I woke up in a fog– a fog of uncertainty, self-doubt, and confusion much like a hangover of such things that I’d been experiencing for quite awhile– years, perhaps.
I had been attempting to pave a smooth and straight path, even though all I’d ever known were multiple scattered paths, octopus paths. Multiple pathways springing from one source, yet none of them getting accomplished. The previous night, I’d been communing with the deepest source of my soul through writing– my last resort– asking for a path to unfold.
As I headed out to the natural foods market in search of a yoga mat and some fruit on a morning of dog-sitting in a forest neighborhood that had become like home after many visits, I had forgotten about that intention.
My yoga mat was a torn-out disaster, and I really was in desperate need of doing yoga. Upon entering the store, I turned the corner towards the yoga mats and ran into a friend who embraced me and asked about my intentions of this early morning grocery store trip. I told her about the dog-sitting and about how yoga-deprived I was. She told me she’d give me a new yoga mat for free– which, of course, was a divine opportunity I couldn’t logically pass up. I thanked her, gratefully.
When I got in line at the checkout, I turned my head to the left only to notice Sadie, a friend from yoga class, appearing in the corner of my eye. I turned to greet her, mentioning what a coincidence it was that we kept repeatedly running into one another. For about nine months consistently, that is. I told her about my recent dog-sitting gig, to which she responded, “I could use you for dog sitting, because I’m going to Mexico to swim in some cénotes and maybe find some traditional healers to talk with,” she paused in optimistic contemplation, “Unless you want to come with me.”
Despite the wildly painful overthinking pattern that has run my life for so long, I eagerly booked the ticket to Cancún the next day with little hesitation. I tried to ignore the slight anxieties I held about losing possessions during flights to foreign countries, and just trust that it would be a good, smooth experience. As it would happen, we were both sending intentions of a smooth trip into our journey while conversing with angels, and so that’s exactly how it transpired.
We sat in the airport eating fruit and drinking coffee at 5 a.m., having a spiritually uplifting conversation. I was feeling grateful and amazed that of all people, having planned this less than a month in advance, I would be joining Sadie on a venture to Valladolid and Tulúm, Yucatan, Mexico. I could feel Gravity pulling me with an exerting force back to this sacred, ancient land which felt so much like a second home to me ever since my six-week summer trip in 2014. It was a study abroad course with University of Wyoming titled Mayan Art & Culture, in which 12 students including myself visited ancient ruins and studied Yucatec architecture, art, and culture throughout a few traditional villages, mostly Santa Elena. We each apprenticed with a mentor here; I studied with a Mayan herbalist and also gathered data from other shamans on the Peninsula.
With these ties to the culture, I was exhilarated about coming back to experience it again, as was Sadie, with her similar interests. We took our seats in the plane. As I sat down in the aisle seat, my seatmate was getting up to switch seats with another woman. The woman who sat down next to me in the center seat was relatively familiar looking, and we instantly connected. She was also a blogger and began telling me the themes of the entries on her blog… which were all coincidentally in alignment with my recent experiences.
The entry she explained most in depth was one on grief– not necessarily the death of a person, but rather the death of an idea of some important endeavor one may have an attachment to– hence, the necessity to bury the idea and seek a new life purpose. Our next seat mate, a tall, gangly man was also a blogger. Together, we shared our stories of synchronicity and unity. We highlighted the significances beyond coincidence in human interactions. Our conversation outshone all other sleeping passengers on Flight 71. When we were served plastic cups of water, I made a toast with both seat mates to Synchronicity.
The familiar yet exotic aura of Valladolid was comforting and enticing as Sadie and I entered it in the rental car. Even the scent of this traditional Mayan city warmed my heart and comforted my soul. We navigated the series of one-way roads towards the hotel, which was a magical cove of jungle plants and antique brick walls painted in ancient Mayan-Mexican styles. Shortly after arriving, we walked the village streets towards downtown, asking for directions from other visitors in Spanish. However, we quickly noticed that those visitors were the only other tourists to be seen.
To be among the Valladolid villagers and immersed in this culture with Yucatecan aromas steaming from every other door we walked past was enchanting. To take in this culture fully without the extra perceptions of any other foreigner is to take it in clearly in a new sense that nobody has yet discovered. Like first impressions: to be looked upon for the first time without hindrance of a third party is to see clearly. To smell clearly, and to think clearly.
An exuberant energy vibrated from every carefree child and into the air of the Plaza, which reflected other Yucatecan plazas with their historic fountain centerpieces and white-stone loveseats along the edges; tall shadowy trees, and the enchanting sound of the Spanish and Mayan languages escalating in laughter. We ate at a traditional Yucatecan open-air restaurant with neon colored lights penetrating the dark evening air. In any Yucatecan meal, I most look forward to the homemade cornflour tortillas hopefully cooked on limestone (“kal”), and so was delighted to have an entire stack of them sitting in front of me covered in a creatively patterned hand-woven basket.
After sleeping in a beautiful silky hammock which I swore somehow changed colors from yellow to pink overnight, I awoke to roosters reminding me of when I would do my writing in the mornings on the balcony of Chacmool Hotel my first trip to Yucatan, the natural alarm clock of the day for all the villagers to awake simultaneously (unless they were already awake, for many villagers passionately await the morning hype). All the town comes to life and breakfast aromas of the most natural, finest, and simplest foods seep out into the open air from kitchens all over. We could smell ours, and headed to our open-air table served with fresh fruit and fresh bread with local coffee, black,.
We walked around town for a few minutes in the early sunshine upon which everything seemed to dazzle and everyone seemed to be so content, so happy. Though daily work for the artisans in their shops is not so simple as they would have it seem, each shop owner at every storefront was beaming a smile of welcome. There were women setting up a market on the sidewalk full of vivid vegetables and fruits; the girl offered me half an orange which I gratefully savored. Sharing flavors of the culture.
We set out in search of some cénotes after collecting some directions from the hotel attendant on which ones might be best. Tunneling down the roads outlined with jungle trees was such a restoration to the soul… blurring greenery and refinement across all the soul’s hidden aspects, as jungles of Mexico always have a tendency to do.
Descending down the steps into the cave, we entered a cool and mystical atmosphere. We were the only two swimmers in the large cenote, granting us time and freedom for spiritual and physical healing in the magical, deep waters. Catfish occasionally could be spotted. Birds fluttered in and out of crevices within the stone walls. I spent time floating, reflecting in one specific pool illuminated by strong rays of sunlight, making visible the depth of the cenote. I asked for a clear answer, and as I emerged out into the hotness and newfound clarity of the day, a multitude of butterflies in varieties of different colors fluttered around my face.
There is only one other natural resource, in my opinion, that has more healing power than a cenote– and that is the Ocean. Before arriving in Tulum, we made a stop at the ruins in Coba. I was reminded of my song I started writing, in Spanish, the last time I had been in Yucatan. We sat on a log and connected with the roots of this land, the ancient mysticism of the Mayans and secrets of the Sun which they held. I purchased a hand-woven dreamcatcher with an owl woven within the center. Just being present here, I could sense the humidity of the Ocean and the mysteries of the Mayans pulling me in further to their homeland.
As we drove into the village of Tulum with the windows rolled down, the air was vibrant with exuberance and joy that only a special place such as this would exhibit. There was something particularly magical about the warm, clear waters of this coast. We settled into the cabana loft with shimmering dark wooden floors. Next, we walked through the village radiating with love and humidity, a shimmering happiness that could only be found on a coast such as this one… the street hazard signs displayed messages in segments: “If not now…” ,”When?” Though it was a touristy atmosphere, everyone seemed perfectly content. Exiting the car, we made our way to the beach and walked on the sand to the cabana loft.
I pulled out a book to read on the beach for the first night, but soon couldn’t contain the urge to run along the coast. I started out running, deeply inhaling the warm, humid, salty air. This was my first trip to the beach in nine years, and to be near the water felt so liberating to the soul. I paused occasionally to step into the water and allowed the waves to wash over me, cleansing my heart and mind. I sent out healing intentions through the palms of my hand, directed into the ocean to be washed up onto every other shore in all directions. I ran all the way to the opposite side of the coast, to which I couldn’t count the number of miles and instead was only blinded by the sunshine shimmering across my skin. I observed all the people who were laying out along the beach, soaking in the vastness of this sea and sky.
The full moon on the last night was radiant and shone upon dark waves of ocean. Along with the sound of a wedding DJ playing rock ‘n’ roll tunes and the aromas of the finest seafood in the near distance, the atmosphere was magical and inspirational. The intentions I had cast were now pouring into my own being and radiating along the atmosphere of all other beings. I was absorbing the beauty and magic of this land as it was absorbing me. This was the most peaceful setting on such a full moon… one in which I could remember myself and forget all other false perceptions. Especially while swinging on a wooden swing overlooking the ocean.
I was carried back from this ancient, tropical land with a state of clarity and renewal; a sense of strength obtained from breathing in the ocean and walking upon the sand. My normally constricted nasal passages were suddenly clear, and I could breathe life in to such a greater state of fullness. I stared out into the morning waves of the ocean for awhile before departure. I awaited the newer, much clearer state of living that I was about to enter upon returning to the Colorado snow. I remember striking up conversation with two elderly passengers who resembled family members of mine on the shuttle back from the airport. We talked about living in the area and found we had some mutual connections in the music community and also commonalities in areas of living. The energy upon arrival was evident that life was changing for us in positive ways– big ways.
I reminisced about the sun and the people I encountered during this journey, and would reflect on bringing that energy into the everchanging, sometimes terrifying, uncertainties in my life to move forward with, despite the “grief” of my missing pieces to my life purpose puzzle. Somehow, with the renewed sense of resilience within me, I felt motivated to restore them. The path felt open, as the sun shone upon my face and as the rays pierced their strength through my skin.