Wednesday, August 31, 2011

a friend

A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart, and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words.
- unknown


Friends from West End and Sandy Bay visited Paya this past weekend. We spent a wonderful afternoon on Bliss Beach. As he usually does, Lucky joined the fun! (He's literally a party animal.) Paya Bay Resort, Roatan, Honduras.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

live a good life

Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.
- Marcus Aurelius

Monday, August 29, 2011

the power of yoga

The sensible practice of yoga does more than slap a Happy Face on your cerebrum. It can also massage the lymph system, says Dr. Mehmet Oz, a cardiac surgeon at New York Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan. Lymph is the body's dirty dishwater; a network of lymphatic vessels and storage sacs crisscross over the entire body, in parallel with the blood supply, carrying a fluid composed of infection-fighting white blood cells and the waste products of cellular activity. Exercise in general activates the flow of lymph through the body, speeding up the filtering process; but yoga in particular promotes the draining of the lymph. Certain yoga poses stretch muscles that from animal studies are known to stimulate the lymph system. Researchers have documented the increased lymph flow when dogs' paws are stretched in a position similar to the yoga "downward-facing dog."

Yoga relaxes you and, by relaxing, heals. At least that's the theory. "The autonomic nervous system," explains Kripalu's Faulds, "is divided into the sympathetic system, which is often identified with the fight-or-flight response, and the parasympathetic, which is identified with what's been called the Relaxation Response. When you do yoga — the deep breathing, the stretching, the movements that release muscle tension, the relaxed focus on being present in your body — you initiate a process that turns the fight-or-flight system off and the Relaxation Response on. That has a dramatic effect on the body. The heartbeat slows, respiration decreases, blood pressure decreases. The body seizes this chance to turn on the healing mechanisms."
- Time

photo of the day

The beauty and serenity of the early morning. Paya Bay Resort, Roatan, Honduras.

purpose and passion

When you find your purpose, it is like your heart has been set alight with passion. You know it absolutely, without any doubt.
- lessons from The Secret

rising above thought

Enlightenment means rising above thought, not falling back to a level below thought, the level of an animal or a plant. In the enlightened state, you still use your thinking mind when needed, but in a much more focused and effective way than before.
- Eckhart Tolle

Friday, August 26, 2011

zen path highlighted

It was recently brought to my attention that Greg Benchwick, author of Lonely Planet's Honduras and the Bay Islands travel guide, highlighted Paya Bay's Zen Path on the author's page (p4) of the 2010 edition of the guide. Greg posed for a photo at the beginning of the path (above, upper right). He wrote:
On the Zen Path as always (after all, even Buddha had a little belly) on a secret trail at Paya Bay (p220) on Roatan. The trail leads to the island's only nude beach. I wore my clothes (tsk, tsk, not very Zenlike), taking the time to go for a quick swim on the pitch-perfect beach with my lovely wife.
The Zen Path was one of the first projects I spearheaded when I returned to Paya Bay four and a half years ago. Prior to being upgraded, it existed as an informal, largely undefined little track I spent countless hours exploring as a kid in the 1970s when my parents started acquiring the lands at Paya Bay. The path winds its way along the edge of a cliff with delightful views of the rocks below, the ocean, the reef, a forest of palms, and ultimately, the sacred beach. The upgrade of the path simply involved widening it and carefully defining it in certain areas using a very low-impact approach in order to keep the rustic innocence that means so much to me. It's very heart touching to see something that is such an intimate part of my personal history being spotlighted on the world stage. There is only one Zen Path! Just like there is only one Paya Bay!

Images: Lonely Planet 

best wishes

Best wishes to our East Coast friends as you contend with Hurricane Irene this weekend. Positive thoughts and vibes are being sent your way. Be safe!

Graphic: NOAA

the silent watcher

Be present as the watcher of your mind -- of your thoughts and emotions as well as your reactions in various situations. Be at least as interested in your reactions as in the situation or person that causes you to react. Notice also how often your attention is in the past or future. Don't judge or analyze what you observe. Watch the thought, feel the emotion, observe the reaction. Don't make a personal problem out of them. You will then feel something more powerful than any of those things that you observe: the still, observing presence itself behind the content of your mind, the silent watcher.
- Eckhart Tolle

Thursday, August 25, 2011

photo of the day

Stairs leading to Bliss Beach. Paya Bay Resort, Roatan, Honduras.

the keystone pipeline debate

Sometime before the end of this year, the State Department will decide whether to approve the 1,700-mile-long Keystone XL pipeline, intended to connect the tar sands of Alberta, Canada, with the refineries of southern Texas. For many environmentalists, the fate of the world, literally, depends on the Obama administration's yea or nay.

"The Keystone Pipeline," wrote global warming activist Bill McKibben, in a letter urging concerned citizens to join a two-week protest in front of the White House, would be "a fuse to the biggest carbon bomb on the continent, a way to make it easier and faster to trigger the final overheating of our planet ..." In an essay titled "Silence Is Deadly," NASA climatologist James Hansen declared that if the tar sands are fully exploited for their oil deposits, "it is essentially game over" for the planet.
- Salon

An extremely tough and unenviable decision for Mr. Obama. Wow.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

the ananda page

We've just completed the promo page for the Ananda Movement Center on Paya's Web site. Ananda is a spectacular 1,200 square foot pavilion that is ideal for yoga retreats, intensives, and/or trainings. The roofed space is also perfectly suited for other types of "movement medicine": multi-rhythm dancing, Tai Chi, meditation retreats, lectures, corporate retreats, and/or writing camps. With its stunning views and exquisite energy, this is one of the most incredible facilities of its kind in Central America!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

estimate: only a quarter of earth's species discovered

Our world is a much wilder place than it looks. A new study estimates that Earth has almost 8.8 million species, but we've only discovered about a quarter of them. And some of the yet-to-be-seen ones could be in our own backyards, scientists say.

So far, only 1.9 million species have been found. Recent discoveries have been small and weird: a psychedelic frogfish, a lizard the size of a dime and even a blind hairy mini-lobster at the bottom of the ocean.
- Associated Press

Monday, August 22, 2011

Saturday, August 20, 2011

is it really this simple?

So, applying logic to some of this metaphysical stuff (something I really enjoy doing)...

We attract what we fear… so, why not make it a habit of fearing nothing? This should effectively eliminate anything we've chosen to label "bad" manifesting in our lives. Instead, let's always be sincerely and genuinely happy and grateful for the opposite of anything that concerns us. There is an amazing peace that results from this simple practice.

It is suggested we deliberately and consciously put our individual (and collective) life experiences in the "hands" of the Universe. (Or "God," or whatever label an individual may have for Higher Intelligence. I personally don't use the word "God" very often because, for me, it's too closely associated with organized religion, something I have a plethora of reservations about). I personally suggest while making requests to the Universe to go ahead and also request an amazing life experience (because... why not?). Then relax and be happy (see next paragraph), knowing (believing) that the Universe is in control and that every single person, event, and circumstance that comes our way is simply our greater good (as suggested by Higher Intelligence) unfolding.

Get into the habit of being present and living in the present moment. By design, the past is 100% irrelevant and the future is 100% uncertain (as Eckhart Tolle puts it, the past and the future "are illusions that exist only in our minds"). The present moment is all we truly have. And, magically, if we are completely present in any given moment it is impossible to be unhappy at that same instant in time (Try it! It's true!). Life is simply a stream of instants (i.e., we have this instant, and this instant, and this instant, and so forth...*). In each of these of these instants, we make a choice: 1 or 0 (yes, turns out we humans are digital too). 1 or 0. 1 or 0. 1 or 0... Half-full or half-empty. Half-full or half-empty. Half-full or half-empty... This finite string of that simple choice is our life experience. Think about that.

It all comes down to what seems to be (at least for me) the metaphysical buzzword of 2011: Surrender. Surrender to the present moment. It's been suggested that doing so may very well be the answer to life.

*Thank you, Paul Gonyea.

all is well

I've inspected the property and I'm happy to report that besides a few broken branches here and there we've had virtually no damage here at Paya from the storm. I'm happy and grateful for our good fortune.

Friday, August 19, 2011

fastening seatbelts

Roatan is in for some turbulent weather as Tropical Depression Eight (forecasted to become a tropical storm this afternoon) travels over the Bay Islands tonight. It's been a rather dry summer so the plants and trees will love the abundant rain this system should bring us.

UPDATE: As of noon local time, the system has been upgraded and named. What is now Tropical Storm Harvey has maximum sustained winds of 40MPH, and is approximately 155 miles east of Roatan.

UPDATE 2: At 5:30 PM local time (7:30 EDT) Harvey is approximately 100 miles east of Roatan. It is moving west at 12MPH. Maximum sustained winds have increased a bit to 45MPH. We've already had some strong downpours this afternoon here on the island. I figure that by 9PM the storm's winds will start to kick in.

UPDATE 3: It's now 12:15AM local time. The center of Harvey is 60 miles east of Roatan. The U.S. National Hurricane Center reports that maximum sustained winds have increased to 60MPH (pretty much a "baby" hurricane). Winds and rain have abruptly started to pick up here on the island...

Graphic: NOAA

Thursday, August 18, 2011

offbeat bride

Stephanie and Chris' beach wedding in May, 2011 at Paya Bay Resort was recently featured in Offbeat Bride!

closing ceremony

As part of their closing events, last night the leaders and participants in the Honduras Immersion yoga training intensive held a fire ceremony on Bliss Beach. It was a beautiful evening and a spectacular fire.

Paya Bay Resort, Roatan, Honduras.

your inner state

To end the misery that has afflicted the human condition for thousands of years, you have to start with yourself and take responsibility for your inner state at any given moment. That means Now.
- Eckhart Tolle

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Monday, August 15, 2011

conservation has made a difference

National protected areas, which occur at the micro-scale, have been one of conservationists' most notable achievements. Today, over 100,000 protected areas—national parks, wildlife refuges, game reserves, marine protected areas (MPAs), wildlife sanctuaries, etc.—cover some 7.3 million square miles (19 million kilometers).

Source: Great News Network

2012 rates published

This morning we published Paya Bay Resort's 2012 rates. Remember that you can always book early and pay in full before December 31, 2011 to get 2011 rates.

Friday, August 12, 2011

photo of the day

The whimsical portal on Bliss Beach. Paya Bay Resort, Roatan, Honduras.

Photo: Tasha C.

the secret to life

Death is a stripping away of all that is not you. The secret to life is to "die before you die"--and find that there is no death.
Eckhart Tolle

I find this to be one of Tolle's most enigmatic and intriguing statements.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

movement at ananda

Participants in Honduras Immersion, the yoga and Thai massage training intensive led by Paula Tursi and Peter Kaaberbøl, practice at the Ananda Movement Center.

What great fortune to have had this group, all amazing beings of good energy and light, christen our new yoga and movement pavilion! It is the icing on the cake, and a loving hug and shoulder squeeze from the Universe. Paya Bay Resort, Roatan, Honduras.

Photos: Tasha C.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

quote of the day

We need the dark to make the light. Look at all you're doing, Davinci.
- Paula Tursi, Reflections Yoga, New York

the magic of paya

I know I'm biased as I have the good fortune of living here, but I must say there are few things better for the soul than a walk around Paya Bay on our network of nature trails and paths. This is particularly true if the walk is done an hour or so before sunset and one is practicing the spiritual lesson of being present. No matter what mood you are in at the beginning of the walk, at the end you're smiling from ear to ear and in the best spirits. The magic of Paya!

Monday, August 8, 2011

give the best of you

The fastest way to receive is to give, because giving starts the reciprocal action of receiving. We all receive according to how much we give. Give the best of you everywhere you go. Give a smile. Give thanks. Give kindness. Give love.

Your giving should be a giving without expectation of return - a giving for the sheer joy of it.

- lessons from The Secret 

Friday, August 5, 2011

tribal beach party

The Garífunas perform at last night's Tribal Beach Party. Even though it's a bit dark, I love the colors and textures of this photo.

Running a simple Photoshop filter on it, makes it look like something that belongs in MoMAPaya Bay Resort, Roatan, Honduras.


All cravings are the mind seeking salvation or fulfillment in external things and in the future as a substitute for the joy of Being.
- Eckhart Tolle 

Thursday, August 4, 2011

one family, five countries

This week at Paya, in addition to the Honduras Immersion yoga group, we are also hosting a reunion of the Peters family. With members hailing from Norway, Germany, the U.S., Honduras, and Canada, we're pretty sure this is the biggest family group we've ever hosted!

Holger, the 70 years young patriarch is front/left. His charming wife, Leticia, is front/right. The man looks like he's barely 50! It's been wonderful to see Mr. Peters surrounded by so much love in this momentous milestone in his life.

you change it

The thing about you, Davinci...
...when you don't like something, you change it.

- one of my therapists in Atlanta a few years ago. It's one of those "outsider-looking-in" observations that has reverberated in my head ever since.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

be deeply rooted within

The Mind.
To stay present in everyday life, it helps to be deeply rooted within yourself; otherwise, the mind, which has incredible momentum, will drag you along like a wild river.
- Eckhart Tolle

So true! The mind can suck us into a 'rabbit hole' in a millisecond! Common examples: "I'm not smart enough," "I'm not educated enough," "I'm not attractive enough," "He/She/They don't like me," "I'm not wealthy enough," "I'm not black enough," "I'm not tall enough," etc. Sometimes it can takes years to pull ourselves out of one of these bottomless mental 'black holes.' Many people spend an entire lifetime struggling to overcome one single thought. Way too many simply give up and accept some arbitrary and totally imaginary self-limitation(s). A classic example: "If I come out of the closet as a gay man/woman, I will lose all my friends and family. No one will ever accept me. My career will implode. I will be ostracized and cast aside." Crazy sh*t, isn't it? One of Tolle's wisest suggestions: "That voice in your head... that's not you. Who am I, then? The one who realizes that."

Rise above the voice in our head. It's a whole new level of living. Life 2.0.

Monday, August 1, 2011

take creative actions

Be creative and use powerful actions in line with what you want. If you want to attract the perfect partner, then make room in your closet. If you want to attract a new house, then tidy up your current house so it is ready for easy packing. If you want to take a trip then get out your suitcases, surround yourself with pictures of the location, and put yourself in the pictures.

Think about what you would do if you had your desire, and then take creative actions that make it clear you are receiving it now.
- lessons from The Secret