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Hiking Tzununá with Nile – Drenched in Abundance

During our Retreat on IslaVerde, we met a resident living in the neighbouring pueblo, Jaibalito. His name is Nile; and he attended our sharing session at IslaVerde. After the session, he invited us to hike the “Tzununá falls” with him.

“It was where I wrote my book. There used to be a trail there, but nobody uses it anymore. I wonder if the 500 year old paintings still can be seen…”

A place where creativity is bred.
An overgrown trail hiding the spot.
500 year old Mayan paintings.

It didn’t matter that we’ve never hiked up waterfalls our entire lives.
Actually, it didn’t matter that we’ve never done a hike in our entire lives.
We were sold.

So the next day, we met him at Jaibalito, took a lancha across to Tzununá, and begun our hike…

The hike begun with the 3 of us walking side-by-side
With each step further up the hills
Val trailed further and further behind

At the age of 50
Nile, who calls himself a “Resident Yogi”
Hiked steadily upwards

Stopping occasionally
Perched on a rock
Just to make sure that we have kept going

Little by little
Step by step
The falls revealed themselves to us

First a basin – Pristine white with crystal clear waters
“The Mayans carved it with their hands. This must have been their swimming pool.”

“Take a sip!”
The water tasted oh-so-sweet

“I’ll see you up there!”
Nile shouted as hopped from one rock to another
And he was gone

The next we met
His wet hair was already neatly combed back
“I took my shower under those falls.”

“You are here.
Go on. Take your turn.”

Cautiously, we climbed to the bottom of the falls
Gingerly, we stretched our hands out to touch the falls
And then we jumped in!

Soaking every bit of it up

Every drop so rich and pure
We were drenched in abundance

In that moment
All we heard was the songs of the the water splashing
All we felt was the coolness of spring water on our skin
All we tasted was life – overflowing

“I put my hand out to touch the waters, apprehensive, because this is the first time I am so near a waterfall and because I am scared of cold water. The moment the water splashed on my hands, I knew I had to ‘dive’ and savor it all… As the powerful jets of natural spring water fall on my head, an inner scream came through me. It was a cry of liberation.”Tay

“Let’s go. I have another waterfall to show you.”
Following almost-invisible tracks
Hopping many rocks across the river
There it was – the flow so steady, so strong

“There were many many times on this hike when I was totally breathless and scared shitless to climb another wet slippery rock. I’d think to myself – Val Tan, you’re never going to make it. You’re too weak for this. Why don’t you just find a rock, sit down and wait for them to be done? When we finally made it to the top, the end destination of our hike, Nile turned to me and said, “Be kind. Especially to yourself.” And I remember the many times on this journey when I thought I couldn’t make it to the end of the ride. And how I really did made it in the end. I remember the night I was begging Tay to leave Guatemala, and how I overcome that helplessness to keep traveling. I decided to be kind to myself. I gave myself a pat on my little head – well done Val!”Val

"Be kind. Especially to yourself."

“I brought mangoes and crackers.
Come, have some.”

We sat in comfortable silence
Marveling at the view in front of us

“Thank you for bringing us here, Nile.”
“No, thank you. For sharing this moment with me.”

If only you knew your abundance

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For sharing moments like these – with us.

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