Thursday, 31 March 2016

The Fool

In Tarot, The Fool is so-called because he is not aware that he is about to step off the edge of a cliff. I have come to learn however, that he is in fact one of the wisest characters in the deck. He does not fear the unknown and instead relishes his journey driven by faith, bliss and joy.

I am The Fool. I have been joyfully skipping along the path toward the unknown, with little possessions or money to save me should I plummet off the edge of that cliff. 
This stuff is both exciting and scary. Living day by day off whatever money I manage to earn offering massages to the locals and tourists of San Marcos is both liberating and terrifying.

Early on in my journey, I was told by a local shaman that if I'm doing energy work I should get a dreadlock for protection and grounding. So when my friend Natalie started talking to a local artesano I asked if he could make me a dread. He agreed and I sat in the dirt on the side of the street as he gave me my first dreadlock.

As recommended by the shaman, I asked for some red thread to be worked into it to represent the blood of my ancestors, my soul tribe, who give me strength and protect me. I also asked for a piece of woven hemp to be incorporated, which at its end had a snake vertebra representing transformation and kundalini energy; a bell as the rattle of the snake tail and to ward off evil spirits; and a white heron feather signifying my guardian angels who guide me. The artesano then rubbed the dread between his hands and Natalie translated for me a little - he said he was charging it up with energy for strength and grounding.

A few days later I woke up to watch the sunrise, and as I sat at the dock I cried. I realised I was down to my last 25 quetzales, had no where to live and no massages booked in. What had I done?! How did I think this was a good idea, putting myself on the poverty line! I felt like my world was falling to pieces and I was alone... And yet somehow I knew everything would work out. I knew I had been drawn to this place for a reason. So I prayed:
I have everything I need to fulfill my purpose, have a good life and be content.

Within 2 days my luck had changed (thanks to the amazing community of friends I have here) and I was living in a lovely room in town that looked out over bougainvillea and hibiscus plants, and had enough space for me to do my morning yoga. I also had David the astrologer living next door to me. He was amazingly generous and supportive during our time as neighbours and read my astrological chart for me... and that's a whole other story!

So I guess my revelation has been that if you allow yourself to be guided by what makes you happy, what you love and are passionate about - listen to your heart and follow that guidance. Any kind of procrastination is really fear. Do not let fear of failure or the desire for perfection stop you from doing what you love. Take that leap of faith, and leap purely for the experience of flying through the air. The Universe will have a surprising way of supporting you when you do.

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Mi gusta Guatemala

Initially all I knew was that I wanted to come to Central America and somehow do my yoga teacher training at the same time in order to justify and deem the trip "worthwhile". Online I found a heap of trainings available in Mexico but none in the areas that I was looking at (a reminder of just how vast Mexico is!)

I randomly came across one in Guatemala that described a host of activities using words that really got my hippy senses tingling... cacao ceremony, medicine wheel, shamanism, etc. This was the training for me! It was at the aptly named Mystical Yoga Farm on Lake Atitlan and as soon as I arrived I knew I'd made the right choice. On the first day I sat in a hammock by the dock, looked out across the lake and over to the volcanoes that were enveloped by low lying cloud - I was exactly where I was meant to be. It was beautiful. Flowers and butterflies everywhere, complete inclusion with no judgement and time to be the real me, authentic in my weirdness!

The transformation was undeniable with everyday bringing a deeper opening and surrendering to my vulnerability. In the second week I got really sick - I had parasites to the point where I was doubled over in pain crying. This pain lasted about 7 days. During this time I learnt to be gentle on myself, listening to my body and not pushing. From this place of acceptance and allowing, I found myself able to do things that I couldn't do before. Instead of aiming for that headstand, I simply prepped for it - content to just be there inverted on the mat. In this way, one day I found that my legs lifted on their own, and being content with where I was in each moment my body began to unfurl like a fern. Then, on the last day of training, I nailed the headstand on my own in the water shala :)
This was such a beautiful lesson to learn, followed by an even more beautiful reminder when I started to feel better - be grateful for the health of your body everyday!

The whole experience of the training reminds me of this quote by Carl Rogers: "A person is a fluid process, not a fixed and static entity; a flowing river of change, not a block of solid material; a continually changing constellation of potentialities, not a fixed quantity of traits."

At the end of the training a few of us decided to stay in San Marcos for a couple of days before all heading off in different directions to continue on our travels. I had a flight back to NZ in a few weeks and wanted to explore more of Guatemala and maybe even Belize. 

On my second day in town I met Zen who ran the Ananda Healing Center. I told him I was a healer and he said I could rent one of his therapy rooms... after having a massage from me to check I was legit of course :) After the test treatment, he offered me the use of the room and within 3 days I had a Guatemalan cellphone, promo flyers printed and a glowing testimonial from one of the most experienced healers in San Marcos. 

So then I thought to myself, why leave? This felt like a big decision and a big risk, but something that would bring about BIG transformation. Before I knew it my flights were changed and I was now a resident of the lake... with NO idea what I was doing! I just trusted that everything had happened to get me to this moment and that my desire to stay had to be listened to. I had followed the breadcrumbs that led me to Guatemala, and now I was following my heart, making big changes that I knew would change my life forever.

The Quest

About a year ago I had the realisation of what my true passions were - knowledge, connection, enlightenment, awakening and inspiring others.

By knowledge I mean learning as much as I can about healing, metaphysics and different philosophical schools of thought.

By connection I mean my relationship with others, myself and the Source of all creation.

By enlightenment I mean discerning the knowledge that resonates with me the most and living a life in alignment with that knowledge.

By awakening I mean growing, opening, and allowing myself to be guided to a state of KNOWING - I am both the creator and the created.

Inspiring others has actually always been something that gave meaning to my life, but it seemed like such a rarity until recently.

Once this realisation occurred, I felt a strong calling to embark upon a pilgrimage to the ancient heartlands of the Mayans - Mexico and Guatemala. Where the elements of nature are worshiped as gods, plants are used as powerful medicine and everyday has a special significance.
Mayan Temple in Tulum
I called this a pilgrimage because of the opportunity to get closer to the sacred and Divine. This was (and still is) an independent, creative and personal journey - a QUEST in search of a higher purpose. Choosing the right destination is important, but much like life the greatest fulfillment comes from the journey itself.

What started as a 3 month pilgrimage has evolved and become more of a Hero's Journey - not that I think of myself as a hero in anyway, but you'll see what I mean...
For those unfamiliar with the Hero's Journey, it has 3 phases:
  1. The hero leaves ordinary life in society
  2. The hero goes on a journey where they encounter extraordinary situations that demand extraordinary responses
  3. The hero takes possession of something of great value, initiated into a higher mode of being and returns to share it for the benefit of others.
Think Star Wars :)

Looking at the Trinity in Hinduism I can see a connection to the Hero's Journey:
Brahma = Creation
Vishnu = Preservation
Shiva = Destruction
Sometimes things need to be destroyed and broken down for something new to be born. In order to attain new perspectives, old thinking must die. Like the Death card in Tarot, this ultimately means transformation. The only thing stopping us is fear of the unknown.

So I left my job working for Government (that incidentally was contributing to anxiety attacks, but that's another story), left my awesome house in Wellington, NZ, boxed up all my things (thanks Emma, Leon, and Niloy!), packed a backpack and flew by the light of the Supermoon Lunar Eclipse on 29 September 2015 and landed in the Yucatan, Mexico. I had neither much Spanish in my vocabulary, nor money in the bank. I didn't have much at all except for a strong inner knowing that this was exactly where I was meant to be.

Since the first day of my journey I have received insight after insight whilst going through some incredible experiences and encountering fascinating people...
And I can't wait to tell you all about them!