Now that we have settled a bit in Merida and are enjoying the warmth, sun and meetings with very generous and friendly people, we have time to reflect on the first workshop we taught on our Mexican / South American trip. This took place last weekend in Mexico City.
After arriving in chilly Mexico City we delighted in the opportunity of going to Frida Kahlo’s house and acquainting ourselves with her colourful life and artistic expression. It was powerful to experience the great spirit with which she lived her life of suffering, great passion and reflection on being a woman.
It was wonderful staying with our hosts, Philip and Liz from whom we learned a great deal about the Mexican culture, political situation and life during the three days we were with them. The first morning Philip took us to the local market where we enjoyed a big freshly squeezed fruit juice, setting us up to deal with jetlag and the cold, followed by the traditional Mexican quesadilla breakfast.
The location for our workshop, that began on Saturday morning, was someone’s large living room in an area of Mexico City where wealth is protected in gated communities. Our taxi driver had to obtain permission from a guard at the gate before we were allowed to enter the street where the workshop was to take place. It was a beautiful house and garden where we were greeted by a very generous host and sweet housekeeper.
By 10am when the workshop was due to begin, none of the participants had arrived. We were told not to expect to start the workshop until 10.30am as Mexicans NEVER arrive on time. Knowing the big-city lifestyle we understood, but when time passed and only two people had turned up, we realised we had arrived in Mexico, where the meaning of time and punctuality are very different from European standards. Our hosts were apologetic, irritated themselves, and yet for us it was interesting to surrender to a different way of being. Being Swiss and English this was an interesting experience!
However, once people finally arrived, we sensed that we were going to have a wonderful and deep experience together. The bigheartedness, care and depth with which everyone was relating and expressing themselves, was moving. A global sense of care permeated the room. We are all in this together, in perpetual dialogue about how to be true to our deepest knowing and at the same time become fully creative human beings, not only connected with each other, but also with the laws of the universe. Through movement and dialogue we sank slowly and deeply into the very gentle places of care and tenderness.
On Sunday we had no expectations that people would turn up before 11 am, so we were relaxed about the tardiness. But our hosts rightly remarked that the country would never manifest radical change as long as these ‘mañana’ and ‘ahorita’ attitudes persisted… As with all cultures we need to face our weaknesses. When Angela Merkel encouraged the Germans a few weeks ago, to move from a sense of ‘German perfectionism’ to ‘German flexibility’ in order to be able to manage the overwhelming refugee crisis, many people rejoiced. It opened up a place in the German psyche that had not yet been fully explored, but which the situation demanded.
At the conclusion of the workshop we spoke together about the new possibilities that would open up if the Mexican people could break this cultural habit in their relationship to time and commitment. It would bring about exciting new possibilities and creative pathways towards change. We imagined what a combination of bigheartedness and colourful imagination coupled with a sense of commitment and respect for others would do!
We found the way in which all the participants gave themselves fully to the movement component in the workshop to be deeply moving. It is a vulnerable thing to share the experience of moving ones body in a group in this way. All but one of the participants were completely new to my approach to moving, yet they showed an enormous generosity of spirit in venturing full heartedly on this journey with us. As a result there was a true celebration of intimacy and joy that permeated us all which can only be described as heavenly.
We left Mexico City with a sense of deep fulfilment after the workshop.
Having experienced the cold autumn in that humongous vibrating city that lies at 2200m, it was a bit of a shock and relief to land 2 hours later in picturesque Merida, were we were greeted by 25 degrees and great humidity. Next week we will be facilitating a one-week course at Tumakat dance studio in Merida. This week we enjoying the time to be together with space to think and talk more about the work that lies before us. We are living in an elegant apartment in the middle of Merida that was kindly offered to us by Tumakat’s director Vania Duran, and are using this precious opportunity to learn about the Mayan and local culture.