Life and Love

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Life and Love are not two; they are one.

To love means to see and feel life in everything.

Life is here, life is there, life is everywhere.

There is nothing but life and there is also nothing but love.

-Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi Ki

Passing the test

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Often when we pursue spiritual growth we pay attention on how we react, how we feel and how we progress.

After a while of continuing state of balance or comfort, our ego finds a way to trick us again into believing we are great at what we’re doing, things that bothered us before no longer do and we become more calm and selfless. But spiritual growth just like life is a path and not a destination, we never cease to learn and to face challenges. We don’t know it all.

Even in periods of comfort we must not stop our efforts to persevere in our spiritual path, we must practice it every day with every little thing we can, we have planted the seed of love in our heart and if it’s growing healthy we must keep watering it, keep allowing the sun to shine and enter, keep nurturing it, cleaning it and strengthen it.

Then the real tests begging to happen, when you are ready for them, you face situations that you didn’t see coming. You face the hurt that you have suffered before and it comes back strong. You are presented with a situation where you do not know what the right thing is to do. And what do you do? How do you react?

Do you go back to your usual ways and let ego take control?

You realize that a life without ego is an amazing human achievement worthy of saints. You understand you can’t eradicate your ego and you make peace with yourself knowing you are trying your best. And there you are in front a very important test.

A test that will move your feelings, thoughts, beliefs and the summary of your progress so far.

You face the truth of knowing that not everybody loves you, in fact some people despise you and have felt very negative things towards you, you are blamed for whatever choices you have made and you understand there is people that wish you harm instead of good.

The same people you have supported and loved, and cared for and appreciated, that presented to you as a friend and didn’t take long to reveal their true intentions.

What do you do? In the split second you have to choose your reaction, do you allow this negative tendencies to enter your heart?

Keep your heart strong and persevere, do not give in, a test is not supposed to be easy.

Accept what comes your way and be thankful for those who want to hurt you because the more they try, the less they can. The more they hurt themselves. You are protected. Trust in God, give your best effort and if you need help, just remember you are not alone.

 

Divine Help

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Many times people report the feeling of divine help and strength when they come close to a breaking point. Actually divine help is always there, but I am usually so busy doing things in my own little way that I only look for it when I face absolute defeat.

The tranquil nature of enlightened souls comes from their ability to take God’s help constantly. A state of true surrender will lead to the feeling of victory in everything I do.

 

Tulum from a different perspective

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Revisiting Tulum after 12 years was an amazing experience, the first time I went there I was 15 years old and ready to explore the world, Tulum always called for me and I had to answer, I remember I took all of my savings went to the bus station and set out for adventure. My sister was 10 at the time and she was sad I would leave her so I took her with me. We didn’t even have a camera and I was just carrying a bag.

I remember she was kind of scared, we almost missed the bus and had barely enough money to pay for it. We ran for the bus station and catched the last call for it, in that time the bus went from Cancun all the way to the mayan town corridor and stopped in Tulum, we drove for more than a couple of hours, in those years the roads were very precarious in Cancun, there were no bridges or even nice pavement, it was a one lane road from Playa del Carmen on to the rest of the state.

Unlike in Cancun, the bus didn’t stop in a station, it just stopped in a bumper in the middle of the road and the driver shouted “Tulum” so we rushed to get off otherwise we would end up having to wait for the next town and with no way of coming back.

We got off and we were just there in the middle of the road, a couple of handcraft stores and a couple of restaurants. We walked to look for the sign indicating the ruins, we found it and our journey started, walking the dirt road unaware of what we would find.

That is one of the beauties of Tulum, it makes you walk up and starts to unveil it’s magic in front of you.

Nowadays as you get to the site there are a lot of restaurants and handcraft stores, bathrooms, and many services.

On this visit I brought my camera with me and tried to look at Tulum from a different perspective. Without the comfort of my zoom lens, I just took my 50mm attached and threw my camera in my beach bag.

As you go in, the place starts to appear as you move forward.

I loved seeing that some of its original fauna still lives there, a lot of Iguanas lay around in all sizes trying to blend with the soft grey stone.

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As you keep walking you can feel this sacred place was dedicated to Venus and something just vibrates with mysticism. First temples and signs of gods begin to appear.

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The architecture is very particular, lovely and amazingly well preserved, it stands there in front of you without losing it’s essence.

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As you continue to walk you start climbing as the ground goes up, it’s an amazing moment because you can’t really see much, until you get to the highest part of the ground only to unveil the heart of this magical city

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The view is absolutely breathtaking, I remember the first time I saw it, I couldn’t believe it, I didn’t have a camera so I just stared at it trying ti keep that image in my mind, then I went down for a swim, and tried to blend with the place. I just wanted to stay there forever.

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The ancient mayan city was originally named Zamá (Dawn) probably because of its beachside location.

In ancient times it was a very important city for commerce and for religious ceremonies to honor Kukulkan the descending god.

Tulum was still an active city inhabited by mayans when the spaniards arrived to Yucatan and Quintana Roo, but due to the heavy epidemic diseases they brought, the city was abandoned shortly after.

Due it’s amazing landscapes it has been one of the most visited archeological sites in Mexico and because of this, the heirs of the mayan culture that still visited Tulum as a sacred ceremonial place in the XXth Century, have decreased their spiritual activities at the site.

Nonetheless, Tulum in itself both the site and the city have a very clear mystic quality that attracts people from all over the world.

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This wonderful city protected by the high rocks of the coast and the marine reef was one of the most beautiful cities in mayan culture and a very important reference for sailors and traders in the sea, who took the Castle as a reference to avoid getting caught in the reef.

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The castle also served as a lighthouse, because of the way it was built, the sun would come across a couple of windows protecting the light into the ocean and guiding mayan traders on their canoes.

They also had a hurricane warning system, on the top of a temple there’s a hollow rock they carved facing the ocean, when the wind speed would become hurricane like, the hollow rock acted like a whistle warning everyone.

Thanks to Ina and Pazit for sharing it with me and allowing me to visit Tulum again.

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The Color of Flowers

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Leave worries aside and you will be surprised by the beauty of the sky and the color of flowers, of the freshness of the breeze and the generosity of the sun.

You will feel you are part of creation, and life will start to make sense.

The greatest wealth is to appreciate what we have and what we are.

-Brahma Kumaris

 

Evolution of my dietary habits

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Lately I have started to pay more attention to what my body tells me, it’s amazing how loud and clear its own voice is and how organically the body works.

I have been trying to observe the connection between my eating habits and the way I feel physically, mentally and spiritually.

Without adopting any particular style or diet I have been trying to eat what my body works better with. One of the principles of ayurveda is knowing your body type and I have always liked the idea because it’s true that not every food suits the same for everyone and listening to your body is a way of honoring and respecting yourself.

I have never been a big fan of eggs or milk, or red meat and it has been interesting to observe that whenever I eat any form of meat, I feel like I usually do because I’m used to it but my mood is absolutely heavier, I get angry and aggressive with a lot more ease and my bowel movements are heavy and slow.

Whenever I don’t eat any form of meat I feel more balanced, like more in tune with myself, my values, my inner peace, I just have a brighter perspective or reaction on things and I don’t crave any sort of heavy, meat or too sweet food.

After that experiment I realized that I wanted to change the way I normally eat, how I was brought up and start eliminating the foods I don’t like, but of course this is a big deal, a process like that might seem so easy like saying, I just won’t drink milk but you still need to get the nutriments you would have gotten.

That being said and after trying by myself to see how I felt I did feel some lack of energy, so I went to the nutrionist and I am thrilled with the experience.

The nutrionist I visit is a specialist in sports nutrition so I love that because I can incorporate my physical activity to my energy requirements in my diet. Although I don’t train any formal sport, I like to keep a dynamic routine at the gym alternating the options for cardio and doing the weight training, and of course my yoga (Can’t live without it).

What I learned was very interesting because although my weight is in a normal range for my height, my body fat levels are pretty high.

This are the numbers I am interested in looking at, because your weight doesn’t necessarily reflect your in depth health status. What probably happened to me is that since I have been reducing my intake on animal protein, I wasn’t reaching the same amounts of protein I need from other sources, for instance, I know that legumes have protein but I didn’t know how much I would need to eat to reach the proper amount of protein my body needs, and since I am exercising, my body  starting using the muscle instead of the fat, because it felt the need to store it, therefore my body fat levels went up.

I also learned about the proper sources for protein in non-dairy milk, I have read there is a lot of options like almond milk, which I used to drink, but in terms of protein the amounts you get are minimal, the proper substitute would be soy milk.

I also learned that in order to absorb the iron in legumes there needs to be a presence of citric acid, which I didn’t know.

My eating plan right now is amazing and I love it, for the first time in my life I have been able to wake up early without having to drag myself out of bed, literally, it came to a point where it was annoying I wanted to wake up and I couldn’t.

I feel absolutely great, with perfect energy levels, I feel satisfied with every meal, I get to eat things I love and cook and experiment with recipes and what I can come up with, my endurance at the gym is fab, I feel even better than before and my mood is shining. I feel much more connected to myself but I definitely needed professional advice on how to make the transition and make the most out of it for my lifestyle.

I really recommend that you visit an expert in nutrition even if you don’t want to change, if you feel like something within your body doesn’t work quite right, and you’re healthy and “normal” maybe you are not really getting the fuel you need, you won’t be sick for a doctor or anything, but you will certainly see the difference when you eat what’s right for you. What we eat is one of the most important factor in our overall health.

I am convinced that if you want to lose weight, the key to success is the kitchen.

I will be sharing more of this new journey in my life that I’m very excited about :D

Look for Goodness

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“In everything, goodness is there, our goal is to find it. In every person, the best is there, our job is to recognize it.

In every situation, the positive is there, our opportunity is to see it. In every problem the solution is there, our responsibility is to provide it.

In every setback, the success is there, our adventure is to discover it.

In every crisis the reason is there, our challenge is to understand it.

By seeing the goodness, we’ll be very enthusiastic and our lives will be richer.”

- Brahma Kumaris

Weekend adventure in Isla Mujeres

Isla Mujeres.

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A little island only 5 miles long and half a mile wide in the far east corner of Mexico. It is the island where the territory ends and nothing is left between her and the rest of the world.

Originally one of the mayan territories that conform the state of Quintana Roo, Isla Mujeres was located in the province of Ekab and it was a ceremonial center dedicated to Ixchel, goddess of the moon, fertility and abundance.

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In 1517 the spanish expedition of Francisco de Córdoba, arrived into the island where they found nothing except for the ceremonial center and the female keepers of the sanctuary, because of this, the spaniards named the island “Isla Mujeres” (Island of Women), and it is the name that it has beared ever since.

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Spending the weekend on the island made me remember the delights of living away in a little corner of the planet where you don’t need a car to move around or even a cell phone to stay in touch with family, friends and…everyone.

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I love the particular charm that makes Isla Mujeres different from the rest of the touristic sites in Quintana Roo, all things there are very local, more authentic and have a history behind them.

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Waking up to watch the sunrise knowing that you are standing where firm land ends for miles ahead and watching that amazing and loving spectacle that nature has been performing for centuries before us. I wonder how mayans greeted the new day in that exact same place thousands of years before.

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As you walk by downtown there is a mixture of old original cabins built by the fishermen, they are wooden small and colorful cabins in the middle of streets, next to restaurants or hotels.

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On the inner side of the island you get amazing clear waters, turquoise oceans with a special tone, a unique glare and you can see the other side of the island and Cancun skyline.

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As soon as night begins to fall you are able to walk the streets filled with artwork, coffee shops and restaurants.

There is a great variety for dining from small cabins to very elegant and modern restaurants, all types of cuisine, but the best part is that everywhere you go, you are family, from hosts, to waiters, to cooks and owners welcome you and treat you like an old friend.

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Walking around so freely, made me want to stay there and never come back, it’s definitely the perfect place for people looking for a quiet, low profile, relaxed and very authentic experience of Mexico and the Caribbean culture.

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The most memorable time that I visited “Isla” as we call it, must have been 11 years ago, we went there on a sailboat, as we arrived I couldn’t believe the colors I was admiring in the ocean it’s different from the ocean in Cancun and in other parts of Quintana Roo, when we docked we swam, we ate and we headed back when the sun was coming down, sailing into cancun at nightfall, being out there in the ocean watching all the stars.

I am so blessed to live in this beautiful state and to know all of it!

If anybody plans to visit, contact me and I’ll make sure to give you the best advice on places to discover. Life is great! We are alive, and breathing :D