In dreams begin responsibility. ~Yeats
In dreams begin responsibility. ~Yeats
Yesterday´s Temazcal was fantastic. Essentially, it was a three-hour cleansing experience where 8 of us sat in a sweat lodge (apx 8 ft diameter, but it was hard to tell) with leaves of eucalyptus and a bunch of other stuff, went through a purification ritual lead by a shaman, drank some interesting tea, rubbed salt and aloe plants on ourselves, and sweat more than I can ever remember sweating. I felt so. good. afterwards! Kind of like a good teeth cleaning at the dentist, but this was a thorough emotional, spiritual and lung cleaner.
The nice thing about this temazcal is that there was story telling throughout… a lot about Mother Earth (the heated rocks in the center were called abuelas, or grandmothers, and how they impart their wisdom and healing properties to us), the elements, our bodies and interconnectedness with the earth, and the responsibility of conscious breathing. One of the meditations we were led through was to invision ourselves in our mother´s womb, to see and feel ourselves there. This was the only time I got claustrophobic and began having trouble with the heat. Other folks were claustrophobic and had heat-trouble almost the entire time.
The most memorable part of this experience was the purification ritual. At this point, each one of us went before the shaman as he chanted over us while passing burning sage around us. At one point, he held our hands and hummed. It was if he was tuning us, finding our frequency. When he found mine, his humming passed through my entire body like a wavelength, energizing every cell. And during this time, when he was working on me, I felt as though everyone in the room was talking, which was unusual because we were all quiet and respectful as each one of us went before the shaman. But there were voices, one of them explaining to me what was going on. When I told this to Fernando afterwards, he told me that nobody had been talking when I was in front of the shaman. My personal belief is that there were spirits in that place as well. Good thing they didn’t take up any room!
Guanajuato, town of dogs and birds and folks blasting Olivia Newton John first thing in the morning.
I have no idea what kind of bird this is. She was alone and very heronesque.
It`s one of those days, whe everything keeps getting better and better. Last night, F and I danced so much, our clothes were wet with sweat. We`ve started practicing at Las Damas and bringing our own practice cd. It`s dead on Weds nights, so that gives us the entire floor. We stay until midnight, which makes for very good sleep.
Then this morning, as I was looking for a dry bench to sit and eat my mango, a nice man invited me to sit at his dry table with him. So I did. He teaches photography here in GTO. While we were talking about photography, his friend Mundo joined us. Mundo gives walking tours out in the country, about an hour walk from the perimeter of the city. These happen on Sundays at noon and if I am not sleeping off a night of dancing, I think we`ll go.
But the highlight of this day was my massage. OMG… Bollywood gave me the best massage of my life! It felt more like a ceremony than a massage. At first she played this ocean music and applied long, deep, effluerage strokes. Once I was a complete putty-bag, she switched over to African drums and did pressure point work. She worked on my stomach as well which is so often ignored. Her massage seriously elevated my consciousness. Afterwards, I felt so clean and charged, like a Samurai warrior.
This woman is a master. I want to study from her. I am so humbled by the ever-persistent reminders of what a beginner I am. Anyway, she had to leave so I couldn´t talk to her afterwards, but I am going to see if she would accept a paying apprentice.
This morning, on my way to massage, there was a man sitting on the curb with his guitar. I noticed he wasn´t wearing socks with his tennis shoes. His guitar was woefully out of tune, his voice was horrible, and his accent was so bad, I could hardly make out the words as he bayed “One warm afternoon in San Francisco I killed Senator ?¨ (I couldn´t make out the name of the Senator and I am unfamiliar with this song). But like a nose that is too big, eyes that are too close together, and a face that is too long, the parts all fit together and it worked.
There are so many times I wish I had a recorder to capture the sounds here. This place is rich with smiling noise.
This morning, I had an appointment at a ¨massage center¨to work on the owner. We´re trading massage and she wanted to see my style. If I understand correctly, this center takes calls from hotels in the area and sends out on-call ¨therapists¨to the hotels when there is a request for massage. There are also tables on site for walk-ins.
I love this place. The energy is great and the owner is awesome. However, the music was a bit strange for massage, an adrenalin pumping mexi-indian mix. It actually sounded like we were in the soundtrack of a Bollywood movie. But hey, I am up for new experiences.
The massage went well and I receive my trade tomorrow. I can´t wait. This woman is powerful and has incredible energy. After the massage, she invited me to accompany her husband and her to an indigenous steam bath a few miles out of GTO. They do purification rituals there with small groups of people. There is a sweat lodge and a river. I am to bring the skimpiest bathing suit I have (that one is at home!) and a couple of towels. They do meditation, sweating, swimming in a very cold stream, wraps of aloe and fruit. It is an area surrounded by rich vegetation. She tells me you go away feeling absolutely revived.
I plan on going Friday (after Madre Lourdes´s massage) or on Saturday if Fernando can leave work early to come with.
After giving the owner a sample massage this morning, she hired me on the spot. In fact, she asked if I would be willing to give an extranjero (foreigner) a massage in 20 minutes. Sure, why not?
He was about 60, American, and started moaning and gyrating a few minutes into the massage. Frankly, I was at a loss. I wasn`t sure how to proceed despite the excellent class I took last term on Ethics & Communication where we discussed–at length–boundaries and sexual issues. Nothing prepared me for this.
20 minutes into the massage, I thought time was standing still. 40 minutes to go… was he going to moan and wiggle the entire time? I began to refocus and thought there is something to learn here. I intentionally started sending him love and compassion. God Loves Everyone by Ron Sexsmith became the sountrack in my mind to focus on. I experimented with the idea that touch with integrity could ground whatever sensations this client was experiencing.
I focused on the song and the intent throughout the remainder of the massage. The groaning and gyrating never ceased completely, but it diminished considerably. In the end, it left me with a few things to think about, such as the need for compassionate and intelligent touch, service with integrity, and how not to compromise personal ethics when someone is responding in a manner that is not appropriate.
I saw my first fight at the Opening of the Floodgates Celebration yesterday. Every year, the town celebrates the opening of the dam. Thousands of people show up for one big party. There is food, beer, family, rides, and cops everywhere. It is a lot of fun. I had wanted to see a lucha libre for awhile, and was thrilled when there it was in front of me. Very, very comical.
Probably the most memorable moment at the celebration was watching a band watch the cops drag in drunks and folks behaving badly. Next to po-po headquarters was a 4 man band playing accordian, drums, and guitars. Sometimes, the arrests scenes were so, uh, arresting, that the band would continue playing but the words were half-heartedly sung, the lyrics, an afterthought, as the band would watch the scene (as everyone else was). The accordian would yawn back and forth (when fully engaged, it barked) as the drummer, just a boy, stopped singing entirely.
I finished A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. I wish for 200 more pages. It was beautiful and I couldn´t stop thinking (or dreaming) about the book even when I had put it down. The characters stay with you. There are a thousand splendid things to say about this book, but I suppose what I appreciate most is Afghanistan`s history contextualized in telling the story of two heroic and long suffering women.
I start teaching today. My first class is composed of two advanced learners reading Catcher in the Rye. The second is a two hour class with 4-6 year olds.
I wanted to take the first week off. But not having a schedule of some sort creates a general state of anxiety for me. So when I passed a language school yesterday, I stopped in and asked about teaching opportunities. The director needs help this summer, so I lucked out. Since I do not have any ESL experience, today will be a trial. I am looking forward to it.
I also finished Buffalo for the Broken Heart by Dan O’Brien. It was wonderful. I was lucky enough to see him speak at LCC and so I had the advantage of hearing his voice as I read. This is an inspiring book about restoration, ecosystem of the Great Plains of South Dakota and the rise above a life of mediocrity despite setbacks and a difficult path. Recommended reading.
Goodbye strong water pressure and long, inspirational showers. Goodbye friends and family, morning runs, and salmon bbq’s galore at the Fine’s. Hello precious Guanajuato, hugs from Madre Lourdes, and dancing ’till dawn with Fernando!
Note to self for future reference…
COTE/ICELT (Certificate for Overseas Teachers of English/ In-Service Certificate in English Language Teaching).
Este curso es para maestros de inglés que laboran en escuelas mexicanas. El curso está organizado por la UG con el apoyo del Consejo Británico y el de UCLES (University of Cambridge Local Examination Syndicate). Este Al finalizar este curso, se otorga un certificado con valor curricular.
Coordinadora del COTE/ICELT:
I’ll be taking six books with me to Guanajuato. I don’t think I’ll have enough spare time for six, but it’s nice to have a choice.
I am also taking my anatomy flash cards in serious hopes of finally memorizing all the origins, insertions, and actions of muscles.
Books I’m taking:
Today, I signed up to volunteer at Expresión en Corto, an international film festival that takes place in Guanajuato and San Miguel de Allende the last week in July. I’m not sure what I would be doing—in fact, I’m not even sure the form went through—but the festival includes film presentations and workshops with actors, directors, producers, screenwriters and other industry people in Mexican and international film.
8 days left to go, and I’m compiling a list:
Over the weekend, I picked up the new Sony Cyber-shot. I’ve been wanting to get this camera for some time. When Keelin walked in with her’s, I thought the time had come. Marly is getting the old family camera, and I hope she’s happy with it. The Sony Cyber-shot is super fast and tiny. It’s going to be fun to use.