Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Living in a Pressure Cooker


Stress and living in Todos Santos seem, at first glance, to be an oxymoron. People stay here to escape the stress in life, don’t they? How can living here be pressured?

I was amused to read a Baja travelogue a couple of days ago, where the authors, as part of a long journey, came to Todos Santos for a day. They wandered around the town (that didn’t take long), and peered into Hotel California, which they concluded contained a few hip people. Then, they reasoned, Todos Santos was clearly such a sleepy place, overall, that they needed to move on the next day to avoid terminal boredom.

The lack of the usual busy noise and diversions of life, however, is exactly what provides the basis for stress, admittedly of a different kind to that experienced in cities. Living here, whether single or as a couple, brings the opportunity to come face to face with the stark reality of yourself and your relationships. And that is neither easy, nor comfortable. The environment here is like a pressure cooker, enabling the juices of our feelings, our essences, to cook faster, and in a more intense manner than “normal” life.

A friend of mine, after committing to come and live here full time with her husband, wailed, partly in jest “Living together here, 24/7, 365 days a year. What was I thinking?”

Of course, human nature being what it is, we can invent a cornucopia of ways to avoid facing ourselves and others. Medication (legal, such as alcohol, and otherwise), passionate commitment to a cause, serial dinner parties – there are so many tricks by which we avoid intimacy.

The beauty, and maybe the magic, of Todos Santos is that it has a way of gently guiding you back to yourself, if only you pay attention. The clarity of the air, the vividness of the light, the sounds of life and the ocean, the endless unclaimed beach, the overall immediacy of the experience of being here – they all offer gateways into the hardest work of all, understanding and accepting yourself.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A pressure cooker of a town?. Well I guess thats fair but grasping the concept is tough. As stated in the post, one must face the music in Todos Santos. Your own music.We are not talking rock, jazz or samba groups here-- the dharma group. Franks group or the dog group are the parallel[random order-haha]. Its just you baby,--sawin' the violin in half if you are not carefull or, wind up in a group, seeing yourself through someone elses eyes. Works fine in some places- not in Todos Santos [it does take some time for the shine to tarnish however]. So, be ready to enjoy your own music, no matter how good or bad it may be--who cares. If you do care if someone else likes it or not, well, an area with a bigger group base might be for you. Informal groups, by nature, self destruct as the alpha people scramble for the top. The town started out as a artists community---folks who pretty much were on thier own but needed to make a sale every once in a while.[could that concept be part of the dream?] My opinion: the dream of being in Todos Santos is to be on your own and be happy with who you are. Other Mexican towns offer the allure of self discovery but, the groups start in. Example: San Felipe: not much going on, many crawl into a bottle [with friends] to make things better. many drinkers there. Its really quite sad as the dream of self realization is honorable. The groups start to pick 'em off 'cuz everybody needs an ID to fill the void. The same dog group appeared there too. After much infighting, somebody torched the dog shelter-yes, with dogs in it. Priorities, ya know. So, my friends, please, if you can see the dream of being in Todos Santos,good for you. The alarm clock may stop your dream but the bright side is that you woke up in a nice place. From there, its really about what makes your motor run while you are not dreaming. K.