Coming to my Senses in the Riviera Maya

I reached for the large brown crayon. Not sure how to put the experience into words I started to draw.

sitting down right before we take off the blindfolds

As we all opened our eyes after the Sense Adventure the guide asked us to share our thoughts on a blank comment card. And although we all experienced the same stimulation, we all reacted differently.  Some of us enjoyed it, others did not.

At that moment, I noticed the reflection of the mangroves in the cenote. My first impulse – to jump right in – didn’t seem appropriate now that we came back to the material world. Or perhaps I knew of the future. The very fact that I’d take a swim in the cooling waters later in the evening after our Temazcal ritual. Either way, I just continued to draw.

I focused on the reflection. It seemed to perfectly align with the guide’s final instructions, “…open your eyes and see yourself, your reflection…”  Ok. I handed in my art work, not sure what to make of the entire experience. All I knew was that I found myself. I discovered a gift, the present.

still with camera... not there yet.

The Sense Adventure started slow for me, but once I completely let go, and let go completely I really traveled some distance. Not a distance measured in miles, but an internal distance. A distance that sometimes can be further than I’d like to think. A distance to find myself and connect.

When we started, I didn’t know what to expect. I read “sense adventure” on the itinerary and said “yes.” Seemed to fit my mantra. But I made a mistake. I took my camera. Foolish because once blindfolded I didn’t get any good pictures. (Tip: take nothing with you)

With the entire focus to remove sight and augment other senses you don’t need anything but yourself. That’s the big idea. Eventually an assistant took my camera and I started to let go some and not worry about its safety. But then with the use of water, I worried about my phone in my pocket. Another distraction I planted on myself. But I eventually decided to let go completely. (I could use a new iPhone anyway I thought)

Only then did I start to truly realize the power and the gift before me. When the journey switched from water to wind, we seemed to be asked to fly. And although, few words are spoken during the trip when the guide or assistant moved my arms I responded. And at this point I soared.

a little wet, but good times came soon....

I truly and finally really let go of everything. Only then did I travel further inside. I started to really smell, feel, and touch. It changed. I changed. I reached “now.” I became present, it was truly a gift. Thank you (or Gracias)

Immediately afterwards, discussing the experience with fellow travelers, i learned people thought of it as  everything from lentil torture to a journey into zen. Honestly, the discussions seemed no different than how people judge or rate any travel experience.

Then a few days later, I realized our journey only highlighted four of our five senses.  Yes, the journey changes for each group. The guide reads the energy of the day, the people, and changes the experience accordingly.  No two times will be the same but the destination is the same for every participant – that connection.

On my experience we missed – taste. I wonder if he knew what Chef Oscar had in store for us. From the chef’s table, to tequila tasting and crusano (grasshopper) we definitely enjoyed the sense of taste during our stay. It is hard not to at Hacienda Tres Rios.

But, I wonder what the guide thought of my drawing. I wonder if anyone else ever drew the cenote. I wonder what others wrote on those cards that day and any day. Looking back, I realize that is not what is important.  What is –  the fact I let go and became present during the experience. I connected.

the cenote I drew... I also took a picture when i got my camera back...

Stay adventurous, Craig

Day 3 of 20 day Mexico Bicentennial Tribute

Also,special thanks to Hacienda Tres Rios for sponsoring my trip, taking a few photos, and also allowing me to come to my senses during my visit.

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  • Kay

    Nice article. Lets do it again sometime soon!

  • micheleinplaya

    Great article Craig. It was nice to meet you!

  • jorge

    Definitely link happy! Great one Craig! See you soon in NY.

  • Rachelle

    Good post! Love the pic of Kay. She looks like a kid having fun. :o)

  • El Compadre del Mexico

    Great story! Those moments of clarity are always cherished!

  • solotraveler

    I love how you take the reader through this experience Craig. Great post.

  • Cheri Lucas

    Nice post and summary of this HTR adventure. Love the phrase “lentil torture.” This makes me miss our time there!


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