I am laying in my hotel bed in Mexico a couple of days after visiting a temazcal (a pre-Hispanic sweat lodge) feeling lighter and like a giant weight has been lifted off of my shoulders. I am not (yet) a travel blogger, but I wanted to share this experience because it was so special and, believe it or not, provides insight into being an entrepreneur.
According to my guide (and a supplemental google search), a temazcal is a type of sweat lodge and sacred ritual that originated with pre-Hispanic Indigenous peoples in Mesoamerica which has been practiced for over 1,000 years. In ancient times, this cleansing ritual was practiced by warriors to prepare for battle. Luis, our guide, described it as a rebirth, and he was not wrong.
Preparing to start the ceremony
As we arrive at a beautiful piece of land outside of Mexico City, we picked herbs from the garden to take inside the very small and very dark adobo hut. This was followed by a cacao ceremony and a sage cleansing. We were a small group of 3 women who, as complete strangers, were about to embark on a very personal journey together.
As I glanced around at this little structure and the raging fire heating up the stones beside it, I started to feel like maybe I had gotten in over my head. I had no idea what to expect aside from the fact that I was instructed to drink a lot of water beforehand and that I would be sitting in a very hot and very dark place for a very long time.
Inside the temazcal experience
It was time to enter. The ground was cool to the touch. My heart was pounding with anticipation as I watched the 800° stones being brought in and blessed one by one. The entrance was covered as it was time to begin.
Each ceremony is unique. Today, it was based on the 4 elements – fire, water, wind, and earth. Our guide started pouring herb-infused water onto the rocks. As it started to heat up, I instinctively grounded myself by placing my hands on the cool floor and focused on my breath. For the entire 2-hour experience, my attention was on breathing…4 counts in, hold for 2 counts, 6 counts out, hold for 2 counts.
Fire is our strength. We were guided to share what we were giving to the sacred temazcal (our energy, our sweat, our time). I kept my eyes closed, focusing on where our guide was leading us, all the while, keeping my breath slow and steady (4 in, hold 2, 6 out, hold 2). It was starting to heat up now. I can feel the sweat building up on my skin, the air heavy with each bucket of water spilled upon the rocks. Ground and breathe.
Water is about flow and expressing gratitude for what we have. We were guided to share again. One of the women experienced extreme dizziness and left the temazcal. For me, it was around this point that the air felt so thick that I started to feel a panic sensation arising as I felt I couldn’t breathe. I focused on my hands on the ground and kept my breathing slow and steady…4, 2, 6, 2. The moment passed. I stayed centered. I could breathe again.
We rubbed what felt like an aloe plant on our skin, followed by honey and citrus. We smelled the herbs we picked from the garden. We nourished our bodies.
Wind is about releasing. We shared what we were letting go of and were also invited to share any other thoughts or prayers if we felt called to do so. At this point, it was a very intimate experience with just one other woman, me, and our guide. With all of the breathwork, the visualizations, the cleansing, the sweat, the releasing, both of us were brought to tears at various points (this is very common). We both shared. We were vulnerable. We were no longer strangers.
By this point, we shifted from sitting to laying on the ground, as it was a bit cooler and provided a little relief. It also facilitated the emotional grounding that we were being guided towards. Connecting to the earth. Being present. We gave a piece of ourselves to the temazcal this day. We paid homage to the beautiful things we had in our lives. We released what wasn’t serving us any longer. Now it was time to be present, to be re-born. Breathe. 4, 2, 6, 2.
Two hours later, the ritual came to a close. We exited the temazcal and re-acclimated to the world. We rinsed off in a cold outdoor shower, drank tea, and ate concha (a sweet Mexican bread). I emerged from the ceremony feeling lighter. I released some weight I was carrying. I was re-invigorated.
Looking back, I am proud of myself for making it through the two hours, for using my breath to stay calm, for staying present the entire time (my mind did not wander for one second of this experience), for being vulnerable and sharing my personal journey with complete strangers, for trusting myself, and for surrendering to the unknown.
At this point, you’re probably thinking, “this sounds like a beautiful experience, but what does this have to do with business?”
When you are an entrepreneur, it’s like being in a temazcal. Your heart is racing, you don’t know what to expect, there are moments of panic, sometimes you feel like you can’t breathe. It is during these times that you have to ground yourself, feel the cool floor, focus on your breath, trust, and most importantly, surrender to the unknown. When you allow yourself to go on this journey, you will emerge on the other side confident, reborn, and ready to take on anything.
Do you want to know more? Reach out. I am happy to share anything about this experience, running a business, or how I can help you in your business.
If you want to follow along with my journey, want to learn some business tips, or see some cute dog videos, let’s be internet friends!