I'm blessed to say this is the third time I've been invited to grace these sweet shores and environs. Maya Tulum is the ubiquitous yoga retreat destination; off-the grid, but not without the basic comforts. Basic electricity, but no phones, no TV. Great palapas and cabanas, but no AC. Strong breezes and thatched roofs and a resident iguana and a flock of geckos in each room (natural bug control).
Warm waters, long beaches, deep forest, tropical offerings and for a really sweet change this year, plenty of water from the sky!! Yup, we've had a few downright downpours since we've been here; one on the drive down that near stopped traffic, and one last night and today thus far that lashed the cabanas and had us all moving closer to the center of the room.
Funny, back home, it's the kind of deal-breaker rain that would 'ruin your day'; here, where you are deeply immersed in the natural world and where her cycles trump all other devices, clocks and calendars, the rain has been downright majestic. And, for me, subtly cathartic - I'm always reminded of Wm. S Burroughs' quote - "One of these days a big rain is going to come and wash all the shit off the streets..." I'll speak for myself, though I've just been told by many others, this kind of vacation, or more aptly, retreat, is about leaving dull care behind and connecting to self, to purpose, to nature and with each other. In order to get there, I can use a good cleansing, and while we can get that in the asana practice or in our meditations, it's great to have the symbolic flush just happening around us.
I'm not a huge beach person, don't get me wrong, I love it here and am full of thanks and praise. But I love and live with a true water sign, a girl who's never been that far from water and ideally the ocean. One of those people who takes every advantage of that energy. She makes me love it even more, watching her enjoyment, her fulfillment, her play and passion. While I'm not naturally inclined to seek the water, I do love the places at the edges, at the thresholds, at the limns - where opposing yet complimentary energies meet.
Any surprise, since that is one of my basic definitions and perspectives on yoga - to find the space where opposing forces become compliments. So, at the edges of the earth, at the lips of the sea, where the two meet and merge ---- for me, this is where transformation is catalyzed and alchemized.
There is, of course, the open expansiveness, the limitlessness that the ocean presents. There's the ion exchange that happens with the crashing surf, there's the naad (deep almost unheard sound) of the constantly moving line between earth and water. All of this is ripe for change. And, there's more and more evidence to suggest that some of the great leaps in brain-size growth that happened down the hominid family tree occurred as the grasslands and sahels began to dry up and force the hunter-gatherers closer to the coasts and to that incredible bounty and food supply. The majority of shellfish and shore-available fish and fauna have been credited for bringing in the right nutrients to create our optimized brain size and function.
So, perhaps, when we return to the shore, perhaps it's even that primordial, deep residual that brings us to that place of limitless possibilities, of leaving the low mind and elevating, of dropping the mundane and becoming more expansive. The limitlessness of the sea before us opens our minds to possibilities we may have discounted in our normal environs.
And, come on, if feels good to play, to romp, to swim and float and to be 'out of time, out of place'. That's what I'm hearing has worked for those who have returned, and what beckoned to those who made the leap for the first time. There is a strong quality of release that nature provides and when we see the sky unbound, the horizon expanding and these places meeting in their elements, we feel more free to let go.
So, don't hate - congratulate! And, if you want this, make it happen. Let's be clear; stop drinking any one of those shitty, syrupy high-fructose anxiety and tension creating beverages daily, sock that $4 or $5 away, and by the end of this twelve-month cycle, you'll have the money for a retreat, a cruise or whatever! You make the choices, daily. You deserve it, but only if you think you're worth it - believe me, you are. And, a great vacation or retreat last for months - the recharge you provide yourself carries you, higher, longer and more pleasantly.
Where is your place? Where do you long to go back to? What is the feeling, the experience, the loss that works or the gain that you find?? How do you recharge - do you? What's keeping you from placing your self first?
As they say on the plane - because a yogi listens and makes everything a lesson - if we experience a loss of cabin-pressure (code talk for 'when the shit hits the fan'), place your oxygen mask on first and then take care of your fellow passengers! Get the message - YOU FIRST, OR YOU ARE WORTHLESS TO OTHERS - and, yogis, you're living to be with your family and friends, so it makes no sense if you're killing yourself, softly, with that song.
Give thanks and praise, make a plan, and make it for you - that's the best gift you can give your loved ones - you, lovable!