I’ve been traveling through Mexico since March 17, studying indigenous psychology and researching my new novel which takes place in El Chico, Hidalgo, a magical town described in a previous blog. I expected to learn a few new things but not the profound lessons that have changed me in unexpected ways. These are my takeaways:
1. True friendship lasts forever.
After a 21-year absence, family and friends welcomed me with enthusiasm and open hearts. We took up as if we’d seen each other only the week before. They taught me that time and distance cannot destroy love. The bonds of friendship, kinship, and community endure and are ever-growing.
2. Some things in Mexico are changing in a positive way.
I witnessed a beautiful and revolutionary wedding. The couple are young lawyers that advocate tirelessly for Mexico’s disappeared. Their wedding ceremony broke gender stereotypes and celebrated diversity in all its human forms. It was beautiful, moving, and inspiring.
3. Mexico’s economy is supported by the undocumented.
Most workers would prefer to live in their hometowns with their families but are forced by the economic circumstances perpetuated by the US and global corporations into risking life, limb and freedom to make sure their families and communities survive and thrive.
4. I need few material things.
I don’t miss hot water, internet, Amazon, tv, phone signal, shopping. Not having a scale to torture myself every morning, a magnifying lighted make-up mirror, and fancy clothes have been liberating.
5. I am stronger than I thought.
I overcame heatstroke, diarrhea, over fifty mosquito bites at once, five-hour walks up a mountain and back in full sun.
6. The only way to heal from trauma is in community.
Western psychology cannot heal us when the causes of our distress are poverty, racism, discrimination, sexism, greed, lack of resources and our modern way of life. We heal when supported and accompanied while working together to transform the structures making us ill.
7. Happiness cannot be attained as an individual pursuit.
The more we chase it, the farther it becomes. Happiness cannot be pursued as an individual accomplishment but is created with others when we transcend ourselves and contribute to the greater good.
I look forward to the next month of writing and exploring El Chico and wonder what I will discover.