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Published: November 7th 2015
Turkish coffee ground reading
It's been a very full few weeks, and an incredible few months. I recently finished working at Earth Lodge. I was volunteering here for 3 months and then went to the lake, Lago Atitlan, for a couple weeks to relax and explore a bit before making my way back up to Mexico. I don't remember the last time I posted on here, but its been a while. It's hard now to try to find my experience in Guatemala into a blog post. Overall I'm just feeling deeply grateful and very excited. My time here at the lodge has been so good. Connecting with wonderful people, some I only get to hang out with for a day or 2 during their stay here and some that I live with for anywhere from 4-12 weeks. Everyone that works at the lodge both full time staff and volunteer staff are great people; kind, down to earth, and open. Friendships that will endure at least this lifetime have been seeded for sure and I've had the joy to see more parts of people and more parts of myself in all of these amazing spirits whose paths have intertwined with mine. My time
Oh, hey there speedboat. Hop on. And there's Negra.
here overall has provided such a space for healing and growth. I've learned a fair amount about some of the things that were intentions or interests for this trip; yoga, natural medicine, nutrition, Spanish, music, and probably more that I can't think of right now. Several good friends here have been a great source of inspiration and learning. Singing together, meditating together, cooking together, practicing tarot, and getting better at being content without a lot of external stimulation/distraction that is so common in today's world and society.
Expanding my knowledge and personal practice of yoga for wellness and feeling good and strong in my body, was an intention for this drip but as things have developed I am now making my way over the next couple of weeks back to Mazunte to take a yoga teacher training course. I was teaching classes during the later half of my time at Earth Lodge and love doing it, but the priority and main motivation is personal knowledge and understanding of the body. I decided to give myself a month in between leaving Earth Lodge and starting the course so I could relax and explore. First stop was lago atitlan. I was
planning on possibly doing more but it is so absolutely magical there and I found a niche right away and didn't want to leave. Its known to be a magical place with a special energy vortex and I had a feeling that whenever I finally got there that it would be a big part of the adventure, but it was even more so than I expected. It felt like I was there for much more than 2 weeks. So much happened and the place feels like home and the people feel like family. I spent the first few nights staying on a farm where my close friend Ashley (who'd also worked at Earth Lodge) has been living and working and Luke (Earth Lodge too) in one of the smallest pueblos or little villages on the lake called Tzununa. Its so tiny and beautiful. Despite being just one main road that leads up the hill into the mountains with one hotel, a few tiny little tiendas, a church, and a yoga ashram, this place has 3 fried chicken stands each one in a corner in the tiny center of town. All owned by the same guy too, pretty strategic if you
Idigenous Mayan ceremony by local shaman in a town across our part of the lake
ask me. Triangulating your hunger one pechuga at a time haha. There are tons of little food stands just for fried chicken and papas fritas (french fries) in the area and its almost hard to believe there that demand meets supply, but evidently the system works.
I took a shuttle from Antigua to Panajachel, the biggest/main city around the lake, which took about 3 hours. The shuttles drop you off next to the water where you catch a lancha (medium-sized passenger boat) to one of the numerous towns around the lake. Its about a 20-25 minute ride to Tzununa with a lot of little stops around the way. Some to villages around the lake, some to just seemingly random or personal docks for properties around the lake. The first few nights with Ash and Luke in Tzununa were so lovely and mellow. Several large personal events had just taken place in addition to just generally needing to decompress and the little cabin in the middle of a small perma-culture farm that felt more like our own personal jungle, was a great environment to process and surrender. I quickly conditioned to climbing uphill, and now actually kind of miss it.
The view from Ashley's farm in Tzununa
From the boat dock up to the farm meant walking about 10-15 minutes completely uphill (some parts decently steep) until reaching Hotel Bambu. Then climbing another 10 minutes or so on a very rough mountain path, and when I say path I mean something rocky, washed out, and trash-filled to the point that you never come across something to that standard hiking in a park or somewhere in the states. Which made it all the more fun. I absolutely loved having no electricity. The space is very small but also completely equipped for all things necessary and comfortable and feels very spacious. I loved it.
After a few nights on the farm, I walked about 25 minutes down the road to San Marcos. The next larger village over. I stayed there at Del Lago; a really cool hostal on the water owned by a nice family and staffed with volunteers from all over the world. There I met many wonderful people. There is such a concentration of literally incredible people there. In part it was hard to leave, but fortunately most of them will be there when I come back in a couple months for New years. San Marcos
Goodbye Earthlodge! I love you! Until next time
actually reminded me a lot of home from both the people and the vibes. The lake has an awesome energy. Id heard about the magical energy vortex there that tends to suck people in for longer than they may have originally intended to stay so I felt like going there would be a big thing but my time there had much more gravity in the most beautiful way than I imagined. My stay there began with a fun and creative evening up the hill a bit for Sunday Family Dinner. There is an album that will hopefully be online at some point 😊 I wonder if there is a word for the sensation of such immediate elated connection and love for people both on the group level and as individuals. Right away the people I connected with felt like long time friends, and by the time I left, like family. Its a small town so after a few days I would start recognizing people when walking out and about. I bought a ceremonial drum and a didgeridoo from a local Indigenous Mayan man named Pablo when I was there. Ive been somewhat on the lookout for a drum on this
trip since I love drumming and miss the one back home very much. The didgeridoo was a spontaneous decision though and I am so glad I bought it. His name is pancakes and he´s beautiful.
I had a couple freestyle lessons from a talented friend there and am trying to keep on practicing so hopefully by the time I come home, I can entertain you all with a form of art that only recently I learned to appreciate as one of the most authentic and free-spirited musical expression there is. Spitting bars isn´t as fun by myself but with enough practice I should be able to hold it town when I meet my friend again after New Years. Finding another creative outlet has been really helpful for a couple things. Releasing of energy, of which there has been an excessive amount of several kinds. Also processing on an emotional level some of the recent lessons in my life that have been challenging or deeply painful in the ways of physical safety/security and trust, both externally and internally.
One of the distinctly life-changing experiences at San Marcos was attending the cacao ceremonies held
by an amazing local (local as in they´ve lived there for years) couple from the states who have been working with healing and plants for decades. There was a calling to work with the cacao plant in Guatemala. That call was answered and I am so deeply grateful because I know now how powerful this plant is. It was used by Ancient cultures in this part of the continent for shamanistic and spiritual purposes. Unlike other substances used for these purposes (i.e. psychedelics), it does not get you high or take you on a ¨trip¨. It helps show you the door, but you have to do the work yourself. It is a powerful focus/concentration booster. One of the strongest natural creativity enhancers on the planet. It is a connection and partnership facilitator and also elevates the heart rate so high doses are not good to take for vigorous exercise. Keith and Barbara call it the food for the shift, shift of human consciousness that is. And if you want to do the work and heal yourself, this stuff is a good tool to help. We drink the stuff, sit on their porch and meditate for anywhere from 4-6 hours. Then
as stuff comes up from the inside, you talk about it (if you want) and process it and make connections. Describing the process really does not do justice. I made some really powerful connections. Connections about trusting myself, trusting source, compassion towards others, synchronicity, the jobs/purposes we have as spirits in these beautiful human bodies, and truth. I went to as many as I could in the time I was there and absolutely cannot wait to go back. If you are curious about this, here is a link to their website. Real magic happens on that porch every ceremony, they host a few a week. At least one person cries every time, and I share this only as evidence to the real release and work that is done by those who wish to look inwardly and honestly attend to the wounds and healing that needs to happen to ultimate fulfill the potential of their higher purpose. I feel so deeply grateful to Keith and Barbara, all of the people that choose to be there, and that porch for providing an environment for true self-love and awareness. If you look at the international sales page on their website, know that the prices of the cacao itself are pretty low. Its the cost of international shipping that makes it cost more. If you want some, you can order it online or do what I did and go to Guatemala 😊 I highly recommend it.
I went to a turkish coffee ground reading which was pretty cool. Done by a woman I´d actually met several months early when crossing the border from Mexico on the 12 + hr shuttle ride. She is a psychic (from Seattle believe it or now) and after spending time with her and talking for several hours both my intuition and mind felt right in trusting her abilities (it honestly didn´t even take a few hours). Everything she had to say in the readings was pretty good. She said that I have had 4 lives at the lake prior to this one. She mentioned that animals are playing a large role in my life/journey right now. That definitely resonated. I can name all of the animal friends Ive made in this trip and some of them I miss as much as people. Especially Negra who is a lovely mop-bucket that grew 4 legs in Tzununa and lives between the farm with Ash and Del Lago and maybe other places. Then there is Fraya who is just one of the cutest kittens Ive ever seen who also lives on the farm. Hanging out on the porch with those animals on top of the mountain overlooking the incredible view is an unforgettable time in the reservoir of deeply happy memories.
A young man from California held a couple dance meditations that I was so grateful to participate in. One of them was on the full moon and was absolutely so much fun. It was at the end of a magical day too during a friend´s birthday saturated in good times, great company, swimming, speed-boating, hilarious brunching, and just overall full moon goodness. One of the intentions for this trip was to just overall feel less afraid and inhibited to express myself, whether that means being less shy about singing or dancing however I feel like because its fun and feels good. In the meditation we would do exercises to help you connect to specific parts of your body and your energy and how it most truly feels like moving and then harmonizing it all. It was so much fun and felt so good.
As much as I wanted to stay, it was time to make my way back to Earth Lodge, where I still had to get my large backpack and some goodbye hugs, and then back north through Mexico. I got to Earth Lodge about 9pm on Monday night and had a relaxed day with the family there before spending the next 2 days completely on shuttles or buses to get to San Cristobal de las casas, then Oaxaca city. 4 or 5 days in Oaxaca city then heading to the coast where I´ll be for the next 2 months.
I feel inspired to write something beautiful to express how much joy and gratitude towards my time in Guatemala. As of now, I am lacking creativity or motivation so perhaps I will think on it, or make a cup of cacao (had to buy some before leaving 😊 and put pen to paper to find the most eloquent and poetic way to portray how life-changing and beautiful the experiences, both individually and as a whole, were these past few months. I´ll add it, along with some photos probably at some point.
Shout out to the crew at Earth Lodge, all the old ladies who balance full-size coleman coolers on their heads, mangy street dogs, and Sunday Family Dinner.
So much love, so much gratitude.
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