Mayan Purification for the New Year

Mayan Temezcal

Mayan Temezcal

My beloved hubby and I recently got back from a super romantic vacay in the Riviera Maya, where among lots of fun tropical activities like biking, snorkeling and sushi-making, we got to experience a traditional temezcal ceremony, which is an ancient Mayan sweat lodge ritual led by a shaman.  During the ceremony, we were led into a small dome made of volcanic rock and cement, with 8 other people, where in pitch black darkness, a shaman led us through four “doors” of consciousness and self-discovery, each corresponding to higher and higher temperature heat radiating from the red hot volcanic rock steaming in the center of the dome. I’ll be honest, it was a pretty intense experience, and on more than one occasion, I found myself plotting my escape route.  But despite those moments of sheer panic, I pulled through, and came out feeling, in a sense, a rebirth.

Getting purified by frankincense pre-Temezcal.

Getting purified by frankincense pre-Temezcal.

Our shaman spoke of a few things which really resonated with me, and I want to share them with you as we all move into the New Year. The first was in reference to the Mayan calendar and all this 2012 business (ps: the world didn’t end!  Yay!).  He explained that the Mayan calendar and the significance placed on December 21, was never meant to imply the end of the world, but rather, the end of a spiritual era.  The new era that we have moved into is one of spiritual enlightenment and rebirth.  I know it’s hard to envision that this era of greater human enlightenment began with shootings, fiscal instability, violence and grave human rights violations across the globe.  But I do think that if we really take the time to catch this moment and let it resonate with us, then all this turbulence is just the fire that we can rise from, stronger… reborn.

Interior of the Temezcal

Interior of the Temezcal

The temezcal itself is built to symbolize a womb.  It is dark, hot, protective.  As we experienced the intense physical heat and emotions that vacillated between panic, fear, calm, and euphoria, we really did go through a rebirth of sorts.  We confronted what we fear most, what we’re avoiding in our lives, and what we would most like to change about ourselves and our daily existence.  For me, I confronted my own fears of pushing myself, leaving my comfort zone.  I envisioned a different reality, well within my reach, where I exist not ruled by these self-imposed limitations.  I exited that dark, hot womb a different person than I entered.

So as we all move into 2013 and this new era of spiritual enlightenment, I challenge you to incorporate some elements of this emotional and spiritual rebirth into your own life. I challenge you to think about what old habits, frames of mind, and ways of being from the years before you can let go of and leave in the past.

When you’re making your New Year’s resolutions, this year, keep these things in mind.  Think big!  Making the annual resolutions of hitting the gym more often and eating more greens is thinking really small.  Instead of making 10 small-scale resolutions you know you won’t stick to, make one big picture, big life resolution that will actually lead to the change you are hoping to experience!  What are the real barriers that are keeping you from your goals?  What is your way of being that keeps you from making the everyday decisions that lead to greater health and happiness?

Vow to make 2013 a year of true transformation and rebirth in your life, and don’t be afraid to dream big!

Happy New Year’s, everyone!