating the facilities, organizing fund raising events, performing at those events, and practically anything else you can imagine to help the animals.

I’ll bet your local animal shelter needs YOU!

Here we say DAWGisLOVE!! And the Love Shack “Is a little ol’ place where you can get together, BABY!!” Think about getting together with your local shelter.