It’s been awhile since I’ve prioritized writing a new blog post. This part of my trip I have been calling my “walk-about”. It has been filled with lots of travel – almost all places I have never been before. I left Belize by boat and traveled up river from Livingston, Guatemala to the Finca Tatin: a guesthouse in the jungle in a small, river-front Maya village accessible only by boat. It was absolutely lovely and peaceful. I loved witnessing children going to school by the boat-load, a mother & her children paddling their large lancha upstream to a freshwater spring to fill their jugs, and men carrying freshly-milled lumber out of the jungle on their heads and backs to load into boats.
From there I took a boat up river to the super-hectic town of Rio Dulce where I met some of the local ex-pat sailing community. I stayed in a home with a new friend I made in a peaceful neighborhood, until 5:15 am when the morning (and my screened- in room) were filled with smoke from hundreds of firecrackers while horribly festive music was blasted at top decibel. Apparently, the Maya in this area begin a birthday celebration on the minute someone was born!
From there I traveled to Antigua to get a dose of calm and beauty while I waited for my flight to Costa Rica to meet my dear friend for her 4th and final moon dance. This was a period of 9 days of camping (and not touching a computer or phone) on a finca in Costa Rica with close to 200 other women. There were indigenous grandmothers from multiple native cultures and women from all over the world in attendance. We completed 8 sweat lodges and 4 nights of dancing and praying together. The women were so joyful and full of positive energy. It challenged me in more ways than I can begin to explain, and ultimately left me with more gratitude and joy, strength and resilience.
Honesty, my solo travel has been challenging mentally. It is a reflection of this time in my personal life where I have gone from being oriented around being there for others to just being there for myself. I have a lot to learn about showing up fully for myself. Like many over-givers and over-doers, I am much better at showing up for others than I am for myself. I start everyday with gratitude and love and appreciation in my heart, but ultimately experience some sort of a mental crash and/or extreme exhaustion. I trust this is all part of the process of deepening my self-love, understanding who I am now, and figuring out how I want to show up for others in this new phase of my life.
The grief work continues to find me. I feel certain that I want to offer support to those in grief, and I feel encouraged in that, through the connections and conversations I have with people who are exploring their own grief and inspired by my journey with it, to witnessing public displays of grief on the street in Costa Rica, and even a ritual around a dead body brought to the beach in Mexico.
Today, I have found myself writing this in an outdoor café on the traffic-free, central square in Oaxaxa, Mexico. There are lots of shiny shoes – I can count 12 shoe shining stations just within a 25 yard radius of where I am sitting. People know how to take it slow and enjoy the moment here. They stroll at a calm pace and make time to sit in the town square and enjoy each other’s company. There is art everywhere, from the galleries, shops, & market booths overflowing with exquisite handicrafts, to the vendors peddling their wares, wandering musicians, and the incredibly overly decorated churches.
In Oaxaxa I have sampled fried grasshoppers, and eaten at a table with locals in a smoky, long hall where you buy your roasted veggies, choose your meat to be cooked in front of you, and get your tortillas and drinks from different vendors to put your meal together. Tonight, I watched a full-blown clown performance on a giant stage opposite a massive church that is 100’s of years old. During the clown show I took a break and walked into the church were a service was happening. I loved the juxtaposition of it all.
My Spanish is limited, and improving, but leaves me hungry for deeper connection. There are many things I miss from my culture and know I will come home with a heightened appreciation for so much. I am grateful for this opportunity, for my health, for the warmth, and for the communities I have been privileged to drift in and out of. I have not found anywhere, or any community that I love more than the ones I have been blessed to be a part of and live in. We are very fortunate. I love you all.