Trips to another world – Northern California’s Rivers (Yuba/American) to the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico.
August, 2013. I have travelled far and wide, to find once again, where I am is all there is. This past recent trip has effected me profoundly. I travelled with my cousin – Steve and
Girlfriend – Morgan, to the Yucatan Peninsula, located at the edge of the Gulf of Mexico; a land of porous rock and jungles that seem to float above this fresh water mass; cenotes being the eye to the underside of the jungle. Deep blue pools of water that sit in silence, inviting anyone to swim or drink the peace that exists in the belly of the caverns. A culture as soft as the water is found throughout the jungle, seeming to be in poverty – but with the largest smiles and warm hugs and kisses that show an ancient wisdom that you might think exists while nestled in the womb of the mother. I knew I came here to experience this, and to share my story with you.
I come from a place of beauty, the Northern Sierra Mountains of California, where the rivers speak in silence the inaudible wisdom of the natural world. I seem to appreciate where I am from the more I see other places. I started my journey in early august,
by celebrating my 33rd birthday with friends at the American River in Northern California, Upper Lake Clementine. We biked down the mountain side from the house I grew up in, the first time I ever did this, as well a first for all the amazing friends and musicians from the bay area that made the trek. I yelled and whuped at the stars that I forgot existed so bright without the city lights surrounding me. A meteor shower took place the same night on August 11th – showering streaks half way across the horizon, leaving a tail that fades away. The blackness of the mountains and water we swam in seem to make the meteor shower a display of a mighty power or existence that seemed larger then life; my life, or anyones. The sum of us all are great, as well as the smallest imagery compared to the thunder that may abound in the moment. This imagery, while floating on my back in the still river water, I knew I would be doing the same in a cenote within the week. On August 19th, a day after playing the Ridgestock Festival, I embarked on the journey to another land; familiar faces greeted me with big smiles of love.
We arrived in Cancun to be picked up by Cedrick (Steve), my wise cousin who has been trying to get me to make it to Mexico with him for over a decade. We drove back to Valladolid with Aunt Judy who has a beautiful Hotel (http://www.casa-quetzal.com/en-us/). Cousin Steve took us the following day to Izamal, where we saw pyramids mid day in the heat. We later found that all of us got extreme heat exhaustion, making us puke and sleep for days that followed. I saw it as my awakening to the different environment, a welcoming to the Yucatan and the teaching of the extreme respect one must give to the nature in this area.
l tAfter we got our bearing again, we were able to bike to a local cenote called ‘Samula’. We went at the perfect non tourist time where we had this huge cavern to ourselves all morning long. Morgan did not have too many days left in Mexico before she had to get back for a wedding, so we made our way to Tulum to experience the most beautiful beach I have ever experienced. Aunt Caty Peterson hosted us in her soon-to-be hostel/hotel in Tulum. From Tulum
to Isla Mujeres, we were able to see the tourist sites and ocean breeze during the non-busy season, which I felt grateful to not be surrounded by too many people. Isla Mujeres had some beach areas that were so private we were able to go skinny dipping in the ocean waves.
I am sitting here back in San Francisco at a coffee shop overhearing some older men speak. I have to interrupt my story to share this conversation, as it leads to the teachings of the Mayan’s I met as well, the most important part of all of this typing. These two men here are talking about how the older the get, the less they want to take care of, or realize that less is more in their lives. I find this to be the teachings I have felt from the Mayan’s, but they never get to the point to have so much, they might go through this teaching at a younger age, or never feel the need to have a big house, many cars, and everything else that these two men probably have here in SF. People are so wealthy with money here, and happy beautiful people, but I must say the open hearts and connection to the Mayan culture and people speak louder to my soul. I walk with them and I feel their strength, I don’t feel like people are trying to poach energy off of each other, something that maybe capitalism teaches us subconsciously. One teaching I had was when I was staying with Aunt Cynthia and Abuelo Antonio on the farm, in the jungle of the Yucatan. I wanted to help so I went out with the machete to cut back the forest with Don Juan, the father worker who has a heart of gold. I started working and felt very peaceful. He showed me a few tips on how to cut and take the roots out of the plants around the mayan ruin. After awhile, he came back and shared with me a mix of words in Mayan and Spanish. I understood what he was saying with the help of his hand gestures. He spoke to me about keeping my intention and mind pure while I cut the grass and trees back, to create a spiritual moment of gratitude and happiness that connects me with my heart. I was feeling what he mentioned as he said it, and it reminded me of what I strive to create wherever I go. I want to create moments of I am here, no where else, working, sitting, playing, whatever I am doing, but with the feeling of a light heart, a clear head, and a smile on face, grateful for this life I live. I saw him and others work this way, probably making $10 a day working in the heat, rain, and bug-filled weather of the jungle. I wonder if their low wages dates back to the first conquests of the land by the spanish, realizing such a humble people existed in service and offered their work for so little, that it has just stayed this way throughout the centuries. Sometimes the stories of wages makes me sad, as people get taken advantage of by tourist companies like Xcaret. But sometimes it puts a smile on my face when I see Don Juan and Damiana who work the land for Abuelo Antonio, they seem to be existing as they have throughout past centuries, working the land with a smile on their face and a light heart, sharing moments they can with nature and their surroundings. Thank you Don Juan and Damiana for teaching me through your energy as you work. Everyone has troubles to work out, I realize, but I hope we may find a balance between these worlds so that we may find more of a balance with nature, and ourselves.
My trip ended with a ceremony on the land with an amazing group of beautiful people. There were about 15 of us that participated in a Santo Daime ceremony, using Ayahuasca, singing, dancing, and music, to guide us through the night. I do not want to share too much at this moment, as it just took place 36 hours ago and I am still processing it all. I suggest if you are interested, to research it yourself and see if it might be for you.