7 Years in Guatemala

7 years ago, I was waking up for the first time in Guatemala.

Today, I am waking up again in Guatemala, at Lake Atitlan, at a cabin near Cerro de Oro on the south shore… the other shore. I have reached the other shore! But today, we will return home, my daughter and I, to the north shore, the casita where her Colombian papi awaits us, along with the black cat and silly dog.

When I arrived in this country, there had been turbulence in the atmosphere not long before landing, but the pilot landed the plane perfectly and everyone onboard burst into applause. It was a positive omen as to how fortunate my life would be here…

When I arrived, I was a schoolteacher, single, living with a small Chihuahua, 29 years old. Now, I am a writer! And a yoga teacher (well, I was then too. It has been 14 years now of the yoga teaching). And I’m not a schoolteacher anymore. Nor in my twenties. I am 36, (not that it really matters. I have friends, colleagues and yoga students in their forties, fifties, sixties and seventies. I even had a ninety year old woman coming to the classes I used to teach at the retirement home in Palo Alto.)

Point being, a lot has changed in my life in these past 7 years, to the point where I almost feel like I am a completely different person. I am a mama. I am a partner. I am a creative. I am a writer. I am a teacher, but in a completely different way than I was before. Yet I am the same person in the same life, in the same body, although its cells are ever regenerating.

I am grateful to Guatemala, even to Guate, the dirty and dangerous capital city, where I lived for the first three years of my time here. To the Colegio Americano! I am grateful even to Panajachel, that colorful lakeside village full of lifeguards, bohemians, Mayan peddlers, and noise. The place I fell in love with Lake Atitlan was Santiago. I am grateful to my community, our sangha, of wise and beautiful yoginis in Santiago Atitlan. I am grateful for Pasajcap, for our cute casita and coffee trees, for great friends and neighbors, for the peaceful nature, the woodpecker next door.

Quotes for the day:

“Have no fear of perfection; you’ll never reach it.” ~ Salvador Dali

“Love, serve and remember. Remember what? Remember to love and serve, always. Remember: Love overcomes fear. Love rises above fear, and opens us up to a higher awareness. Love opens the gates of heaven.” ~ Marc Allen

“The end of all wisdom is love, love, love.” ~ Ramana Maharshi

“This is the greatest secret of all: Loving and serving yourself and others is the key to fulfillment, happiness and inner peace. You know the secret now. Put it in your own words, and remember it, act on it, and live it. Together, working in partnership, we can discover how to live the life of our dreams and along the way help create a world of peace and prosperity for all. This is worth repeating and remembering.” ~ Marc Allen

“Let the breath breathe itself in a softening belly. Soften the belly to receive the breath, to receive sensation, to experience life in the body.” ~ Stephen Levine

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