Posts Tagged ‘lake atitlan’

i escaped the clutches of the lake, or that is the way it feels. Felt it dragging me to its depths at times, to that which lay below and within. At times it shown brightly at me, like the day i watched the sun or something sparkle upon it, in lines and geometric designs and across the shore, lighting up strands of light in the morning sun. I would visit it several times a day and it would reveal its mood to me, at times still and calm in the morning, other times dark and choppy, in the afternoon. Still there was something powerful there, something that left me ill at ease, and unsettled energy, and something revealing its depths. A wierd swirl? A container? A vortex? or just me?

It was an old volcano, and i saw one at the bottom, something down there something waiting, coming up, something more. She, the woman who runs las pirimides meditation centre, had asked us to visit the pyramid at the bottom of the lake, one that exists in another dimension. While i never visited it, in any type of travel, i believe and felt there was something profound there. But as i said in my previous blogs, something about the energy of the place felt out of kilter, and brought up alot in me. Or was it the town of San Marcos, or the centre of Las Pirimides, or my room or me or as i believe a combination of both. And the lake, surrounded by mountains and several volcanos in the mountains itself acted as a container, for the energies above and below and within.

The lake has become polluted, still used for swimming and irrigation and water and more, and the algae bloom that threatened it had died down but it is not clean, the water no longer pure. and it is not just the physical effluent that comes into it front the towns and villages that surround, but also the psychic effluent that comes in, from the history of the place, and from those who come to clear their energy, or party and live hedonistic lives, dumping it into the lake, and it has become magnified. Depending on the day, you can feel both. But there is also something more.

My world shattered as i stayed at the centre one where i feel that the energy has been removed from and the critic in me came out. The place seemed off kilter too, and it ws not just i who was – the garden seemed to lack life, the plants did not seem vibrant through in the main area the foliage was bright. And i felt caged of sorts, the lush plants blocked out the sky – both the sun and the stars – a mini-world from which you did not look out. The energy of the retreat, exploring through yoga, metaphysics and meditation, encouraging one to crawl inside while reaching for the light, and crawl inside i did – at times to my room, a larger dark room, with a single low watt lightbulb, stone floor, wood walls, and windows that faced an outside wall, i would crawl into that world, hiding beneath the covers in my cocoon, creating another container.

At times i would sit on my bed, watching the flame of the candle, making designs, beems of light in star formation, sending the light to me, or angels in the flames or pairs dancing, or a pane of ochre yellow with primitive designs and bubbles – it had its moods, like i and the place.

and i yearned to leave and i wanted to stay – the energy of the lake wierd, at times rough and choppy, dreams intense and my emotions bounce like the lancha on the water in the afternoon swells, other times solidity seemed to vanish as i entered another dimension, or the place did, in san marcos and in other communities – the ground less solid, i sway, all sways, time changes – slows and quickens, i cannot describe it all now. The day i went to san pedro and time stopped, and all became a blur, or the other day when i rode across to pana and the hills glowed in psychedelic brilliance, and i sat still, so still, mesmerized by the beauty and crispness of it all, apart looking on like in a film, a film set, but so much a part of it at the same time.

I went to the lake, down the narrow pathways, and sat to smoke (cigarettes only – despite how wierd this seems no drugs are involved in any of these perceptions) – by the dock in the morning as the sun rose and the sky turned pink or in the evening as darkness descended, and to my other spot, where i once watched light play, and sat in the sun at 9 am. Still, i never entered into the water, never the urge, though occasionally feeling that it was the thing to do.

And i sense the energies – not all clear, not all benign. The clash between the town above where the evangelicals would broadcast the gatherings on loudspeakers, many were annoyed, but i loved the alleluia and the praise to the senor dios, the womans unique voice calmed me even more than the aums (oms) we would sometimes chant. And the dogs in their own world, the barking at night, at nothing or something, the doggie spirits. and we practiced looking at another one day in meditation, staring at the third eye, and then seeing past lives of the other – i was sceptical, but then faces began to flash in front of my eyes, quickly, variations, some not quite human (and this happened to us all) – but taking off my glasses to see energy (as i often do out in nature) i began to see other faces or faces of others transformed, and it was not always wonderful, at times i wonder if i saw the other side, other variations of people or what we came from. Yes, talk of atlantis and angels, and i could see beyond out dimension more than at any time in the past. And where were we going, and was this in the name of god or not?

But for most of my time there i could not see the energies of plants or the mountains, except for the few brilliant flashes, and that bothered me, for i often can when i sit calm, look with my real eyes, and not the lenses that cover them to enable me to see form crisply. But my eyes were clouded much of the time there, as my ears were and at times my heart and soul. But i also had knowings and strange fears and emotions. Something awoke and something broke. Still it did not feel entirely safe, a safe place to explore that which i had been longing to for so long.

An i processed so much energy from within – my body rocking back and forth in meditation a swaying that i was doing – unconsciously – that seemed to take hold of me, and a twitch or loosening in the shoulders, and movements felt in the brain as pathways becoming restructured, and the blinking to clarity that i had only experienced in one other setting after sound healing and the movement of energy within and without. And occasionally a stiffening. My last days i felt sick and i knew it was not just some bad food but all that moved within me.

The day i left i descended to tears – ¨i dont want to go, i dont want to¨ i cried to myself, my bowels gave out so i did not go for a long walk to san pedro with others, i felt heavy and deadened barely able to muster a word, drained in tears, feeling alone, caught in some wierd vortex.

But once i left i felt a release. I did not know where i was going -to pana i thought, but as we crossed the water, i could not go back to noise, so got off in santa cruz where i had stayed before. I felt brighter and lighter. In santa cruz i saw the birds fly around a corn plot, and butterflies in the trees, and more birds singing and the plants and hillsides seemed so much more vibrant and alive and so did i. I was back in a different zone, saw the small gallery and in it some paintings that reflected the energy of nature, and at night i slept in the open dorm, feeling the air upon my face, the life pass through, and a cat crawl in with me,

I pulled myself away from the lake – back to antigua and saw some beauty i had not before.

Was i transformed, was it a wierd vortex, a container of energy? the energy of the place, or me, the interplay between it all.

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I am back in Antigua as i write this – fled the lake yesterday, and not knowing where to go, or being stuck in an energy vortex of sorts, one that i had to pull myself out of, wonder if i should have but i did.

Lake Atitlan was supposed to have been wonderful, a place of spirit a place of growth, but in the end i found it was a place where i could not be still, indulged, saw the beauty of the mountains, water, evening clouds, and it is a land of seekers – and i found myself seeking and not finding. the critic coming out, feeling removed from all i saw and felt – it was supposed to be one of the best places, but i left feeling disappointed and alienated from all – questioning my role here on earth, not liking what i was doing or what i have done.

The lake as i wrote earlier has many towns and villages connected by boat, and each has a different feel, yet in some ways there is a similarity. I like most first arrived in panachel, the transportation gateway, the place where most shuttles take you, the main gate to the outside world. It is a tourist zone, like most of the lake, with restos and travel agencies and mayan linens and crafts lining the main street – cheap food and hotels – thought of staying there my last night but i did not – should have – would have been cheaper now that i realize just how little money i have left. There is a town, refreshing a bit after the ¨village¨where i stayed – but the whole thing feels so temporary and as all the guide books say it has not developed beautifully – a park down by the water but one where you cannot sit without being peddled scarves or bracelets or necklaces or blankets, and cheap restos with good views where they all try to call you in – i should not be critical but i am. Maybe i should have spent the night there – would have made moving on easier but i am tired of moving on. An ex-hippie not just tourist town.

I stayed in Santa Cruz where the expats had the lakefront – the few hotels, dining-in more connected to reality where i was as the main dock was there, It feels so far away now – reminded me of the oregon coast in a way – a retirement community yes, ex artists, hippies etc who made money and live there now in nicer houses, but the seperation of them and the mayan community immense – it is the latter that does the work, and i feel that i do no work, and want to but do not have a place to. A community art gallery opening, the art that i seen elsewhere – my eyes are jaded. At the hostel people nice but several canadians who let it be known how superior they were to americans and questions of career and what do you do and i the old lady on the backpackers side – no longer see myself as one, yet too young to be a retiree.

I went to San Pedro – the other bigger town on the other side of the lake – the one where you get off the lancha and the first thing you see is a sign saying the buying and selling of drugs is illegal though as you walk though the lower town – by the water – where the small hotels, bars, restos and language schools are connected on a narrow twisting street and a dirt path by the water – you feel that not all obey the sign – a bit of a grungy feel among the interesting menus and patios. I am gone from there and i cannot explain. Up the steep hill, the regular town, with the market, a church, traffic, people, mainly maya, selling fruits and veggies on the road, and the small dark shops with the junk food and goods. And i did not feel part of the place, visited a few language schools, with the desks set out on patios or lawns, but did not see.

San Marcos i also wrote about – the holistic healing village with the narrow paths in a jungle like setting.

The lancha rides across the lake in the afternoon, when the lake got choppy, only one childs life jacket on board one of them – the lanchas the one place all go ride in the same boats sit on the same benches.

In some ways i felt like i had gone home to the west coast – yes a lake rather than an ocean, but that feeling of not belonging returning though i chatted with several people. was it being in a contained environment, a low brow resort, a group environment, that i cannot relate to, the nervousness i feel in groups, the nt getting the chit chat and more, or of an opening or a party never knowing what to say or how to act, not really enjoying them when surrounded by those that do.

Did i draw the boundary around me – yoga three days that i was there but i only joined in one day – felt awkward in a downward dog or a twist, as the locals around did the work, and there is more that praying and meditating. As i change my clothes as the sun goes down, and the temperature along with it, novels of the british in south africa, or whites in the south on their plantations – changing several times a day and for dinner – come to mind. And i wonder, is this not just a new form of colonialism that i am engaging in. And other questions – in north america we often complain that those who come from Mexico or further south, cling to their language – and their ways and people, forming sub-communities –  but what do i see here – a tight knit gringo community, employing some locals but also foreigners, speaking english, clinging to more holistic, alternative north american and european ways, providing some emplyment, but driving up prices and buying the best land, and how much money stays in the area, how much is put back in – and how many of the local ways are adopted and to what extent to the expats blends in and to what extent can they – yes some community projects, and an appreciation fr the maya – assistance a bit with development – but how many times do i here ¨why dont they….¨especially when it cmes to environmental concerns. So confusting, conflicting emotions – a new paradise, found, bought and used up? i dont know 

I wanted to go home. but the alienatin i had felt has returned big time. disconnected but did i just shut it out. An observer of what goes on.

In antigua i felt a little at ease for a while but as i tried to sleep to the nightclub outside i felt like i had entered Babylon again, the drunken cries, and the good life gone bad – the three groups intermingle a bit more here – the grings there are many, the well healed from the city (guatemala city) on the weekends, and the maya – not all who just sell. I walk the town, use the internet, go to see a film.

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I write this from Panachal which i cannot spell, came into town to write, to use the internet, to check out the place that i have heard of and which i passed through on my way to santa cruz – it is busier here, a tourist town with crafts and clothing lining the main street, pressure to buy a scarf or a necklace, and  tuk tuks parade around, walk in the street with them, and travel agencies and restos and cheap hotels – and i ask why am i here, what is here – look out onto the lake, it is nice, but contained and i feel my alienation increasing – another tourist  town, a different country, different people selling wares, this time the maya, a different beautiful locale – but what is it all for – indulgence i guess, but in what. I feed my body, the weaved scarves, clothes, necklaces and purses crowd my vision, and do i go back now to the contained resort – a backpackers resort – but a resort nonetheless – where i stay and relate to less and less.

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Tonight will be my third night here on Lake Atitlan and i am not sure how i feel about the place. It is beautiful – a lake surrounded by mountains and volcanoes, a world of its own. And i stay in a small place – not really a village – along the shore line – accessible only by boat – the lanchas that ply the lake. A new road lay uphill, above the village where the maya live, but it is unused, dangerous, steep and twisty even by Guatemalan standards. But down by the water where i am in my hostel/hotel is another world – a world away from it all – not quite true since we are by the main dock in town where the lanchas – small motorboats used for transit and transport come in, and beside the steep road that goes up – and up – with the few red trucks used to carry goods, and the few tuk-tuks (the three-wheeled “cabs” that you see here, in other villages and in antigua) to carry the people on the long climb. But down here is gringaland – as is the waterfront in many of the other villages along the shore and in the two real towns that exist. A land of beautiful homes and gardens – tended by the locals – connected by paths as cars do not exist here. Dirt paths along the water and between the villages, and a cobblestone path between the walled homes   – peoples homes – 2nd or 3rd or maybe 1st, homes of artists and others who have left the other world behind. homes with great views, in yellows and oranges, with creative gardens and inspired architecture. – and three other hotels – none too large. And you see the good life down here – a quiet place – but richer and those who do the work are the maya – the women all still in traditional dress as they are up the hill where they live. Carrying bundles of wook up the street. I sense more of a separation between the us and the them, and it makes me wonder about the expat community -here and everywhere – is it the good life that i want – but something is missing – the integration of reflection and action – of linkage between all.

I visited another community today – San Marcos – where i had thought to stay – a slightly larger community – the lower lakeside gringo area – a lush setting of trees and pathways – no road until you get up above to the regular town – where i saw no cars only tuk-tuks and trucks. Little inns and healing centres offering yoga and massage and meditation, that had first drawn my attention when this area appeared on my radar three years ago – and i walked – few people around, and a bit of construction. But again i questioned the healing and focus on mediation and being that i had yearned for then – important but as a part of a larger whole. And the focus on energy, which was to be the focus here, and how it seems something is askew.

The places are emptier after with the trouble on the lake – an algae bloom a month or two ago – on one of the prettiest lakes of the world, died down now but maybe still in the centre – water quality, fish and more effected by it. And is that bloom a sign of something more to come.

And the division between the communities – the gringos at the water and the maya up above (i hear that the rich (and i mean rich) guatemalans have some estates on the other side of the lake) makes me wonder – is it smarter to live up the hill, or were they pushed up there, the land down here bought up. People still talk of hurricane stan – of 5-10 years ago – that devastated the area – many steep hillsides deforested and under cultivation – and it is better to be on the slope or down below.

The land is magic through – as clouds without rain puff up over the volcanoes at sunset, and the stars shine bright at night, and you walk the leafy paths or along the water. I will write more when i go to town – panachal – tomorrow where i came in – and hopefully be more creative in what i write.

i update this after i go into town  – i realize a bit what i feel – a  small resort of   sorts,  an artsy-hippie retirement community  – not  quite real – like california a rich alternative, a  different way of being.

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