Today I choose to let go. I’ve been reading blogs lately by my dear friend Laura Shaw (The Awakening Heart: laurapshaw.com/2015/05/09/the-sweetness-of-here/#comment-69) and it’s as though she’s actually speaking directly to me. Which is great, because with a toddler and young twins, she doesn’t have much free time to actually make phone calls. She is firmly entrenched in the Here and Now, which is a place I sometimes visit, have visited often in the past, and lately have been missing it completely. And so, what does one do when one realizes that one is living life in the future and past and missing the present moment? Well, I know what I do, and that’s write a song. So far I have the chorus: 

“Here and Now, there’s no place else to be. Yes Here and Now is my reality. Here and Now is now the star of the show. Yes Here and Now, is the only place I’ll go.”

We’ll see how long that lasts mind you; I don’t really have a “plan” per se as of my last Wild Women trip here in mid-July. People in Canada constantly ask me (because they genuinely want to know, not because they mean to aggravate me), “So, what’s the next plan?” I’m torn between staying in South America and exploring more of the countries I’d like to see (Chile and Argentina), but also feel as though I’d like to go back to Nelson to start building another cabin de Calvert on the property. I kinda need a place to hang my hat, all 4 of my guitars, my piano, amp, 4 pairs of skis etc. etc. I think Dad might be getting kind of sick of his 41-year old gypsy daughter coming back “home” for weeks at a time, packing his fridge full of hippy foods, “Sarah! What the hell is this? I don’t even know how to pronounce half of the things you put in this fridge!” And to be honest, I’m ready to have a home base. That being said, it’s hard to be fully in the present when one is wondering about the future. 

This afternoon whilst walking along the fields here in Taray, along the river I had a major epiphany: when I tapped into the present moment, such as talking to the cows (no, they did not answer back...I haven't been delving into the hallucinogens yet), feeling the sun on my face, listening to the murmur of the river and basically being HERE, I was so jazzed. I had so much energy I felt as though I could run the Inka trail next time I head to Machu Pichu. Then, alternatively when my mind started going back to the past, either about people, events that had taken place, things I regretting doing or saying I got so tired that I literally had to sit down. The same thing happened when I started worrying about the future: how the hell was I going to build a house? I still have a hard time remembering what the difference between a Robertson and Philips screwdriver are (note: I thing about Michelle Phillips from the Mamas and Papas and the fact that she's a "star", hence, the Phillips is the star shape). I have fear about building something on my own; I always thought I'd be building something with someone, and when I think about doing it alone, I get kind of overwhelmed. And so, as my mind raced with these thoughts, again, I felt physically tired. It was pretty interesting to see how being in the present moment is actually better for my well-being. 

I wandered into the little town of Taray and met a lovely woman from South Africa named Lesley; she too teaches Kundalini Yoga, so we bonded instantaneously with a "Sat Nam" and hug. She walked me home, we had tea and she invited me to a festival that happens every year in the mountains 3 hours from Cusco: Qoyllur Rit’i — the Snow Star Festival. I like snow. I like stars. I don't like crowds or cold and this event hosts about 80 000 people at an altitude of over 10 000 feet. Yikes. Talk about out of my comfort zone. I always try to push ladies on my trips to get out of their comfort zones and push their boundaries a bit. I take it for granted that my comfort zone is not really all that comfy for most folk; although I've settled down a bit (no more extreme skiing or crazy downhill biking), I still like to live on the edge. And so, in that moment, I said yes. 

We left Cusco at about 8am to arrive to the madness of the festival where we met our guide Santos, his wife and met the horses that would be taking our things up to the summit. As soon as we got there, it started piss-pouring down with cold rain...then hail. Yup, I was already uncomfortable. It took us about 4 hours to make it to the summit, where we were greeted by vendors selling trinkets, Catholic memorabilia galore, and a shwack load of fries (papas). I chose the latter of the list and then headed to our site to settle in. Talk about madness. I am SO not comfortable anymore in huge crowds, but I had to make a choice: to either accept the Here and Now (cold, crowds, incessant music blaring from everywhere) and be content or freak out. I chose the former, and how liberating that was! 

And so, I traipsed through the crowds to watch different nations come and dance. Although the festival has a definite Catholic vibe (there are crosses that get hiked up to the glacier then back to the church), there was also a feel of the Andean spirit; particularly when we hiked a huge ridge and sat above watching the spectacle below. This festival is pre-Columbian and people have been dancing and singing ther for over a thousand years they say. We spent 2 (frigid, with snow) nights at the festival then headed back to Cusco last night. Was I out of my comfort zone? Absofreakinglutely! Would I go back again? Probably not. BUT I am grateful for the experience. When I got home late last night, I got in the hot shower, popped up some popcorn and watched a Netflix episode of Frankie and Grace. Back to my comfort zone, and thoroughly enjoying the Here and Now. 

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