Door of Death
May 2nd, 2013

Door of Death

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Final Mexican musings

Tena koutou katoa,

I think this will be my last email from Mexico. I am booked to fly out on the 27th.
Its been near 7 months (!) of living in a tent under the stars near the sounds of the crashing ocean, living/working/training at the yoga/meditation centre, and generally learning a lot.
It rained here the other day for the first time since I arrived (there were a few days of rain the first week or two), I had almost forgotten what rain was. The smell of the wet earth was intoxicating, beautiful. I suddenly missed the rain and changing weather and seasons, eternal sunshine suddenly seemed so stagnant.
(Boom! Hows that for alliteration? Totes just wrote that on the fly.)
I took two weeks or so off in December for a trip to Guatemala to see Emma for her birthday and Christmas (and New Years). It was such a good trip, filled with great food, meditations and company. It was so good to catch up with Em again, see the changes and growth in her since we parted ways in France.
I have been doing more and more meditation of late, I stopped with the yoga training altogether in Feb and just focused on this. It has been profound to say the least.
In an attempt to put on some weight I started eating gobs of food (primarily guacamole). After a few weeks of this, and not much to show for it, I unexpectedly grew a wee pot belly in a manner of days. I was quite pleased with this, though something didn’t quite sit right… eventually I realised I did not have a pot gut so much as I play host to some kind of robust yeast culture (or possibly parasites. I’ll go get tested in the next few days to know for sure).
Anyway, in a very short time I will be packing up and trekking back to Canada, there is an organic farm and farmers market stall with my name one it.
I have the very, very good intention of keeping good correspondence when there (but we shall see).
I send you all the warmest regards and hope they carry with you throughout your day, like a flourishing, intestinal yeast culture, filling you with a fuzzy, satisfied feeling.
Arohanui
R:D

More Mexican Musings

Tonight we had a closing ceremony here at the yoga school for the group finishing the first month intensive course, I have had the pleasure of being part of three of these ceremonies now (one was for my group).
While watching the group tonight it really struck home how different/unique each group has been. I talked to some of the instructors after about how magic it must be experiencing each group go through; its not at all the repetitive process like I first imagined it would be for them, and the instructors constantly learn and experience from the unique student groups coming through.
The other great realisation of the evening was as follows;
Almost everyone I’ve met here are either starting, continuing, or ending a positive transformation process in their lives.
This place is like a great magic cross roads; people are coming from all directions, they all leave on different paths, but in this short space and time we all converge and meet in this one place.
What I realised is that a common theme, experienced by most everyone I’ve shared with here, is that during this ‘transformation process’ people feel they are very alone, misunderstood, or lost, as they go. When they arrive at this crossroad there is a great sense of relief, a sudden realisation and feeling that you are not, in fact, alone in experiencing this.
No one else walks YOUR road, but there are others out there walking who appreciate and understand what it is to be on the road.
Just realising this is like a huge weight off your load.
It is hugely encouraging.
People’s enthusiasm bounces off each other, everyone is so encouraging and EXCITED.
Its a powerful thing.
One man here tonight [he was just out for two weeks to visit his brother (one of the teachers) to see exactly what it was he did out here in Mexico, then report back to the family] has worked in an office job his entire career and never done yoga or anything of the like. He stood up and spoke at the end of the ceremony and said, in tears, how moved he was by his experience and that if the rest of society could be like the community here the world would be a very different, beautiful, place.
I was just sitting there listening to him and seeing how his life would never be the same again. Thinking how bloody awesome that was.
The notion of being part of something, like this place, helping aid positive transformation in people is really growing on me, calling me.
Mmm.
Arohanui,
R:D

Mexican Musings

Hola!

Update time, been meaning to write for a while now but many a
distracting life thing has been happening…
Right now I got carried away and drank a pot of raw cocoa (from a
chocolate shaman apparently) from Guatemala that a friend supplied.
Its meant to be good for meditation/dreams and so I took it,
forgetting it also has caffeine, so now I am sitting up late, tweaking
a little, writing the email thats been flitting around in the back
recesses of my mind for the last few weeks. Interested to see how this
goes…

Firstly, I am no longer in Canada. This is worth mentioning.
I left around Oct 3rd to come to Mexico (where even the store
mannequins have bigger bums), it was quite an unexpected and
relatively rapid decision to do so.
My love affair with Canada came to an abrupt but happy end.

I had a wee adventure in transit; almost being denied entry into the
country, having my pack not show up at the airport and spending an
unexpected day in in Mexico City while waiting to see if it showed up
(was great!), unexpectedly being part of a big protest (was in London
during the riots last year, in Montreal for protests earlier this
year, and then walking into this in Mexico city… I seem to be on a
role here), spending almost 24 hours on bus and transit before
arriving in little old Mazunte late in the evening in a confused and
shattered state.
Now I am residing at the Agama yoga (and Hridaya meditation) centre
until the end of year. For those of you who know Emma, this is the
place where she has spent time and done a lot of wonderful training.
I am finding it a very incredible place and if you are at all
interested in Yoga/meditation let me know and I will tell you more
about it! (I implore you)

The school has been a delight so far. Day one I walked into the yoga
class and a sea of beautiful, beautiful women. The single biggest
challenge so far has been to not get too distracted or overwhelmed by
this sheer abundance of decadent female form. Why more guys don’t take
yoga I do not know.
I have taken on the role of general handyman here and have become
intimate friends with the staple gun (you can fix almost anything with
a staple gun if you are tenacious enough). The tiny tool shed has
become my wee domain. It has bats, I have outdone myself in wit by
nicknaming it the ‘bat-cave’.

I thought I would send some photos but I need to get more organised
and upload them first; I will try and write a follow up update soon.

In the last few months I have learned two interesting things about
myself/life lessons:
1) I have discovered a wee world view of mine going back to
highschool. At some point I started this mentality of trying to
achieve things using the minimal amount of effort required. This grew
into a constant delicate dance, working this fine line, falling short
of success as often as achieving it. I want to write more on this but
I am starting to get quite tired. Basically, I have come to a very
clear understanding that there are no shortcuts when it comes to
anything that’s worth while doing.

2) For a long while now I having been exploring what it is to offer
yourself in pure service, without the ego, without expectations of
receiving in return. For a long time this meant being available/ready
to serve/help others when called at any moment. I was getting to a
point where it was becoming so easy, beautiful in its simplicity. Then
things started getting troublesome and not so straight forward,
suddenly just being available to be directed wasn’t always enough.
Finally, I learned an unexpected lesson; sometimes the best service
you can do for someone is to take charge of a situation and relieve
another of their responsibility. Not just be there to be directed, but
do the directing yourself.

I wonder if that makes sense at all? I’m looking back at what I’ve
just written and its starting to sound very funny.

Thinking of friends and family back home a lot these days. Missing the homeland.
My grandmother died two weeks ago, it was hard being so far from home,
there were a lot of emails flying around from family and stories being
shared which was very good though.

Life is humming, I tell you. That is for sure.

Time for bed I think.
Yes.

Besos,
R:D


Hello friends,

Last night there was a nasty car accident a couple hundred metres down
the country road where I am staying, a car took out a power pole, the
cables, and the power for the whole road. It seems no one was
seriously hurt.
While we sat around the centre here in the dark, eating all the ice
cream so it wouldn’t melt, I was re-reminded how easy it is to take
for granted the instant communication of internet/telephones. I was
sitting on the deck all too aware just how far away I was from anyone
I know, the world suddenly seemed a much larger place.

This evening I got the itch to email.

I had a lovely morning today. I went to help a friend collect some hay
bales, we drove along winding country side roads, past soy and corn
crops, until we reached a stereotypical big, red, wooden barn where I
climbed into the loft and threw down bales while my friend loaded them
onto the truck. I chatted to the farmer there, patted the dog, then
drove away to stack the bales elsewhere. When I got back to my place I
had waffles with maple syrup and strawberries. So nice.

The other night I came across something very interesting. It was a
list of the top five values/components statistically compiled from
(Western society) men and women before AND after a key life shift
(e.g. a near death experience, religious experience, mid-life crisis,
etc). This was from a study made over years, so the results are from
people who experienced some kind of ‘shift’ over the course of the
experiment.

The top five pre-shift values for men, in order of importance, were:
1) Wealth – the accumulation of, feeling they needed to be able to
provide for a family/spouse, the need to get ahead
2) Adventure – exploring, conquering
3) Achievment – defining self by what you do, your position
4) Pleasure – having sex, nights out with the boys, etc
5) Respect – earning respect/recognition from others and, if not,
getting into fights, etc

‘Family’ didn’t make the top 5, it was apparently way down on the list.

The top 5 post-shift priorities were:
1) Spirituality
2) Personal peace – less stress/anxiety, etc
3) Family – after asking “what is it that is REALLY important to me?”
4) Sense of purpose/God’s will
5) Honesty – honesty about emotions, honest as a person, integrity

The top 5 pre-shift priorities for women were:
1) Family – feeling they had to be a good mother and help the family,
support, regardless of the sacrifice required.
2) Sense of independence (these first two priorities seem to cause a
lot of women a LOT of inner conflict and guilt)
3) Career – usually involving feelings of being denied a career by
being raised with pressures to ‘support the family’
4) Fitting in – feeling the need to ‘look’ right to others,
fashion/lifestyle/etc
5) The need to be attractive

‘Happiness’ was pretty much at the bottom of the list. Women tended to
face a lot of inner conflict/confusion, generally because society
taught them they must please OTHERS all the time and not leave room
for them self. Resentment was a hugely common undertone.

The top 5 post-shift priorities for women were:
1) My own personal growth – ‘how do I feel about myself?’
2) Sense of self esteem – am I a valuable human being?
3) Spirituality – sense of connectivness
4) Happiness – ‘I am entitled to be happy’
5) Forgiveness – of self as well as society/others who lead to
pre-shift insecurities.

Interesting hey?
When I heard all this, I recognised a lot of different people in these
‘priorities’.
Its something I will make more effort to look out for and bring up
with others I think.

I have been working on my general socialising/communication skills
with others. I noticed I tend to be either very open and talky with
people or very quiet and withdrawn, not a lot of middle ground there.
Mostly, I’m very happy to be quietly in my own little world or to
listen and learn from others. When I meet or am around people I don’t
know well, or don’t click really well with, I’m almost always quiet. I
let them do all the talking. I think my general attitude was “I don’t
need to feel validated by making someone else like/agree with me, if
they are interested to know they will ask”.
What I think I’m learning is that if I openly (without pushing)
present myself as me I either get a positive response or people
respect me for being straight up. Being quiet makes people unsure and
close off.
Why I’m only getting my head around this now I don’t know.

Its proving to be a very valuable lesson here in this ‘red-neck’ dense area.

It reminds me of a nice wee piece;
“Be Weird.
Be random.
Be who you are.
Because you never know who would love the person you hide.”

Ok, its late and I’m tired.
I’m certainly very ranty.
I’m off to bed.

Be excellent to each other.

R:D


Change the world

When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world. I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to change my nation. When I found I couldn’t change the nation, I began to focus on my town. I couldn’t change the town and as an older man, I tried to change my family. Now, as an old man, I realize the only thing I can change is myself, and suddenly I realize that if long ago I had changed myself, I could have made an impact on my family. My family and I could have made an impact on our town. Their impact could have changed the nation and I could indeed have changed the world.

- Unknown Monk (1100AD)