Don’t go to Holbox Island in Mexico

Holbox is a small island without cars or roads located in the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico. It is still fairly untraveled in comparison to places like Isla Mujeres or Cozumel, but it’s surprisingly easy to get to. From Cancun you can take a bus an hour north to the town of Chiquila then a quick 15 minute ferry ride to Holbox. All of the hotels and bungalows are within walking distance unless you have a heavy backpack or a rolling suitcase, otherwise you can take a taxi ride via golf cart which is the only form of transportation other than bicycles on the island.

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Cave Diving in the Yucatan

I finally finished my full cave diving course with IANTD (The International Association of Nitrox and Technical Diving). Cave diving is part of the reason I came to Mexico a year ago and it took me awhile, and a bit of money, to finish this course. It is my first step into technical diving and now means that I can guide the caverns here as a guide to recreational scuba divers. What I do already, as a PADI IDC Staff Instructor, allows me to teach all levels of recreational scuba diving from Open Water, Advanced, Rescue, Divemaster, Assistant Instructor, Specialities and training new PADI Instructors under a Course Director. As much as I love working as a PADI Instructor, cave diving was something I did for me. I started diving when I was 12 years old and have somewhere around 3,500 dives. I’ve always wanted to cave dive and have seen technical diving as a new challenge. It was a way to fall in love with diving all over again.

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Understanding

Last night we fought

again.

How can we not fight?

When there’s so much love there

that it yanks me out of my comfort zone,

when every inch of my being couldn’t

love you any more

than I already do.

When we fight and I scream

because I’m overwhelmed

because sometimes

we don’t understand eachother.

We are so stubborn

the two of us,

that it could shake worlds apart

like I’m being torn from my own body.

Loving you is

all of the emotions I’ve ever had

coming to me all at once.

And when I collapse

on the sidewalk

in your arms,

it’s not because I’m angry.

It’s because

i’m not used to

not being in control

of my emotions.

You leave me speechless.

When we misunderstand eachother

whether culturally,

emotionally,

spiritually,

my soul breaks with

the misunderstanding.

Because it is so important to me,

to us,

to be understood.

That when we’re not,

it tears us apart

like the universe

is eating us whole.

Understanding will take us time.

But I can promise you

that I’ll fight alongside you.

Because we’re warriors baby,

and nothing is more tragic

than regret.

 

 

cave diving, sky diving, and diving in head first.

I haven’t written in a few months. I’ve had lots of moments I wanted to share with you and put to words for my own sanity, but I’ve been too busy stumbling around this town called Playa del Carmen, trying to find my feet again. I spent the first few months getting into the groove of things and partying way too much, as you do when you first move somewhere new and feel as though you’re still on holiday. I made some mistakes, made some good friends, and eventually made my own way.

Being reconnected with diving the last few months has absolutely swept me off my feet again and put me over the moon… or should I say “under the ocean”. After spending nearly 2 years recovering from 2 separate knee surgeries and almost losing my sense of self amongst my own anguish and inability to do the things I love, I stumbled lost into Playa (as the locals call it) and tripped and fell back into the Lauryn that I’d almost lost touch with completely. Last February’s silent meditation retreat put me back on track in a way I hadn’t felt in over a year, but the return back to Minnesota for another knee surgery and another summer without following my passion made me feel angry at the universe and my own bad luck.

I thought that I wasn’t, and it really took me until recently to realize how angry I had/have been and that I’m not entirely sure why I’m still carrying all of this negative energy around. But I am. Here I am. Exhale. So a week ago after another spell of bad luck I decided that there was something inside of me that was hurting. There is something that I haven’t resolved within myself, some anger, and my continuous distraction keeps being manifested in my own reality. I’m essentially putting this energy out into the universe and the universe is responding with the very frequency that I’m sending. Bad things happen, thus is life, but I am acting out in various ways because I’m not dealing with something.

I am getting closer to realizing the answer through lots of meditation, music, non-distraction, honest conversations with people that care about me, and self love. I don’t need to find out what it is right now, but I do need to listen to myself more. How did I not realize this? How have I not connected my behaviors from the last year to more than trivial mishaps? How have I not taken responsibility for my actions? I don’t know why it took me so long but I do know with intense clarity that lots of things are about to change for me, and in a BIG way. I don’t know if this change is spiritual or physical, my job, my location… but I do know that I am aware of this negative energy now because I am able to receive the information and the lesson.

Playa has definitely been a trip and I’m so glad that my journey led me here. I’m beginning to see what my reason for being here now is and with that I plan on taking the next step with just as much faith in the process. Lots of firsts, but definitely not lasts.

The last 4 months have been lots of silly stumbles, miscommunications and learning experiences. I started my cave course a month ago which has made me fall in love with diving all over again, and I will be finishing my full cave portion with IANTD (International Association of Nitrox and Technical Divers) at the end of the month when work slows down. These Cenotes and cave systems here in Mexico are unlike anything in the world. I am so blessed to be challenged in this type of environment; it’s breathtaking. I have also decided I’m going to bite the bullet and take advantage of the new sky diving school that opened here in Playa, called SkyDiveMex. I did my first tandem jump a few years ago in Hawaii and have never felt such a rush of adrenaline in my life! I literally landed and started crying because I was so happy. I knew then and there that I wanted to jump solo. I’ve always loved heights and the rush of skydiving felt like nothing before. I already know I’m a mermaid, but I may just be a bird as well! Here’s to new adventures. Life looks like it’ll find me sailing around the Caribbean this summer so keep your eyes peeled for more rambling mermaid escapades.

Do I need a reason to write?

I haven’t written in 2 months, it’s Christmas Eve and I’m sitting on my bed in Mexico without any sheets because I’ve decided the holidays are a good time for laundry. I just spent the last hour writing about how I haven’t written lately only to accidentally delete the whole thing when it was near completion. Do you see the irony in that? Oops. So, I’ll start fresh instead of trying to rewrite the past.

In the last 5 years I’ve spent the holidays in Minnesota, Thailand, Oregon and Mexico. I’ve spent all Christmas’ except one scuba diving, and every New Years Day in the water.

But I have today off, due to the port being closed and tomorrow off because all the captains in Mexico refuse to work Christmas, which is good for them. I kind of forgot that Mexico is a Catholic country, I got used to walking amongst the Buddhists.

When I talk about Thailand I still use the word, “we” as if I’m still there, as if I’m still connected to it and identify with it, as if it’s mine somehow. I guess it is, it’ll always have my heart.

Mexico hasn’t been a smooth transition due to some unfortunate events, but I do like it here and I haven’t written because I’ve been trying to immerse myself- in the people, in the culture, in the moment, in my diving.

A customer said to me yesterday that the reason he dives is because in that moment it never matters what happened earlier that day or what you’re going to do an hour from now, all that matters is what’s right in front of you. He’s right about that, diving is the ultimate lesson in mindfulness. I’ve been spending almost 4 hours average below sea level a day since I started work a few weeks ago. I love the steady stream of bubbles, the way it sounds and feels, the weightlessness, the way the light comes through and the way the rain drops look hitting the surface as I’m coming up from a dive.

Most of all I love sharing it with people. I’m happiest here, doing this.

I’m sitting here on Christmas Eve feeling like time has stopped for the first time in 2 months. It’s a wave of emotions every time; my Taurus/Gemini cusp of energy allows me to move freely between different spheres, from diving instructor to small town girl to super Yachtie, and everywhere in between. I’m adaptable, easily swept into new things, and wherever I am I’m 100% in. It can be a bad thing or a good thing because I’m prone to burning the candle at both ends if I don’t balance properly.

So it’s almost 2016 and instead of all that “new year, new me” bullshit, I’m looking back on the previous year, 2 years, 7 years and realizing that I don’t have any massive plans for this year. I’m really happy with where I am right now and I’m feeling a maturity and trust in the universe that I haven’t felt before, not to this extent.

I’m blessed to live the life I live and be sitting where I’m sitting, even if it is Christmas Eve, my family is far away, and I’m currently sitting on a sheetless bed in an empty house in Mexico. It might sound unappreciative but I feel the most like me right now.

I can feel that 2016 is going to give me the most important relationships of my life because my heart is open to them. My intuition has shown me the importance of a daily continuous practice. I’ve finally found my groove here, a schedule again: a new appreciation for ashtanga yoga, reconnecting with my meditation practice, a love of pedaling mi bicicleta everywhere along the beach, being back under the sea…

I wrote in my journal last year 5 goals for 2015:

  • quit smoking (that didn’t last long)
  • IDC Staff Instructor (boom)
  • silent meditation retreat (boom)
  • getting off birth control and reconnecting with my body (boom)
  • AIDA freediving course (do something that scares you- boom)

For 2016 I’ve decided there’s no checklist. I’m on the ‘no plan’ plan. I don’t want to focus on the future. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t have a plan or that insight and goals aren’t important, I’m just saying that I’ve planted enough seeds and grown my own garden the past few years and I’m feeling a kind of internal guidance when I think about the future.

By focusing on the present moment I have every confidence that I will always end up exactly where I need to be.

So Merry Christmas to all of you! Thank you for supporting me, loving me, encouraging me and believing in me. Thank you for taking the time to read my words and thank you for the feedback I’ve received. Thank you to everyone that I don’t know that’s reached out- your words have melted my heart. Thank you to acquaintances that have turned into friends via conversation and a mutual respect.

Most of all, thank you to my family and friends. You truly are who you surround yourself with, and I’m blessed to close out 2015 surrounded by inspiring and supportive souls who spark the fire in my heart every day. YOU have made me ME.

THANK YOU. NAMASTE.

From my empty mattress in Mexico- Happiest of Holidays,
Lauryn