Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Benefits of Being the Tortoise While Trekking Machu Picchu

Pre Sunrise Clouds
So I have to admit... it was even more incredible than I ever could've imagined!!! I had heard so much about Machu Picchu, that I really sort of expected it to be just something to do and see, but nothing too life changing. I mean, everyone who comes to Peru goes to visit it, it just seemed so mainstream. And plenty of travelers have told me that they had such high hopes and then it seemed sort of blassé.  Well now I am one of the many people who have experienced Machu Picchu and been completely and utterly BLOWN AWAY!

I am glad I sort of had low expectations, but still felt the need to go. It's definitely one of the biggest expenses of my travels here (biggest outside of my plane ticket). And as I was sitting on the train yesterday I was wondering what the big fuss was even all about. People mindlessly taking pictures already. Something everyone does. I was also a bit hesitant at the fact that this spiritual place was so run down by tourism, I wondered if I'd get the sacred experience I was hoping for.

Las Termas de Aguas Calientes
But I reaffirmed why I was doing it and decided to make it my own spiritual journey of sorts, no matter how many people come just to say 'oh yeah, I've been there.'  I knew that I could make the voyage what I wanted, and decided to really set a lot of intention and make it a pilgrimage of sorts. I was delighted to realize that there were hot springs (thus the reason the base town is called Aguas Calientes) that I could get myself into as soon as possible after arriving. What could be better?  They were OK, lots of people, plenty of partying. But I still made it what I wanted it to be, I closed my eyes and just enjoyed the medicinal nature of the water and the beauty of these sacred lands.  Everything else just sort of faded away.

Early morning llama encounter.
I decided to fast for my journey, partly because my stomach is yet again upset, partly because I wanted to have good, pure energy to give for my trek up Huayna Picchu early the next day. So I made some herbal tea and just rested early after the termas. 5 am wake up call to take the bus up by 5:30. As soon as I got to the bus area, again I had to remind myself of my mission and not get caught up in the tourist franzie. So when others were hurrying to get on the bus, rushing to be the next person to buy their ticket for the trip up, not really knowing what was going on but not wanting to be behind, I just decided to take it easy and be calm and enjoy.  I knew it would work out for the better if I just trusted. Same with the weather. It's rainy season and was rainy most of yesterday. But again, I knew the universe would take care of me and make my journey exactly as it should be, as it always does if you're willing to act, trust, and surrender.

View of Huayna Picchu, above the clouds!
And did the universe prevail indeed!!! Not only did I get up to the ruins before most people in town were even starting their day, I got to explore most of the ruins in the hour I had before Huayna Picchu with hardly even anyone around (where did they all go?). I watched the sun rise over the Andes, clouds poking in and out, one of the most spectacular views I have ever seen. I will never forget that view.  I also got a day blessed with mystical clouds in the morning and gorgeous sunshine the entire afternoon. And funnily enough, for everyone's hurrying around and hustling, I took my time, got to see most of the ruins with no one around, and was the first person of the day to even reach Huayna Picchu (they only let about 400 people a day up this part)! Thanks to my yoga, my stillness, my breathwork, and my high energy from fasting and not partying (I've actually cut out all caffeine and alcohol), I ascended the massive peak and got it to myself! AMAZING! And when I finished onward for the longer 4 hour hike, I also had the trails to myself and got to make the journey exactly what I wanted it to be, full of intention and connecting with the sacred land. Not to mention thinking of all of you and using meditation to get through what ended up being quite the challenge of a hike!

Headstands on top of Huayna Picchu.
So it just goes to show that doing what works best for you, not getting caught up in the hustle, and being willing to go your own pace, in your own time, is always more worthwhile then running around like a chicken with it's head cut off. I had one of the most spiritual experiences of my life and am grateful for trusting my intuition, for making the most of it, and for being willing to trust in and believe in something bigger.
Stay calm and surrender!

And now I get it, the beauty and majesty of Machu Picchu and the surrounding lands. Absolutely worthwhile.

So make the most of it people.  Do what works for you, and be willing to stay calm and centered to get the most of whatever it is you do. Hurrying and mindlessly following others only slows you down and wastes precious time and energy. So set intention, follow your path, and be amazed and delighted at where it takes you.

Let's all slow down, make a good day, and enjoy the view while we're at it.


1 comment:

  1. Stunning scenery Jessica! Not sure I could keep up your pace. That climb at Machu Picchu would be grueling. But worth it. Your ability to see a crowded place in serenity and clarity is an inspiration. I know my tendency is to beat the crowd, first to top, etc. I love that you can focus and see through all the clutter for the essence of the place. Keep up the good work, and be careful that you get enough rest. love, Dad