This isn’t the first occasion I’ve had the pleasure of spending time in Playa del Carmen. Chance brought me here for the first time in early 2018, intention the remaining four visits, and a deep love for this magical place – the desire to make this my home. Synchronicities abound: signs this place is where I am meant to be on this journey called life, and I find myself here escaping the cold, Canadian winter for the next 5 months.
I left my marriage and someone I deeply loved for 13 years, four-and-a-half years ago, in order to save myself. You see, I loved this world and the people in it so much, that I’d completely forgotten to take care of myself. Social justice and a deep abiding love for equality and justice for all people was, and still is, one of the main principles by which I live my life – for the longest time I just forgot I was part of that interdependent web. So I took a step back, and started to heal the old wounds that held me back from loving myself and believing that I too deserve to be happy. Along the path of recovery I began to understand the more I love myself, the more I have to give this beautiful world of ours. Coming to Mexico, stepping back from the grind and finding a kinder, gentler, slower way of life, has been an integral part of that process.
Every morning when I wake up and hear the birds singing, feel the breeze blowing over me, and see the sunshine trailing across my bed, I am grateful that I not only found the courage to step way outside my comfort zone, but that I have been welcomed by so many beautiful people since arriving one-and-a-half months ago. An abundance mindset has allowed me to see how blessed I am by the community that sprouting up around me, loving and supporting me in a way I could never have let them, previously. Even before arriving on the shores of the Mexican Riviera Maya, I knew I wanted to give back in whatever way I could; The abundance that is all around me, is mine to share.
Only days after my arrival, an opportunity presented itself – a chance to start meeting and connecting with new people, and to spend time celebrating the holidays with a Maya community living deep in the jungle. Enter Evolve International real estate and DIF Solidaridad, a local non-profit organisation based in Playa del Carmen. The two organisations had come together to put on a Christmas party for the children in the community: a full day of activities was planned – gifts of blankets for the elders, games for the children, a visit from Papa Noel complete with gifts, and lunch for all.
I don’t think it’s easy for people with privilege to grasp just how fortunate we are, or how profoundly others struggle to meet even the most basic of needs – shelter, clean drinking water, food to put on the table, and a good education – things we take for granted. Even for myself, as someone with an awareness of the systemic imbalance between white and racialized people – spending time with this Indigegenous community and witnessing the profound poverty that envelopes their life, was difficult for me to grasp. I don’t think I could have ever imagined how grateful someone might be to receive a blanket (so they would be warm at night), or how brightly a child’s face would light up with excitement after writing their name on a balloon, or the unconditional love one child shared with you as she held your hand, asked you to play, or the immense gratitude of one family when they presented a friend with a framed picture, most likely one of their most precious possessions, as a means of saying “Thank you”.
Spending the day in this community was a gift beyond measure. This community held up a mirror, and in it I saw how fortunate I am in ways I hadn’t understood previously, how rich my life is in experiences, friendship and love, how little I need to be happy, how much I have to be grateful for, and how much I love this beautiful place. Namaste, Blessed Be