Serendipity led us to Isla Mujeres. Back in early October, my friend Shelly suggested we join her for a trip she was planning to the island in November.
“Yes, my Mum will be here then!” I’d replied, excited by the prospect of discovering another new place with her.
I took on accommodation duty, because, well, I’m a control freak and trawling through hotel and apartment listings is a weird obsession of mine. I was about to give up and book an overpriced room on one of the big booking websites (who always fail to tell you about the booking fee and the tax until the end – highly annoying), when I stumbled across this website.
Emails were exchanged, rooms were booked, and I crossed my fingers that it would be as nice as it looked, considering the excellent deal we got (US$32 per room, per night for four people).
It was better.
And just as the website suggested, Sundreamers became our home away from home for the two nights we spent on the captivating island of Isla Mujeres.
You know me, it’s all about the details, and Sundreamers had it in spades, from the creative external paint-work to the fabrics and furnishings, to the lovely view of the colorful street below. Plus, the owner Sabina welcomed us like old friends, gave us excellent advice on where to eat and what to see, and made us feel at home.
So much so, I imagined moving in.
I dreamed about daily early morning swims at the deserted beach Mum and I discovered,
and mid-morning writing sessions at the cute dining table, a breeze fluttering through the curtains, carrying the sound of children’s giggles as they make their way to school.
Lunch at the cute Cocina Economico across the street, followed by another swim at the pristine beach, or perhaps a nap.
This was the more conservative of the many dreams forming in my mind over the course of our stay, so I won’t tell you about my ‘textiles-store-slash-yoga-studio-slash-guest-house-slash-writers-retreat’ dream, because that would just be embarrassing. The ‘have a bunch of babies and become a yogi earth-mother’ dream, I will confide in you not.
I blame it on the colours, that water and that damn Goddess of fertility, medicine and the moon, Ixchel for making my head swirl with whacked-out dreams of future possibilities.
A few times, I had to pinch myself for being amidst such beauty and thought, ‘How did I get here? What did I do to deserve this and why isn’t everyone here doing this?!’
Obviously, Isla Mujeres wouldn’t have room for everyone which is one reason, but the answer to the first question flowed over me like a movie montage, complete with all the drama, tears, heartbreak and joy of any good chick-flick.
I remembered back to my first recovery meeting, when I was shattered into a million pieces. I remembered sharing my despair about everything with a woman who would become pivotal in my life. She smiled knowingly and said, “Sarah, you will have the best.”
“The best?” I’d thought to myself, looking around at the broken pieces of my life, wondering if she was in fact just a little bit high.
I didn’t believe her then, and sometimes I still don’t, but her words have always stayed with me, waiting patiently to be understood. And for a moment, lying on my bed in our colorful apartment listening to the sounds of Caribbean island life through the open balcony doors, with my beautiful Mum resting next to me and my lovely friends relaxing in the apartment below, I did.
Then I read this post and the answer of ‘how’ became even clearer, as Kim beautifully described the abstract concept of ‘the fire’ within that propels us to risk everything for the truth of who we are.
‘This is the fire!’ I thought, welcoming in all the pain and the panic of uncertainty and the fear and the tears and the miracles and the joy that had led me to that moment.
This life is wonderful, filled with newness and adventure and also the knowing that I do not know what is going to happen next. This can be unsettling, because it is the truth and the truth feels weird because I’m still getting used to it like a new pair of shoes.
Things are not ‘all sewn up’ in my life and things are not perfect in any way, because perfection is the opposite of spontaneity, creativity and presence; perfection is the opposite of this painful, enlightening, messy, love-filled journey I’ve taken which has led me back to myself and continues to deepen my experience of life.
What I have today, just for today, is freedom from addiction, freedom from suffering (if I choose to acknowledge and share my pain with someone else), and the best part, freedom to dream big, colorful, whacked-out dreams for myself, knowing that eventually I’ll be led to the one which is the best, for me.