A Passion for Peace

Responsibility, respect and a loving connection with all beings and for this Earth we share.

Guatemala Dreamin'

I’m sitting this morning with the sun shining and warming my feet on the terracotta tiles of the front porch of our rented house in Panajachel, Guatemala with a view of a tropical garden, a blue sky with fluffy fast-moving clouds, and a small tree-covered mountainside. Paradise, right? So why have I been having a tough time here? One reason is a parade of sicknesses between Luke and myself, first a five-day intense stomach bug for him, then for me, and now for him again--this time with antibiotic--and we both hope the dance doesn’t pick back up with me again this week. I do feel rather achy today. Fingers crossed. (Photo: view of one of the volcanoes on Lake Aititlan from Panajachel, Guatemala)

The other is the emotional intensity and ongoing inner surprises I have been experiencing while continuing to allow my emotional backlog to come up and out so I can be truly present within myself and conscious of what I’m experiencing, that lovely and elusive in-the-moment living. A woman I knew called it ‘conscious awareness of self,’ but it’s more than that; it’s conscious awareness of oneself and one’s place on the planet, of meeting one’s own needs and helping others to as well. A man I know said your freedom ends when it impinges on another’s. If that’s true, it seems to me that no one and nothing can ever truly be free. Maybe that’s how it’s supposed to be in our interconnectedness and oneness on Earth. (Photo: butterfly in a nature reserve in Guatemala)

I’ve had a lot of wishes lately. Like right now despite my enjoyment of the sun part of me wishes it would rain so I’d find it easier to feel cranky despite the glory of this morning and this place. But then I remind myself that I feel better when I wish for things to be the way they are, and that when I push a wish to come true I often don’t even enjoy the outcome. I learned that in a huge way recently.
I get frustrated with myself sometimes that I’m not enough of this or I’m too much of that; I can be very forgiving of others and still set pretty impossible standards for myself. I’d say I’m working on it, but I would be chided for working too much, so I’ll say I’m steadily letting it go and leave it at that.
I’m realizing I’ve had a lot of preconceived notions about what it’s like finding one’s life partner, some from Disney and others from personal observation and other societal input, and what I’m learning lately is how much these impede me from being in the moment and place ridiculous constraints and “should’s” on top of otherwise amazing life experiences.
Right now my wonderful boyfriend and I are supporting each other, are physically together in our own little house and enjoying the luxury of studying Spanish in a beautiful little town on a lake a mile high with views of three volcanoes in a school laden with magical gardens of tropical birds and plants popping out of every nook. Daily we trawl through the local market for fresh food for supper, where a fresh and peeled coconut costs 60 cents and handfuls of juicy soil-covered tomatoes are abundant and even cheaper. Our Spanish teacher is a sweet lady, a Mayan doll probably less than five feet tall and skinnier than I even after the weight loss of a week of not eating. Want to diet? Try being Western and living in a developing country for a while. (Photo: forest hike in Guatemala: look how big those leaves are!)
Years ago I met a girl in India who excitedly told me how when she had a worm in her intestines she ate all that she wanted and yet lost 30 lbs. I don’t think Luke has a worm but two weeks of not holding down food does slim a body down, and more understandably than that girl, he is none too pleased.
As for what we’ve been doing, months of long distance and head- and heartache are steadily ebbing into a conglomeration of comfort and playfulness and peace. We travelled the Yucatan and communed with the iguanas at Chichen Itza, a famous series of Mayan temples; rode in a buggy pulled by a horse named Achilles around the rainy and dreamy-looking yellow city of Izmael, Mexico; saw a several-foot-long green snake slither across the road just before our tire hit its trail; swam with locals in sunken cave-like cenotes, sloshed down streets with water halfway up our shins a day after receiving an obligatory sunburn; shared a meal of the tastiest homemade chorizo in Luna Restaurant on Flores island in a lake in Guatemala; bumped across Belize in a series of so-called ‘chicken buses’ that are old US school buses reappropriated for public transport in central America; ate at a Tuscan-dressed hotel with beautiful botanical gardens complete with topiary and a lawn chess set at Lake Aititlan; meditated in a magical space-age chair in a restaurant in sleepy San Marcos; met some lovely Mayan weavers who keep their craft alive and spend three days making one five-foot-long and one-foot-wide intricate table runner; visited a sacred ceremonial and supremely smoky cave full of families and shamans in ceremony to fulfil their deepest wishes and desires; successfully navigated the bowels of Guatemala City one night despite receiving incredibly sketchy looks from people on the street; and found friends in others and mostly in each other along our way. (Photo: Mayan weavers wearing their handiwork)
We have one more week in Guatemala, and then the adventure continues in Ecuador.

Posted byValerie at 9:38 PM  


Phillip said... July 23, 2012 at 10:46 PM  
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