Learning to be a Guest

I am a guest here. By definition, a person to whom hospitality is extended. This is true.

I find it a lovely thing…learning to be a guest

Gracious recipient. Tentative speaker of expressive language. Lover of generosity. Spirit of acceptance. Trusting adventurer. Fumbling attempts to be culturally sensitive. Daring and spontaneous, Also slow and observant. Deeply humbled by the beauty of both place and people.

I, who love to host, feel in my soul the need to embrace and honor the many ways I am here as welcomed guest. In the way I speak and dress to be sure. But also by addressing my assumptions. To return the gentle….patient, very patient…and wise explanations with curiosity and awe. Each time I look deeply into the eyes of these people of the clouds I reach beyond all that seems different about us. And I rest in their contentment. “This is my work” I hear from each person. Pride and joy and simplicity. Es la vida!

To reside in a place not my own, yet feel so much at ease. Breathing deeply the high desert air. Gazing in all directions. Expansive vistas. Mountains and sky and mountains and sky. An unfamiliar beauty. I have been gifted. I will carry these sights and sounds and aromas and smiles and soulfulness within me as I travel along. All has been offered with deep and genuine generosity. I accept the gift.


And I will also have some tangible remembrances. Intricate silver earrings, fabrics worked with vibrant natural dyes, mezcal sipped with the grandson who taught me the ways his family has continued their tradition for generations. Oaxacan handmade chocolate and dripped beeswax candles. I will smile each time I enjoy wearing and using these artfully produced labors of love….and this is why…

It’s the relationship.
Not the acquisition of their art. Not the current value of the American dollar. Not even the cozy comfort of pure cotton against my skin (and I do love cozy cotton!). What I have been honored to receive as welcomed guest is the exchange of daily life energy. Our trade agreement is simple. It is created in mutual respect. Eyes meet. Hands touch. Each is known and each is accepted.


4 thoughts on “Learning to be a Guest

  1. Dearest Debbie, what a beautiful, tender description of our time together. Three days as a lifetime, so short, yet long enough for sisterhood to be rekindled and new friendships to begin for you in Teotitlan del Valle and beyond. So special to have you here with me. You are the gift.

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