“Life just got too big for me to deal with,” I told Morris, the Hotel Palmeras manager and owner. I was in tears. All the stress from school had finally caught up to me. On the international flight I had broken out in hives. Four hours of limited movement, itchy welts, and no sleep is not an experience that I wish to repeat. It was on this trip I learned that I become “allergic” to myself when I stress out. That was the first time in my life I was physically, mentally, and emotionally miserable.
“Look at these people around you,” Morris started as he looked on me with pity, “they work hard and yet they know how to have fun. Yes, they provide for their family, but they also spend time with their family. It’s all about balance.” I listened the best I could. I understood. I was crying, but the tears were of freedom, I was letting go. “Are you ok?” I nodded my head; I couldn’t trust my voice. “Look at these people. While you are here I want you to watch their lives.” Again I nodded. My “session” with Morris was over.
I can’t imagine a better place to find healing. Let me paint a picture for you. Palm trees instead of Douglas-firs, sand instead of snow, 80 degree weather instead of 15 degree weather, tiendas instead of shops, and authentic fresh Mexican food instead of Taco Bell. Bucerias, which is 40 minutes north of Puerta Vallarta, is “Old Mexico.” Some of the restaurants have a dirt or concrete floor, other’s have tile flooring, but no matter the type of floor it always is swept “clean.”
I took up Morris’s challenge; that next week I began to observe all of the people. I realized that Bucerias may be my favorite place in the world not only because of the marvelous climate and food, but because of the people. Their values are so different than the values that we in America collectively hold onto. In America we hold onto “enough success to be wealthy.” They just want enough success to provide for the family. Family is so important to these people. I barely was able to glance into their lives and I could affirm that they live a better life than most. Morris was right they lived in balance and with love.
I was in Spanish 3 at the time, so I knew enough to be able to converse with the vendors. They loved that I was attempting their language. I learned that their life as vendors was hard. They had long days. The vendors without shops walked the beach all day. The vendors with shops were suck in one place all day. Yet, these people were incredibly happy. I think it is because they all had such a sense of community and family. They felt safe and loved. This was enough for them. I wanted that to be enough for me.
My last day in Bucerias I walked down to the beach and said my goodbyes to Mexico. I sat down in the sand and wept bitterly. I had found so much of myself here by letting go and letting be. I didn’t want to leave that. I was afraid that I would turn back into that stressed out teenager. “I don’t want to leave here,” ran across my mind and was whispered from my lips. If willpower alone could have kept me there, it would have. Unfortunately willpower doesn’t change ticket dates or times. I left Bucerias a different person.
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