My Jungle Adventure
Two weeks ago I was deeply entrenched in a jungle adventure. The journey began on U.S. soil as eleven women ranging in age from forty to sixty five years old embarked on: Maria’s Wisdom Within retreat -2015 in Riviera Maya, where topical forests and coastal jungle surround much of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.
Our main headquarter for the week was a Zoetry, all inclusive resort, elegant and exclusively pampering. We were spoiled with divinely exotic five course meals, expertly served by two or three waiters at a time. The spa amenities, services and staff were more than accommodating and excellent. We enjoyed ocean views from our expansive suites and the healing of the saltwater pool offered a deep soul cleansing experience.
As a spiritual teacher and retreat host I felt blessed to be amidst such luxury and overwhelmed with gratitude to be sharing the experience with ten soulful women who had made the decision to experience transformation on a core level. Now, enter the Jungle. Yes, the jungle adventure tour is a definite highlight of this retreat and proved to be a transformation catalyst for personal empowerment.
It is no ordinary experience when one invites a day in a topical jungle. We woke to heavy steady rain that morning. Undeterred we dressed for success: layers of swimwear, active wear, rain gear, climbing and hiking shoes. We packed snacks and bottled water, cameras and attitudes of perseverance. We were met at the front gate of the resort by our young and vibrant tour guide who promised to be a good driver with a no fuss, no coddling personality.
The two hour ride from our posh resort into the Mexican jungle brought continued rain as we sped down the narrow highway, parting miles of tropical trees. The terrain rocked our fifteen passenger van through small villages and desolate spaces. From our dry and comfortable van seats, we caught a glimpse of monkeys, many dogs, a few lizards, village huts, small run down houses of clay and a sprinkling of natives.
The reality of the day ahead came to light when we arrived at a tiny modern-day Mayan village. The two hour ride and the excitement, or rather anticipation of the encroaching adventure, found us running to the restroom. The sign on the door instructed us not to flush any paper down the toilet; plumbing is a premium in remote Mexican villages, often only made available for tourist.
Next, we scurried up a hillside leading to a cliff launch pad area, where solid repelling gear awaited. With heavy accent, our guide rapidly explained how to use the gear and how to support ourselves so we wouldn’t propel down too quickly, to an uncertain end. A test of faith and trust awaited each of us, and fear seemed to reach his icy hand upon the moment. Fully fitted with a harness and helmet, I slowed my breath before leaning off the ledge, another breath gave me time to examine the majesty of the jungle foliage, dripping from the heavy rains, awakening to a lush and mesmerizing decent. Being present in the moment was balanced with the initial dread of leaning back from the safety of the landing and letting go. I affirmed, “we are always safe”. Trust is a state of mind, and my mind was calmed by deep breathing, a prayer, and the stunning view.
Our consecutive activities for the day included two separate zip lines, one over a lagoon and another over the jungle. The zip line experience proffered a sense of freedom and power all in one, I found myself wishing for the ride to last longer, there is so much to see when one is suspended in the air with the privy of a birds eye view.
I was not prepared for the momentary terror I felt during the kayak experience, when I thought my kayak mate and I might tip over into a stretch of dense foliage, in quiet lagoon waters inhabited by alligator. Thankfully we didn’t tip over, nor did we spot any toothy friends.
Most memorable was the gentle healing underground caverns of the Cenotes, where we enjoyed a soak in pristine holy waters. After our swim, we were treated to a Mayan meal, prepared and served by the women of the village. The meal offered a collection of authentic and delightful culinary heritage and celebrated foods of Mexico.
As we left the Mayan village to our final destination in Coba, the local school children were heading home. We spied a small group of children laughing and kicking a soccer ball in a small mud drenched field by a rickety gravel road. Children at play, reminded me, we had been playing all day. Modern Psychology strongly emphasizes the importance of play for adults. Play naturally raising ones ability to see unlimited possibilities, creates emotional wellbeing, boosts productivity and supports breakthrough changes.
Our final excursion of the day was thirty minutes down the road to the Coba Ruins -Tulum. Archeologist determine the Coba settlement was occupied between 600 AD to 900 AD. Coba is considered one of the most important ruin sites on the Yucatan. Though I was tired, I was determined to experience the view of the jungle from the top of the pyramid.
Small gravel roads lead to the main ancient pyramid in Coba, no vans or cars allowed on these sacred grounds. Taking some shelter from the heavy rains, we chose to ride on a bicycle taxi through widening puddles for the mile and a half journey to our climb. I suggested to the group that the climb could represent the intentions for our greatest desires in the future. I approached the 126 steps of rugged jutting stone with a “one step at a time” mindset. One of our team members cheered me on as I climbed, and the encouragement was the very essence of love my soul needed to succeed. To speak of the view from top, is unequivocal to the actual breath taking view. You will simply have to experience it for yourself.
In life, we may experience a few rainy days along with many challenges and new terrain. Rain brings with it a promise to cool and cleanse us, while contributing to a soulful devotion of calm. At times we face fear and uncertainty, yet if we are willing to open to faith, put on a bit of appropriate gear and listen to instruction from one who is experienced and wiser, we are sure to persevere. Above all, in this big world, we are never alone, and nothing is sweeter than encouragement form a friend to inspire confidence to continue on, one step at a time. In the end, remember to look back with gratitude and forward with the greatest of intention and always remember to take time to play.
My Friends, I pray you will make time for extraordinary memories, and to relish in personal breakthroughs which promise to blaze and transform your soul, forever.
Maria Gurney Peth PhD. is an author, social psychologist, and transformational teacher. She is best known for her keen intuition, mediumship abilities and insight as a certified Angel reader and Life coach. Her book, Angel Decoding, Secret Keys to Communicating with your Angels is available on amazon.com You can connect with her at: www.MariaPeth.com