The last few days were spent in Tulum in a hostel with free bikes, called Lobo Inn. Was in heaven to have a beach cruiser to ride around and probably put in between 5-12 kilometers a day.
Tulum was an amazing temple and i experienced it the next day in the distance as I sat on the beach and prepared my fire kit. Both the beach and the city was full of hippies and festival goers. There are 4 different festivals happening in Mexico this coming weekend. Alex Grey is painting at the beach next to Tulum and all the festivals all over the Yucatán have a different variety of electronic music.
This beach day I was on my own and felt super lonely. I went to the beach and swam quite a bit even body surfed which was rare cuz there’s barely even waves. Spent the day assembling my fire kit for friction fire kindly donated by a wilderness group I worked with back home.
Feeling disconnected from the crowd
Noticed how disconnected I felt from everyone. Seemed like it was all couples or groups and no one seemed very keen to make eye contact or really even respond to a friendly greeting in Spanish (or English).
Sometimes feels like its always been that way. I then start to question what kind of vibe am I putting off? Do I come across like a closed off asshole, an intimidating prick, a shy unconfident poser or a combination of all three?
I was in my grief. My own little pity party. Went back to the hostel to shower and felt the same vibe there. What the fuck? At that point I just wanted to hop a plane back to Santa Barbara and accept defeat and failure.
My Tulum Soul Family
And in my despair the universe fed me a crumb. Or trail of crumbs. As we were getting ready near the bathroom I struck up polite conversation with a few others fresh out of the shower. I mentioned a cool reggae bar in town I was at the night before and we all rode into town.
From there we grabbed another friend and had amazing conversation over dinner about the nature of the reality we are living in and a positive way to change perspective. Posted a Facebook blurb about a few of the books we discussed.
Saw great live reggae music and then most of us ended up taking a trip to chichen itza the next day. In the bus we had great conversation about permaculture idiocracy super troopers and traveling the globe.
Chichen itza was powerful experience for me. I was impressed when I laid my eyes on the temple, but not floored with emotion the way I was with Tulum.
Our tour guide was stellar. His name was Jose and his last name was African. If ever you go to this site, get him. He made the experience for me.
He spoke about the Mayan elite, the ones that were allowed to ascend the temple, as the keepers of the astrological knowledge. From the top of the temple he could address the population of 100,000.
We were asked: if you want to remain in power of the masses, do you tell people about the impending solar eclipse, or do you stand atop the temple and create it?
We then proceeded to the ball court where he explained the game. Perhaps I’ll go into detail in the future, but here’s the point of the game:
Instead of settling a border dispute or another impending-war issue by invasion or armies doing battle, both sides enter into this ceremonial game at dawn in true procession.
Both armies emerge from the jungle at dawn and present themselves before the royalty and military court who is already assembled. The 7 best soldiers step forward dressed in garb complete with golden breast plates and animal headdresses.
The goal of the game is to get the ball through the hoop, which stands about 30 feet above the ground. Whichever side gets the ball through the hoop wins the dispute and the losing side makes a sacrifice: the generals head. Instead of thousands of soldiers losing their lives only one. And the whole game is told as symbology for the sun (the ball) as it journeys through the galaxy.
After the tour I went to do some qigong and burst into tears. Dropped to my knees and when I finally looked up there was some professional photographer taking shots of me.
I wasn’t embarrassed at the time. Actually appreciative someone got a snapshot cuz it wasn’t like I was going to setup a tripod and record myself. I didn’t even know what was coming. I handed him a card and asked him to send me the photos. And then went back to doing some movement and started up with the tears again.
I know, what a little cry baby. It was like the other three times I’ve felt like I was channeling grief – twice in ayahuasca ceremony and once up in the hills of big sur with the boys funguy adventure. But no psychedelics my friends. Good old fashion awe appreciation grief and ????
After round two I saw that the photographer had two friends that wanted to talk to me. They asked if we could sit and talk. They started asking me questions about why I was here, what I was doing and what I thought this upcoming event was all about. I answerd from the heart.
Turns out they were all from Russia and making a movie abut people coming to the yucatan for this auspicious date.
I wandered for another 20 minutes before I had to meet back up with our group.
The Alien Rides to Tulum
The rest of the ride I felt alien. I knew two of the guys I had been talking about permaculture with had seen me as they were walking by but they never mentioned anything. The rest of the ride focused on music festivals, travel and partying.
I couldn’t relate. I didn’t feel cool or like I had anything to contribute to the conversation. I just watched my mind judge myself and then watched my contempt for myself grow as I judged myself and wished I could be more happy and accepting for others instead of envious of the ease with which they lived their life or the way others gave them attention or social value.
I felt just awkward and outcast when we got back to the hostel that night even though they had never said or done anything to imply that. It was all me. And my state of mind…
But when we arrived back I sat down to check email and said hi to a familiar face and quickly found myself at a table with 6 people having a very intriguing conversation about the US, gun control, places to go and different hostels around the world.
Leaving the Group for Coba
The next morning I woke without much of a plan, but the group of guys I hung with previously invited me to go snorkel with sea turtles about 40 km north. I agreed and as I started to think about it, I knew that it would be another afternoon and evening spent in Tulum. I wanted to go to Coba and have been contemplating hooking up with this Mayan Elder for a ceremony near chichen itza.
When I really checked in intuitively I decided to venture on my own so paid my bill, packed up and headed to Coba, knowing it’s a really small town that only has one hotel.
When I got here I found the hotel but no one was around. After a long wait with my bags somebody finally crossed the street and showed me the room. It’s a shithole and I tried to talk him down but he told me it was one of two hotels in town. The funny thing is even thought there are 8 rooms, 6 of them seem to be under construction. Don’t think they get much overnighters here.
Climbing my first Temple
I put my bags down and walked 1km to the ruins. There was an option to rent single speed mountain bikes for about $3 so I climbed on one and jet off to find the highest temple to climb. Unlike the other spots I’ve been to, you can actually get up on the highest temple here. And so I did. As I arrived there was some dark haired dude who reminded me of me. He was half way up the temple on a side platform with his arms outstretched. He was doing his own movement but mostly arms to the sun.
I waited till he made his way down and started up and intercepted him halfway. I asked him where we was from and he said Florida. I told him I expected to see more of what he was doing at these temples and thought I was the only one that honored these sacred sites in the way I did. He said “you’re not alone brother,” and we had a strong embrace and he walked down to join his crew.
Even thought there was part of me that looked longingly at the diverse group of people he was with and thought about my loving community in Santa Barbara I had a voice squeak out, “But I am alone.” I hear you, voice. You’re very familiar. I will succumb to you once I leave this place and am walking down the tiny pueblo streets alone. But right now I feel very connected to some deeper energy that lives in different places and people that I may only catch in brief passing.
I made my way to the spot he was standing and as soon as I stepped onto the platform I started to weep. The sun was blazing and the humidity extreme and sweat poured from my body. I stretched my arms to the side and started singing one of the ayahuasca icuros that is mostly Spanish:
El sol en la hora en Los montaños, yo lo cantar…
There’s an hour with the sun and the mountains when I can hear them sing…
It’s one of my favorites from a medicine man and woman I worked with about 4 years ago. And I sang it for about 10 minutes with my eyes closed to the blazing sun moving my body gently as I felt called… people climbing past me the 42 meters to the top and me oblivious to any appreciation, confusion or judgement that may be directed my way (for a change).
I know my community completely accepts me as I am. And I sometimes wish I was else-way but “baby, I was born this way.” Shit, it pushes my edges just to walk up and see this other guy doing his thing. I don’t look at him and think, “Fuck yeah! Go brother, that’s awesome! ” … I judge the shit out of him at first. Who the fuck does this new age hippie dude think he is? Why can’t he just follow the status quo and climb the temple like everyone else and snap some photos?
I wish I could think more about getting a bottle of rum and soda for the bus ride or flirt and hook up with someone of the opposite sex like so many of my compatriots did yesterday. But that’s not how I work. And I’ll be damned if the self criticism doesn’t make it a catch 22 because I can’t be completely comfortable on either side of the line… yet. YET.
Climbing over the top of Coba
I made it up to the top of the temple and it was a bit of a circus. I waited till the crowd died down and then snuck around the back side that was roped off. Only the north side had the “no passe” sign, the ropes I ducked under were technically without signs, so no harm no foul.
I sat in the shade of the backside and enjoyed the break from the blazing sun. The temple towers over the rain forest canopy by about 25 meters. In every direction it is just flat sea of green tree canopy, thick and unending. I’ve been cleaning up trash at every sacred site I’ve been to and no exception here with the roped off area.
I grabbed what looked like a hand rolled cigarette butt which upon closer sniff inspection was the tail end of a joint. I checked in intuitively and got a big yes, that this the time and place to open my mind.
And I sat a little longer and decided I didn’t want or need it. So many times I get altered to get a different connection to the world. To get deeper. To get new perspective. And sometimes it is just a means to escape. It was the second time this trip that the offer has been clearly presented without any harm and I’ve made the conscious choice to say no. Damn, that DARE program works wonders. It just takes 30 some odd years to kick in.
Been a great reflection watching all these people I interact with at the hostel and their habits with cigarettes coffee and drinking. One of the girls I met earlier in the week had fairly clean lifestyle in terms of her perspective and eating. Yet she constantly smoked cigarettes and drank coffee. Another woman in the van was complaining to one of the guys about eating meat and how proud she was of her non meat eating lifestyle (and unspoken superiority). Yet she drank alcohol and smoked cigarettes every chance she had…
After passing up the marijuana roach from the universe, I waited for the crowd noise to subside and climbed the southeast corner of the ruin to the top. On my way up I encountered a Canadian guy who I had already seen climb up but didn’t see me.
My timing was perfect. I stayed low and to the east so I couldn’t be seen (the stairs come from the west). I looked to the east and there was half a rainbow just starting to form. It started to sprinkle so I laid my body down on the roof of the temple and absorbed the sweet tropical water from the sky.
I stayed up there for almost two hours. I burned some white sage, watched another rainbow 45 minutes later and got another rain storm. Heard (and tuned out )hundreds of tourists talking about how excited they were to have made it up to the top and how scared there were to climb back down.
Sitting on top of that temple was the first real peace and respite I’ve had since I’ve arrived. Or more accurately the peace and respite that I was after. I watched swifts circle the temple with aeronautical acrobatic precision. I watched bugs and butterflies in the trees on the unescavated east side of the temple. I saw subtle offerings of tobacco, shell, and 10 peso coin with the Aztec calendar. I gave my own of my native white sage harvested by Julian, a former teen I used to play at WYP with, from a gift I received at the last WYP holiday gift exchange.
I never wanted to leave. I wanted to sleep up there. Wake up with the dawn, dance and meditate until the 23rd of December. Had it been permissible and less crowded, I probably woulda.
I finally climbed down when I heard walkie-talkie amidst the crowd up top. I quickly and stealthily made my way down, around and blended back in with the crowd. He made an announcement that the ruins were closing and we all had to go down now.
Was freedom to ride my back back to the entrance. If I could bike around the rainforest all week, moving from temple to temple and avoiding all cars and most crowds, I would be in heaven. It’s is the heaven I want to create for myself on this planet: a network of bike and foot paths meandering thru natural beauty, creeks and swimming holes that tie together central places of gathering, sacred art and natural buildings.
Talking with the Maya
As I walked out the parking lot was getting empty and it dawned on me that I will be the only gringo in this pueblo tonight. I stopped into one place for tacos and they told me they were closed but the guy next door was open and had good tamales.
They were delicioso and though I wanted my alone time because I am ashamed of my gringo español, we had a very simple conversation.
He told me that 40 years ago there were no roads here, no electricity and no modern buildings. There were 10 Mayan families. His father was 86 years old and a Mayan medicine man who worked with plants. I told him I had a few teachers back home that have taught me about plants and plant medicine and yet I know very little and there’s so much to know about the plants. He asked if I was catholic or Christian. I told him I was neither and my religion was Tierra Madre (the earth). That the closest thing I liked was indigenous religion and especially the maya. I showed him the Mayan Yin Yang, the Hunab Ku, galactic butterfly on my iPhone. I thanked him for his ancestors. His father. His food. We sat in silence for a few moments and enjoyed the last of a beautiful sunset reflected over the lake across from his restaurant.
I made my way back down the road in this tiny pueblo to my room where I’ve been typing on this ridiculously impossible keyboard of the ipAd. And appreciating the community, the story, and the journey we’ve been on, individually and collectively.
I know this is more of a personal journal entry than an update to my trip. I appreciate you all being witness to what I have to share. My only request is that if you want to reply to me please avoid the the reply to all button. Unless of course, you do. You all are, after all, my family. Blood and soul. Thanks for being in my life, supporting my sometimes alien way of being, and loving me, even when and especially when I find it difficult to love myself.
Hoping to Meet with Ac Tah for ceremony
I’m not exactly sure where I’ll be the next few days. I’m trying to meet up with a Mayan medicine man named Ac Tah near chichen itza. I’ve let the guy who is doing correspondence know that I’m available to help in anyway I can, including redoing their god-awful website.
He is starting a ceremony tomorrow somewhere to the north. As much as I like the ruins here the town isn’t doing it for me and I’ll be moving somewhere tomorrow afternoon. Never know what the Internet situation will be so I’ll leave you with this:
As this Mayan medicine man understands what’s coming down the pipe, a noticeable shift in consciousness will be occurring around noon on the 22nd. It will be most strongly felt between Guatemala and Southern United States. It will be about 8 minutes long and it is suggested to have a pen and paper at the ready because a flood of ideas, realizations, and epiphanies will be part of the your personal “download”. The strategy is to get as much down as you can to take action on it when you are in a different state of mind.
And if for whatever reason if this time includes some crazy solar flare or electromagnetic activity that knocks out transportation and communication for a bit, know that I’ve got all I need to survive down here and i can be pretty resourceful. If it’s a permanent outage, it will take me three to six months, but I’ll be making my way home as safely as I can.
What I’m hoping for most is the elevated state of consciousness some of us have reached on psychedelics to make a global shift in our collective value system, bringing harmonic balance to the way we interact with our little and big community and the natural world.
Thanks for enduring or enjoying my rants, whatever the case may be. My love and appreciation for this world is huge. You are all here with me in some form or another and the people from my life have shown their faces to me in the people I’ve met, the conversations I’ve had, and in my dreams.