Inanitah: A day in the spiritual community of Ometepe
Laying atop a bed of volcanic gravel, I stargaze through the roof screen of my tent. The jungle is alive. Howler monkeys wail and bark in the distance. Creatures scamper through the leaves surrounding my campsite. Insect voices fuse together in a cacophonous primordial buzz, enveloping most other sounds. It’s hard to sleep; grayscale moonlight creates a dreamscape of shapes around me. My pineal gland isn’t aware of nature’s trickery; though tired, I’m quite awake. I hush it to sleep, allow myself to melt off into the music of the night.
At 5:15 am three long gongs sound. Though hardly audible above jungle morning symphonies, I rub my eyes, spray myself down with herbal insect repellent, and quickly exit the solace of my tent to the twilight of the morning. I stumble, slip, and slide my way down the winding hill path to the mud-built structure we call the temple. This morning we practice Five Rhythms, a Gabrielle Roth moving meditation involving ecstatic dance to the five tempos that cycle through our lives. My body begins to wake up with slow circular stretches. The volcano wakes up too, and becomes visible in the misty haze. Our dance picks up, and we joyously move without preoccupation.
Breakfast is pinol porridge with sliced fruit, homemade yogurt, and fresh squeezed grapefruit juice. I fill my guaca bowl and take it to the stone amphitheater. Quiet morning conversations are heard as the wind whips through the treetops across the valley. The lagoon-topped volcano Maderas is alight with the rising sun in the east.
All visitors, volunteers, and residents gather for the 7 am meeting. We share work ideas, voice concerns and announcements, and discuss upcoming events such as a sweatlodge or yoga practice. Paul, one of the founders of Inanitah, keeps the peace in these group discussions. He seems to have a knack for bringing us back to our intentions and keeps conversations moving.
We scatter about the twenty-some acres of land to the various projects that are underway. Lately, I’ve contributed by organizing the library, carving wooden signs for the trash system, making the daily yogurt, building cobb walls for the tool shed, roasting coffee and cacao, and stuffing trash into empty water bottles.
By 10 am the sun is high and it’s getting hot. We gather under the grass roof of the bodega, chopping the scalps off young coconuts to rehydrate ourselves. Not long until lunch is served. Today we’ll have trigo with a squash, yucca, coconut curry, and a big green salad fresh from the garden. We fill our bowls again, enjoying sustenance in the blazing heat.
Part-time volunteers like myself have the afternoons free to read, make music, hula hoop, play with poi, enjoy the clothing-optional sunbathing area, or take a walk to the lake for a swim and some icecream. Afternoons are slow and lazy. We lie around in bits of shade with the dogs, panting and saving our energy for the 4 pm yoga class. Each day the different instructors lead us through various asana ranging from gentle to powerful. It’s a strange time to practice, but the golden curtains keep the light from the temple and keep the air a little cool.
Arising from savasana, the corpse pose, we see the amber sun sitting close to the horizon. Time for a jungle shower overlooking the incredible view of the active volcano Conception. Drums beat in the distance and the mosquitoes begin zzz’ing in my ears. The ever-changing colors fill the sky, decorated by silhouettes of dragonflies, butterflies, and blue ooraka birds eclipsing the light.
We say ‘hasta luego’ to our brother sun and set the tree-trunk tables in a long column in the temple for dinner. We sit for a family dinner, holding hands and each saying what we are grateful for that day. Some silly, some sweet, some really sincere… we connect before enjoying our final meal of the day together. The local fresh veggies and grains are so yummy, every meal could be the best one I’ve had. After dinner we sigh, lay back on the earthen floor of the temple as conversations deepen. Connections happen. Synchronicities about. We eventually make our ways back to our little campsites on the hill, sister moon lights the way as we pass into the space of dreams.