CTRL/Alt + Del: Retreating to Tulum and Back

When one hears the word “retreat”, often an idyllic setting filled with lush landscapes and quiet moments comes to mind. Sometimes it’s a cabin far away and isolated from civilization-just you and nature and the birds and all of that. With this recent trip to Mexico, my retreat was a little of both with a great deal  It has been almost a week since my return from my personal retreat. I feel good. Actually, better than I have in quite some time. I can see in my face and my body that I indeed left some things behind on this last trip.  I can also admit there have been some gains in the form of insights that I brought back with me. There were also five takeaways that resonated with me, that I felt were worth sharing.
  1. Trust your instincts. My original plan was a solo trip to Senegal. As the time to solidify the trip grew closer, intuition pulled me in another direction-Mexico. I had been to Playa del Carmen late last year and had not made it to Tulum. The pull was to go there instead and to not be alone. “Go where people can watch you.” So, I reached out By the time my plans were solidified, Tulum was the final destination with two sister-friends in tow.
2. Going further is better than going faster. An African proverb that has been sitting with me for some time offers this wisdom: If you want to go fast go alone, if you want to go far, go with others. The community of women that met me in Mexico were a big part of the retreat success. I want to stress, this is not for everybody. I was specific with who I invited because I needed to be with self-sufficient and compassionate folk.  There was like-actioned energy with the community I built for this trip that made this work. We took care of each other and gave each other space to be on our own. 
Transmutation through travel. I didn’t fully realize the psychic and spiritual stagnancy effects of quarantine until it was time to get back out in the travel space.  The grief and anxiety that had been building up in my system had reached a point where my body felt like it was going to pop. My at-home workouts were keeping things from going completely overboard, but being home was part of the problem. I will probably share more in an upcoming conversation, but actually working through my anxiety by traveling and getting back out there had such an immediate effect that I felt it within 30 minutes of landing in Mexico. The environmental shift of landscapes and aesthetics, coupled with the closeness to nature was transformative.  By the time I prepared to make my way back home, my body had deflated (in a good way), my physical movement felt more fluid, and the Vitamin D charge from direct sunlight gave my overall mood a boost and brought my glow back to a ten.
4. Do More Rituals.  The beauty of travel is that if you lean into the indigenous cultures of your destination, you will find rituals familiar and unfamiliar.   The Maya are indigenous to Tulum and energetically, some of their ritual practices are familiar to me as an African woman and also as someone who has been exposed to First Nation spiritual practices in the U.S.  Tourism can sometimes make these elements harder to access, so this is where asking around before you travel can deliver the big win. At the suggestion of a friend, I got a  traditional-style Mayan clay massage. The clay itself is enriching and detoxifying. The spa setting with its outdoor massage spaces and open-air showers made the experience that much more satisfying and great preparation for my Temazcal experience.

Thanks to Mayur Village we were able to take part in Temazcal, a Mayan purification process where you enter an igloo-shaped structure and go through four rounds of prayers while hot stones are pushed into the space to create heat and steam to draw our the energies that you no longer need. It is lead by a shaman who prepares the space and takes you through the process. Shout out to Yolo (pictured above) our shamanic guide. He took us through four rounds of heat and steam where we prayed, cried, and screamed. When we emerged, the four women that had entered the sacred space were no more. We were changed. Lighter. Free.
5. Re-entry Tingz. The thing about going away is that most times, you have to return. It can be jarring to re-enter the life you put on pause, but it doesn’t have to be.  I decided this time around, I would do things slowly, which for me is often impossible. Instead of announcing my return, I laid low and spent a week maintaining the peace I had established. This looked like not alerting people of my return, staying off social media, and continuing to rest. Since coming back, I have had moments of tension that make me want to run back to Tulum, but then I think about re-emerging after the Temazcal. I take a deep breath, burn some copal, and reset.

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