Guatemorphosis

Guatemorphosis

Central America was never on my destination list for this trip…

Back in June, I was in Asia, in Kathmandu, the other side of the world.  The next logical step after that would be to hop skip and a’jump over to Tibet, Myanmar, or Thailand etc, but if you read my recent blog You Can Go Your Own Way, then you’ll know I threw logic out the window some time ago.

After Denso ultimately departed Nepal destined for Blighty 😢 I had a decent period of procrastination & inertia, somewhat stuck whilst I digested my Indian adventure and mused about my present situation in Nepal:  y’see, it wasn’t really the right season to be there – monsoon season was upon us so the humidity was simply ghastly darling.

I was surrounded by keen beans all pumped and ready to go, or freshly back from Trekking, but to be honest I just wasn’t feeling it, and I mean, what the hell else do you do in Nepal if it’s not trekking (FML)?  I just had this feeling of not really knowing what I was doing there – but hey! you’re in Nepal, so you know, you suck it up and enjoy the present moment!  Time operates differently now, and the Downtime is as important as The Go.

Enjoyment (read: many Everest beers) led to chance meetings (read: synchronicity) with Andy, and the goddess that is Kali Indigo (off’ve El Salvador).  Whilst sat licking our hungover wounds (late) one morning in our Kathmandu hostel (Alobar1000), she told me about the Moon Course in San Marcos del Lago, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala.  It sounded perfect, and just what I was looking for. Later that same day in an entirely separate conversation, my roommate also told me about the Moon Course, that she’d done it and that it was life changing.

OK Universe, I get the hint.

After revelling in the delights of Nepal, a month and a half later I was booking 4 tickets, voluntarily subjecting myself to 4 flights (sorry Rebs), celebrating my 36th birthday in New York JFK and Dallas Airport, and all in all a 52 hour door-to-door journey to the other side of the world to arrive in Guatemala – from where the Rainbow takes its colours – and eventually my ultimate destination, Lake Atitlan.

I was lucky enough to spend 2 marvellous months and 7 magical days by the Lake, I found a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. 

I leave Del Lago, San Marcos and Guatemala changed, with it imprinted upon my soul and forever grateful that I came.  Maltiox!
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this, everyday

Today, I touched down in South America – a brand new shiny continent for me to explore, and another unexpected destination on my journey.  First stop: Peru, and two glorious weeks with Richard Bold!

Whilst I was sad to leave my Guatemalan home and family behind I know I take them with me, and I can’t think of a better reason to move on and discover the next part of my treasure hunt – dam, I’ve missed that boy!

Only one more sleep till Bold Times are a’foot, and our 15 days of Funder begins!

view from Tupac Hostel, Lima

7-Bullet Sunday: day 234

7-Bullet Sunday: day 234

What’s it been like being me the last 7 days?

1.  Becoming a Moonie graduate, bursting out my moon bubble and becoming a San Marcos Lake Atitlan local, for two weeks at least.  

In his 1934 travel book “Beyond the Mexique Bay”, Aldous Huxley compared Guatemala’s Lake Atitlan to Italy’s Lake Como.  The Italian body of water, he wrote, “touches the limit of the permissibly picturesque.” Atitlan, however, “is Como with the additional embellishment of several immense volcanoes. 

It is really too much of a good thing.” 

Lake Atitlan is indeed breathtaking, but nowadays it is leaving many visitors gasping for breath.  A thick brown sludge tarnishes its once blue waters – the result of decades of ecological imbalance, brought on by economic and demographic pressures. 

The unsightly and smelly layer, more than 100 feet deep in some areas, is chasing tourists away from Mayan towns in the area and posing huge cleanup expenses to a government already strapped for cash.  

Worse, the results of a University of California analysis found that the bacteria is toxic.  Scientists are urging residents to avoid cooking with, bathing in or drinking the water.    

Over here in San Marcos, thankfully the Lake’s not quite as unsightly as it can be in the main towns of Panajachel and San Pedro, so a dip in the Lake every day is still an enticing activity.  However, it seems to be taking a toll on business here too – I’ve seen several For Sale signs around town, and knowing the condition of the water is less than perfect is a stark reminder of the delicate Eco system we live in, despite the idyllic vistas we see everyday, and the impact we have on it. 

2.  Taking some valuable time for myself in San Marcos to re-acclimatise to the real world outside the Moon bubble, drinking in the transformation – figuring out how to blend the old and new into one sublime reality;  a sublime group of people brought together, who just want to make a positive contribution to the world (aww), now armed with knowledge, freedom and potential, how best to direct it, to integrate it all?  

The foundations are set, and experience is my best messenger, so it’s time for some action and to build my way. 

3.  Taking a week of intensive Spanish lessons – immersing myself (or trying to at least) in Latin American culture. Hoy, estoy hablando Espanol! Mas o menos :). 

4.  Several staggered and emotional goodbyes to my fellow Moon Course graduates.  Reflecting on the space we’ve held for each other the last 30+ days.  From the moment we met there was a beautiful understanding of each other, that we were all in exactly the right place with the right people.  

This is not the end dear friends, ’tis only the beginning #globalfamily.

5.  Getting into the swing of my own meditation, yoga and Prana Yama practice, holding my centre, keeping me connected to my light, and surrounding myself with that which supports my fullest expression. 

6.  Looking after Zeus, the resident Perro a Las Piramides: a mahooosive beautifully calm Alsatian, with a slight tendency to wander off, a big heart and a fear of fireworks – arghhh responsibility!  Where have you been old friend?

7.  Writing this from my current home, Jenikas place at Las Piramides, which has both a DOUBLE BED (yes, I’m star fishing) and A BATH!  Such a joy to still be near the temple and in this amazing place – lucky lucky lucky me! 

 

Full Moon

Full Moon

My Moon Course has finished.  It’s hard to express the transformation I’ve experienced and feel inside,  but in essence the last month at Las Piramides Del Ka has been like spiritual rehab and self-awakening!

By simply asking “Where am I?” in all aspects of self – my physical body, my emotions, my mind, my spirit – I’ve connected, balanced. 

By being open to everything, to the other side of creation, and by moving my mind to raise my vibration to have experiences, I have grown.  

By meditating, and developing my faculties of observation, intention, dedication and clarity, I have once again been humbled by the sheer power of my mind, of self-mastery, and how to have conversations with myself to find answers.


By practicing Yoga every goddam day I’ve challenged, balanced, energised, centred and connected with my physical body. 

By taking a conscious breath, I’ve opened up doorways in my subconscious, my soul, and opened my mind to experiences we all have access to, experiences that can give us all the knowledge we seek, from WITHIN:

The only prison we make for ourselves is in thinking there is only our physical body – you have to believe it to experience it, just keep calm and take flight. 

The simplicity is the truth: everything I need is already within me, within us all – all we have to do is Trust, Believe, Experience, Listen to the clicks (the clues) that are all around us all the time, and when the Student is ready to listen, the Teacher will come.  
If you’re in search of answers, ask yourself 4 questions: 

1. What is my Ideal, in terms of body, emotion, mind and spirit?

2. If those are my ideals, what do I need to do to achieve them?

3. If I know what my Ideal is, and I know what I need to do to achieve it, what’s stopping me from doing so? 

4. Where is the light? How does it manifest? When do I feel disconnected from it? What do I do to reconnect?

Pause, take a conscious breath, balance yourself and answers will come. The Universe will take care of the details in eternity. 

All you have to do Today is Shine.

Thank You Las Piramides Del Ka for the greatest and most life-changing gift of all: for teaching me how to find and harness the Light & Life Force Intelligence within me, and that there is more to this World than meets the eye


Infinite Thank You’s to each and every one of my incredible Moonie friends who came on this journey with me, engorging my heart to near explosion and enhancing my experience beyond words.   I feel so blessed to have met you all, and I’m lucky enough to take them all with me forever #globalfamily.  What a beautiful existence we manifested!  I feel so very lucky to be alive, and to have this knowledge and awareness. 

Last but certainly not least thank you to Kali for our synchronicity that led me here, to my amazing parents, my brother and TK for this incredible birthday gift, and for making this happen.  I am beyond grateful. 

New foundations are set. This is not the end, it is only the beginning.  Now it’s time to build our way. 

I highly recommend this course, it could change your life:  Las Piramides Del Ka

Courtesy of Brianna Moon:

Chanelled from Chatty

And We open 🙏🕉

I am inside the Silence.  The Afterlife is as meaningful as the Present one.  The Invisible side of Creation.  Pray, really pray with your heart, and prepare yourself for life on the other side.  The Body relaxed, the Mind awake.  The Breath is the doorway to the subconscious.  

Most people believe in only what they can see, but there is a lot more than meets the eye.  Pay attention to the voice of the Heart, strip back the veil of mystery – you need to align all your spiritual bodies, words, thoughts, actions, feelings, to open the doors, to change your perception:  to live only in the physical body is to be in prison.  

Am I dreaming?  

The most important thing is to Believe, believe it so you can live the experience.  Open, open to everything, open your mind, open your heart.  It started with an Astral projection, acting with love and light is your best protection.  Ask for the experience you need to have from your Spirit.  

Where is your heart? Where is your mind? Be an instrument of higher energy.

In the Simplicity is the Truth, Creation is creating all the time, no end and no beginning: where your Spirit resides.  The Tree is a mirror of You, and when we study the system we study ourselves.  

If you have true Wisdom you don’t need to shout.  It’s something you can’t describe but when you receive it you know, though this is just one language to describe Creation, to provoke experience, clicks of deep understanding.  

The World of Emanation, The World of Creation, The World of Formation, The World of Manifestation – all the dimensions give you different knowledge: As Above, So Below.  Things related to Spirit and all things Eternal.  

What sets you on Fire?  When you know, you touch something true to your Spirit, like being in the right place, Here and Now.  And as All Things have come from One, Her Father is the Sun, you will seperate Earth from Fire, Energy that helps you evolve.  

You’re the bridge between two Worlds, and when the Student is ready to listen, the Teacher will appear.  The idea is for you to move your mind, to return home.  

I am inside the silence, but in the Astral Plane I speak. 

And with one conscious breath, here We close 🙏🕉

I dream of Idris Elba, and a new series of Luther

Idris Elba asked me a question – What do you want to be when you grow up? (It’s a video, you can watch it…)

Today of all days, that’s a great question to ask yourself.  Have a think about what you’re doing now.  What’s your dream now?  Doesn’t have to be your job, it could just be as simple as a hobby, or that you dream of waking up next to Idris watching the new series of Luther (*holds hands up*).

Ok I admit, that’s a big hippy question for a Monday morning, but it doesn’t have to be such a big deal.  Maybe you’re already living your dream (you lucky bastard), maybe you know what it is and you’re making in-roads towards it, or maybe like most of us you have no idea, or no time to have an idea anyway. 

I’m learning that order to grow you sometimes have to prune parts of you away; to be able to see the woods for the trees (#clairetong) you need to remove the obstacles that are getting in your way, like a state of mind, a facade, an addiction, a location, your job (this may or may not be my exact list).

Even if today you just remind yourself what you wanted to be when you grew up and smile about it, or sit for 5/10 minutes to contemplate it in a new context then that’s a great start.  I’m a different person at 35 and 11/12ths to the one I was at 7 and a 1/2 who wanted to be either an Astronaut, a Vet, a Helicopter Pilot, or as a last resort work for Aardman Animations making Wallace & Gromit come alive – none of those things happened, and I can smile at my younger old self as I prune away, clear the path and continue to figure out what the 35 year old me wants to do when she grows up.

Do something today that you’ll thank yourself for tomorrow.  If in doubt, move towards the people, places and projects that warm your heart, your spirit.  Believe in yourself, your dreams, your visions.  Plant a new seed. 

Is there Life on Mars?

Is there Life on Mars?

“Hello! You are from England?”

“Yes! You speak English?!”

“Yes! I learned it!”

“Fantastic! Where did you learn it?”

“Yes!”

“….” 

My basic get-you-through Hindi has been coming along nicely, but since Kashmiri, Dogri, Punjabi, Urdu and Hindi are all spoken here, the language barrier is a little tougher – cue lots of sign language, patience and smiles, which thankfully the people of Jammu & Kashmir have in spades. 

The overnight night train from Delhi pulled into Jammu just over a week ago, and it’s like we landed in a completely different country.  A lot of Kashmir looks like a war zone, exacerbated by the omnipresent Indian Army/Military Police that punctuate the highways (there’s still a bit of a spat with Pakistan), but a great deal more looks utterly spectacular.

After nearly 10 years clocking up 100’s of driving hours on some challenging roads, Dumball made me match-fit for the drives that were to come: 

1. The drive from Jammu to Srinagar:  like driving in the mountains/on the roads of Albania, Hungary, Monte Negro and the Western Ghats all combined.  

This is the ONLY way to reach Srinagar by road, so that makes it their M1 and main supply artery.  Chuck in A LOT of Trucks, traffic, herds of goats, horses, shepherds, all competing for the road (in both directions), a few landslides to dodge, hair pin bends, pot holes, dramatic drops, gridlock, men at work, assertive aggressive overtaking (on blind corners, obvs), military police presence, a toll booth! (fifa) with opportunistic tradesmen taking full advantage by trying to sell us Cricket bats (for reals), boxes of cherries, strawberries, pashminas… You know, all the things you need 6 hours into a 12 hour journey – this is the life force of India that just never goes away, and I love her more for it. 

   
  

2. The drive from Gagangir to Leh.  Just six little words.  Looks like an awfully small affair doesn’t it?  Completely belies the spectacular 12 hour/350km journey that climbs and crosses the Himalayan Zoji La Mountain up and over into Ledakh – a road that grunts and grinds, climbs and zig-zags relentlessly, sometimes slicing through the glaciers and snow drifts.

The narrow passes, perilous drops and occasional (often) bad condition of the road means there ain’t too much room for two way traffic, so you have to wait at the bottom in a somewhat orderly queue with no real idea of what’s going on until the last of the descending group of traffic has passed by the Traffic Officials, indicating your turn to make the ascent. 

The condition of the road elicited some squeaky-bum-time considering I was in a Jeep that was fit for purpose, and then an idiosyncratic massive Indian truck hurtles past in the opposite direction, it’s customised metallic decoration glinting in the sun like its throwing a metaphoric “fuck you”, all guns blazing, not giving a shit and showing us all how it’s done – how the bejesus did that thing even fit up here?!  

   

We watched the vast, enormous landscape change and grow from the dirty back seat windows of our very bouncy Mahindra jeep, being thrown left and right, both hands on the Jesus handles.  

The peak of the pass is at 11,650ft, and surrounded by Himalayan snow capped mountains.  No sooner had we hurtled past that than the landscape changed up again to mountain ranges of epic Tolkien-esque proportions with Mars and Lunar-like terrain, and it just didn’t stop either.

   
  
  

The drive to Leh was one of the most challenging, varied, awe inspiring roads I’ve ever had the pleasure to survive/drive on, with the most phenomenal, uninterrupted mountain landscapes I’ve ever seen.  I’m out of superlatives.  There’s almost nothing in between except for an abundance of Tibetan prayer flags adorning various stupas, flapping in the wind to remind you in which direction you’re headed, and to give a bit of moral support.  Not much hope of a wee stop around these parts. 

 

*before you say it, I know it’s upside down – I can’t fix it
 
  

Handmade Mysteries

India is just bonkers – a land of mysteries with secrets and wonders in so many places.  On Tuesday we’re heading up to Srinegar in Kashmir way oop north, almost as far north as you can go before things start to get a bit awks with Pakistan.  About time we had a bit of spice!  Kashmir’s going to be unquestionably beautiful, and lucky for us it turns out we have some even better reasons to go!  

“The Magnetic Hill, located at an altitude of 11,000 feet above sea level in the hills of Ladakh is one of the most unusual places to visit in India.  The Mystery: Cars driving up the hill get pulled up of their own accord. That is, one can drive up here with the ignition of their vehicles turned off.”

  
FACTS.  I actually love that the mystery of this exciting phenomenon is only an optical illusion, resulting from the hill’s gravitational pull.  It’ll probably end up being a bit shit, and not quite as advertised.  #soindia.  

There are some other decent detour ideas for Dumball 2017 that Fletch and I can discuss over Chai when he flies in on Tuesday.  Beyond excited to hear his David Bowie impression, he’s just got to nail the jet lag. 

The title of this blog’s also a cheeky plug for my friends mysterious and immersive gaming experience Lady Chastity’s Reserve, which you should all totally check out by the way.  They’ve got venues in London and Brighton.  Get involved! 

Cows Cows Cows, Alleys Alleys Alleys, Temples Temples Temples

The title of this blog doesn’t even begin to describe the sheer amount of activity and life crammed in to the magical streets of Varanasi, THE holiest of the seven holy cities in India and the oldest city in the world, still standing strong on the banks of the Ganges after 3000+ years: a melting pot, where both life and death come together.  Devout Hindus come here to cremate their dead, and believe they can wash away their sins by bathing here – I’ll pass on that, respectfully, for now.

“Older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend, And looks twice as old as all of them put together”  Mark Twain

On day one, as I navigated/u-turned my way towards the Ganges River through the narrow alleys of the rabbit warren, I was met with fervent locals, Steves, Goats, motorbikes, mopeds, bicycles, countless sacred Cows/Bulls lolling on past (giving each a touch of respect), cheeky monkeys looking down and making mischief, Men with shrouded loved ones aloft their shoulders on bamboo stretchers, headed towards the Ganga Ghats (river front stairs) to be cremated, or covered in ash (erm, it’s human ash) returning – all sharing the alleys, and sometimes all at once.

Until today I couldn’t say I’d seen a dead body, let alone 9 being cremated at once.  I didn’t know how I’d react but I was strangely enamoured.  Varanasi has its own flavour of magic, play, illusion, intensity, over crowding and esoteric party atmosphere (considering), yet somehow it’s peaceful, I like it.  Who knows what tonight/tomorrow brings… 

 

Hello Dave
Cremations at Manikarnika Ghat

   

I’d recommend staying at Shiva Guest House – a little hard to find but inexpensive, a/c, helpful staff, and puts you right amongst it.  For some good cheap grub, I’d also recommend hitting the Dosa Cafe

My favourite tactic whenever I arrive anywhere new is to get high up from street level, get my bearings as well as a healthy dose of horizon. Tonight’s venue is the Dolphin Roof Top restaurant – a perfect spot to soak up the cocohophany of Varanasi by night and watch the sun go down over the Ganges.