Letting in the peace in Nanciyaga
Inner peace. Cheesy phrase really, overused by many and the true meaning of the words elude most people, myself included. I don't know that I have ever set out in search of "inner peace", but on my recent trip to Veracruz for the ATMEX convention, it kind of found me.
The last few years of my life have been...well..."chaotic". My personal growth was stunted and I was trapped in a cycle of negativity and self-doubt that seemed endless. My life situation has been improving over the last year, IMMENSELY actually, but I still hadn't found that light inside of myself that allowed me to breathe with ease and truly enjoy the good things I have in my life.
On my departure for Veracruz, I looked forward to adventure and business contacts and a break from my routine. What I did not foresee was the spiritual voyage I was embarking on. Reading the agenda for the government sponsored fam trip with 50 travel professionals, I certainly didn't anticipate a life changing experience, but that's exactly what I encountered.
Writing this is actually harder than I thought, though I have been mulling it over for more than a month. How exactly to put into words all the happened to me in that week? I guess I will try to keep it simple, the "Three Easy Steps to Inner Peace in Veracruz". And here we go.
Temazcal in Nanciyaga (no photo of the one in Mexico Verde, oops!)
After a day of adventure at Mexico Verde, riding mountain bikes and zooming along ziplines, we were scheduled to participate in the ancient tradition of the "temazcal". Much like a Native Canadian sweat lodge, the ritual has been used for centuries by many cultures in Mexico as a form of cleansing and communicating with the gods. Ten of us entered the pitch black dome with the wise man/healer. At first there were giggles and titters, uncomfortable moments with the unknown. As the healer began to pile on the hot stones and pour water over them, the enclosure filled with steam and we began to sweat. Profusely. And we began to share. Our hopes. Jokes. Love. The healer asked us to make our hands into fists, as tight as we could and to tense our bodies. I could feel the pressure of the years, the negative energies built up inside of me. We were then told to scream, to release it all, let it all hang out and to release the tension. And again. And again. Until I felt limp. I felt like for the first time in a long time, I was beginning to relax, making a space inside of me for something new, something positive, something light. The temazcal was getting hotter and hotter, I was sweating as though someone had poured a bucket of water over me, yet I felt light and free and in touch with the universe. As we exited the space into the fresh night air, I looked up to the stars and smiled.
Step Two- The Shamana
The next evening we found ourselves in Catemaco, Veracruz, enjoying a welcome cocktail and snacks. We were informed that our hosts had brought in some local shamans to do private cleansings. A few of us made our way to the shore of the lake where we waited our turns to speak with the wise people. It turned out that the shamans did not speak English and most of the guests did not speak Spanish, so I stepped forward to translate. These were "basic cleansings" mostly, the usual (this was not my first rodeo as they say). Ask the gods to protect, clean out negative energies, invite positive energies, tada, five or ten minutes max. When my turn rolled around, I stepped before Rosalia, she began the basics and stopped. Stopped cold. And looked into my eyes for what seemed like forever. She then reached her hand out to touch my heart and said "You are blocked here". She moved her hand to my stomach and said "And you are carrying sadness here". And she informed me that she could not continue with the regular cleansing until we had dealt with some issues.
Rosalia and I
She then proceeded to tell me about my past and my present situations...in spooky detail. I began to cry. She KNEW things. Specific things. My relationships, experiences, and my character traits, good and bad. She knew I have a bad back and that it has troubled me for 20 years. She knew that I was recovering from a bad relationship of seven years. She knew I had a son. She knew I had a new love. She KNEW. She offered me guidance, hope, insight, tools for the future. She released me and opened me up and began to fill the spaces I had created in the temazcal with light. I walked away feeling dizzy, overwhelmed and realized I had been speaking with her for more than 45 minutes. I looked in the sky to see the moon over the lake, red as blood, I kid you not. (The photos came out blurry, but the blood red moon was definitely not a figment of my imagination). A powerful and magical experience.
Lousy photo of an awesome red moon
Step Three- Dancing with the Goddess in the Clearing
The next morning we set out across the lake as the sun was rising over the mountains, destined for the nature reserve of Nanciyaga. It is known as a place where the white witches gather, full of powerful positive forces. The scenery was spectacular, magical in its own right, watching the ball of fire burst over the peaks left me speechless. We enjoyed a light breakfast, had a tour of the forest, a natural mud mask and made our way to a clearing in the trees. And then there was light. We danced. We sang. We chanted to the goddess of nature, to earth, to the cardinal points. We were cleansed by shamans as a woman sang and played the harp. And I cried. And cried. I couldn't stop myself, it was mildly embarrassing really, but it didn't matter, these were happy tears. I was being filled. I had rid myself of the negativity and the stress and the fear and the pressure and I was finally allowing myself to embrace.....ME. The positive me, the loving me, the talented and intelligent and beautiful me. Filled with light and love and joy. ME. And inner peace. The cheesy "cursi" word, but there it was. And I didn't even know I was looking for it.
So this tale is long and it's not even complete, to share it with you fully we would need to share a couple of hammocks, a cooler full of beer and a night-long chat. The story continues of course, I must take what I learned and apply it to my daily life, remember these moments when I begin to fall and share it with those who could use a lift. It's a personal tale and I thank you for listening, er, reading, I hope that it may offer inspiration or at the very least a few moments of entertainment. Cheesy or not, it's a gift that I now accept and hope to pass on. Namaste my friends, namaste.