Time has an amazing way of getting past us too quickly, one of the most important practices is to remember to stop and appreciate what is happening in that moment, to appreciate the fleeting moment, the changing moment, the moment that is all but lost except for our memory and for the energy produced from it.
And sometimes, in a moment, you can see how much has been building up to that peak point. Years of relationships and training, practicing, learning, they suddenly seem to build to a peak, even though we know that peak is fictitious and that things in our world will continue to evolve and move on...to grow.
In the month and half since my last reflection so many "things" have happened so fast and so many of these "things" are the continuous result of so many other "things" it is hard to put into words.
It had been almost exactly one year since my last trip to Peru, one year after finally completing my 500hr certificate which was years in the making. It had also been one year since finally (after over 15 years of interest and research) I had the opportunity to connect with Peru's Medicine. At that point a year ago, my life was in a way turned upside down, the business I had worked so hard to start was unfairly torn from me through the shady dealings of a business partner, my future was a bigger question mark then the already large question mark that attempts to loom over us, and I had begun my last year in my 20s.
I returned to the high country of Peru and I only feel it's powerful energy stronger and stronger, especially now as I sit here at sea level on a small island in Florida. The humidity giving way to a small tropical storm, the energy of the storm creating an interestingly calm aura of energy around everything it touches, the gentle rhythm of the rain and the far off thunder calming and steady.
We've come full circle again, I thought to myself as we entered the beauty of the Sacred Valley. Lacey and I had organized a small group to join us in Peru and I am still in awe at the openness and support that we found from four of our dearest friends, two other couples who decided to join us on our adventure, to be guided in the mountains, guided in the heart, guided into the unknown. To leave the plush lifestyle of the States and travel to Peru, where they didn't speak the language, didn't eat the food, didn't know the customs, the culture, the history, the struggles, the triumphs. But this is where we shine, taking our friends and students from a place of discomfort to a place of bliss, is this not the ultimate goal as a guide and conduit? To shed the light on the discomfort of our darkness and step into the power, beauty and connectivity of this life, of this blissful special moment, this peak, this energy.
Our retreat flowed along it's own amazing path, we tried to organize a lot before we got to Peru, but not everything was possible to organize and set dates for. We spent our first day with Doris and Jose, openly connecting and planning. Our groups first day was plant baths, mud, massages and Coca Leaf readings. Our second day was a Cacao Ceremony and Sound Healing with our friends Jimbo and Mares, the rain began to slowly tickle our faces when we moved inside for tea, a fireplace and a jam session with all the present musicians. Our next day was an intense hike with Wachuma in Chincheros, a challenge, an opening, an awakening. It was hard to just breath at that altitude let alone travel a great distance with an elevation gain of 2000 feet or more. The peak of our trip was a waterfall, intense in it’s nature and breathtaking in it’s beauty and cooling energy. A day of rest was followed by a daytime Ayahuasca ceremony. During that time one of my best friends of many years injured himself and showed great courage as he needed to wait many hours before seeing a doctor. The group retreat was over before we knew it and our friends on their ways back to their normal day to day lives. But we stayed on.
My next 2 weeks in Peru was nothing short of Bliss. Hiking in the mountains daily, exploring the unknown, befriending the llamas, connecting with the local culture and joining in the music and magic that is happening all over.
We joined the 300hr group for a night of Kirtan with Lulu and Mischka a young kirtani couple. I was honored to be able to play djembe for their concert with two beautiful drums at Sacha Munai, to accompany the two beautiful souls before us.. It was really great to have a moment to connect face to face with the students that we had been communicating with for months and to see the wonderful work that the facilitators have been doing in Peru.
On our last full day in Peru, we connected with our dear brother Jayananda and took the medicine into the mountains with us. We got a very late start (most of the hikes take at least 2 hours to get to a point of interest) and we headed up into the Puma Wanka Valley in Urubamba. Lacey and I had hiked their recently but we decided to explore a new route. We followed the tree line till we found a beautiful shaded piece of terraced property, with giant boulders strewn about the land and the river diverted through the property line. We caught our hearts and then continued out of the shade to a very dry mountain. We suddenly spotted a Huaca way up the mountain. But how do we get to that path we wondered, so we wandered to a neighboring property but there was no obvious trail. I followed my instinct till I found what looked like an animal trail, it was overgrown with brush and it looked just big enough to crawl through army style on hands and knees. I looked at Lacey and Jaya and said I'll check it out. I crawled, feeling much like the serpent or the jaguar through this hole in the brush up the mountain till I emerged on a proper trail. I removed some brush and Jaya and Lacey followed. Up and up we traversed, we were even in altitude with the opposing side of the valley and could almost see the lake on the plateau near Chincheros. Up and up we went till we landed finally at the ancient granary, the ancient storage houses that were built into the side of the mountain, unknown and not visible from the road, few people have stood here. The view was breathtaking, expansive and dizzying as we loomed over the valley, watching the river flow down to the jungle. Watching the valley rise up to the glacier capped mountain of Apu Chicon. We had a few moments to explore before needing to head down to our taxi, that night we would lead a Sound Healing Circle near Cusco over an hour and a half away and our taxi was soon to arrive. Our taxi drive was intense. As we drove through the valley the sun began to set below the cloud cover and in between the mountain, causing a natural phenomenon known as the eyes of God. The light rays squeeze between the top of the mountains and the low lying clouds, the rays of light beam down from the sky in straight lines into the valley, it looks as though the rays of light are coming from God's eyes powerfully illuminating all that there is to see. Beautiful heart warming music came from the radio and we were all struck with a sense of awe, a purpose of "being", a feeling of love.
We arrived in Cusco and the group we were meeting was just returning from their own similar Wachuma guided journey in the mountains. We changed clothes and prepared our sound healing space in a beautiful temple. Jaya lead the opening conversation and prayer, I was fully immersed in the power of vibration of the moment. We started as planned with the chimes, bells and singing bowls, beginning to build the energy and the tension. As the participants settled into the space we continued to build the energy, the gong rang through it's sound shooting from one end of the room to the other, the doppler effect. Out of the sound arose silence as we walked through with the sheep claws and rattles. The sound circling the room as the participants lay, some shaking with light convulsions of energy moving through their system. Jaya pulled out the healing Didgeridoo while I held a sometimes steady and sometimes tension building drum beat. As the Didge subsided into silence I pulled out the North American flute and then the South American Double Flute, the sound foreign and beautiful. We returned to the ceremony drums and allowed our voices to unite in a wonderful rendition of "Aho Itchy Tai..We all fly like Eagles."
It seemed like only minutes went by, maybe it was just minutes, the energy subsided, we played the guitar and slowly released the energy of the circle to dinner. After dinner we gathered around the fire and shared songs of love and beauty. We closed out our final night in Peru and prepared for our long journey to the Northern Coast of Florida. We moved from a place of shadows and revelation, a place of giving and learning, to a place of nourishment as we visit our families in Florida and soon New Jersey. We will next circle back to California to be reunited with many of you at the celebration of our love and the gift that we received when we first met each other many years ago. Our next leg of the journey finds us in Mexico for our "Luna de Miel," until we have to tear, tear away from each other as Lacey heads back to our beloved Peru for a training and I head once again into uncharted territories to teach in Israel at their largest gathering of yogis.
I am reminded as I write this reflection of the cycle that we go through as teacher, student, guide, participant, light holder, darkness holder. Once you enter the path you enter the circle. The lines between your title blur and you must be ready to be any of these at anytime.
"May Peace Be the Journey"