Day 1 It is so beautiful here I just want to drink it into my soul and taste it and then taste it some more. I feel so incredibly different than I did yesterday as I try not to think about what is awaiting me in Asheville when I return as I gaze at the sunset, the volcano and magical Lake Atitlan.
Where to start? The delicious vegetarian food? The hospitable Mayan people that work in the cosina and clean our rooms? The toilets that aren’t composting but ecofriendly, ones that need for us to dispose ALL of our paper in the wastebasket. The black cat that I am allergic to that follows me everywhere this morning. The dragonfly that posed for pictures as I snapped away.
Diego Rameriz who accosted me on the dock and got me to buy a Mayan relic that seemed overpriced but one that he promised was an antique found at the bottom of the lake. Diego who made a point to say a special goodbye to me as I did yoga on the dock hours later him needing to repeat his thank you over and over again until I properly heard. Thank you Kristina!
The young people who are a part of Aimee’s new writing group that I have had the pleasure to chat with. Ash the glowy girl from India (whose reading an Ekhart Tolle book) who didn’t want to believe in the light because if you do then you need to believe in the scary stories of the dark that were told to her growing up by her Indian friends. A former skeptic who today is less so after being healed working with a Shaman in Los Angeles when the gold light above her went into her body and she felt the most amazing presence enter her. She now no longer struggles with anxiety.
Hilary who wants to write short stories about her life long best friend who died 10 years ago during childbirth when her placenta ruptured. The friend that she dreamed just a few weeks before her death with a sheet over her on the birthing table looking over (Hilary’s) shoulder saying to her ‘well at least I was able to have the most amazing daughter, Sienna’ and how she now is a special aunt and surrogate guardian to this child.
The feisty young writer who waited tables when she was first starting out, “I didn’t like people for awhile after that.” She tells us at lunch. She shares the story of the weirdest food allergy. “Ice.” “Can you believe it?” “I told her, ‘how can you be allergic to ice? It’s water and you are made of water?’ “Um, really?”
The vegan chef from Holland who is at a cross roads in her life wondering what to do next, who asked for me to pull a few cards to guide her in direction as we watched the early sunrise. She is tempted to go to Australia after this as it will help her take her vegan cooking to the next level. The lovely massage that I had after breakfast that started and ended with a singing bowl. How I remember now how Mexican massages include the woman's chest and breast unlike in the States. Or should I start more dramatically so with the scorpion who showed up with us at the resort’s orientation, the one that I was able to get a picture of before Aimee put a cup over him and ushered him from the room.
Ash tells me that she got into Antiqua from LA to Mexico City from a delayed flight. That she had the best massage in Mexico City but didn't get in until 3am and had to get up early for a hike that she signed up for in Antiqua. How the downhill slope was so scary to her that she was holding up the group until the guide grabbed her hand and started to pull her into a run down the hill. It was terrifying and exhilarating she tells me as her cheeks are flushed remembering.
Audrey is from Florida now but has lived in DC working for homeland security. Her husband is in some type of special forces in Afghanistan. We ask if he is safe there and she shrugs and says yes, then thinks about it and add, well the house that he was living in was bombed the day after he left it. We all gasp and are silent.
The steps are winding here and I have to navigate them carefully but nothing like the Yoga Forest. I remember Maeve’s words from orientation, every step in Guatemala is a conscious step.
Maybe I will end Day 1 as it did, sitting by the fire eating dinner with Aimee catching up on our lives since my writing circle with her six months ago. We share our personal stories sitting off from the group and I am glad to be on the periphery with a few other lone guests. The comfort of the familiar but no expectation to participate. I tell her of the day before arriving and what happened and she looks at me and says as if an epiphany, “you have been scapegoated.” Yup, I tell her as I feel comforted by her words. We finish the night with a chocolate mousse with chocolate chunks before heading off for the night.