How 14 Days In The Yucatan Made Me Realize The Value of Planet Earth Part 4 Building Community
Posted Aug 11 2009 9:28am
Sixty feet up the spectacular Mayan pyramid known as Nohoch Muul, wind buffets me and I cling to the rock desperately - trembling in the 100 degree heat – my heart pounding wildly. As I carefully climb up the steep face of one of the tallest known Mexican pyramids sweat drips down my forehead onto the ancient rocks.
Looking back the steep sixty feet of crumbling steps I have climbed, I am reminded that no safety fencing or climbing gear is there to protect me. A single rope hangs down the middle of the stairs and that’s it. Each step brings me closer to the top of the pyramid and as it does, the wind increases. Already the view is spectacular – miles of jungle stretch out before the pyramid.
Hundreds of years ago Nohoch Muul (seen in the photo above) was the center of the local Mayan Indian community. Mayan Indians from across Mexico traveled to Nohoch Muul seeking guidance and friendship. Every day a priest would climb nearly 140’ to the top of the ancient pyramid to spend time in the ancient temple at the very top to offer prayers to help his people. Nohoch Muul is a part of a much larger Mayan Indian community known as Coba which was discovered in the late 1980’s. Amazingly, only 10% of this ancient Mayan community has been uncovered.
Located in the Yucatan peninsula rain forest near the Mayan Riviera, the ruins of Coba puts me in touch with the idea that all people crave, like the Mayan Indians, existence within a community as an important part of our humanity. This craving explains our passion for social media and our desire to live a life in a neighborhood which is welcoming.
While modern day life in a community may not require a daily 140’ climb, being a part of a supportive environment helps ease life’s woes. Like the pyramid climb, it is not always easy, yet it is rewarding. Building and maintaining friendships, helping one another, particularly during trying economic times, and living life in general can present difficult challenges. Yet when you share time with other human beings, volunteering and helping improve the neighborhoods and community’s where we live, humanity is lifted up in a powerful experience of sharing.
When we take care of our neighborhoods we feel less depressed, more satisfied, and generally happier with who we are and those around us. These thoughts drift with me as I struggle to reach the top of the 140’ monolith. Several times I lose hold and think I might be blown off the pyramid. Always another climber helps me so that I am able to safely reach the top. After the last shaky step, I turn and see an ocean of green rain forest stretching for miles below me (see above photo). White clouds float through the blue sky. There are no skyscrapers, or buildings, or airplanes; just nature and the ruins. Smiling, I reach my arms up in triumph. I made it! Grinning even wider, I realize that I did not reach the top on my own. I had help. Sometimes life is about more than our own selfishness. Achieving a personal triumph is always made easier when you have a community of caring people to help you.
Living a green lifestyle and building emotionally healthy relationships will help you when you are climbing your own personal pyramid. Family and friends will lift you up when you need help so you can live a better, less isolated, life. Perhaps building community will help you realize the true value of humanity – or perhaps it will just make you smile more. Either way – working to build a greener and healthier community will improve the quality of your living – so do it today and make a difference.
And now in the last photo you can see I had to get back down…. eeek!