Yin Heat- Finding the Feminine the Yucatan
July in Mexico’s Yucatán is a free fall into a temazcal- the word for a traditional sauna experience drenched with super hot vapor from heated volcanic rocks.
The days here hover in the upper 80’s with 90% humidity. Any foray away from your air conditioned room (should you be lucky enough to have one) and you are sporting a dripping sheen of sweat within minutes.
A couple of years ago I spent the hot season in Todos Santos, near Cabo, in Mexico’s Southern Baja peninsula.
Now, a few days after I arrive in Cancun, I think, “What am I doing, once again, a mountain she-bear wandering in the tropical heat?”
I have the distinct impression the Universe is sending me back for tropical boot camp retraining.
House and pet sitting in the tropics, at hottest time of the year.
During hurricane season.
As we shall see, it turns out this is not a re-training, its life melding two yin and yang experiences into one wholelife lesson.
One reason I cherish immersive travel and not owning a bunch of life overhead (cars houses stuff to administer) is the time it frees up for meditation and observation.
The reason heat is associated with purifying rituals is because our muse loves the heat, it burns the lower spirits away and leaves you with something profound if you listen for it.
After pilates on my patio, sweating lightly as my inner core adapts, I meditate facing a screen of green palm fronds, turn down the volume on the inner chatter so I can actually hear something new under the hot sun.
Today I see that just as identical twins are complete opposites in intangible ways, Baja and the Yucatan could not be more different when you look beyond the heat and the beach.
These special places attracted me at different times because their energy reflected my state of mind, or was it vice versa?
This may be true for you, too - is there a place you are obsessed with and you cannot explain why?
Here is how it works:
First, you must understand the power of physical place.
The energy of the Baja Ca Sur desert surrounding Todos Santos is all Yang.
Jagged mountains fit for the gods slash the narrow peninsula longways in two; towering peaks scatter sparse rain clouds and are a worthy opponent for the occasional hurricane hurled inland by the sea.
Nature here is uncommon and challenging; She molds the desert life forms in Her image. Over several millennia, the bone-dry landscape birthed spiky stinging creatures and plants that seem to have jumped from the pages of Dr. Seuss’ sketchbook.
As for humans, the remote arid location never supported a large native population.
The few indigenous people that survived the Spanish conquest were absorbed into an evolving patriarchal, capitalistic society of sugar cane empresarios, fishermen, ranchers and various pirates that harassed the commercial sea trade.
So how did a modern day gringa with a love for the forest find her way to the Baja desert?
I was living in Mexico City, and a friend in Todos Santos was looking for a house and pet sitter for the off season.
My apartment lease in CDMX was coming to end. Sergio, my partner at the time, wasn't happy driving Uber en el DF; this had become a source of tension for us.
Since moving to Mexico, I had wanted to take the road trip from Mexico City to Mazatlan and catch the ferry across to the Baja peninsula.
I had also just finished a couple of years expending a dark star’s lightyear worth of Yang masculine energy, planning and executing mode for my business, new relationship and life.
To say we were due for an adventure is an understatement. I took my Todos friend up on the offer, even though her house had no A/C.
Mexico is the land of long stories of what you least expected, and our trip was no exception - multiple flat tires, toll road larceny, and cancelled ferry service, all of which I’ll save for later.
After arriving in Baja, with the reality of the heat settling in, I wondered if I had misunderstood the inner call and been led on a dusty hot wrong turn.
Then we took our first morning hike, and I got IT. Well, at least part of it. Not all of it. That came later, on this Yucatan trip.
The desert outside of Todos Santos must be a vortex, you lose track of time and tension. We hiked a cerro, topped by a small plateau gifting us with a 360 view of mountains, ocean and desert. It reminded me of a mountaintop in Ecuador, a place where you could feel the earth turning.
We would always hike early because it was way too hot later. Then breakfast and then work. The lack of distractions was an invitation from the Universe to me to write more.
I’m sharing this with you because it is likely the Universe is inviting you to ______ more.
Feel free to fill in the blank. I’ll wait.
This tale is an example of how I undermined my progress with an overabundance of Yang - aka controlling, outcome oriented, over-planning, over-thinking muck.
I promised myself I would revive the La Vida With Wings blog, a project that was not about my business at that time, but about my life experiences doing crazy things like moving to Mexico City, or the Baja desert in August.
I had integrated Sergio into the “brand” and we made a couple of cute marketing videos. More planning, managing, and focusing on the outcome.
I boxed the writing into Sunday mornings. After a bit, the writing was no more, because my muse was pissed off at her one leftover time slot and I was pissed off that I was on my laptop 7 days a week and had not much to show for it and how was this silly travel blog going to help that (cue monkey mind rant here) etc etc etc.
This is my point in sharing this with you - I squandered the essence of the invitation to write by submitting it to a Yang dominant belief, in this case, that I needed to be “building my business” apart from the writing.
I did not believe there was enough “enoughness” in only the writing, or my experiences, or ME, to support my dream.
I still believed the path of upper middle class America was the only way - become a human business widget to make the money so you can buy the time to do what you want. In theory.
Like the sharp dry mountains dividing the surrounding landscape, I was still unyielding, structured, going through the motions of rain dances for my soul while squelching the thunder within.
I continued to bifurcate my “work” and myself.
Enter the Yin.
On the bright side, the posts I did complete were quite good. My readers loved them and two were accepted by Thrive Global for publishing.
Small desert sprites wove their way between the lines, stowing away to travel with the stories beyond Baja.
Later, they sat in the branches of the trees I visited in Houston, gently heckling as I navigated burnout and COVID-19 lockdown, making faces and coaxing me back to the word games.
Houston also marked the first time in decades I didn’t have a man in my head space or real space. While he is still one of my best friends, Sergio and I had split up as a couple the year before.
Being blessedly single gave my feminine side a chance to stretch, pull in the claws, lean back, and watch the world go by, like a lazy tigress flicking her tail. I am not responsible for or to anyone and I’m free to hunt whatever I want. Yum.
Which leads me to the yin of the Yucatan.
En Fin, with the Yin
If jutting dry Baja is Yang, then Yucatan is Yin - rainy, fecund, humid; a low dark jungle sheltering a precious hidden network of cenotes - freshwater lagoons and aquifers.
The Mayan people lived the high life here for thousands of years, developing science, arts and deep rooted community.
They devoted the small island Isla Mujeres to a Yin goddess, Ixchel, goddess of the moon, fertility, medicine and happiness.
I came to the Yucatan right as I was embracing more Yin as a way of being in work and play - more acceptance, flow, less busy, less details, less need to be right, less control -
MORE focus on deep work, more trust, more fun.
I’m writing from a patio, mosquitos snacking on my ankles, chacalaca birds gossiping in the distance.
This appeases the jealous jungle sprites as they peek over my shoulder from the palm fronds, hop into the wordstream consciousness of these lines,
and are now peering back at you, wondering what tales you have to tell.
Fill in the blanks. Tell us. We would love to hear them.
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