Answering the Call
It was winter in San Rafael. I was in front of my glowing computer, checking email. Tucked into a newsletter was an invitation to see the pyramids of Teotihuacan. Pyramids? In Mexico? I clicked on the link.
What opened up changed my life forever. An image filled my screen with stone snakes and two large pyramids set in a wide valley. It took my breath away. Excitedly I read the description of a ‘power journey’ filled with the ancient Nagual teachings and of four days exploring the Avenue of the Dead with a teacher, Victoria Allen. She was one of don Miguel Ruiz’, author of The Four Agreements, elder students was taking small groups to the ruins of the ancient city of “Teo.”
My heart wanted to go and suddenly longed for transformation, for spiritual connection and for the ancient stone site. It wasn’t logical, but from that moment I was determined to go.
I had been living in a disaster of a marriage, emotionally abused and sexually abandoned as the chief caregiver of my 5 year old son while my husband worked a series of jobs that often took him away from home for weeks and into the arms of other women. It wasn’t the marriage contract I’d signed on to. I felt trapped, was financially dependent and overly protective of my only child. How could I ever leave the country, my family for even a few days or find the money? I was such a victim!
Yet, within three months I flew into Mexico City to join a small group of seekers. My parents had surprisingly sold some property and split the proceeds between my siblings and me. A few weeks after I saw the Teo flier, they sent the check and made me promise to put the funds in a separate account in my name only. That was their only caveat and I held to the agreement. Without realizing it, I had begun my Toltec journey from that moment and was practicing one of the Four Agreements – Be impeccable with your word. What was also surprising was my husband’s agreeing to take care of my son while I was away. Soon I was packing.
Victoria had sent detailed instructions on how to prepare for the trip. I was advised to put my personal life into order, to even make a will. It scared me at first but it was the first step to opening up to healing. I was intrigued and quietly prepared.
Walking alone into the labyrinth of Mexico’s largest airport took a little more gumption but soon I was with a new, chattering family. Our small group of 21 men and women climbed into vans for the forty minute ride to Teo. After rumbling along in traffic and through the countryside, we entered a narrow road and someone shouted, there’s the Pyramid! The vision touched me with amazement that I had come so far and my heart opened with gratitude.
We pulled up to the colorful Villa Archaeologico and settled into our sweet, comfortable rooms which ringed a large swimming pool and patio. It was our home base. Each morning outside the lobby, we gathered for final instructions before beginning our single-file, silent procession to the ancient site.
I thrilled to look straight up the Avenue of the Dead as we left, all the way up the steps of the Pyramid of the Moon at the far end. Each morning we walked through the entry gates, past other tourists and uniformed students, to visit the ancient classrooms and work on whatever was no longer serving us. I had no expectations and was no stranger to rituals, having grown up in Catholic schools. It was nourishing to participate in small actions that held large significance which, I soon discovered, revealed old wounds. Many of our small group were hurting. We shared so much and with Victoria’s gentle guidance, let go, opened up more and let go again and again.
On our third day we walked up the Avenue of the Dead in determined silence. All our preparations and practices led to climbing the Pyramids. I walked silently past the artisans and wove through the crowds, scarcely hearing the small whistles blown by the vendors and the many different languages being spoken.
There was a shift and words won’t describe adequately how I stepped into a new awareness. It was as if I were everything and nothing. The silence within me roared. I was fully myself – the same, comforting, familiar me, and simultaneously part of everything. Victoria came to sit next to me on the steps of the Pyramid to check in with how I was doing. I only tilted my head and dared to look deeply in her eyes with a slight smile. She gently touched me and simply said, “Good”, before she moved to check in on the others.
It was all good but the profound shift slowly faded. What didn’t was the sense that I had returned to myself. I returned too to my home in Northern California and shocked my husband by how happy and clear I was. We didn’t stay together long after that first trip to Teo and I could never have initiated my divorce were it not for my first power journey to Teo.
Life isn’t always pleasant but that can be necessary. I came through all the changes just fine and my son flourished after the separation. I’ve been on other power journeys to Teo since and my last, nearly ten years later, was with my new life partner. We walked the Avenue of the Dead in silence with our hands clasped. I live in gratitude for that profound place, for don Miguel’s teachings, Victoria and her partner, Doug’s, gentle guidance and for walking the difficult places that have led me to a life far richer and fuller than I could have dreamt.
Victoria and Doug Allen’s Website: https://www.raiseyourstate.com
Elaine Masters Bio:
Elaine J. Masters is a travel writer, speaker, scuba diver, yoga teacher and the award-winning author of Drivetime Yoga and Flytime Yoga.
Sonia Marsh Says: You prove something that I am a firm believer of: getting away from the familiar, getting out of your comfort zone to an unfamiliar environment helps you grow and strengthens you as a person. I am so happy you got the strength and courage to leave your “unhappy” marriage and find a new life. By the way, I love your Travel MeetUp group. It looks lively and very active. I wish you were in OC, not San Diego, as I would like to be a part of your group.
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