Ride Away, Ride the Wave

intuition, Small Miracles, Soul heartedly

I woke up in a fog– a fog of overthinking something I have overthought for such a vast time period that for most would seem unnecessary. For me, it’s always dwelling on the intense original life purpose I have energetically paved for myself to the extremity of falling into a black hole after the of not taking action upon my own intuition in perfect timing last year. It’s had many pitfalls, and has become my best method of self-sabotage. For the past two years, I haven’t been able to discern whether I’ve been grieving my self-proclaimed life purpose, a person, or an idea of a person. Having conversed with Spirit in writing the night before, I asked for guidance into a more positive current situation that would bring about clarity. Perhaps rather something more along the flow of the current that would get me out of my head.

I had almost forgotten about that intention when I headed out to Natural Grocers in search of a yoga mat and some fruit. My yoga mat was a torn-out disaster, and I really needed to do some yoga. I had the fortune of running into a friend who told me she’d give me a new yoga mat for free… which, of course, was a divine opportunity I couldn’t easily pass up. When I got in line, I noticed that a friend I knew from yoga and repeatedly crossing paths –for the past nine or so months– was behind me. 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.”

So despite the wildly painful overthinking that has been my habit for so long, I 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.

I packed very few possessions with me; the bare minimum of clothes that would get me through the four days of our journey. I began to become aware of the pattern of following my breath, and really breathing. I’d recently come to the awareness that I hadn’t actually been doing this… and that this has been the main source of obstacles that I have experienced throughout life. Taking away months and years of true fulfillment. In order to regain this lost sense of self, I was going to need to actually start breathing from the depths of my heart and soul… and it isn’t easy, because this brings up various instances in which I must, time after time, come to terms with my Truth and how that truth is working out in this lifetime. I was coming to know that Life listened to me so long as I was nurturing my own Spirit with breath.

We sat in the airport eating fruit and drinking coffee at five a.m., having a spiritually fulfilling conversation. I was so grateful and amazed that of all people, having planned this less than a month in advance, I would be joining Sadie on the venture to Valladolid and Tulúm, Yucatan, Mexico. It’s only been a destined prophecy for me to return to this sacred, ancient land which feels so much like a second home to me since visiting a traditional Mayan village a few years ago on a college study abroad for six weeks.  In this study abroad course, I apprenticed with a Mayan herbalist and also gathered data from multiple other shamans on the Peninsula. My project at the time seemed so extensive that I knew eventually I’d have to come back to further my passion of studying and practicing plant medicine. Jungle plants are really the most intriguing of all medicines.

When I found my seat in the airplane, 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 and current process of life. The one she explained most in detail was the one on grief– not necessarily the death of a person, but rather the death of an idea of some significant life purpose one may have an attachment to, so now must find an alternative life purpose. Our next seatmate who entered was tall, gangly and handsome and he was also a blogger. We told our stories of synchronicity and unity, finding meaning beyond coincidence in human interactions. Our conversation was loud and bright, overcasting all other sleeping passengers on flight 71. When we were served plastic cups of water, I made a toast 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 is a beautiful thing. 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 any other Yucatecan Plaza 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 the sacredness and the calm of which I was simply a part of being in this foreign land. Breakfast was the finest and simplest of foods: fresh fruit and fresh bread with local coffee, black.

We walked around town for a few minutes in the morning sunshine upon which everything seemed to dazzle and everyone seemed to be so content, so simple. Though work for the artisans daily 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 on which ones might be best. Tunneling down the roads outlined with jungle trees was such a restoration to the soul… bringing greenery and refinement to all its hidden aspects, as jungles of Mexico always have a tendency to do. Descending down the steps into the cave, it was a cool and mystic atmosphere. We were the only two swimmers in the large cenote, granting us 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– 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 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, inhaling deeply 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 allow 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 on 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 the 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 the ocean. 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 piece of my life purpose that I somehow felt motivated to restore… no matter the cost. I am an octopus with multiple paths in front of me out of not simply seeing the way out of my own dark hole I’ve been digging. Valladolid and Tulum were quick sources to the light of connection and simplicity of living. Who else knows one to be afraid of living large? Is it the fear of uncertainty we are dealt with, or the fear of being free and bold?

 

 

 

Advertisements

Day 11: Truth or Consequences, Hillsboro, Kingston, Silver City

September Retreat

September 26, 2016

I did make it a point to stop in all of these places. Secretly, or maybe not so secretly, I had been scheming to relocate to Truth or Consequences or Silver City because of a vivid dream I had about the area. I thought that perhaps I’d succeed in escaping the wind, dreariness, and cold weather of Cheyenne, Wyoming for the winter.

The drive from Albuquerque to Truth or Consequences (T or C) was, in fact, very vivid although much drier and drearier than I’d anticipated. I couldn’t say I wasn’t warned about the intense energies of T or C or the beautiful view over Emory Pass just beyond. Stopping in Truth or Consequences, I immediately caught onto its ghostliness. I knew from the history that many ghosts do reside here– but the people I spoke with were all genuinely happy and friendly, so I assume they are not hard to get along with. The sky was densely overcast and wind was abundant- not so divergent from any small, ghosty Wyoming town.

My first impression of this town differed drastically from that of a store owner’s first impression. Her reason for staying in this small town for over thirty-five years began with the sight of a happy dog laying carelessly on the side of the road as she first entered town, wagging its tail to greet her. Soon afterwards, she drove past a cowboy and an Indian slapping each other on the back, both with guns in their pockets, laughing gaily. This conversation also comprised of this woman’s entire life story, and I believe this was the highlight of my brief encounter with T or C. I’d been wanting to soak in one of the many hot springs there, but the suppressive weather and energy of this particular day was too strange for me to stay.

However, the blue hue of the rugged mountains was just as vivid as I’d imagined. The alternative interpretation for this dream, as I suspected, was simply that if I had not dared to venture this far, there would be consequences. What I could not have foreseen was the significance of “truth” in the name. It would only be later in my journey when I would come to an epiphany about this…

The woman I spoke with advised me, with an instinctive gleam in her eyes, to head over the mountain instead of taking the freeway so that I could stop in Hillsboro and Kingston. “Just buy a bottle of water or something so you can step out and get a sense of the culture in these towns. They’re very eccentric and worth knowing.” This reminded me of a similar, long conversation I had with a market owner in Palisade– the same instinctive gleam in her eyes. She’d even written down for me the same landmarks in these towns I was now being directed to again .

As I came over the mountain and into Hillsboro, I pulled over by the sole Post Office although I had a feeling none of these four businesses were open on Tuesdays. As soon as I opened my car door, I shrieked in astonishment at the recognition of a CHEYENNE CAR passing by me! I’m positive I would have personally known whomever may have been inside the car, as I saw them throw their hands up in similar astonishment. This town was literally in the middle of nowhere settled into a desert mountain’s foothills, total population 124, and not another car in sight. What are the odds?

The clouds had not made any reassuring moves by the time I made it to Kingston, NM- just below Emory Pass- giving the atmosphere an unsettling and wearisome vibe. The roads were windy, and though apparently there were only about 60 miles to go, it seemed at this rate like it might be never-ending. I pulled into the infamous Blackrange Lodge, a landmark both new acquaintances had suggested. I stepped inside to an eery air and creaky floors, dusty furniture and dim-light edges. A telephone rang loudly, cracking the silence and stillness.

“Oh, hi, Mom- how are you?” It was a woman’s voice, and somewhat a relief to know perhaps ghosts and dust mites were not the only inhabitants of this lodge.

I’d wanted to stay and talk, maybe acquiring some concealed answer to the mystery of why I had been directed here. I didn’t feel like interrupting the conversation, so I quietly stepped out into the cool early-afternoon air.

I opened my arms to the expansiveness of the Gila National Forest when I mounted the viewing point of Emory Pass, exiting my car for a moment to do so. The remaining drive was downward and windy, passing the Gila Cliff Dwellings and the City of Rocks. Mysteriously, hauntingly beautiful.

This was not what I’d been expecting. What I’d been expecting, perhaps, was more of a tourists’ appeal. More color, more amenities, more people. What I received instead was a sense of realness of this southern New Mexico land: a brutal honesty was nestled in the ancient pines and cliff dwellings. I’d heard word of various wild hot springs littering the entire forest, which was enticing to me and I would have attended them alone had it not been for pressed time and poor sense of direction into the unknown wilderness.

My sense of direction was actually improving with uncanny accuracy throughout the course of the venture so far, but I’d been too far away from my homeland to notice any such changes.

Eternity rolled around before I finally set tires on the city limit I’d been so intent upon visiting for the entire year. I still had hills to climb yet after reaching the limit, and couldn’t see the city. When it became visible, it was not anything I’d imagined. The clouds were even darker, the air was even more intense and unwelcoming. I came to realize this was in part because of the minerals of St. Rita’s Mining Site blowing around in the wind. In all honesty but with no disrespect to the city, it was not beautiful like I’d heard from many references. Already I did not meld with the flow of this city; it had more of a frazzling effect on my spirit and body.

Or so I thought. I felt exhausted when I arrived at my host’s house. I drove back and forth past it at least four times before finally recognizing the entrance down a gravel path. I walked up the steps, trembling with angst from the drive. The door flung open as I mounted the porch, and a woman with long silver hair greeted me with a  warm smile and a bow, “Welcome, Camille. Namaste. My other guests are also writers and musicians who are looking forward to meeting you.”

I walked in to meet Rob, a writer, who was on the same path as mine (originally, anyway): on a mission to complete his novel which takes place in New Mexico. We talked for awhile about the parallelism of this, and the process of writing. He was working and traveling with his wife, Laura, who was a professional jazz singer I would meet later. One of my unspoken, lost dreams is to be a jazz singer.

Lora, our host, talked to me about my journey and also brought up the Black Range Lodge. “Did you meet Catherine?” She mentioned Catherine is always looking for help and that Lora herself worked at this lodge for a few months. This lonely lodge could have been a job opportunity for me had I not been so unimpressed by the area’s solitude and overcast skies. I did contact Catherine about work options and live music, and she agreed that sometimes crowds of guests would like to hear live music if I was interested in performing that weekend. I wasn’t able to, but I was beginning to see the formation of a future music tour through New Mexico.

I rested in my room until nearly 6pm, then headed up to Pinos Altos for open mic night at the Buckhorn. This is something I’d researched the day before in Albuquerque and was excited to see I would be able to attend on a Monday night. While everyone else in the world was absorbed in the first 2016 Presidential Debate, I was in the highlands of a desert mountain town at a historic bar with eccentric paintings covering every square inch of its walls. It was raining, nearly freezing.

Classic country music was reverberating from the man in the corner as I walked inside- Johnny Cash and other old classics. I sat at the bar and ordered a bowl of green chili. Green chili is something to savor at any location in New Mexico, especially when one is shivering from the cold of late September. The two characters a couple seats down on either side of me at the bar were questionable conversationalists, making me feel a little on edge of my barstool. I was grateful when, after half an hour, the host and previous performer of open mic sat down next to me. He reminded me of two people I know from my mother’s hometown, making me feel more at home.

We watched the next performer, Gene Booth, apparently coined as “New Mexico’s Country Music Legend”, take his place on stage. His music was reminiscent of what I imagine the old Spanish polka-folk songs my New Mexico family used to dance to must have sounded like. Maybe that was just my imagination at first impression… he did also sound very similar to Johnny Cash and George Jones. It was a rare treat and comedy to watch him perform.

When I began singing my set, I watched all the customers of this restaurant and bar set down their forks and glasses to listen. I was in awe of their intent observation of my fingerpicking style and my voice. I watched positive gossip circle each table, some describing the range of my voice in hand motions. Some made eye contact with me and smiled, nodding their heads. It was a special moment, as they had not done this for the previous musicians (likely because these two were regulars). I felt accomplished after this short set, though the crowd was diminished more than usual this particular night.

I talked with the remaining performers and friends of performers. One described Silver City as “the melting pot of misfits”. The people I met here were all truly unique, from all walks of life. Not many people, I learned, were originally from the town. They’d come in from a variety of different locations for different reasons. They are the ones who make this location an authentic, artistic, and open-minded place to live.

It was interesting, but not what I’d expected out of a place that had been calling for a few months. Maybe I wasn’t giving myself enough time, but it was initially clear to me that my life path did not require the immediate relocation to southern New Mexico.