Time stopped in Peru

Lima, Ballestos Islands, Nasca Lines, Cusco, Macchu Picchu, Rainbow Mountain, Lake Titicaca, Sacred Valley…all seem touristic objectives. Visiting Peru was the most amazing experience of my life, but it was far from being a touristic trip. We (me and the other 12 beautiful souls joining the retreat) say that Peru has to be felt rather than told, as you cannot really know what to expect unless you are really there.

When I was little, I used to play a game of cards called “Maciupiciu”, but I did not dare to dream that I will actually get there. I really doubted that that place really existed. But sometimes, life gives you more than you can dream of.

My journey begins in the airplane with “Man’s search for meaning” by Viktor Frankl, the book I chose to read.

Books, workshops, meditation, spiritual retreats, coaching schoolCompassionate Inquiry certification program, and a lot more, were all part of my personal and spiritual growth for the last years (and still are). But this time, I feel that Peru is going to take things to another level.

I resonated deeply with the stories of the Incas, with their connection with Mother Earth (Pachamama), Sun, Moon, Stars and Nature. I might not have visited Peru before, but my soul was for sure there in another lifetime.

The journey begins smoothly with Lima, in Miraflores, where we are spending the night.

The next day, a trip with the city bus and getting to know each other a bit. Time stopped for the first time at the ocean. I can never get enough of the music the rocks make when being swiped by the waves. We might make waves in and around us, in our daily lives, but we all have that inner calm, just under the waves, just like the ocean.

The next stop is to Ballestos Islands. While travelling a lot with the bus, the general feeling is of surprise. You never know what is coming. Desert, sand, oasis, vegetation, mountains; the change of scenery happens quickly and unexpectedly.

Seeing penguins, sea lions and seals in their natural habitat was so amazing: I am creating a mental picture of the surroundings, breathing the air, connecting with the nature. My heart is filled with love and joy. I can never get enough of this!

Next stop: The Nazca lines

The Nazca lines are huge designs made in the soil (geoglyphs) by the Nazca civilization (people before the Incas) in the form of different shapes (spider, robot, monkey, bird, etc.) which can be seen from the plane. There are many stories around these lines: The Nazca people created them to be seen by deities in the sky; the lines were intended to act as a kind of observatory, to point to the places on the distant horizon where the sun and other celestial bodies rose or set in the solstices; tracks connected to irrigation and field division… No matter their purpose or stories surrounding them, flying over the Nazca lines was for sure a moment to remember. A cocktail of emotions is bursting inside myself: from tears, to amazement, to nausea; I am deeply grateful!

The first challenge is at Cusco. The altitude there is of approx. 3,400 m. While we started drinking coca tea since arriving at the hotel I still feel headache and nausea, more strongly the next day after getting there. For people who never went to such altitudes, it can be a challenge until the body gets used to it.

We take a car-walk to Sacsayhuaman (“Saksaywaman” or “Sexy Woman”) in Cusco. This was an ancient fortress built out of huge blocks of stone. The stones fit like a puzzle (without any mortar) that in many cases you cannot even insert a sheet of paper between them. There are stones who weigh 200 tons so it is impressive how these were moved.

The guide tells us about the ruins, about the Incas (children of the Sun), sacrifices and rituals which were practiced during that time.

We enter to one of the tunnels there (“the snake tunnel”). It is complete darkness and we can only move one behind the other. However, it is rather short and the energy there is amazing. I spend some more minutes before going out. There, a shaman whom we met a short while ago waits for us. He is taking us to a place nearby to perform an aura cleaning ceremony. We are deeply emotional and grateful for our experience.

Macchu Picchu is even more impressive in real life than seen in the pictures. We got to see how the Incas used to tell when is the summer solstice, how they split rocks and how everything that is above has a correspondent on earth (e.g. a river surrounding the mountains named after Milky Way).

The next challenge is at the Rainbow Mountain. “Montaña de Siete Colores” or “Montaña de Colores” is a mountain located at 5,200 m above sea level, which used to be covered in snow until recent years. It became more and more popular thanks to its colors corresponding to different minerals. While I did finish more difficult hikes in the past, I even walked on hot coals one month ago at Tony Robbins’ Unleash the Power Within experience, this was a totally different thing, mostly because of the altitude which made breathing very difficult. I refused to take a horse, with whom you could have climbed most part of the road, as I knew I can do this.

The walk to the mountain is mostly an individual journey as talking makes the climbing more difficult. Thus, there is an opportunity for introspection.

The last meters were really difficult and time stopped again. It was all happening in slow motion. I met a girl who gave me an alcohol wipe which was supposed to help me with the altitude, another one coming down from the top of the mountain screamed “You can do this!”, while an eagle which flew very close above my head landed in front of me.

As the emotions were building up, I burst into tears when reaching the top. It was difficult, amazing, and was all worth it.

When you decide to continue even when the mind tells you that you cannot do it, that is when something changes inside. That is when the breakthrough happens. Just outside the comfort zone.

As Viktor Franks says, “Those who have a “why” to live, can bear with almost any “how”. So even though we were conscious or not of our “why”, of what kept us moving forward despite our efforts, our journey was the “how” we had to “bear”.

But soon, we would find out that the “why” was to prepare us for the next journey to the Amazon jungle where we took part at ayahuasca ceremonies. (to be continued)

—– Stay tuned for the next article on my ayahuasca experience —–

P.S. For those of you who feel the calling of Peru and Amazon Jungle, I wholeheartedly recommend Anca Botez. Even though the retreat was a very complex one, with a lot of guided tours, internal flights, bus and accommodation changes, it was all spot on. Each one of the places visited were meant to enhance our journey, to prepare us for the Amazon jungle and to make it an unforgettable experience. Something changed inside all of us and most of it is thanks to Anca.

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