Wow! I arrived in Chacala yesterday, and what a treat! I am so grateful for this special place, and for the part of me that took the action to create a home here. Who woulda' thought?
It has been bright, sunny, and warm all day. But, wait, before I go on and on about Chacala, here is what I've been thinking about this Thanksgiving time in the USA:
I am receiving some wonderful mails and newsletters this Thanksgiving time and day tomorrow. Thank you all for writing. I want to take the idea of giving thanks out a little farther... to the power of gratitude.
When we find our way to gratitude as a way of life, we are in LOVE, simply and easily. You cannot truly be grateful and in fear at the same time. When you're not afraid, you can live in your default state of love and gratitude. Happiness.
The gratitude I am thinking of comes when we accept all that the universe is. We see the perfection of creation, and our hearts open to receive What IS. An apprentice once looked up "acceptance" in the dictionary (because I talk about it a lot), and found this definition: "Readiness to receive." When you are ready to receive part or all of this amazing universe just the way it is, you are in acceptance.
When you are ready to receive the magnificence of Life, how could you not be in Gratitude...? And when you find that place inside often enough, you have made it a way of Life. Gratitude is a way of Life. And it is the way of a Life of love, acceptance, and receptivity.
It is the Spiritual Warrior's way in the world.
So, for those celebrating, Happy Thanksgiving. For those not in the US or those rejecting the holiday, I invite you to embrace your gratitude for Life. It is quite a gift, you know.
Go out and hug a Pilgrim or a turkey! And be grateful you can.
And now about Chacala once again!
I arrived at my winter home, The House of the Eagles in Chacala, Nayarit, Mexico, yesterday. The temperature today has been in the mild 80's, the skies blue, and the jungle around town filled with green and the many colors of flowers and butterflies.
I urge you to consider joining me here-- for our annual Valentine's Week workshop (February 10~14), a personal intensive with me (mid-January and mid-March now available), or simply to relax on the beach and watch a beautiful sunset (come as you are).
We will also be celebrating New Year's in Chacala: "A Conscious Beginning ~ Embracing Abundance." Please join us.
Some of the details are here (The Joydancer site is under revision)
Please contact me directly for more information: email@example.com
Pictures speak a thousand words... here are 10,000 words about my beloved Chacala... I look forward to seeing you here.
Chacala is located 90 minutes north of Puerto Vallarta, in the state of Nayarit, on the tropical west coast of Mexico. Puerto Vallarta is an easy flight from everywhere. I can help you with transportation from PV and lodging in Chacala.
We are a village of about 400 wonderful and warm Mexican locals, and a small number of smart and/or lucky "internationals." The beach is clean and safe, the fish and shrimp at the beach restaurants are fresh from the sea. Sunsets can be spectacular. Comfortable lodging $40-65 USD per night.
Please pay no attention to the media sensationalism about violence in Mexico. Yes, there is trouble, mostly in border cities. I drove 2,065 miles down from Nogales, AZ, and most of Mexico remains a lovely, friendly, peaceful country. Puerto Vallarta is rated as one of the safest cities in the world -- and Chacala, well, watch out for those margaritas at Las Brisas on the beach!
There is NO reason for you not to come down. Join me for New Year's or Valentine's celebrations, a personal intensive of five days or more, or come on vacation and let me show you my paradise... and the best place on the beach for a margarita and sunset.
Did I mention it is warm in the middle of the winter!!??
Get in touch, and we'll go from there. My website is in a bit of disarray, so contact me directly as needed: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yours in love and The New Dream of Peace in the Hearts of All Humans,
Thursday, December 2, 2010
Monday, February 15, 2010
Happy Valentine's Day!
I hope this finds you well, and remembering that your very nature is LOVE!
Valentine's Retreat on Friday evening, at a thatched restaurant on the beach - where everyone opened and read the Valentine's card they had written to themselves during the week. It was pretty darn sweet. And of course, the seafood is always fresh and delicious, and the sunset was spectacular.
The patio and ramada roof on top of my house was almost finished in time for the retreat. It still needs tile and paint, so this was our maiden voyage for the new teaching space, and it worked out pretty well. The evening meetings were especially delicious, when the town quieted, the stars came out, and the soft tropical breeze wafted through the space and our group.
When we were sharing our intentions at the beginning of the week, a common theme that came up for everyone was, "I want to access and become my Authentic Self." Our focus for the week was on our true nature as Love - to know that we ARE love. We looked at many old agreements built on the lie that love is a commodity outside of ourselves we have to bargain for by getting it right for others.
And we changed those agreements! We are love, we came into this world as love, we were made by the love of the very Life that creates and animates this universe. Our experience was based on my work with...
I love Rumi's poems, and often use this one to set the focus of my teaching these days:
"Your task is not to seek for love,
but merely to seek and find
all the barriers within yourself
that you have built against it."
We are not learning to love, we are learning to stop denying that love is our nature, our gift, our Life itself.
I hope you are using this sweet day of Valentine's Love to open your heart to yourself, and to honor your true nature. You ARE love.
We discover our Authentic Self when we have faith in the love that created us and that we are. When we listen deeply inside to the unique inspirations that arise in us, and then have the courage and faith to take action on them, we will become who we came here to be. And I guarantee the authentic life you create will be a masterpiece of art.
Try it, you might like it.
Let me hear from you: email@example.com
Be part of the Joydancer Family
and sponsor a student to higher education
In Chacala students can only study through the 6th grade, and then must go out to another town to continue school. If the parents don't have enough money for books, the shuttle van, or uniforms, the kids stay home.
There is an organization here called "Cambiando Vidas/Changing Lives" that supports students with scholarships to go to school beyond Chacala. Our Joydancer Family is about 3/4's of the way to the $720 US that it takes to sponsor a student for one year - I want you to help us hit our goal before the second big fund-raising dinner this Friday night.
The Cambiando Vidas website is here.
We have established donation buttons in our Joydancer Store if you would like to join us to support a student. We need another $170 for a full scholarship. The future is in the hands of the young.
Will you help? Donate here
Monday, February 8, 2010
Each year, parents and students in Chacala, Mexico put on a "Mexican Fiesta" to raise money for a scholarship program to send kids out to another town for continuing their education after sixth grade. With money provided by the scholarship fund, the students can finish high school and even go to a university. There are over 20 kids in the program right now that would be stuck in Chacala without a higher education if not for the program.
The other night, I attended the fiesta with over 125 people, and I've never seen so many gringos (and locals) in one place at one time in Chacala! Each of the guests paid about $17 US for dinner, (cooked and served by the parents and their kids) and many were pledging all or part of the $720 US it costs to support each student for a year.
One of our "Toltec Angels" has already contributed about 2/3's of a scholarship, I will add to it, and I am looking for matching funds to get to the $720 mark so the Joydancer Family can offer a scholarship - or two or three. If you would like to donate to the family fund, simply go to the Joydancer Online Store, and you will see an opportunity to donate to the Chacala Changing Lives Scholarship Fund. It is such a sweet way to support this local community along with our world community, and insure the future of this village and Mexico.
Up until several years ago, Chacala was still a sleepy fishing village that came alive around Christmas/New Year, Easter and several Mexican holidays. Over the last few years, many volunteers have contributed their time, energy and cash to bring educational opportunities to the children of Chacala. In 1996, Dale Reinhardt, a Rotarian from North Carolina enlisted his club and Rotary International to build a library in the village.
Cambiando Vidas (Changing Lives) is the nonprofit organization working in Chacala to give children educational opportunities through a Scholarship Program and providing support for the Learning Center which includes the Book Library, Computer Lab with high-speed Internet access, After School Enrichment and Head Start programs, School Hot Lunch Program, and a Tool Lending Library.
This year Cambiando Vidas faces a difficult time financially. Due to the financial crisis in the USA and elsewhere, fund-raising efforts have been seriously affected. Donors are naturally concerned about their declining retirement funds, and some have dropped out of the program, leaving some students without sponsors. Each year the program has tried to expand its scholarship offerings but this year CV will not be able to take on any new students, as their first priority will be to find funds to support the students that are already in the program. Cutbacks in scholarship support may also be necessary in order to meet the budget.
Cambiando Vidas is challenged now as more students graduate from high school and go on to University. Each and every donation made is vital to their success. Because of the donors, the children are able to pursue their education as well as use and enjoy the Dale Reinhardt Learning Center every day. Together we are indeed changing lives, Cambiando Vidas. We hope you will visit us soon to witness the miracles created by your loving generosity.
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Monday, January 4, 2010
I am writing this Christmas greeting from my winter home at the beach in Chacala, Nayarít, Mexico, once again. It is quite warm here, there is no white Christmas, no sleigh bells jingling or red-nosed reindeers, no halls decked with boughs of holly. There are no chestnuts roasting by open fires, one frosty snowman (below), no partridges in pear trees, and certainly no silent nights (but the dogs and roosters are for a different story).
Without these familiar triggers into the sentiments and activities of Christmas, it seems very far away and foreign. I appreciate all the e-mails wishing me a Merry Christmas! Thank You. I will remain merry, trust me on this. Wherever you find yourself this season, and whoever you find yourself with, I wish you a peaceful and beautiful time-- inside and out!
I am very grateful this year for the intentions and accidents that created my home here in this little village, with sweet friends, warm weather, a gorgeous empty beach, juicy sun, and fresh seafood. I am grateful for the people visiting from the north country for transformational intensive work and/or to simply hang out together. It is all good.
I want to share a story -- not really a Christmas story, but for me it represents what maybe we call the Spirit of Christmas, and why I love living in Mexico:
I am living in a studio upstairs above my house in Chacala, because the downstairs needs to be gutted and remodeled. The roof leaked during the summer rains (when I wasn't here) and again during an "unseasonable" deluge earlier this month (when I was here).
I actually had to sleep at a neighbor's then, because it was too wet here. Last week we started construction on a rooftop terrace patio, with a red tile ramada roof, and all the trimmings-- including absolute roof waterproofing, not easy here.
I had finished a late dinner and was talking with a neighbor last night, when another totally unexpected deluge hit. I don't use the word "deluge" lightly here -- think Noah's ark. I knew I had to go protect my home, but it was raining so hard I didn't want to go out in it to walk home. Finally I knew I had to, and was drenched through and through when I got to the house-- after wading through a brown river that had been the road only minutes before.
There were already some drips coming through the brick ceiling, and I dried off a bit, then had to go back outside to collect tarps from downstairs. As I came out I heard a truck turning the corner, and wondered who could be out in this dark and stormy night. I was even more surprised when the truck stopped in front of my house.
It was after midnight by now, and out of the truck spilled the crew of five local guys and their boss that has been working on my rooftop dream! The boss said he woke up to the pounding rain, and knew they had to come and take care of the situation. They live in another town, about 20 minutes away.
They had built the low walls around perimeter of the roof yesterday, but hadn't created the drainage yet-- the roof was becoming a lake. They waded through with flashlights and a big drill and made holes in their new concrete to drain the water, they bailed with buckets, and I bailed and swept with a broom.
As we finished bailing the last of the water, the clouds parted and revealed the most beautiful starry night! We shook hands and they headed home and back to bed. I stood there under the stars for a few moments, feeling their love and their willingness to do what needed to be done. I accepted it all with gratitude.
Something in my heart got so big, standing there in the night. I can still feel it today. Something about a love unspoken, no bargains, no obligations. I am certain they wouldn't call it love. It is simply Life here.
They all came back at 7:00 am this morning, and somebody said "Mucha lluvia anoche!" ~ Lots of rain last night.
∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞§∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞I am wishing each and everyone one of you who reads this newsletter (and all the ones who are too busy), a loving, heart-centered, and generous Christmas and holiday time.
Happy New Year