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My Trip To Mexico: Chichen Itza, Tulum and Isla Mujeres

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.

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Kindess Is My Religion

I love kindness, and like his Holiness, the Dalai Lama, I think of kindness as my religion.  I am not a Christian in the common sense of word, and I’m not Jewish or Hindu or Muslim, or Pagan.  However, anything in any of those religions that has anything to do with kindness inspires me and I am drawn to learning more about it.  I notice too that if there is unkindness in a religion I’m less inclined to believe it or trust that it is true.  I think this is why I have always been touched by the words of Jesus of Nazareth to his students, instructing them to love one another and advising them them that their treatment of each other would be the telltale sign that they were his followers.  

What do people know about you by observing you?  

If, as I say it is, kindness is so important to me that I call it my religion, will people know that from observing me?  Or, will it be necessary for me to explain it?  

I made a decision a long time ago to consciously act as if kindness is very important.  I leaned that not only is kindness important to me, but it is also my greatest weakness.  Perhaps it seems that way because if I commit an act of unkindness I take it more seriously and feel the disappointment more deeply than most other transgressions.

These days I’m exploring kindness in my attitude.  I’m being mindful of how I handle people and events in my thoughts.  In some ways it is a more challenging practice than being nice with actions and word is.

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Best Place in Sedona to See the Sunset

The best place in Sedona to see the sunset, I discovered is in the faces of the people watching.
I turned around and was dazzled by displays of pastel skies, affections, amazement and stunning beauty.

Some stop halfway up Airport Road where the road curves.  I think I might have taken this photo from there.

The dry climate makes for unique plant life and tree like creations with woody stems and tough leaves.

Cacti against the red ground show up beautifully with their thick, fleshy bodies well fed and watered from where I don't know.

Late September through October is a good time to visit Sedona and see even more colors.  Leaves change and fall and the air seems crisp.  To me it seems like the landscape is in sharper focus.  Everything is beautiful to look at.

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Red Umbrellas

This fine red umbrella isn't from San Francisco, but when I saw the mandatory selfie taken recently when visiting Seattle I looked up the nonprofit organization in San Francisco, Red Umbrellas, to see what it is all about.

It's an organization of artists showing their stuff in public spaces in order to increase contact between the people and the artists.

Here is a schedule of Red Umbrella events.

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