I wrote the Christmas newsletter from Cochabamba, Bolivia and after a synchronistic meeting with Dr Gladys in a vegetarian restaurant in Cusco a few weeks ago, I’m now in a remote location on her coffee plantation 9 km outside Quillabamba in the higher jungle area..
Island of the Sun
After leaving Cochabamba, I took the overnight bus to La Paz where I spent a few hours before getting a bus to Copacabanna, arriving early evening. I stayed there one night then caught the morning boat to the Isla del Sol which had been calling me back. This time I got off the boat in the North of the Island and spent a few hours at the Incan temple where legend says the two original Incans, Manco Kapaq and Mama Ocilo Iaco originate from the Sacred Rock. I downloaded The Inca Transcrips, a very interesting PDF on www.AlunaJoy,com, which explained that like Adam and Eve, Manco Kapaq and Mama Ocllo Iaco represent many races, many couples who come from different languages, different sectors of South America. It was much easier route hiking from North to South rather than the opposite direction and I enjoyed my solitary walk, occasionally chatting with passing travellers, taking in the energy and beauty of this special island. As I arrived in the south of the island, I passed some young boys who were delighted with the 2 litre bottle I’d given them as they were having so much fun with homemade tractors made from them. I reflected on how much money was being spent in the west on brand new shiny toys, many of which lose their appeal, of the parents who go into debt feeling pressure to provide new things for their kids then having to work extra hours to pay for them when their time is probably more appreciated by the children.
Super Sales Girl at Temple of the Sun
I went straight to the Temple of the Sun and stayed there until dusk, being pestered by a 13 yr old girl to buy something from her. She was extremely persistent and aggressive in her approach and I found myself resisting buying anything. I gave her some sweets to share with her younger brother to bribe her to leave me alone so I could meditate for a while, a strategy that appeared to work. As I meditated, I had the insight that she may be under pressure from her parents to make sales as tourism is the main industry on the Island and there aren’t many visitors at this time of year, putting financial strain on families. I resolved to buy something when I was leaving. The girl was waiting for me as I walked on the narrow path to my hostel and sent her brother to show me their wares. There was no way I could resist the six year old and we were all delighted with my purchase,
My lesson: I reflected on how little I’d spent yet how important this contribution probably was to the family income and felt quite mean for having resisted so much in the first place. I realised that my resistance was from unconscious conditioning from my mother. As children we hear the word ‘no’ so much more than ‘yes’ and for me it was an automatic response. I was glad to have become conscious about this insight. It’s also an important lesson to demonstrate the power of persistence as there was no way the girl was taking no for an answer. Her sales technique was rather aggressive at first and when that didn’t work, she changed tactics … a lesson to all in sales!
Super Human Strength
As I returned down the steep steps to the harbour of Yumani, I could handle believe my eyes as I passed a family carrying heavy loads on their backs up the stairs. The women carry heavy bundles wrapped in cloth, a man in his late 60s was carrying a flat screen TV on his back and a man in his early 30s was carrying a new fridge using just material. I wouldn’t have thought it possible had I not witnessed it and I snapped a few pics to remind me of how we limit our abilities by our perception of what’s possible.
I stayed on the Island for one night then reluctantly left for my next destination! Puno.
After finding a cheap hotel in Puno, I contacted my friend Norka from Edgar Adventures in Puno and we arranged to meet the following morning to visit the Stargate of Amaru Muru. I met up with Norka, her husband Edgar and their teenage son Gabriel the following morning and we drove an hour to the sacred site visited by many spiritual seekers as it’s a portal to the fifth dimension. We spent a wonderful afternoon there walking over the rocks and land, meditating in the sun and doing various activities. We let go of two things each that no longer served us and called in two things to replace them with. We then arrived at the Stargate and took it in turns to connect with the door in the rock and meditate. I could feel a lot of energy pulsating through my hands and transmitted love and peace asking that it be utilised wherever required in the world. Such a blissful day and I felt very grateful to my friends for taking me there.
I returned to Cusco on 23 December and had a lovely Christmas Day talking with my family in the UK. I even participated in a family quiz via Skype and it felt almost like I was in the UK (except it was lovely and warm here!). In the evening I ate fantastic food with friends at the Healing House and had a beautiful evening. I returned there for New Year’s Eve too then at 11pm went to the Plaza de Armas where thousands had gathered to bring in the new year; there was a real party spirit going on. Health & Safety leaves a lot to be desired in Peru and we had to be on our guard to dodge the fireworks being set off constantly in the crowd. I felt the need to have some quiet time in January and on 4th, I started to write a book called ‘Life Lessons from Mosquitos’ based on my encounters with them during my ayahuasca ceremonies in the Amazon Rainforest’. It’s currently work in progress and I’ll probably release it as an ebook later this year. It was lovely being in the mountains again, especially at the Temple of the Moon which keeps calling me back.
Pisac – Ayahuasca Full Moon Ceremony
I attended a full moon ayahuasca ceremony in the Sacred Valley on the evening of 15 January in a round temple constructed with three tiers which holds a hundred people. I was interested in comparing this experience to taking ayahuasca with a smaller group in the Amazon. The shaman, Diego Palmer, held the space beautifully throughout the night and gave moving opening and closing talks. The music played by the talented musicians was gorgeous and led us on a journey with the sacred teacher plant medicine. I received many visions and had insights which took me hours to write up the following day. The temple was full to capacity and personally, I’d have preferred more personal space as our mats were touching at both sides. I wouldn’t like to have experienced my first ceremony with so many people present. I later learned that some people were having challenges and had to struggle through on their own. Some people need personal support and it wasn’t offered in this type of ceremony. I made some new friends there including Neil from Australia.
I returned to Pisac with Neil a couple of days later as he wanted to volunteer on an organic farm in Calca in exchange for food and accommodation. He suggested I did the same as I was experiencing delays in accessing my money from the UK. The farm owner said Neil could start three days later and suggested I call him the following week to see if he needed more help. On the way back we called at a beautiful place that used to be a hotel and is in the process of being converted to a retreat centre. I met some beautiful people there from the Patiti Institute including Roman Hanis, the Shaman who worked with the sick people in the Sacred Science movie and we had warm hugs as I left.
Neil and I caught the 8 pm bus back to Cusco and called in at a vegetarian restaurant for dinner where we sat at a table with a Peruvian lady called Gladys who was a surgeon. We got talking and when she found out that Neil was going to work as a volunteer on a farm, she invited us both to volunteer on her land. She owned a coffee plantation 9 km outside Quillabamba in the selva, an hour from Machu Picchu. It sounded like a beautiful place, with cacao and fruit trees in addition to coffee. I felt like the Universe had orchestrated our meeting and it would certainly be a new adventure so I agreed to go with her two days later. Gladys was in Cusco as her 88 yr old mum Rosa had been in hospital 5 months, having had a hip replacement operation. The two days turned into two weeks as our departure was repeatedly delayed but finally, on 1 February, we left my beloved Cusco in the back of an ambulance with Rosa having been given the OK to travel.
After a long bumpy ride in the ambulance, we arrived in Quillabamba at night and had to turn back on the track leading to the coffee plantation as the river was flowing too quickly for the vehicle to drive through it. We returned the following afternoon and it was exciting to see the higher jungle terrain as we arrived at the ‘Fundo Monterrico’ estate. It wasn’t anything like I had imagined and I felt like a child exploring a new place, wondering what lay in store living in a house made of mud bricks with no panes of glass in the some of the rooms.
My room is tiny and is separated from Rosa’s by a shower curtain. The house has only been occupied by one employee Bernie, who’s 28 yrs old and a living saint. He works 24/7 with no time off and has his work cut out looking after the house, the 9 dogs, 8 cats and 100 hens as well as the land. Bernie helps to care for Rosa even more than before she had her accident as she is immobile, having had a hip replacement, and she has Alzheimer’s. It takes two people to change her daily and her skin is paper thin so extreme care is required to keep her clean, comfortable, fed and hydrated.
In the last few weeks, I’ve been busy making meals, washing up, hand washing, caring for Rosa, and cleaning the house which is challenging when it’s made of mud with earth or concrete floors. I rescue lots of bugs from drowning in the bathroom and my fear of them has gone. I have moths landing on my face in the middle of the night and have had cockroaches in my bed and I take it all in my stride … I don’t even kill mosquitos any more, feeling deeply connected to all life on our beautiful planet. There are many butterflies around, much to my delight.
I initially felt anxious as there’s no internet connection in the house, my SIM card doesn’t receive a signal in the remote location, and the house phone doesn’t work. As the days passed by, my anxiety reduced and I realised that my addiction to social media was subsiding … I’d gone cold turkey with having no Facebook! I go to the town on Saturdays and stay at a cheap hostel with a good wifi connection so I can talk with my family and let them know I’m still alive. It’s rare to see other travelers here as this isn’t a tourist destination.
I’m loving living in the peace and tranquility of the higher jungle. I feel privileged to have the opportunity to experience what it’s like living with an indigenous family and experiencing at first hand the challenges they face.
We had four days with hardly any water so unable to shower, and the electricity was off for a full day so we cooked on a fire outside. We had a huge electrical storm the other night and all the electrics blew again. It’s not an easy way of life but the lush vegetation, tropical climate, fresh fruit and peaceful surroundings are conducive to personal insights and spiritual growth. I’m reading lots of books here on my iPad and studying Spanish from books I’ve downloaded. I’m glad I’ve got my yoga mat with me so I can do The Five Tibetan Rites every day, and it beats being freezing cold in the UK over the winter months any day. How long I’ll stay here, I have no idea. I follow my heart and feel when it’s time to move on.
People keep asking when I’m returning to the UK. My answer is always the same – I don’t know, but will know when the time is right and then I will let you know.
You can follow my travels on Facebook if you’d like to see more photos.
Remember to book early for our next Mastery Path event with Vernon Frost. It’s particularly important to book in advance as I’ll need to email the registration list to Dave Binder as I’m likely to still be away on my travels.
Love and blessings
PS. Ever dreamed of owning a special spiritual place in Guatemala? One of my friends is looking for the right person or group to take over a sacred retreat space with Mayan ceremonial temple, lodgings, kitchen/dining area, organic crops, beautiful white horses and lots of land. Contact me privately if you know someone who would be the perfect guardian for the next phase.