Archive for April, 2010

Liftoff

April 28, 2010

Sometimes things change in an instant. My trip to Peru didn’t exactly change in an instant, but it changed almost overnight. In late January, 2010, flooding and mudslides in Peru made Machu Picchu inaccessible. People lost their homes. Some died. Tourists had to be rescued by helicopter. Fortunately, Machu Picchu itself was not lost, but it would be lost to tourism for weeks or months to come. In fact, the entire Sacred Valley had endured flooding and some areas near Lake Titicaca had been flooded, too

My side trip to Machu Picchu was washed away in the floods. Visiting the Sacred Valley was in question. For a few days I was not sure that the trip would happen at all. Fortunately, while the trip schedule had to morph a bit, the trip was still on. Instead of visiting Machu Picchu, we would be going to what many believed to be the most important archeological site in the Americas: Tiwanaku, in Bolivia.

Now this was truly interesting. A couple of years earlier, I had been sitting meditation one morning when I received the very clear message that I would be going to Bolivia one day. I wasn’t even quite sure where in South America Bolivia was. I was skeptical. (Yes, I admit it. I sometimes question what comes in meditation, even though it is right on, more often than not.) Bolivia? What in the world would bring me to Bolivia? And now, two years later, it seemed I would be going to Bolivia on a side trip.

Part of the Denver contingent gathered at DIA on February 7. The first leg of the trip for us was Denver to Miami. Then Miami to Lima and Lima to Juliaca. From Juliaca, we would take a bus to Puno and on to Jorge’s hotel, the Taypikala Hotel, which was on the shores of Lake Titicaca, in the little village of Chucuito.

I suspected that my flight from Denver to Miami was going to be a good one when the man already seated next to my assigned seat on the airplane greeted me even before I sat down and offered to help me stash my carryon. He had a huge smile and emanated peace. I quickly learned that his name was Shane Senevirante, he had been born in Sri Lanka, and he was the owner of an open wheel (Indie style) race car team called Team Stargate Worlds. Yep, the same folks connected with the television series and movie sponsored his team. He was heading to Miami to meet up with one of his drivers, Simone De Silvestro.

Shane and I chatted the entire flight. We talked about open wheel car racing, shamanism, family, Peru, Sri Lanka, and leadership. That conversation with Shane gave me hope. Here was a young team owner in the highly competitive field of car racing speaking about the importance of maintaining harmony within his team. He genuinely cared about his team members and their overall well being. He had a firm grasp on business necessity, but he also had a firm understanding of the importance of maintaining internal peace. And he cared deeply about his family.

If someone had suggested that enlightened leadership could be found in the race car industry, I would have seriously doubted the veracity of the comment and the sanity of the speaker. Yet there I was, impressed by the wisdom and commitment to principles coming from a young race team owner. I had dropped out of corporate America more than a decade earlier because of unenlightened leadership and greed. This young man was making me rethink my position on business. I planned to keep an eye on him and his team.

The layover in Miami was many hours. It might have been exhausting, but wasn’t because our group bonded during those hours. We had come together for a purpose: to join with others to activate the Solar Disc. It was a service trip for all of us and joining together in service, in and of itself, helped forge that bond. But we also had so much time to wait at the less than inspiring Miami International Airport that we were able to share stories about ourselves and our lives, buy a group gift for Jorge and another for one of his guides, and otherwise gel as team. The layover was enlivening instead of exhausting.

The layover in Lima was also long and we were just a little rumpled around the edges at that point. But the flight to Juliaca was awe inspiring. The Peruvian Andes were blanketed in green—and not just any shade of green, but a vibrant mixture of forest green, Kelly green, and spring green that was surely the essence of what God meant by the word “life,” and could easily be the pictorial stand-in for the word.

The Juliaca airport was a diminutive tarmac break among all that green, like a nest tucked into the terraced hills. I found myself grateful for the pilot who had managed the landing. At the luggage carousel—and there was only one, so it was easy to find—a smiling little band of locals greeted us with pan flutes and guitars. Their cheerful traditional Peruvian music created an immediate sense of celebration, but my reaction was that of having all the wind sucked right out of me. Tears sprang to my eyes.

I felt as if I had come home . . . after a long absence.  

Copyright 2010 by Melanie Mulhall

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The Preparations

April 4, 2010

What requires serious preparation but no expectations? It could be a kōan, couldn’t it? Once I had accepted the invitation to take part in the Solar Disc activation ceremony at Lake Titicaca in Peru, I knew that I would need to prepare for the trip and I also knew that it was foolish to have expectations about what would happen on the trip. 

How did I plan to prepare? There would be physical preparations. We would be staying near Puno, Peru at an elevation of close to 12,500 ft. and would be a thousand feet higher than that when we activated the Solar Disc on Amantani Island. I lived in Colorado and had climbed fourteeners—what we Coloradans affectionately call our fourteen thousand foot mountains. I had serious respect for elevation. I knew I needed to be in shape for the trip. Fortunately, I already did a bit of cardio and lifted weights at the gym. I was clear that I needed to continue that regimen. 

Near the Aramu Muru Doorway

As important, there would be mental, emotional, and spiritual preparations. I knew, instinctively, that anyone called to participate in this important ceremony would likely have the challenge of their unintegrated “stuff” coming up while at the gathering. I would be no exception. Had I done shadow work? Had I explored my weaknesses and what pushed my buttons? Had I worked on my interior landscape and exterior expression? Yes. Repeatedly. In fact, as an ongoing part of my life for many years. But I wasn’t foolish enough to think that I had no toxins eating away at my internal environment and I continued to be as tenacious as Erin Brockovich on PG&E when it came to my own internal clearing. Well, okay, maybe I cut myself a little more slack that Erin did PG&E. But I still tripped on my own ego often enough to know that I could use a little more grace and balance on the inside. 

In short, not only was I no Ascended Master (the obvious proof being that I was enfleshed in a human body), but any poll of my friends would reveal remarkably consistent reports of my displaying at least half of the Seven Deadly Sins over the course of our relationship. If I was to stay in service and not spiral down into my own undigested stuff, I needed to attend to my mental, emotional, and spiritual health over the next six months or so. 

Yes, I committed to the trip more than six months before the event. I was that sure I needed to be there. And I was grateful to have the time to prepare. So I continued my cardio and weight resistance training, got enough sleep, mostly ate well, meditated, did various forms of clearing (including hucha clearing), challenged my thinking, and caught myself when my emotions were dredging up something important from the past. Lest you envision me living the life of a monk or, worse, being in some New Age, self-deluded fantasy that I was on the fast track to nirvana, I assure you neither was the case. I meditated except when I didn’t and when I did meditate, it was for thirty minutes if I was lucky, not three hours. When I caught myself spiraling down into dysfunctional thinking or emotions, it was, as often as not, after I had already been rolling around in that muck for at least a little while or, worse, after I’d already made an ass out of myself. I was just a pilgrim going down the road. 

But I was a pilgrim going down the road (still am) and was (am) nothing if not persistent. So I stuck with it. 

In early January, I was pulled, as if by the force of gravity, to work with the Weather Spirits. I didn’t just commune with the essences of Cold, Rain, and Wind, I communed with the Grandfather Cold who was wrapping my own home in sub-zero temperatures right then, the Brother Rain impacting parts of the country as I connected with him in meditation, and the Grandmother Wind who rattled my windows or ripped apart some distant landscape in that moment. Communing with the Weather Spirits was as natural for me as having a heartfelt discussion with anyone in human form.

And why not? I had been fascinated with the weather my entire life. Perhaps it was because my mother had grown up on a farm. Farmers study the weather like stockbrokers study tickertape. Perhaps it was also because the natural world had been, for my father, the equivalent of a cathedral. An appreciation for the weather was in my DNA. And I grew to understand the Weather Spirits profoundly during these meditations with them. I came to understand that while it is foolhardy to think we can control or manipulate the weather (either through scientific means or metaphysical ones), it is wise to approach the Weather Spirits with respect and a genuine desire for understanding. I came to love them all.    

I was not only drawn to the weather, I was pulled to the Forces of Nature, in general. I spoke with Pachamama. I met with the Apu of Longs Peak (who came to me in a beautiful feminine form), and I sought to understand the primal power of Earthquake. I had no idea why I was suddenly compelled to commune with the Weather Spirits and Forces of Nature, but when the Haiti earthquake hit in January, followed by the catastrophic flooding of Peru, my work with nature seemed to make sense as just part of my preparation for the trip. 

We had been scheduled to make a side trip to Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley. Those plans were washed away in the floods. I was happy to have harbored no real expectations about the trip. And I continued to prepare.

Copyright 2010 by Melanie Mulhall