...and already the effects are taking a serious toll on Cozumel. The Cruise Ships upon which many rely for income have imposed a 2 week ban on stops in Mexico.
Yesterday I went to Playa Del Carmen to pick up some stuff and say goodbye to my friend Hans. I'd decided to do some beading on the ferry which soon made me very sea sick. In a rush to get onto dry land I left my nice pink butterfly beach bag on the ferry. All that was in there was a bottle of water but I was sad to loose the bag. Hans made the comment that it was a timely reminder of the impermanence of everything. I agreed tha it was indeed.
It was a growing dissatisfaction with the materialism of New York that was the major motivator for my move to Mexico. I wanted to be free of the insane drive to acquire more money, power and possessions.
When I arrived here life became simple. I've had a very peaceful seven months. I've been blessed with Selene, a wonderful teacher of kundalini yoga who has taught me much in terms of yogic theory and meditation practice and I have had more time to devote to reading -much related to spirituality. I've made good friends and met a wonderful man who is wise, kind and content.
Recently, however, I have begun to develop a bit of a preoccupation with the future: looking for land to build a house on, decking out my apartment in nice furniture, angsting about whether or not children are in my future. They are all forms of the grasping for possessions that I was trying to move away from.
Right now is a low few weeks work wise in any event. Its difficult to say how this swine flu outbreak will affect Cozumel at this stage but I think it is safe to assume that the effects will be serious. With North America and Europe advising travelers to avoid Mexico, the tourism, upon which Cozumel relies, is likely to dry up to next to nothing for a spell.
So far in life I have been very lucky with work, in that since the age of 17 I have always had a secure well paid job. Not so now. We have clients to take us through this week but then the likelihood of earning nothing at all for the near future.
I have savings in my bank account which puts me in a better position than others. The distress I felt yesterday related to the fact that I will probably have to start living off my savings for some time, rather than immediate pressure of no money to live on, like some of my friends.
I remember, as a little girl, I would embark on ambitious building projects. I'd have visions of grand, billowing tents and set to work on creating my visions with only a cloths horse and some sheets and blankets (perhaps a few card board boxes). My mother told me that she would dread these creative urges of mine as invariably I was not able to conjor my visions and ended up in bitter and inconsolable disappointment.
I believe that I've continued with this pattern through out most of my life. Following unattainable pipe dreams and encountering disappointment after disappointment. Now though I fell my perception is changing. I am truly beginning to realize that attainment of external, material goals rarely makes for happiness. The Buddhists believe that such grasping is at the route of all human suffering and I think that I have moved beyond just understanding this to making it a reality in my life. So I am viewing the forthcoming time as a reminder to live in the now.
My boyfriend, of course, takes this all peacefully in his stride. He's seen a few hurricanes in his time and has gone through this all before. I once asked him if he'd ever wanted to be rich and he just laughed a 'don't be absurd' laugh and said no.
To my parents and more conventional friends - don't worry I am not planning a life of poverty. If things get too bad here, we'll come up with a game plan.
For now though I'm seeing this as an opportunity for growth. Rather than building castles in the sky I'm going to enjoy all of the free time I'm likely to have. Exploring in our kayak, studying Spanish learning more about my boyfriend and friends. I've just started designing my own jewelery and plan to enjoy rekindling the artist in me.
I am sad that I'm unlikely to be able to see my parents in two weeks but thankful that they are healthy and that I am able to talk to them often on the telephone.
I'm avoiding 'what ifs' and thinking too far in advance.
As to the swine flu its self I am overwhelmed with the amount of media coverage, and information which is flying around on the internet. Right now I feel pretty safe personally. I'm pretty healthy and on the grand scheme of things think that the odds of getting sick or dying are slim. Honestly there is so much speculation out there that its tough for me to form a view on any of it.
So I will keep you all posted on how thing progress both in my life and in Cozumel (probably more now than before as I'm likely to find myself with much more free time on my hands!!)