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  • Selva Lawler

A Lifetime in a Day

Lending a Hand in Support of SpiritQuest's Staff Due to the coronavirus and the total shutdown of international travel, SpiritQuest has been unable to conduct retreats in April, May, and June. In light of the uncertainties around future retreats, it's entirely possible that SpiritQuest may experience a prolonged shutdown. Although SpiritQuest itself is financially stable, it's been a challenging time for our staff, who have not been able to work since March. Many of them have sizable families and are otherwise not able to find employment in a Peruvian economy that is absolutely cratering. A number of SpiritQuest alums, without any prompting from me, told me that they would like to lend a hand to support our staff through this trying time. I figure this makes too much sense not to happen. Any support that you can offer them will make an enormous impact. Perhaps Don Rober and his family provided profound healing that positively moved the needle in your life. Maybe Selva guided you through the best day of your life; a magical lifetime in a day. Hopefully the kindness of our workers who served you a meal or affectionately took you by the hand to the baño in ceremony deeply touched you. We fully recognize that these times are tough across the board, and it's impossible to give from an empty cup. However, if you are in a position to support the SpiritQuest staff and their families, they would be eternally grateful. We are accepting donations via PayPal. Our administrator, Victor (Selva's uncle and Reyna's brother) will equitably distribute the contributions to our staff. I've included instructions on how to pass along donations below. PayPal Instructions 1. Using either or the PayPal app, click on the “Send” button. When PayPal prompts you to “Enter an email or mobile”, please enter the email If you have previously sent money using PayPal to, you may see the correct name of Choque Chinchay Journeys EIRL populate (and that means it's working perfectly). 2. Proceed to enter in whatever amount you'd like. Select your method of payment. 3. When PayPal asks you to “Add a note” (on the online version, this appears at the beginning of the transaction, while on the app, this appears on the “Review and send” section at the end), please make sure to include your first name and last name so that I can personally thank you! 4. Finalize the transaction by clicking “Send now” on the app or “Send Payment Now” online. Please make sure to save your email receipt. Para el bien de todos! A Lifetime in a Day

Don Howard offered an iconic description when describing the Huachuma experience. He expressed that, "Huachuma is a lifetime lived in a single day." What was the Maestro getting at? When you're fully present with everything — which the SpiritQuest Huachuma experience is known to provide — the concept of time doesn't make any sense. You're so immersed in the present moment that there's nary a worry about the past or the future. The concept of time is a funny one. When we're fully present, it ceases to exist. Time is relative. That's not a matter of philosophical debate. It's science. Time is not as constant as we assume. My favorite example is in the movie Interstellar. Cooper and Brand are on Miller's ocean plant for only a matter of minutes but are so close to a black hole that a staggering 23 years, 4 months and 8 days of "Earth time" has passed.

As we all continue to wade neck-deep in the murky waters of the unknown, I've had a number of days these last two months that have felt like I've lived a lifetime in a day. It has not necessarily been in a "this is euphorically pleasant!" sense. A friend recently messaged me that 2020 is a unique Leap Year, with 29 days in February, 180 days in March, 9 months in April, and thus far we're 6 years into May. Especially as I am in a place where the climate is exactly the same year-round, the days seem indistinguishable. One day melts into the next. I hope wherever you are the concept of a weekend can mean something tangible, because it's a foreign one to me at the moment.

In terms of our retreats, international travel is nonexistent. Until international travel is up and running to some degree, we won't be able to conduct retreats. It's that straightforward.

The International Air Transport Association advises us that we are not allowed to enter Argentina, Australia, and virtually every other country from A to Z. Until that grim picture improves, it's going to be almost impossible for us to host a retreat. When is that going to happen? I lack such answers. It feels like much of a Peru, and I daresay much of the world, is stuck in a loop. The concept of "Am I doing this wrong?" occasionally pops up. Should I meditate for thirty minutes in the morning instead of twenty? Do I need to do one more daily act of kindness? Is my gratitude not nearly commensurate for how richly I've been blessed? I think about how to somehow science the shit out of this and break this collective dysfunctional cycle. There are times when it feels like I'm in a video game and keep getting killed at the same spot by the same monster on the same level. What can I do to switch up the gameplan? I'd much rather be an actor and not a reactor. To take life by the horns. Why wait for my ship to come in when I can swim out and meet it? Sometimes we're the hammer. Sometimes we're the nail. I like being the hammer. Right now it feels all of us are the nail and that we're in a global valley. It's not self-evident if we're on the upswing, plateauing, or still descending to the nadir. As David Brooks contends in The Second Mountain, if you find yourself in that place, you can get broken or broken open. If it's the latter, it's an excellent time to access a softer side of your nature. A kinder, more vulnerable side. An opportunity to practice unconditional love (and include yourself in that practice!). A chance to take off your mask and fully express who you really are. On the one hand, not a lot appears to be changing and not a lot appears to be dramatically moving the needle. But appearances, like time, can be deceiving. I don't think this whole ordeal is simply some freak accident with no underlying purpose. It's a teaching moment. If you're going through hell, Winston Churchill once admonished, keep going. We've had and we still have what seems to be a lifetime in which we can work on ourselves. That's an excellent place to start.


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