Seven years ago, I woke up for the first time in Guatemala.
I had gotten a job at a school. In six weeks time, I had conquered a monstrous to-do list, packed up my nice life in Austin and moved.
Today I am waking up again in Guatemala at Lake Atitlan, a cavernous yet cozy cabin on the south shore—the other shore. I am here with a circle of seven powerful and beautiful women, leading a weekend yoga retreat.
The day I arrived in this country, there had been turbulence in the atmosphere not long before landing. When the pilot landed the plane perfectly, everyone on board burst into applause. It was an excellent omen as to how blessed and blissful my life would become here.
When I arrived, I was a single teacher, living with a small Chihuahua, and I was 29 years old. Now, I am a writer! And a yoga teacher. I have a family. I am a “permanent resident” of Guatemala.
I’m not a schoolteacher anymore. Nor am I in my 20s. I am 36! (Not that it really matters. I have friends, colleagues and yoga students in their 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s. I even had a 90-year-old woman coming to the classes I used to teach at the retirement home in Palo Alto.)
The point is, a lot has changed in my life in these years in Guatemala, to where I almost feel like a completely different person. I am a mama and 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, with 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. I am grateful even to Panajachel, that colorful lakeside village full of bohemians, peddlers and noise. I am grateful to my community, and to our sangha of yoginis in Santiago. I am grateful for our cute casita and coffee trees, for great friends and neighbors, for the peaceful nature and the woodpecker next door.
From my love-and-gratitude-filled heart to yours, here are five wisdom quotes I have been inspired by lately:
“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, Soft Belly Meditation
Author: Michelle Margaret Fajkus
Image: Wikimedia Commons
Editor: Catherine Monkman