13. Only Light, Only Love in This Community

Having worked with a shaman for some years in Colorado before leaving for Argentina, I was keen to chance upon a shaman in the midst of my travels, knowing that I’d be welcoming guidance and wisdom.

Specifically trying to seek this out had not led me there, but a casual conversation with a friend one day did the trick. She mentioned a community in the mountains where another friend of ours had advised her to go for a few days.

With little more details than the name of a guy and his community, I boarded a bus to a tiny town in the Andes mountains to present this information at the terminal when I arrived. It worked and I found my way there.

They welcomed me in as if they had been expecting me. I was given a bed and consumed right into the community…receiving the sun with the morning meditation, discussing our dreams, working in the fields, sharing simple meals with food they had grown and preserved, chanting and wisdom circles in the evening.

For much of the time, they told me to just enjoy myself. I was very much a guest there and it was as if they each intuitively knew that I needed space to just be in nature and sit and think and not think…to really just be, to reflect on life. The more I tried to help, the more they gave me space.

I wandered in the mountains, slowly and thoughtfully. I visited with their animals…horses, goats, pigs, ducks, roosters, dogs, cats. I sat on the swing in front of my little house and watched the rays of the sun dance with the wildflowers. When we were gathered, conversation was always very meaningful.

The main motto was, “Solo luz, solo amor. Te amo.” Only light, only love. I love you. People would say this to each other and give the most intentional hug. I’ve never been hugged like I was there. And the eye contact with their glowing, sparkling, alive eyes filled me with this “light” they spoke of.

I stayed for 4 nights, 4 transformational nights, although they never asked how long I would be there. Between my alone time, the special ceremony I was invited to be a part of with the shaman and the individual attention and interactions I had with everyone living in this simple, mostly self-sustaining community…I really did leave there feeling physically lighter and so content.

I felt so curious and really considered with a lot of thought and emotion how they were living and why and their beliefs…trying to understand, trying to learn, trying to relax into it and embody it without having to “figure it out”.

They had given me so much without question and without even knowing who I was until I presented myself at the threshold of their community. I had really wanted to give them something in return. I had brought some ginger to contribute, which we had used for tea. I then made 30 paper cranes and on my final day, I hung them from the wooden beams above the table where we would be celebrating a birthday. I mustered up the best Spanish I could manage to thank them for the gifts of time, space, presence, light and love.

The picture of the paper cranes on the home page of this blog is from this community. I really love this story. It was one of my greatest experiences…the full story can be read here.

2. Charlie, Sage of Bluegrass

Charlie the guitar enthusiast….well actually more than that, a music enthusiast, a bluegrass enthusiast. Last year whenever journaling on my goals and how I want to be spending my time, I would write about wanting to learn guitar. So I finally decided that it would be quite hard to learn guitar without having one. My home is a back pack right now, but the excuse of it taking up too much space was invalid when I found a mini guitar. At first just holding it was awesome. Then I met Charlie while hearing him play some sick guitar, sitting there with a bottle of wine overlooking beautiful Nahuel Huapi lake. I asked him to teach me some chords and he was really patient and helpful. How magical to create the sound of music, to learn something new, to be creative. And as he taught me, he told me all sorts of stories of getting into the bluegrass scene in Colorado. Music has the power to bring people together like nothing else and I love it…I was experiencing that right then and it inspires me to seriously learn this thing and go out and play. I gave him a paper crane to thank him for the lesson and inspiration, and it found a home tucked away in his mandolin.

Someone asked me once when was the last time you did something for the first time? Great question, and I like to push myself to try new things and to be creative in new ways. Another good question, what song should I learn first?