In Ecuador the world starts stirring at 4am. Dogs start a cacophony of sound while roosters announce the coming of the day even before the sun has shone its light. In the darkness there is peace and tranquility. Life has its own rhythm here very different from the USA where I also live. Time does not adjust to you here in Ecuador. You adjust to it and its flow invites you into a slower pace. It is this pace that slows down the mind. You become acutely aware of the inner dialogue that is hidden in the noise of the day.

Sipping a cup of tea by candlelight in the dark quiet I reflect on what brought me here to this country. I first came in 2012 seeking refuge from a deep sadness caused by divorce. I thought it would be an adventure that would light the spark that refused to die. I had no idea how life-changing that trip would be. Years later I am sitting in a house on the coast, a house that I built with my partner, to provide for others the same place for reflection that I sought in 2012.

Yesterday we walked along the beach as the sun set. We paused, both of us struck by the synchronicity that brought us to this place and this moment in time. As we watched the waves flow in and out we were aware that this same motion is universal, bringing us in and out, past, present, future. Yet just as the wave hits the beach we know that it is never the same exact wave despite containing the same ocean elements as the one before. So too with us.

Today we are different people as a result of our journey to the present moment but made up of all our experiences up until now.

Ecuador has a magic and mystery unlike any other place I have visited. There is a vibration here that changes the body chemistry. As I slow down I have greater access to intuition and creativity. I notice the beauty in the ordinary things, the lone blossom in the planter, the way the light hits the windows of the house across the street, the smell of empanadas in the doorway of the shop.

Here in the quiet, dark, early morning I resolve to pay more attention to life. Perhaps I will take back to the USA this same reflective practice of an early morning tea, sitting with my dog in my living room as the sun begins to rise over the Chesapeake Bay. I will continue writing my thoughts in my journal, a record of a life in motion, always circling back, end to beginning, in flow with the universe.

For now, the sunlight is seeping in through the windows, the roosters have announced the dawn and the dogs have begun their howling symphony.

This is the way Ecuador wakes up. And so do I.