Thursday, April 5, 2012

From Doing to Being

Living here on the water´s edge in the warm and sunny clime of Mexico´s Yucatan Peninsula feels a lot like being in the Garden of Eden. Although I´m a little past running around naked, my clothes are minimal and I love the absence of shoes. Mornings find me with socks and running shoes for my early walk, but these are exchanged for sandals as soon as I´m back at the house. Actually they´re only used to walk around outside. It´s barefoot on the cool tiles inside.

My morning routine is generally the same, although if we have a trip planned to Chetumal, our nearest city, I sometimes forego the early morning walk that John and I take together as often as I can convince him to accompany me. We don´t have lots of choices, so we walk around the perimeter of the Rancho, picking tulipanes (hibiscus) to take back to the house. That´s what I call value added to our exercise. Sometimes I add bougainvillea which we have growing in abundance.

Then it´s time to arrange the flowers in their various stations around the house while John gets our breakfast together. Usually it´s oatmeal with walnuts (which I bring down from the U.S.) and other healthy additives. That´s accompanied by fresh cut papaya with limon (lime).

Now we can find organic soy milk here, another plus that was never available in this area. Between that and sugar- free natural yogurt, it´s possible to expand the fare of what Nature has provided us with coconuts, limones (limes), naranjas (oranges) and bananas which we have growing on our own property.

Although we don´t grow our own vegetables (we actually leave most of the fruit to the birds), we do have basil and cilantro growing in container on our terrace. We also have some nopal cactus which I have very often, but I confess that I buy it already cleaned and cut up in the market as dealing with the thorny spikes are not exactly my notion of what I need to be doing in Eden.

So what do I do here in Eden? Much of my time is spent gardening which I love to do and which keeps me in reasonably good shape. I exercise with weights about every other day and spend less time than I should practicing balance by standing on one leg. That´s important, you know, when you get older. I also practice the other kinds of balance of mind and spirit. The mind is easy to take care of here if you´re an inveterate reader, as I am. There are certain things we seem to remember from the past that still occupy an up-front place in our memories. One of those things was the feeling that I had for those dozen or more years when I was a young mother raising infants and toddlers that I would never have the time to just read for the sheer pleasure of it. Usually by nighttime I was so exhausted that reading stories to my kids was about as far as I could go, although I always managed to get a few pages of real reading for myself before my eyes closed. Even when I had returned to school and was reading for university courses, it was reading because I needed to, although of course I enjoyed it, too.

After a brief hiatus of living on my own with my children for a couple of years, reading once again became part of my life. But getting involved with a partner who seemed to occupy most of my time and thoughts, especially when our lives together was so very intense, changed that. Instead of reading, I lived romance and adventure each day for many years completely action packed, traveling, creating two separate businesses, building a livable and beautiful country home and somewhat raising children.

But here in Eden there´s no demand on any of my time. In a place where my biggest decision is what to have for dinner, time is very elastic and stretched out. It is so very beautiful and so very easy that the indulgence of reading whenever I feel like it has become what I “do.” What can be more delightful than lying out on my chaise lounge with the sound of the water gently lapping at the shore so close, the birds flitting, singing, whistling and chirping and doing whatever beautiful things they do to make their own special music, a book next to me or on my lap if I happen to doze off which happens frequently-- like, why not?

Most importantly, keeping spiritually in balance is a natural component of being here. By taking a complete break from “doing” and switching to the “being” mode, the spiritual connection happens of its own accord. There simply cannot be a day that doesn´t carry the active consciousness of gratitude. It would be a travesty to live like this if there weren´t that most important awareness of all, that I´ve been given a gift at this time in my life that should be treasured. As I treasure my children and grandchildren, and all of my family, I also need to say thanks for being here in good health (my body loves the moisture and warmth), embraced by the nurturing Laguna Bacalar.

I sometimes feel that I´m living someone´s fantasy and remind myself if there´s any element of truth to this, then I need to enjoy it or I render it empty. All I can offer in return is my love and compassion to those whose circumstances are so very different from being in Eden. I can´t and won´t forget them and can only hope that somewhere, somehow, something beautiful will enter their lives and fill them, however briefly, with that feeling of joy we were all meant to experience.
See the start of my new blog Seventy and Beyond: From Doing to Being.

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