Thursday, March 22, 2012

As the World Goes Global, Be True to Yourself

Lone fisherman on the beach, Sayulita, Mexico
One afternoon on the beach in Sayulita, Mexico, amid the horde of North American tourists drinking margharitas and eating ceviches, outnumbered by at least a few hundred beach hustlers to his one, I glimpsed a lone fisherman.  He was standing at the ready with net in hand, as the tide went out and the surfers rolled in.  A youngish man in his thirties, he crouched among the tide pools as still as a statue and patiently studied each new wave ready to collect his dinner.  Twenty years ago in this spot, he would have been the norm.  Maybe a few trailblazing surfers would be out there but today he is the lone survivor.  So strange was this sight another gringo was ready with his telephoto lens to catch this rare event.  His patience proved greater than mine and after ten minutes waiting, I continued my stroll through the palapas and vendors of cheap silver and hammocks.  But he was not the only anomaly on the beach that day.

Weaving a bark h
In a couple hundred yards, I saw a young girl adorned in tribal dreadlocks weaving her original and strange craft.  Not an ancient tradition like the fisherman’s, but unique to her.  Weaving feathers and beads with she wore a pointed wizard’s hat made of bark.   Not the mass produced hipster hats made in China that are the vogue today.  Also, not making the typical colored thread bracelets made to order with your favorite sports teams, city, or person’s name.  She was pursuing her path, her calling.  Not following the throng of mass appeal. 

Xipatzin:  Didgeridoo & more
These days in Sayulita can be seen the effects of globalization with all of its ills and benefits.   A burgeoning Mexican middle class shares space with the North Americans now.   Shopping at Costco, Home Depot and at organic farmer's markets, they are indistinguishable from the tourists til they speak.   In part due to NAFTA, in part to modern communications, our cultures have blended into an amalgam of tastes and styles that serve the mass merchandising ethic.   Middle class lifestyles have an almost irresistible appeal all over the world with undeniable benefits of comfort and entertainment for millions.   The lure of modern culture is seductive.  Drop the old lifestyle and you too could be like the stars on the telenovellas.  Only a few hold outs resolutely follow their inner calling, what comes natural to them, what is authentically them.   I met a few here in the former isolated surf beach, now developed into a tourist friendly destination which is currently undergoing a major facelift of the old town center.  Another of the originals on the beach is Xipatzin, a multi-talented musician, poet, and fire artist.   He regaled me with his powerful Rumiesque poetry instantly translated on the spot.  Following your inner call is never easy but must be especially difficult in a town like Sayulita where the lure of the mass marketplace has arrived.

Gentrification comes to surf village
Be True to Yourself the Beach Boys sang to our generation.  Valid fifty years ago when they wrote it and even more so today.  Being true to yourself is not an easy path.  Many newly ‘retired’ persons find themselves lost.  Freed from the demands of 9 to 5 can be an existential dilemma.  With a fresh canvas to fill, many questions arise; What gives my life meaning?  What do I want to achieve?  What pleasurable hobbies/ experiences call me?  Who do I want to associate with? It is easy to slip into default and mass produced lifestyles, entertainments, and activities (mostly planned to extract maximum dollars).  Maintaining a personal path can be challenging to fishermen and crafts vendors on a tourist beach, it is a matter of survival.  For renewing Boomers the risk is just breaking out of our comfort zone and heeding our innate urge to express our uniqueness.   

A vision of an original and vital life guides my decisions and fuels my quest to swim free from the homogenizing tide of globalization.  Taking up the call to live from the inside out defines freedom for me.  Even as the world around us changes.  Everything changes all the time.  But be like the fisherman among the hawkers on the beach, like the girl weaving a one of a kinky bark hat, and the musician doing didgeridoo healings on lobster red ladies from Montreal.  As Robert Frost said back when Beach Boys sang Be True to Yourself, taking the road less traveled makes all the difference.

1 comment:

  1. Thought provoking post, Rhino. Patterns give us peace, yet may become peaceful prisons. Perhaps a practice of awareness coupled with a fierce conviction to openness and a commitment to life enhancing ritual can offer a balanced path.