Tag Archive | walk

June Solstice

We gathered before sunrise at the Puerta del Sol, an ancient Incan Sun Gate located a short walk from the Sacred Valley Retreat Center. For the ancient Incas, all life stemmed from the sun. They crafted their temples and other buildings with precise attention to the angle of the sun’s rays and the play of shadows. During the solstices, Inca initiates would place themselves at designated points where the first rays of the rising sun would illuminate their foreheads.

We followed this ritual at the Sun Gate in Yucay. I sat between rows of nubby stalks in a recently harvested cornfield. Before closing my eyes, I glimpsed the tomb-cliffs I had hiked to the day before. From there, my gaze traced Incan stone terraces and stone-lined irrigation channels all the way down to the stone steps of the Sun Gate. I closed my eyes to meditate. As the sun rose above the mountain, the first rays warmed my crown and then my forehead, and I felt tremendous power and gratitude welling up within me and swirling like the intense red patterns that played on my inner eye.

What a gift to allow myself to be here, I realized. What a gift to allow myself to live fully aware, dedicated to letting myself bloom. Here in this mountain valley, I could hear more clearly. Insights arose spontaneously, including:

  1. Honor the body and harbor the tender soul.

    Woman at the Inti Raymi celebration of the June Solstice

  2. Breathe into strength, the power deep within.
  3. Love openheartedly.
  4. Live in gratitude—great, great gratitude.
  5. Realize that death is a calm passing over, a sweetness not to be feared.

Back at the retreat center, I meditated for the remainder of the solstice day. By mid-afternoon, the garden and surrounding fields appeared to be both resting and abuzz with some hidden vigor and translucent sap. The poinsettia blazed red in the late afternoon sun. Off in the distance, a donkey brayed, a dog barked, and a chorus ensued. Beside me, the ewe tucked her legs beneath her woolly belly and chewed her cud.

All around me, shadows skirted the mountains, and I admired their bastion strength. Out loud I wondered how best to live my life.

The response:

  1. Live upturned like a daisy, heart open to the sun or the kiss of a child.
  2. Walk, every day, in the pulse of life. Walk with gratitude and awe, seeing the alive-ness and connectedness of everything.
  3. Meditate daily. Cultivate the inner richness.
  4. Every day, push the envelope of your courage. See what more emerges.
  5. Most of all, remember that you are part of this beauty. Remember your birthright to peace, abundance, and love.

Magnificence of the Andes

Camino a Las Tumbas/Path to the Tombs

On day 4 in the Andes, I hiked with Avishai* and two fellow travelers to the pre-Incan tombs that I could see from a trail near the farmhouse. From the distance, the round holes that punctuated the reddish swath of rock reminded me of the red cliff homes of the ancient Anasazi people of the U.S. Southwest. Our climb to the pre-Incan tombs was very steep, particular the last ascent, which was like scaling a cliff. As I pulled myself up by handfuls of thorny bushes, I told myself to not look down because I suddenly remembered I was afraid of heights.

When the four of us finally reached the rock shelf housing the three tombs, which were round and open-mouthed like red clay ovens, we sat in silence for a long while. There, next to the ancestors’ tombs and the cliff’s perilous edge, I reflected on fear and the need to befriend it.

As I rose to face the precipitous edge, Avishai counseled that faith and practice come from the same root word in Hebrew. Faith and practice cannot be separated. To have faith is to act on it, to walk. He encouraged me to trust my body and its intuitive ability to select the right footholds. And so I descended, trusting my body and befriending the gaping expanse.

Facing the edge, I now realize, was the best experience of the day. Too often the unknown is muddied by apprehension simply because we lack the ability to imagine it any other way.

View from the tombs.

At the tombs.

*Avishai and Viviana are my hosts and the proud proprietors of the Sacred Valley Retreat and Bed &Breakfast

The Spirit Leads to the Sacred Valley, Peru…

Day 1

After 36 of hours of travel – from San Francisco to San Salvador to San Jose  to Lima to Cusco—I finally land in the Sacred Valley of the Incas in the small village of Yucay, Peru.

Day 2

A path opens for me in my meditation. The path snakes ahead of me, inviting me to take it. It is opening, revealing itself, step by step. It is my path and no one else’s. I trust in the Divine within me and the Divine that IS me to find my way forward. This valley is sacred, and the paths within it lead to the Divine: divine healing and liberation, wholeness and health. It is enough to know that I am on the path.

View of Apu (Mountain-Spirit) Veronica from my bedroom window in Sacred Valley Retreat Center, Yucay, Peru