What a surprise it was to return to Chichen Itza and discover the differences between now and my visit 8 years ago when it was still possible to climb the already crumbling stairs to the top of the pyramid.
I wondered on that first trip how it was possible that tourists were permitted to climb the climb the steep steps. The guide on this trip told us that indeed there were serious accidents in which tumbling tourists took down tens of others below them. How true? I don't know. Now Chichen Itza, a federal property is one of the most visited sites in Mexico and the buildings are protected from the many climbing feet. You can admire and photograph from close, but no longer from up top.
The view from the top of El Castillo was amazing, and the steps, if I remember correctly, were very steep. I found going down to be far more difficult than going up. This visit, standing at the bottom gazing up, it was difficult to believe that I had stood in the dark opening way up there wondering what might have taken place at the top of El Castillo.
Every morning on our trip we gathered to meditate together. We used an adapted version of the Loving Kindness meditation in which we called to mind people who are dear to us and imagined conveying a message to them using the words:
May you be filled with loving kindness
May you be well
May you be peaceful and ease
May you be happy
The 30 minute daily meditation was followed by gentle yoga and then breakfast and then an outing to one of the archaeological sites. The practice of being together regularly and focusing on loving kindness contributed a beautiful feeling of camaraderie in the group and, in my opinion, made is possible for us to navigate gracefully through the sometimes stressful activity of being away from home and familiar creature comforts.