Thatch Caye is a cozy resort off the coast of Belize — a small island, with 10 – 20 guests, where you may walk from one end to the other in 25 minutes. (And if you stay there longer than 24 hours, it’s very likely you’ll do this. Possibly more than once. Not that I’m claustrophobic or anything, it’s just not that big of an island.)
There is a lounge where you can connect to a Wi-fi, but the island resort life forces you to disconnect and relax.
We are so addicted to doing, endless doing, when it’s actually easy to forget what it means to do nothing and just be. (My wife’s first question was, “Just be, how do you do that? What do you do?”)
The purpose of such a trip is to get away from doing. By “doing” I mean taking an action with an end in mind. When you just be, you accept where you are, and just observe what you experience, whether it’s sight, sound, smell, touch, taste, sense and thought. The first six senses are straight forward — what comes is what comes. Thoughts are more challenging to observe as we tend to get drawn into their story… and this just fuels their turbulence and weakens your awareness.
But on a resort island with such a stark change of scenery, thoughts automatically calm down — partly because there is no pending to do or action list that needs to be accomplished. There is little contact with news, no TV, no dramas being shared — so less fodder for your thoughts. The newness of it all makes the experience more vivid, which also reduces the focus on the thoughts.
And yet still, I found it difficult to let go and relax. This is the conditioning of my mind.
The Thatch Caye resort is cozy and quaint. Just 12 guests. We all sit together at dinner, and while I thought it was going to be awkward, I enjoyed chatting with the other travelers about their adventures.
The island is filled with comfortable purple hammocks, and the beds are super soft. We took the kayaks around the cay, which took about an hour, and we did most of the kayaking on the east side of the island, stroking against the waves. On the west side, the waters were so calm that we could kayak the length in 10 minutes. My wife noticed the starfish first — they were huge, like the size of a dinner plate. The water around the beach was 3-4 feet deep in most places, and the water was crystal Caribbean clear, so you could practically walk around the island. We snorkeled most of it.
After the kayak, we napped — there was nothing else to do! Even at a meditation retreat like this, you are engaged — meditation is quite an active mental workout. Island life is strange, because there is nothing to do. My mind is searching for something, and as your mind relaxes, you rest in a nice day-dreamy state.
Anything is possible in this place… anything… and you just be.
Also published on Medium.