Monday, January 23, 2012

Giving Meaning to Life (Chacala Style)

"Giving Meaning to Life (Chacala Style)"
What Gives Meaning to Your Life? 
A Chacala Story...

After the summer rains, the dirt street in front of my home in Chacala, Mexico, was in bad shape. The neighbors got together and brought in loads of rock and dirt and graded it nice and straight and smooth. AND dusty! With the new surface, people could drive faster on the road and the resulting clouds of dust swarmed around my house and snuck through windows and doors and settled on everything.

Some people here water the streets in front of their homes and business to keep down the dust. I tried it, but it took too much time and there often isn't much water pressure here. I was lamenting to a neighbor that I needed a helpful teen to do the job for me, but there aren't any right around here.

My neighbor suggested I ask my next door neighbor Señor B to do it. He is 80+ years old, and no longer very stable on his feet. I wasn't sure about the idea, partly because I often need a translator to help me understand Sr. B's Spanish!

The next day when I was watering the street again, Sr. B approached me about doing it for me. It turned out my neighbor had already shared her idea with him, so we agreed on a "salary,"and I gladly turned over my duty to him. As I watched him the next couple of days I realized we needed to turn up the energy and scope of his job description.

I added a length of hose so he could reach farther in both directions, took off the feeble spray nozzle, suggested he take more time to really soak the dirt, and I doubled his salary. "Mas mangera, mas tiempo, mas calle, y mas dinero." (More hose, more time, more street, and more money!).

Sr. B lives very simply on a very small pension. He lives in a cement block space of about 300 square feet with no windows and one steel door -- as many older people here do. After the first few days of the "job," my neighbor reported that Sr. B had shared a new sense of value and purpose to his life. His responsibility has given him new structure and meaning. I had no idea this would happen, I only wanted to get rid of the dust!

I'm delighted. Sr. B meticulously waters the street from edge to edge every day now. The dust problem is virtually eliminated. But even more important has been my realization that such a simple idea could change his life the way it has. Today he told me another neighbor asked him to keep going past my house to theirs! He has a new career!

I smile as I share this with you.

Side note: Sr. B was hit by a car years ago, and has been very afraid of cars since then. I often see him nervously scampering to safety when he is walking down the street and a car approaches. Today I watched him at his work and noticed he had more authority about his street. He seemed less anxious and even directed one truck around his hose.

What about you? What gives meaning to your life? -- Or (707) 206-7623 (rings through to Chacala from northern California toll free.)


We still have room for you at my Chacala Valentine's Relationship Retreat ~ February 10 ~ 14, 2012. 

Sign up now and I'll save one of these seats for you. Pick your view. 

Chacala is a small fishing village with a perfect 1/2 mile beach, two hours north of Puerto Vallarta, on Mexico's Riviera Nayarit. 

From last year: "The expansion of awareness we came home with is still expanding! Our relationship has been transformed, truly... how easy & non-defensive we've become with each other. The acceptance of ourselves just naturally transfers to acceptance of each other! Wonderful stuff -- thank you, Allan!" (Colorado)

Don't let this opportunity pass! Chacala is a small, safe, and wonderful village, with warm people, warm sun, warm ocean, fresh seafood...and did I mention, it's warm!?

Sign up now and I'll save you that seat.