By: Kari Grace

The crystal clear waters of Lake Atitlan can be either terrifying or enlightening. What a bright, clear reflection of the self. Many come to San Marcos for the elusive spiritual journey its image projects. I can only speak from experience, and know this to be true for myself. I had heard both “good” and “bad” stories about the mystical community but refused to accept any labels, knowing I needed to develop my own interpretations.

Learning to Swim.

I definitely felt the intense energy this space held as I stepped out of the tuk tuk that brought me down to the village. People with smiles so large and eyes so shiny.. too confronting for my fatigued self. The first few days I resisted, not wanting to open the flood gates to what felt like the depth of the lake.. or myself. Some can jump straight into the deep, and for others it’s a slower incline. I was certainly dipping my toes for the first little while, having tastes of unity before retrieving back to dry land. I felt that I was to stay in San Marcos until I was at least able to swim, but found my mind plotting an escape route to foreign lands. Cold water is not initially pleasant, but that’s the process if we wish to dive deep.

Finding the Current.

Connections made within the community confirmed that I was to stay, with each individual I became close with giving me a hand further into the deep.

As Marianne Williamson says so beautifully,

“Just like a sunbeam can’t separate itself from the sun, and a wave can’t separate itself from the ocean, we can’t separate ourselves from one another. We are all part of a vast sea of love.”

If I view myself as a separate wave in a vast ocean, how can I not be afraid? But as I opened up to the same current flowing through us both, my reflection in their shinny eyes scared me less and less. How can I be afraid if I no longer view myself as separate?

Seeking Depth.

One day I was sitting on the platform at Eagle’s Nest looking out at the lake and the thought “we cannot seek depth in shallow waters” came to mind. I was struck with immense gratitude for the depth of the San Marcos community, holding space for one another to search within. I have always believed in the power of collective energy, and San Marcos has confirmed this understanding through experience. Whether it be an ecstatic dance, a drum circle, one of the many amazing ceremonies available or simply tea with a friend, finding an individual with strong intentions of love is never far away.

Taking the Plunge.

The deep teaches us to not be afraid of what we cannot see, if we choose to embrace the experience. Day by day I am embracing the deep, feeling held and supported as I explore the many facets of myself and creation. I have beautiful moments of clarity and content where the water is calm like glass and I can see my true reflection, and times when my mind jumps in, rippling the water and sending me scattered in every direction and leaving me confused as to who I truly am. I am learning to “be” while the water returns to calm, enjoying the gentle rhythm and appreciating the ride.

We dive deep into ourselves only to resurface and see that it was here all along. But again I will dive, because right now I am finding so much beauty in the seeking. I am so grateful for San Marcos and the beautiful people that make this place so powerful. The seeking comes from within, but it sure does feel good to be surrounded by so much love.

My Takeaways:

Trust the process: We’ve all heard the saying “life unfolds in mysterious ways”, and this mystery is that of the deep. We cannot always see the bottom but that doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Surrender to the current and let it take you on a journey.

Accept support: Flailing in the deep is exhausting and the quickest way to drown. Relaxing (and lots of breathing) allows you to float and feel supported. Sometimes we feel completely isolated, but when we realize this is through our own creation we open ourselves up to the abundance of support constantly surrounding us. Often times it involves simply saying yes to the kind offer of a friend or stranger, and other times it takes being vulnerable and asking for help. Either way, we put ourselves on the fast track to connection by embracing the love that is ALWAYS there.

Enjoy the ride: It’s a ride for sure but YES it can be enjoyable! And why shouldn’t it be? As one of my favorite sayings goes:

“Bad news: you’re growing and it’s uncomfortable. Good news: It’s uncomfortable but you’re growing.”

…the difference between feeling tossed around in the waves and enjoying the ride is a matter of perspective.

The crystal clear waters of Lake Atitlan can be either terrifying or enlightening… you choose.

Experience the deep waters of Lake Atitlan yourself by getting a 360 view of it from our platform! Check out more about holding a retreat with us here.

About Kari:

Born in New Zealand, raised in Australia and made from each country she has visited, Kari set out at a young age to explore the world through a creative lens, inspired by her bachelor studies in film and television. A suffocating desire to capture all that was going on around her led to putting the camera aside and turning the focus inward. During this time she was based in New York City and immersed herself through both personal and professional studies in the fields of psychology, philosophy, religion, spirituality and various holistic healing modalities. Here, she began sharing her love for mindfulness and meditation through hosting school workshops for children, and has since expanded this teaching to Costa Rica.

Currently, Kari, and her camera, are back on the road in Central America. She sees her travels as the classroom, continuing to explore, learn and grow, while sharing her rediscovered passions for both the external and internal worlds.

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