Jun 292013
 

14 September 2013 I left Playa del Carmen, Mexico to Vava’u Tonga to join up with my dear friend Julie and a small group with WhaleSwim Adventures to swim with Humpback Whales and explore our photographic passion.

Wow, what a life changing experience, one I will never forget.  An almost indescribable  3+ weeks it was. I say almost  because in my new found connection and awareness with self, I find myself passionately processing images and writing like I have never done before, not to mention how I feel personally. There are so many layers to my experience, but I have written a poem with a couple of images I would like to share with you in reflection.

I look forward  to sharing more as I work through and finish my  collection of images.

 

 
 
Beyond the depths of the ocean 
Great Courage and Strength emerges,
Playfulness of Life beckons 
Sensualness…Renewal…Alive 
I am    I see    I do    I feel.

 

Softness and Grace flows divinely 
Intimacy…Energy…Heart pulsing 
Expansion and Vulnerability, Nowhere to hide
I play    I love    I connect    I touch 
I am seen and I see.

 

Profoundness, Reverence and Privileged 
Humbled experiences deepened
 Soul free    Heart open    Body alive
There is…
Mergence
Love
Contentment
Stillness
CELEBRATION. 

 

 Fire and Moon entangle in a dance
Passion    Desire    Release    Birth 
New beginnings, a Gift of the present
Guidance and Wisdom
Friendship…Love…Soul mates 
Divinely Orchestrated. 

          © Faris Mouasher

 

 

Until the next Post…Are you Celebrating Life

Love to all

Faris

xoxo

 Posted by at 4:52 am
Jun 272013
 

Thailand Tips:

We have calibrated, as a family, some tips over this trip and we will be sharing these tips by country over the weeks to come.

Accommodation:

-Check online websites for good deals (such as Agoda.com)

-This can save you money, even if you don’t book online.

-A Little Bird Guesthouse in Chiang Mai

-Went for about 100 Baht per person which is a little more than $3 AUD

-Its clean, safe, and central. The staff are helpful and accommodating. And the it had a great backpackers atmosphere (not to mention free unlimited wifi).

-Be mindful that photos are sometimes deceiving and places may look different than advertised.

-Also its a good idea to keep a copy of your online booking and the price you agreed to pay, since in some cases we were told we needed to pay more.

-In some cases, places charge cancelation fees so read the fine print when booking.

Transportation:

Trains:

-Taking trains in Thailand is a must.

- Book online at: http://www.railway.co.th/home/default.asp?lenguage=Eng

  • The overnight second class sleeps are comfortable and roomy.
  • Lower berth, on the bottom, is more spacious than the top yet the upper berth is still comfortable.
  • The upper berth does get cold during the night due to the AC, so a jacket or extra blanket is recommended.
  • Also eat before getting on the train and bring some snacks if you need them. The train does offer food but its more than you might want to pay.
  • On day trains, they might serve you food in your seat for free. Remember though, that they aren’t large meals so you might want those snacks.

-All in all, taking a train in Thailand is a pleasant experience and is a great way to see the sights while traveling.

Buses:

  • Buses are easy to catch.

-Usually you can find the schedule from your hotel or hostel.

There are several ways to find out but another way is to head to a bus station and check out the schedule. You just rock up at that time, pay your way and off you go. Generally you use buses for transportation further than an hour or outside the area your staying in.

Taxis and Yellow Buses:

  • In some places, such as Chiang Mai, I never saw any buses. Instead the yellow bus is used. Its not really a bus but more of a covered truck (or ute).
  • Its best to negotiate price before hand. Ask locals or your hotel/hostel staff for a reasonable price to get to your destination. Often times drivers will take it but if they refuse you can bargain or hale another yellow taxi. It helps to have a map that you can point to for the driver as well. Also locals catching the same taxi might even try to help. The Thai people are really sweet and eager to help.
  • Toktoks (three wheelers) are also an easy way to travel but we, being 4 did not manage to experience them while in Thailand.
  • If you find a good Taxi driver, sometimes it worth keeping in contact with them and using them for your day trips as we did and saved not just money wise but also the hassle of finding someone you trust. Not to mention, they can be great guides.

Food:

In Bangkok:

  • Ko San Road has  various restaurants, bars, and street food, markets as well as entertainment. We found that street venders selling vegetarian Padthai were simple, cheap and delicious. 25 Baht for a plate which is less than $1 AUD. Mmmm…

Phuket:

  • In Phuket Town there are some large markets. These markets have a wide variety of food to sample, so put your bib on and get trying.
  • In Patong, there is a surplus of seafood restaurants serving fresh fish. As long as its cooked well its safe to enjoy.

KoSak:

  • On the road leading to the KoSak national park, there are many restaurants. At one place in particular, marked by heavy cement round tables and run by two young woman, this small place serves delicious banana pancakes.

ChiangMai:

  • Where to begin. In our top 4 we have:

1. Tip’s fresh fruit smoothies:

Located in Sompet market (just across from A Little Bird Guesthouse) Tip serves fresh, delicious fruit smoothies and, our favorite,fruit, muesli and yogurt bowls. Delicious and filling for breakfast…lunch…or dinner. And although its not cook, its safe to enjoy. Tip, who was trained in a hotel, was knowledgable about our sensitive foreign tummies.

2. Next is Dukes Burgers across the road from the burrito place, just down the road from Tapae Gate is Duke’s which has some yummy burgers for an international meal.

3. Just down the road from Dukes around 7 or 8 street venders open up shop, (close to Sompet market). They have all sorts of dishes to try. We’d recommend having some Padthai, tom yum soup, green, red or yellow curry. And for desert don’t miss out on a stick rice with mango.

4. Over at Warroot Market more street venders come out in the evening. There are lots of things to try especially the friend chicken, sweet potato balls and 6 baht turnovers.

Language:

The Thai language is simple but easy to miscommunicate. We were told that the reason, many times people looked at us with confusion, was due to us simple saying the word but in the wrong tone. This could change the whole meaning of the word or make it unrecognizable.  But when we did get it right we were met with appreciation from whomever we spoke to. We said, hello, thank you, how much and numbers in thai and this helped us communicate as well as allowed us to better connect to the locals. In the cases were we got things wrong, if they knew what we were talking about they were quick to help us pronounce words and tell us how to say what we were after.

General:

-Try a massage. You can get a massage almost anywhere in Thailand and its a great way to relax.

-Take walks around, this is a great way to see people, things, and experience life in Thailand. From a car you miss out on too many things.

-Always carry toilet paper with you.

-Be aware of cultural difference and attire when traveling in Thailand or anywhere for that matter.

Next…India.

 

Love Alexandria and Family.

xoxoxoxo

 Posted by at 10:08 am
May 152013
 

On the move again as its been a little over 5 months here in Mexico, 2 months in Merida and the last 3 months in Playa del Carmen. We have certainly enjoyed the amazing beaches, people and the culture that thrives here. although some parts are touristy, there is so much for everyone to pick and choose  from and explore. From the the ancient Mayan ruins, cenotes, beach coastline, swimming with the turtles and dolphins, scuba diving, snorkling, visiting the local islands, theme parks and other tours. Not to mention the resorts, restaurants and bar scene on 5th Ave.

We leave tonight at 7.30pm by bus and arrive in mexico city 24 hours later where we spend 7 nights before heading to the USA.

Thank you once again for all those who comment privately and through this blog. We always appreciate hearing from you and please feel free to contribute your beautiful travel experinces and tips for other readers to draw from. It has certainly been an adventure and experience we will not forget. A matter of fact, we are constantly reminded how much of an impact travelling around the world has been, as we share our stories with people, live out  our daily lives and reflect on all the places we have experinced  on this trip since we left  on 6th February 2012. OMG…What an incredible journey it been.

Until the next post…Are you living a fulfilled life?

Lot of Love

Faris and Family

xoxoxoxo

May 142013
 

Saturday morning April 27th, we made our way to the pier to catch the Cozumel ferry. We had heard many things about Cozumel and it was time to check out the clear blue waters and aquatic life, so we finally booked a snorkeling tour after being here in playa for months…Lol. Ferry trip was about 45mins and for those that get a little sea sick, I advise being outside on the deck. Besides, feeling and seeing the beautiful Caribbean waters felt amazing.

Once we arrived we boarded the glass bottom boat and headed in the direction of the first stop. In all, we stopped at three locations to snorkel. At one point the water was about 10 metres deep but you could see the floor of the ocean perfectly!  The water was so blue that it looked like someone had put bright blue food colouring into it! In some places the water was a dark rich royal blue! Unfortunately, it was obvious that tourism had taken its toll. There really wasn’t much aquatic life…Some fish and we saw a sting ray but there was not a lot of colourful and beautiful reef and the creatures that inhabited them.

After we got our scooters (part of our snorkeling deal). We jumped on, Tahira with I and Gincori and Alexandria on another. It was lots of fun as we began exploring the island. We were told that on the other side of the island (which only took 2 hours to drive around) there were beach clubs and restaurants. So we thought we’d go and have some lunch but when we arrived we found that there wasn’t really many restaurants to choose from, which was nice actually.  We stopped at a beach club and ate some lunch. The coast line was beautiful to see as we rode our little scooters We finished the island and dropped off our scooters. We walked around the island for a bit before sitting down by the ocean to watch the sun set until the ferry left.

Cozumel itself is a very touristy place. On the weekends there aren’t as many people. The crowds come during the week days. It’s a bit sad to see how commercialized everything is. The essence of Mexican culture seems to be a bit lost and watered down. We have heard however that Isla Mujeres is more Eco friendly, but we have not been to see it yet.

Over all we enjoyed being together as a family even after all this time together.

Lot of Love

Faris and Family

xoxoxoxo

 

 

Apr 082013
 

Hola! Como Estan?

You’re probably wondering what we have been doing these past couple months in Playa del Carmen. Yes we have been slack about getting blogs out, but we will endeavour to be more consistent.

We were fortunate to find an apartment a few blocks from the beach, a little north of central downtown Playa del Carmen. It’s a great spot, making it easy to walk to shops, restaurants and the infamous 5th Avenue.

Along 5th Ave is an array of  tourist attractions. Shops, restaurants and souvenirs. Including opportunities to take photos with beautiful toucans, parrots, jaguars, white tigers, panthers, and monkeys. You can pet them for free but photos come at a price. Its also fun trying on the giant sombreros and taking pictures with the life size statues and figures throughout 5th.

We’ve eaten at a few places on 5th but our favourites are: Ah cacao, a chocolate cafe, with a great cappuccino (on Calle 30 and 5th Ave), and Pizza Renzo (pizza for only 15 pesos a slice).We haven’t tried that many restaurants on 5th but have been sticking to the local restaurants around Playa or cooking at home. We feel the food is more authentic Mexican style and if you are a budget traveller its better value.

A few weeks ago I tried tongue and pig skin tacos at a local street stall with some friends. The tongue was delicious, tender and flavorsome but I couldn’t bare the jelly like skin. When in Mexico you can’t pass up quesadillas, tacos, and empanadas on the street. There are street stalls at different times of the day. I like to stop at one stand on 15th Ave and Calle 38 for a morning queso empanada with pickles veg and shredded cabbage. Its easy to find and try places but locals know the best places so don’t be shy to make friends.

We have really been enjoying the beach so close. We walk to the beach for morning swims, and throughout the day as a family to soak up the sun. The other night, we cooked dinner at home and took it down to the beach for a evening picnic. It was nice to sit together, chat, and listen to the waves crash on the beach.The main beach is called Mamitas. There you can find a few beach clubs and lots of people, but beautiful clear blue water that refreshes you from the hot hot Caribbean sun.

One day we were swimming there, we saw what looked like a water powered jet pack attached to a boat that lead the person attached through the water. The pressure of the water was lifting him out of the water making him fly. We heard from a tourist office that for 30 mins it costs $200 USD. OMG!!

Also at night on the beach, there are beach parties, put on by the hotels, as well as weddings and romantic dinner setups with candle light and live music…Ooh Romantic..

After being here almost 2 months we are beginning to feel like locals. Gincori is loving her Zumba classes and ever since we bought a couple bikes, has enjoyed riding around town like a local. Tahira is connecting with kids her age at school! Amongst Dad’s daily practices he has been enjoying his walks and swims on the beach as well as meeting the locals and other travelers. I have been making lots of friends at my yoga, and African dance classes as well as hanging out at my friend’s cafe down on 5th. There is a great breeze there and I was able to help them make the final touches on the place before their opening. After over a year of traveling it has been nice to settle in this beautiful place, and consider what we want to create, and how to integrate that into everyday life.

We’ve all been fortunate to meet many travelers and locals who speak English enough to give us hints about Playa, as well as help us with our Spanish which is definitely improving. We’ve also discovered how small Playa really is. It’s hard to not run into people you know everywhere and making friends is as easy as one conversation. With that said there are lots of opportunities to get involved with local activities and even with a language barrier, you are welcomed with hugs and kisses.

Before we go, we are hoping to organise some trips to Cozumel for snorkeling and to the cenotes (caves where you can swim). Cozumel is said to have some amazingly beautiful reefs and the cenotes here are a main attraction.

For now though, it’s local life for us. Hanging out and making friends.

Love,

Alexandria and Family :)

xoxoxoxo

Mar 272013
 

OOPS…This one didn’t get published, better late than never.

On the 25th of January 2013, we hired a car and decided to go to Tulum and Playa del Carmen on the Mayan Riveria via the ruins of Ek Balam and Rio Lagartos.

Tip#1. When hiring a car in Mexico make sure you are fully insured and clear on your  excess and what it covers.  You may also want to go with the bigger more well known companies.

It’s been 11 months since I’ve driven. Driving on the right and in the left side of the car, opposite to Australian driving felt a little weird at first…Even though i have driven before in the USA. To my surprise, the roads were in good shape and I would recommend hiring a car. As a family of four it was cheaper to hire a car than to go with buses. It also gave us the freedom to travel, take our time and see what we liked.

Our first stop was Rio Lagartos, a quiet little fishing town by the ocean known for it’s mangroves and flamingos. Upon arriving we realized it was slow season as many tour guides were sitting around waiting for tourist to come along. Since we had already seen flamingos in the Celestun we found a shaded pier and had some lunch and enjoyed the peaceful waters and nature around us. If we had known that Rio Lagartos was less touristy and more local and natural we would have liked to see the flamingos there instead. It was also cheaper and we’d recommend it.

We drove to San Felipe another small colorful fishing town but didn’t stay and  headed to Tizimin where we would stay the night before heading to Ek Balam the following day.

We searched for some accommodation and found hotel 49; a great place! For the four of us it was cheaper to be at this hotel than a hostel and had all the modern trimmings. Very nice. We settled in and decided to go for a walk and grab some food. We were told to go to Ricardo’s by several locals and OMG!! We ordered the tacos! Honestly the best Mexican food we’ve had in Mexico!! The flavors were delicious and we wanted to go back for more!!  Afterwards we went for a walk around the town to burn off our tacos…LOL

The next morning we headed off to EK Balam!! I was really excited! This was a ruin I wanted to see. It was definitely less traveled than Chichen Itza but worth seeing.

The cost was $98MXP for adult and $6MXP for children. What was really beautiful about Ek Balam was it’s naturalness. This sacred site represented the jaguar. The name Ek Balam means the black or star jaguar. There something about this site i felt was very powerful and significant , more so than Chichen Itza. You were able to climb the ruins to the top and view the terrain from above. Although parts were restored (as you can see in the photos) it is a magical place.

We headed towards Valladolid and took a German hitchhiker there with us before heading in the direction of Tulum. The city of Valledolid had a beautiful main plaza that reminded me of Merida. It seems many main squares were designed in a similar way.

From Valledolid we went to Tulum via route 278 and avoided the toll road and it only took an hour and a half. I must say, although there are speed limits, it seems everyone in Mexico is doing their own speed.

We arrived in Tulum and it had the essence of a beach town. Very local, lots of one way streets that drive you crazy… One wrong turn and you have to circle the perimeter again. Finally we found Mama’s Home hostel. That night we went for dinner at Camello Jr. A local seafood place where we had grilled and crumbed fish that was amazing! Served with salsa, beans, rice, and salad. Yum!!

After dinner we went for a beautiful drive along coast and saw the many resorts and restaurants that line the beach.

The next morning we really wanted to go for a swim so we woke up early and went to the beach. Although we went to Progresso beach in Merida, it was nothing like this. We really appreciated the salt water on our skin and being back in the ocean.

Later after having breakfast we drove to Playa del Carmen to look for accommodation and check out the scene. Shortly after arriving we caught a glimpse of the ocean and we could not resist the temptation of this gorgeous, blue, blissful water. So we threw on our swimmers and jumped into the Atlantic. Yes, it was touristy amongst all the resorts but it was too beautiful to refuse. This place is surely alive with tourists and mainly influenced  by Americans with Canadian, amongst europeans. Much of the pricing is in us dollars and for the wealthy.

After checking for accommodation for future endeavors, we decided to have some dinner and walk down the main street – 5th ave. Most restaurants were fairly pricey but their is something for everyones taste and budget. we managed to have  some pizza.

We went back to Tulum that night and the following morning we went back to Playa del Carmen to sort out accommodation that we weren’t successful in doing the day before.

On our last day we headed out to Paradise Beach next to the ruins of Tulum. We jumped into the crystal, clear water and it was divine! We didn’t want to get out. There was a great sense of freedom! The waves were perfect, just big enough to carry you but still so relaxing. No doubt the waters on the Caribbean side are beautiful and we couldn’t wait to come back and go for a swim.

 

Next Post in a few days…Yes, I have been a little slack.

Until the next post…Are you living a fulfilled life?

Lot of Love

Faris and Family

xoxoxoxo

Mar 042013
 

December 29th, 2012, we visited the sacred ruins of Chichen Itza here in the Yucatan, Mexico. It was incredible to travel back in time and wonder how this ancient civilization lived. Can you imagine building something almost 2000 years ago with none of the machinery and tools we have today? Its really quite something when I stand on the land amongst it all and take it in.  We felt quite relaxed and peaceful as we walked around and took in the beautiful ruins, despite the little touristy stalls from the Mayan locals selling their many crafts. They were quite beautiful but be mindful prices are really jacked up…so feel free to negotiate a price that you are comfortable to pay.

There is certainly much to see here; the Kukulkan Pyramid, known as “El Castilo” The Castle, to the Temple of the Warriors, the “El Caracol” Observatory Temple, the Venus Platform in the Great Plaza, the Cenotes and waterways that ran underneath this Mayan city, and much more. Just google Chichen Itza and the information will come up for you. Of course its not like standing there and experience it. I found there was mixed feelings with my family being there and seeing the different ruins. Some appealed to them and some didn’t. One thing for sure, the detail carved into stone and the shapes of the stones themselves were impressive despite the age of them.

One of the families favorite ruin was the observatory temple that was strategically placed. It is a round building with doors and windows on a square platform.  It was used to chart and calculate earthly and planetary cycles and more. We were told that at certain times or cycles like the event on 21/12/2012, their winter solstice, the sun ray would pass through both doors at the same time of the round building. There was this correlation between the 360 degree round building, the windows and doors, and the square platform where they were able to measure and follow astronomical events. They could measure these events or monitor planetary movements, like Venus for example, without the use of the technology that we have today…Amazing hey?!!!

We were able to have a little picnic and enjoy our own lunch that we had brought with us that day. Whilst enjoying our lunch, we saw quite a few iguanas that were on the stone walls of the ruins and grassy area next to us. One would come up less than a metre away at times, as we sat and ate. And there was one that was over a metre long sun baking as you will see in our photos below.

Over all this ancient Mayan City was really impressive and I thoroughly enjoyed connecting with the land and the energy of the place. we took our time and about six hours later we caught the bus back to Merida…Like I said earlier their was a very relaxed and peaceful feel. We noticed there wasn’t that many people as we had expected…Perhaps it was our luck day.

 

 

Until the next post…Are you living a fulfilled life?

Lot of Love

Faris and Family

xoxoxoxo

 Posted by at 11:45 am
Feb 072013
 

Can you believe it? Its been a whole year of traveling! We left on the 6th of February 2012, embracing the unknown, with just a light skeleton of a plan, with only a ticket to Thailand, and we were off. Traveling with hearts open and being in the moment, creating opportunity after opportunity…that’s the real adventure, I felt. Letting go and immersing ourselves in the culture and experiencing life with the locals and fellow travelers in each place we visited, was beyond amazing…Life changing!

We have been so fortunate to be able to do so much this year. As I mentioned we started off in Thailand and met the most beautiful people. We saw the tiger temple, rode elephants, visited the floating market, encountered a monk’s ceremony, visited the golden triangle and volunteered on Pi Nan’s organic farm. Before we knew it we were off to India. India offered so much color, life and challenges. The whole family was on a vegetarian diet whilst there.We rafted the mother Ganga, witness the burning ghats of Varanasi, connected with the Dalai Lama and the Karmapa as we stayed with the monks at the Gyoto Monastery, visited the Taj Mahal, volunteered teaching at a poor community and took a 10 day road trip through the Spiti Valley.

Hong Kong gave us a taste of modernism and we saw the city form the Peak, and visited Disneyland. China brought with it several wonders of the world, such as the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, and the Terra-cotta warriors as well as Mount Wudang where we did our Tai-chi and Qui Gong. We caught a flight to Peru and saw Machu Picchu, had a 30day silent retreat in the Sacred Valley, volunteered at an eco school, and toured the Amazon, before reaching Mexico, our current location. So far we have been to the beautiful blue Caribbean waters of Tulum and Playa del Carmen, rented a house in the city of Merida where we were privileged to experience a fire ceremony for the changing of the Mayan calendar.

In total we have moved 44 times this year, been to 5 countries, taken trains, planes, cars, rickshaws and boats. We have learned some Thai, Chinese, Hindi, Tibetan, Cantonese, and Spanish. We have impacted so many people along this journey and received so much from strangers who appeared to lend a hand at the perfect moment. There are surely many angels that walk the earth. We’ve had challenging times and amazing times, laughter and tears. Its has been such an enriching experience and the memories will carry through the rest our lives. This year has brought personal growth for us all and as a family. It has truly opened our eyes to so much.  We even survived each others constant company without killing each other LOL !

Faris:

Spending this last year with my family traveling around the globe, volunteering in various places, embracing the unknown and deepening my personal growth, exploring my choices and experiences  with an open heart has been absolutely incredible, challenging, exciting and fulfilling on so many levels. Whether you’re single, married, with or without children, or elderly, if you want to travel…JUST DO IT. Life if too short to not do what you love.

Gincori:

What an amazing year. I have learnt so much about myself, other countries, other people, and how simple life can be. I felt privileged to be able to volunteer in the schools especially since I didn’t know the language.

Alexandria:

This year has been a year of discovery, of not only the world around me, but of myself. I have finally begun to get to know myself and who I am and what I want to create in this lifetime.

Tahira:

I really enjoyed volunteering in India and being with the kids. I learned about culture and got to taste awesome foods around the world. It was a cool experience seeing the world.

What’s next:

At the moment we are settled in Mexico, with the intension of figuring out the next steps in our lives, and are assessing the options. We do intend on traveling around Mexico more and plan to go to the USA, so stay tuned for more blogs to come. The year may be over but the journey continues.

Until the next post…Are you living a fulfilled life?

Lot of Love

Faris and Family

xoxoxoxo

 

Jan 162013
 

After hearing from so many people about the beautiful flamingos at the Celestun, we were all eager to check out these magnificent birds. So we caught the bus and took the 2 hour ride to the small town. There we found, at the beach, boat rides being offered at 200 pesos  (~AUD$15) per person.

As we began to get closer to the flamingos we could see large bursts of pink scattered around. Matter of fact, there were hundreds of them, maybe more. The beautiful birds were in front of us. They stood so tall in the shallow waters on their long skinny legs. We sat in amazement and just watched and listened. At one point a flamingo took off and many others followed. It was an incredible sight as they flew in a flock only to reveal their beautiful black and pink wings. I must say, we never knew that flamingos had black on their wings. Closer to shore were the baby flamingos that hadn’t become pink yet and were gray in color. Over all it was amazing to see these large stork-like birds in flight.

Then we were off to the mangroves. I had never experienced mangroves before. It was like going through a tunnel of trees and branches while on the water. It was very cool and we saw many other birds inside. It made me feel like I was in the Amazon again and not at the beach. We then got out of the boat at some springs. We were quite surprised at how clear the water was compared to, a few meters away, where the murky river flowed. We noticed many tourists were jumping into the springs and swimming. It was quite tempting actually, until we saw this alligator on the bank. We were so shocked to see one that we thought it was fake until it moved. Here’s this alligator on the bank and he looks like he’s about to get into the water and everyone is swimming around in oblivion.  See pics below.

Its always great to be able to experience nature up close and be amazed by it.

Alexandria and Family

xoxo

Jan 022013
 

Upon arriving to Merida, Mexico, one of my intentions was to connect with the energy of this land and time. Particularly in relevance to the end of one Mayan Calendar and beginning of another on the 21st December 2012. I have always known that it will not be the end of the world as many have spoken about, but a time of change, spiritual consciousness, a new era of deepening for humanity.

Within two days of being in Merida Mexico my family and I made contact with a shaman and were privileged to be invited to a Sacred Fire Ceremony from 6pm on the 20th December to 6am on the 21st. A 12 hour fire ceremony celebrating the end and new Mayan calendars; an intimate gathering of 60 to 80 locals, 30 minutes out of Merida.

It was such a lovely and amazing experience…We arrive and were greeted by the shaman and made to feel at home straight away. I noticed two shamans were present to lead the ceremony and four people stood at north, south, east and west, representing the four dimensions facing the fire in the centre. They held chalices with incense burning purifying and creating the sacred space that we all felt.

Throughout out the night there were many rituals conducted by the two shamans both in the Mayan and Spanish languages. A conch ( large sea shell) was also used as a horn with drums that created an incredible atmosphere and energetic vibration with the powerful fire burning in the centre. On a number of occasions we gathered together in a large circle around the fire going around clock wise and anti clock wise while the drums and conch were used and rituals performed.

We lit candles, held hands together in a circle, and opened our hearts and arms to receive. There were prayers and blessings, throwing of candles into the fire, purifying and cleansing, and healings performed by the Mayan shaman. All were a part of the rituals that were absolutely incredible to experience.  Many times the shamans gave thanks through rituals of prayers and blessings to Mother Earth and the Heavens by water gently thrown from a bowl into the fire at each of the four direction. Both shamans also spoke of the planetary and spiritual shifts that signified this day, the 21/12/2012

There was three new fires at three important moments of the whole ceremony. The first was the beginning of the night  at 6pm to start the night with the fire of the old calendar. The second was at 12 midnight signifying the new day and calendar which was the most powerful I felt. The last was at the rising of the new sun early in the morning around 5am. The transition of each was performed beautifully. The old embers was brought out side of the small inner circle by shovel. New wood was placed with eight pieces of wood doubled and stacked forming a square or the number symbol (#). Then wood was stacked upright around the square and then certain colored flowers were placed at the 4 directions around the wood, before a few shovels of the old embers was poured through the centre of the new stack of wood to ignite the fire.

The fire in no time was powerfully burning and the rituals of prayer by the shamans, drumming and conch’s going off with all of us holding hands in a circle, started. Next, what took place was totally amazing. At 12 midnight as the new fire was lit and we were all holding hands in the circle, suddenly the wind came up out of nowhere, it started to rain,  the flames got stronger and wild,  we could feel the heat, the water, the wind and the earth as we stood with the energy of our hearts and spirits connected. Recognizing all 5 elements present in one moment. For me it was one of the highlights of my night, just experiencing the wonderful energy and integration of this sacred ceremony…I will never forget it.

Alexandria and I in the early hours stood and held the challis and placed incense when needed as part of this ceremony to maintain the sacred space. The shamans placed offerings, sharing their wisdom and more rituals continued to early hours until it was time for another fire to be lit. At 5am there was a few less people present and as before a new fire was lit to signify and honour the new sun and give more thanks. More water was blessed by the shaman from the four directions into the fire. This time a few people including my self contributed blessings/prayers out aloud amongst the group as we were gathered in a circle around the fire waiting for the sun to appear.

A little after 6am it was over. Twelve hours that felt more like six. Energized by the evening, we packed up and headed back to our place. What a really awesome and privileged night. It was perfect for me and supported my life beautifuly. My family loved it and got to experience a special historical moment in time. This is what they had to share…

Gincori:

I had never experienced something like this before…I found it very powerful and energizing.

Alexandria:

I really enjoyed being part of such a sacred ceremony. The drumming and conch were especially moving for me.

Tahira:

It was an amazing experience and a once in life time opportunity.

 

 

Until the next post…Are you living a fulfilled life?

Lot of Love

Faris and Family

xoxoxoxo