So I don’t consider myself religious/spiritual or in shape, and both those aspects were put to the test today.
I think today, although no formal lectures, I feel like I learned and grew as an individual. Before I go into me, today was also the closest our group has ever been. Not only were we all squished in the back of a truck going up some terribly scary terrain, but we saw each other at our weakest, whether it was spiritually or physically.
I don’t know how to explain the hike other then a constant realization that I am not where I want to be physically. I didn’t feel sore after or regret it in in the slightest, because although it was really tough, I felt more alive that I have the entire trip. A large part of that is the Mayan ceremony. After we discussed the Mayan calender and placed candles by the crater (now a sacred lake), we walked to the designated ceremony land and prepared the land. We had to make sure to clean the remains from the last ceremony, as we don’t know what they asked for. Although not religious, I felt a deep connection to the candles, to the action of lighting them and placing them in the fire for my family, their health, our happiness, and the alleviation of the obstacles we face. I thanked god for being the spiritual savior of my mom and other members of my family. It was tough for me to “thank a god” given that I felt fake for not fully believing in their existence. I just appreciated that the entity called god creates happiness and hope for a majority of my family.
The parts of the ceremony that helped me the most were when we “cleaned” ourselves and shook our despairs into the fire. The act of throwing those feelings and events into the fire did make me feel spiritual. I feel honored to have been a part of a celebration of whose culture is not mine. I feel honored to share that experience with the group and that they all came with open minds and raw emotions. I think it’s about time I re-evaluate what being religious and spiritual means to me.
I still struggled going back up the volcano though. If only there were mountains in Iowa to practice.