Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Lost in Eco Village Wonder amongst the Hare Krsnas in Peru

A 'truly' is a dome shaped sustainable building made out of mud and love.
Arriving at Eco Truly Park was like taking a big breath of fresh air in my life.  When had I become so serious, or at least decided to take myself so seriously? Why was I so wound up and didn't even realize it? Well everything about this wonderful sanctuary of a place allowed me to unwind completely, to utterly relax, to breath space into my lfie and and to find a natural ebb and groove of day to day living.

Volunteer accommodations.
Some of the bio-huertos,
or ecological gardens.
Eco Truly Park is an ecological, artistic, and self sustaining community that lies on Chacra y Mar Beach, about an hour and a half north of Lima.  It was founded 25 years ago by a Hare Krsna who wanted to start something for himself and for his followers, and really for all people to come and enjoy. And boy did he! This holistic, health driven community is based upon living happily amongst nature and the Vaishnava principles of non-violence, community, harmony, service, yoga and LOVE (this also includes vegetarianism, no drugs, no caffeine).

Having fun with the serpent slide!
A typical day is as follows... Temple starts at 4:30am and is completely optional (I made it once!), it's primarily for the Hare Krsna devotees who live on the farm more or less full time. Yoga is at 7 and was with a ride range of teachers from the beautiful Elisabeth to the local LimeƱa who came up to teach for the weekend. Breakfast is at 8:30 and volunteer services start at 10ish. Volunteer services range from working in the garden, helping out in the kitchen, being creative in the arts and crafts workshop, and much more.  Lunch begins around 2 and the afternoons are free for lounging, siesta, beach play, hiking to the nearby caves, journeying to the closest town of Chancay, or attending one of the numerous workshops (sometimes they do sweat lodges as well!). We did Kundalini with my new friend Caleb, made dream catchers, learned about furthering recycling and reusing abilities, and just plain enjoyed ourselves.  All the activities except the volunteer work are optional, but you can also stay as a guest and just come to relax if you wish.

Arts & Crafts studio.
On the weekends hoards of people come from Lima and all over to get away, to be in nature, and to experience the majesty of this place first hand. They learn about sustainable living (eco toilets, creating good soil, using solar power, herbs, wells), get information about non-violence and vegetarianism (in the Spoon Revolution hut!), and even spend time in the temple simply to look around or to worship. It's so funny to have people walk around your living quarters taking pictures, fascinated but often not quite grasping the concept of what is going on or why there are so many people from all over the world living on this farm. Or doing afternoon yoga and having tour groups walk by and look in, making you feel like you're animals in the zoo (especially when doing kundalini, chanting and doing breathwork that makes you sound and look like a baboon!). We definitely had some good laughs and it was great to broaden these people's perspectives as well as be surrounded by so many like minded folk.

Herbs collected for my infusion.
So is it obvious I loved everything about this place (even if i didn't take a warm shower once)? The people, the food, the friends, the devotion, the yoga, the harmony, the nature. And a couple of things that made my experience all the more special and unique...   having a circus juggler as a roommate, who lived in Cusco for a while and got to tell me all about the best spots to go for the next step of my journey (I loved having her unicycle parked outside our room)... touring the herb gardens with the plant doctor to make an infusion for my stomach which had been upset since Mexico (all better now!)... my first full classes in yoga with a native Spanish speaker and of the Inbound Yoga tradition (mudras, mantras, Bhakti devotion)... picking up trash throughout the farm on Peruvian Earth Day... and being at this majestic place with the ocean by my side, and the full moon up above.

El estudio de Yoga. Ahhhh.
Amongst all that I learned here, one of my favorite parts was knowing that this Eco Village embodies so much of what many of my friends back home aim to do in terms of sustainable living, community involvement, living with nature, yoga, and spiritual awakenings. I envisioned bringing so many of you here. I also learned so much in terms of different approaches to energy work and awakening, feeling connected, breathwork, and teaching bilingually. I taught my first half Spanish, half English class and already feel so ready to teach bilingually back in Bozeman. I look forward to sharing all of this with all of you.

Arrived in Cusco today and am preparing for ruins, more yoga of course, and Machu Pichu later in the week. Just driving into the mountains excited my soul, I'm a mountain girl and something about being in their splendor just fills me up and makes me feel at home. I'm blessed to be surrounded by so much beauty in my life and look forward to getting to know the glorious Peruvian Andes further. 

Beautiful artwork everywhere.
I leave you with some newfound perspective and appreciation.  As I was walking through the streets of Lima, preparing for my 22 hour bus ride to Cusco, I saw a man cleaning the streets looking so empty and ignored. I felt so sorry for him as everyone was just passing him by in their business suits and I felt like my privilege was just sitting there staring me in the face. I of course gave him a huge smile and tried to show him some recognition and appreciation but it still made me feel sad, guilty even.  My friend and new travel partner Caleb put some things into perspective for me. He reminded me that we all have reasons for being here in this lifetime; we all have our own lessons to learn. And when we drove through a rather materially 'poor' Andean village, that looked gruff yet surrounded by some of the most beautiful energy, he asked me 'do you think these people are even aware of their own privilege in living here, in a place like this?'  What makes one think they have more or less than anyone else in this world? It really is all relative, and all so personal. So appreciate what you have and who you are. Because the grass really is greenest of all wherever it is you're already standing, that is if you simply take a moment to breath and appreciate the wonder of it all.

A meditation on compassion and appreciation:

Bring to mind a place you feel completely safe, secure, understood, a place real or imagined.
Bring to mind this place with all of your senses.
What would you taste, touch, smell, hear, see, sense? 
Take a few deep breaths in and out, breathing into your belly and your heart.
Feel connected, rooted to the earth yet open to the sky.

Now bring to mind someone you love completely, who makes you feel happy and joyful.
Meditate on this person and the acceptance and appreciation you have for them.
Stay as long as you like.
Now turn this energy inwards and place all those thoughts and feelings upon your own being.
When you're ready bring your hands to your heart center.
Chant (aloud or to yourself) AUM MANI PADME HUM 3 times, or for as long as you like.

Aum Mani Padme Hum is the sound and prayer of compassion.
It is said to encompass all of the teachings of the Buddha in one simple mantra: Aum Mani Padme Hum.

Thank you Dani for providing me a place to stay in Lima and inviting me in to your family's home. Thank you Jacquie and Caleb for helping me to laugh harder than I have in weeks.  Thank you Eco Truly for reviving my soul. Thanks to all of you for reading and for finding compassion in whatever way works for you.  
 Con paz y amor, NAMASTE.

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