Motherhood has become an unexpected theme during my time here in the Sacred Valley. I have been surrounded by “mother energy” since the first day I arrived in Peru. I feel the glow of a protected feeling. Safe. Like someone is watching out for me. Guiding me. Feeding me. Making sure I’m cared for. Like someone’s got their eye out for my best interest and only my best interest. Supporting me. Holding me when I need to be held. Smiling at me with warmth. Rooting for me. My number one fan, my best friend. Always asking me how I’m doing. Genuinely caring about my response. Loving me in every mood, color, state of hair, and state of being.
At the beginning of my project, my own mother came to Urubamba to visit me for two weeks. This was the point when I was struggling to settle into the ranch, slowly but surely catching onto the warning signs that were pushing me to leave that utterly toxic environment. My mother, of course, was my main source of support during this time as I tried to decide whether or not to actually leave, how I was going to leave, and where exactly I would go next. My rock and my confidant, my mother stood by me during the entire flustering transition.
With my departure date quickly approaching, I can’t help but think about the enormous impact my mother had on how my summer in Peru ultimately turned out. At this moment in time, I am living in a beautiful cottage with a host-mom named Rachel and her 4 year-old daughter Ana, I am shining in my position at Arkana Spiritual Center, and I have several tight, cosmically-intertwining communities of friends from Peru, Mexico, England, Argentina, and Russia. My mother was ultimately the reason for each and every single one of these things, and realizing that fact has given me a strong feeling that the ever-mysterious universe decided to send my mother as a guardian angel to help guide me in the direction of my destiny.
My mom was the one who kept in contact with Rachel on AirBnb (despite never actually booking a night’s stay…) simply because they happened to strike up an interesting good conversation. My mom was the one who invited me to the temazcal (a Mexican sweat-lodge) ceremony where I met Chandra and learned about the position at Arkana Spiritual Center. My mom was the one who connected me with the people she met at her hostels, the people who have become all of my closest friends in the valley, the people I now consider to be family. My mom was the direct, traceable source for the joy I am living in now, and I can’t help but feel overwhelmed with gratitude for the love and support she has shown me. Now, and for the whole of my life.
Motherhood has also appeared as a theme in my life just based on the women I am primarily surrounded and influenced by in the valley – Rachel, Pamela, Kunti, and Chandra; all four of which are single mothers with children under ten. Being surrounded by these powerful women, observing them in awe as they balance two equally demanding universes of motherhood and the rest of their lives, has reminded me of the strength, patience, and composure that mothers must maintain every single day of their lives. To be a mother is to be the true definition of a warrior.
The last way in which motherhood has wriggled its lessons into my life is through my work at Arkana. Between the three mothers at Arkana, there are four young children between the ages of 3 and 9 that need to be taken care of once school is out at 13.00. Chandra, Pamela, and Kunti live at the center with their children, the same place that the retreat-guests live. In order for them to do their job as healers and to provide for their guests as effectively as possible, the biggest help they need is someone to look after the kids. As such, being la niñera has been the biggest source of my service at Arkana, and I have developed an extremely tight bond with my four little ones – Jerai, Elan, Arju, and Azul. Nothing makes my heart smile wider than hearing the four of them running to greet me, wailing, “Hannaaaaaaa!!” at the top of their lungs when they hear the click of the gate.
Working with children has always been one of my clearest life purposes, and by caring for these kids, I am lucky enough to be able to connect with their spirits of innocence, creativity, innocence, and joy on a daily basis. This precious interaction with the purity of a child’s unblemished soul is one of the greatest gifts that accompanies the role of the mother, and it fulfills an essential part of who I am at the core.
When themes like this blossom into your life, do not let them go unnoticed. The universe is constantly sending you messages, and it’s your task to take notice, figure out what they mean, and learn from them. The theme of ‘motherhood’ appearing in my life has helped to bring out my inner light, for it has reminded me (once again) of the strong woman I am destined to be.