Learning From the Mayan:

Empowering Women to Find the Purpose in Life

I do not know exactly how to describe the intense feeling of being lost. All the sounds in your life that have always brought you comfort are gone. If macaroni and cheese make you feel home, it is suspecting you will never eat it again–nothing even remotely close. It is feeling being utterly alone and at the same time unable to find even yourself, nothing around you is yours, not even your job. Not even your voice. All you have to define yourself is the clothes you happen to be wearing and the hard seat under your butt. I have felt that a few times in my life. Both times I was doing amazing, life changing things, but I was living in someone else’s life.
Don’t get me wrong. I am happy. But I have had intense moments of feeling lost–without a strong sense of self or purpose. All of the things I am doing do not add up to the person I thought I would be. Maybe that is good because it means I am flexible. Or maybe it means I do not know who I am or how to pursue it. And today I found myself sitting in on a strange meeting I never expected to happen, one that has me thinking about the pieces of my life that fit together.
“I don’t know. She some lady that works with indigenous women. I told her I would have a meeting with her…” Luisa explained to me 10 minutes before the lady was supposed to arrive.

“She sounds interesting, but I do not know what we are going to talk about.”

I’ve come to learn that I am not a meeting person. I love talking to people, but I cannot have 3 and 4 meetings a day like my partner does. She is the master of networking, and I am the master of sneaking out of meetings. I’ve found (though I am not proud of it) my attention span for networking and meetings significantly decreases, even more, when the other parties are speaking in Spanish. The lady did sound cool. I am a feminist with a passion for indigenous people, but I REALLY wanted to get work done.
I got lost in my computer, and when I looked up, she was standing at the table next to us.
There was desperation in my soul to listen to her. With my limited Spanish, I understand the big picture of what someone is saying 80% of the time but always miss the subtleties. It’s like going to a movie and understanding the plot, but never the dialogue:

When she was 22, she had to move to Guatemala for her husband’s political asylum where she encountered indigenous women for the first time and was mesmerized by their contentment, maturity and wise perspectives of themselves and the world around them. She explained how they understand their equality with men and do not have to stress over it. At the same time, they understand their feminine obligations as mothers and their responsibility to the world. These women all had a clear sense of purpose. They were connected, very deeply, with their god and their spiritual selves. Through these women, she had learned to help other women. The has studied the sacred Mayan traditions, and while she is Christian, believing in God, she uses the Mayan rituals to connect with her God and find answers to her insecurities.

“The indigenous people are dying.”

Even though we do not actively slaughter them like we have in the past, their children are growing up and leaving the villages longing for technology. We think they are just poor people, but their knowledge about the spiritual ties to the earth could save us all from hopelessness and that feeling of not having a purpose. We cannot let that knowledge die with them.

Something in her story spoke to me. Maybe it was the way I’d been feeling so confused about my direction in life. Maybe it was the way I felt so alone and confused.
I’ve often questioned my purpose in life. At least 6 times in my life I have had people approach me to tell me they had a message from God about my purpose, but I never know whether to be moved by their conviction or freaked out. Once, I spent 4th of July with my best friend at the time watching fireworks from the top of a parking garage when a girl told me I was going to be an important force in the universe and I cannot be afraid. I had chilled for three weeks and still remember her face and name…

Now, in this meeting, staring at the aged and ageless face of the beautiful woman in front of me, I thought about that feeling of being lost and I thought about the face of Jedidiah that fourth of July. The next date she was hosting a ceremony was December 9th, and I would be gone.
I will fly back early from Lima. It just feels that important to me.
Luisa and the woman were both shocked. The next day we got a message saying she would host a private ceremony for us. We packed our bags and headed to the mountains.