I went to Puerto de Chuburná, a small Yucatecan fishing village in Mexico, in January of 2009. on one side of Chuburná was the Gulf of Mexico, on the other side of the village was an estuary, a salt-water swampland. I had gone to this corner of Mexico to get away from the cold Canadian winter hoping to enjoy an extra three months of summer. That was all. There was no other intention. I would write, take photos, get a tan, and all would be well with the world.
The heat, the sea, and the swampland; put all these elements together and I was ripe for some major alchemical work, a process of transformation. The Mayan ruins, the birds, the iguanas, and the Mayan added other key elements into this alchemical cauldron.
But it was the mangrove laguna which held both the fear and the hope for my inner journey. Because of the fear, it took me two weeks before I dared to approach the swamp. Until then, I stood carefully the end of a broken and paved narrow highway that led out into the swamp. Why? Why the swampland? Why was it in the mangrove swamps where I finally dared to shed my clothes in the outer world and those barriers between my conscious self and all the unconsciously repressed stuff of my past?
There came a time in my life, when continuing the daily patterns, the carefully constructed career and lifestyle of my outer world became more than just problematical. Something was causing a pervasive pressure, something coming from a dark place, an unknown place. My sense of self was suffering “dis-ease.” Sleep was difficult, and when it came, dreams disturbed those precious hours so that there was no respite, no escape from the darkness that shifted beneath my awareness, something ominous at the edges. Fear began to creep into ordinary, everyday moments. There was a real fear that others would see the shadows that surround me, sense the loss of belief, the loss of hope.
This was a call to a life of meaning had been sounded deep within my soul. Would the “self,” the core of my being respond to the call? Or would I dig in deeper into the way life has been planned and ignore the call? I chose, or rather my psyche chose to answer the call? When my clothing fell off in the swampland, that was my answer. My intuition overrode my ego which was telling me to behave and maintain the persona that was crumbling. I had a choice and I took it.
If I hadn’t answered the call I would have shrivelled like a raisin in the sun. Yes, that was said deliberately. I know people who didn’t answer the call. They are ghosts of their old selves. Many of them are bitter despite their material wealth.
And your journey? Be warned, everything and everyone you hold dear will be challenged. Everything will be at risk even your sanity. Now, sometimes it might seem like there is a choice, but there is always a choice. A word of advice, if you are going to answer the call that is requiring you to enter into the shadowy inner world of your soul, it might be a good idea to take a guide.