Everyone and everything around you is your teacher.
~ Ken Keyes, Jr
Retreating in San Pancho this winter with eight other yogis was a blessing on so many levels but when asked what my favorite part about the trip was I didn't have to think hard. It wasn't the escape from the winter blahs in February's Wisconsin (although that sure can life a spirit quickly) or even the laughter and adventure we experienced in the jungle, it was the small tidbit of wisdom that I tucked in my pocket one afternoon in San Pancho. The above quote frames the feeling of that afternoon rather nicely.
Here's the explanation. One of the retreaters suggested we bring something for the people of San Pancho, the small Mexican village where we were retreating. Tamara from Tailwind who was our contact and guide for the retreat connected us with Nicole from Entre Amigos, a community center for the children of San Pancho who told us to bring art supplies. Easy enough.
Nicole explained to us that he community center was designed to teach the children to exist in an ever changing world that ultimately changes these smaller Mexican communities where tourism is growing and impacting daily life. The children are cared for, taught to read and create, and nurtured. Ultimately some of these children are striving for continued education even onto college. This is a safe and educational haven for children and their families.
Nicole explained to us that bringing the concept of a community center to the small village provided many challenges as many of the local community members were unaware of how they could help. It was the idea she set forth that everyone is a teacher that finally resonated. Someone could build and someone else could babysit the children of the builder. Ultimately, it was the coming together of this community that built this center.
And it really was a site to behold. Creativity abounded in the colorful building. It was organized, self sustaining, but most amazing to me of all....in the midst of dogs, and many children, it was positively peaceful.
I'm not entirely sure of what magic we experienced that afternoon but I am grateful for the experience of visualizing the idea that everything and everyone is a teacher.