Infinite Shades of Blue – Quintana Roo, Mexico

I came to Mexico by myself but not alone. My mind wanders in attempting to articulate my experience here. It’s such a different story depending on which lens I see it through, variations as numerous as Mexico’s infinite shades of blue.

Bacalar, Mexico – Chinese, Arabic and Mexican designed homes (left to right)

Do I start with the magic of Tulum, mango stands, squeezed juice? The smell of copal in the air. A thought of thirst, I look up and hear, “coco frio?” Or the uncertain path ahead, a moment of doubt greeted with a sign that reads, “trust yourself,” as I lift my gaze.

Tulum, halfway through a 30-minute walk to our Airbnb, we to wonder if we’re going the right way… we look up: “Trust Yourself”

Or maybe I should start with the gentle breeze, the blue waters, or how the white sand against my skin holds me but still brushes off clean to free me. Mezcal y maracuja, y agua de jamaica in infinity pools on rooftops in Playa del Carmen, blush sunsets as the backdrop. The live music and dancing lights on 38th street. How about the obvious – guacamole, taco stands and citrus ceviche?

Elephant Gastro Pub, Playa del Carmen, Mexico – I have the night and place to myself here often

What about the people, I could start there? Acquaintances that became friends, friends I met through daily habits, familiar faces from virtual spaces, and the strangers who helped me find my edges.

Do I start with Holbox, the most peaceful beach, that wraps me up and gently lays against my skin, like a child bathing, as my body rests in the softest sand, soothing my soul from the outside in. Just when I thought the sand of Isla Muejeres from the weekend before was as good as it gets; and was enough to lay in as I grabbed in my hands and buried my toes in.

Or how about the lagoon of Bacalar, reflecting more shades of blue than there are colors in the rainbow, hues I couldn’t imagine if I spent my life trying. They say there’s 7 blues but I count at least 10.

And what about my breath, oh the breath, of scuba diving in crystal waters. A practice of being, a practice of seeing.

All of these places are abundant with moments and I will write of their details in time, but the story of Mexico starts with me. I know, selfish, right? My experience has been that the story, the details of my outer world begin with the story, the state, of my inner world. I, through the focus of my attention, can experience joy in the most mundane of circumstances, I can find serenity in burning fires and I can create misery in perfect conditions. Do I always create my desired experience regardless of the conditions? No. It’s a continuous journey and I’m not sure where it began, perhaps with the beginning of time. But I am sure, in my experience, that the intention is not for the journey to end, but to evolve. And go on and on and on. Always providing new terrain to navigate as an opportunity for growth, variety and continued newness through creation. We are here to create, a reflection of our own creation.

I came to Mexico because it presented itself to me and became the next right thing to do. I spent the first six months of COVID-19 trying to create certainty based on that which existed in front of me, tunnel vision. I spent the second six months of COVID-19 doing less and observing myself and my experience of my outer world through what I would consider stillness and solitude, but only in contrast to the speed at which I had been driving before. There is more stillness and more to be found in that stillness. I only touched the surface. I worked from home, took care of the every day tasks of living a domestic life as a single 30-something year old inhabiting a home by myself (but not alone). The elimination of social arrangements, places to be and places to go, created space for me to spend time with myself and incorporate more intentional habits and daily practices (which I’ll share more about in future posts). I began to see myself, and the world, differently. Allowing me to see, to experience, all that already existed right in front of me.

Do you think that mountains stop standing when no one is climbing them? That the ocean stops glistening if no one is riding its waves? Do you think the sun stops shining or song birds stop singing simply because we do not notice their warmth and sweet melodies? No. Beauty and abundant love is still happening all the time. Around us, in us. Our attention to it does not change its existence, only our experience of it.

Competing thoughts enter daily, I must choose to let them pass by, sometimes I don’t and sometimes I suffer. I can notice the thoughts of my mind, but I don’t have to be them.

I cannot tell my story without mentioning a few of my many human muses. Lorraine (my neighbor who became a friend like family), Philip (my acupuncturist who I know through Lorraine and her partner, Jason) and Ken (mindfulness coach and therapists who I also know through Lorraine and Jason). In one week, Lorraine not only casually facilitated my connections with Philip and Ken, but also provided the contact I used to refinance my home mortgage. I mention these beautiful souls here because I can’t not, but I will share more on these stories throughout my future posts.

If I turn around and look back over my shoulder, I see a clear paved path behind me that leads back from the day I was born up to this very moment as I type out each next word on the page. The path has a ton of divergent spots too, leading to no where, marks or ignition points in my journey which have not yet unfolded before me or could have unfolded differently and would have still lead to the same place. In the moment, I experience this path as one next step, a solo footprint, no road to follow. When I look ahead, I can see no path and sometimes it feels like I’m just raising one leg, waiting in the air for the ground to show up beneath me… a place to land my foot before I take my next step.

Reflections from my home base in Playa del Carmen, Mexico

7 thoughts on “Infinite Shades of Blue – Quintana Roo, Mexico

  1. Such beauty that you capture with your words. I can ‘see’ those blues and am happy beyond belief for you and how you are manifesting what stirred deeply inside you. Keep going, and share my love with the blues of Mexico’s majesty.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Laura 🙂 I remember when you asked me if I was going to do scuba diving, and I was like hmm idk, wasn’t really on my list….but I’m so glad I did! More to share on that topic soon 🙂

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  2. Dear Rachel (that is how letters begin isn’t it?). This is a thank you note. Thanks for the first trip outside Greensboro I’ve had in over a year. And, what a trip. Who could fail to appreciate those shades of blue? Or, your travelogue worthy description of sand and people and adventures and deep realizations. This blog is a feast for eyes and imagination. Thanks to you and all the others who took seriously our invitation to nurture your creative energy. This is what Laura and I hoped for as we set out on the NYCE journey eight weeks ago. And, as we in the South say, “Well, bless your heart” for showing us how beautifully it can be done.

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    1. Dear Ken, thank YOU for your encouraging words, for your creative mentorship and for your presence. For being you, authentically. I am so grateful for the opportunity to be a part of NYCE, a continuation of INTL. Participating in these groups, as lead by yourself and Laura, has been magical and organically impactful to my experience. Thank you 🙂

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  3. Rachel, your blog is so touching, as you experience life’s journey. I enjoyed your creative lens; I joined you in Mexico and saw the natural beauty, the artwork, that God has created

    Wondering if some of these heartfelt thoughts (example below), can be put to music?

    “Do you think that mountains stop standing when no one is climbing them? That the ocean stops glistening if no one is riding its waves? Do you think the sun stops shining or song birds stop singing simply because we do not notice their warmth and sweet melodies? No. Beauty and abundant love is still happening all the time. Around us, in us. Our attention to it does not change its existence, only our experience of it.”

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    1. Thank you, Mom. I love that you joined me in Mexico, that’s why I share and create…for the experience to extend beyond the moments that stole my breath, to extend beyond me. More to come soon 🙂 Love you!

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  4. Rachel, your writing and your images of Mexico touch me deeply. What an amazing journey…both literal and metaphorical…you are on. I admire the leap it took (and probably takes daily) to overcome resistance and embrace the unknown. Thank you for sharing your beautiful reflections with us!

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