Shaida talks to Punya about her new business that organises events and meditation retreats in Tulum, Mexico, and further afield.
Across this very table I spoke to Shaida just the other day, again under the almost blinding sun rays streaming in from the bay windows overlooking Görlitzer Park. A gentle, soft-spoken young woman, originally from Chile, with the striking features of a native of her country. We first met at the Osho Studio here in Berlin before the Kundalini session; her story intrigued me and I wanted to know more.
She tells me about her time in New York where she studied holistic nutrition and the years she ran the Osho centre in Santiago de Chile, Centro Activo, which she co-founded and is now in the capable hands of people she trained as Osho meditation leaders. On the side she worked as a health and nutrition councellor. Then, out of the blue, a friend called her and asked her to come and lead meditations in Tulum at the Riviera Maya, Mexico.
I had a good friend in Santiago, Bianca. She was one of the regulars at the centre. One day she quit her job as a designer and went to Mexico. Six months later she sent me a message via Facebook saying, “Come to Tulum. You can do things here. There are possibilities. Why don’t you give it a try?” She had just met a hotel owner in Tulum and found out that he loves Osho. They wanted to have workshops and meditations based on Osho’s teachings and so she immediately thought of me.
Whenever someone invites me to go somewhere I usually say yes. But I also needed a new challenge in my life and, without knowing what exactly I was going to do in Mexico, I packed my bags and arrived in Tulum at the beginning of January 2015.
Tulum is on the Riviera Maya, on the east coast of the Yucatán Peninsula on the Caribbean Sea, about an hour from the larger and more developed Playa del Carmen. Tulum is a new town, or rather village, with quite exclusive, boutique hotels. It is small with a relatively simple infrastructure, built inland – practically in the jungle – and not far from the ruins of a Pre-Columbian Maya walled city overlooking the sea.
When I arrived I took on a job as a receptionist at Eco-Hotel Playa Canek. Apart from learning how to book guests, arrange transfers and archaeological visits, practical things like that, it also gave me the opportunity to figure out ways how to introduce Osho to the guests. Of course the situation was totally different from what I was used to when running the centre in a big town like Santiago. Here people were coming and going, some staying for a week only. (Tourists are from USA, Central America, Brazil, but also from Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Russia, Eastern Europe, quite a mixed lot.)
I came to the conclusion that the best way is to organise meditation retreats lasting over a weekend, maybe combined with other therapies like breathwork, nutrition, meditation, etc. So much yoga is offered everywhere, in all other hotels, that the owner of Playa Canek is so happy to have different things on offer. So, apart from working as a receptionist I was also the organiser for events and retreats for this hotel as well as for another one at the Riviera. In these last 10 months I have been also working on my website, made connections and am up and running.
When I get back to Mexico I will leave my job as a receptionist and will dedicate my time exclusively to organise Riviera Maya Retreats & Events, my business. Next March we will have a Detox Meditation and Fresh Beginnings retreat and Conscious Fitness in February, which I am organising for New York trainers.
My business will expand to other countries. I have been invited to take people to Rapa Nui/Easter Island, so it is my intention to create different destinations. Together with friends I am organising 5-day retreats in the north of Chile for July 2016. One of my dreams would be to share a No-Mind or even a Mystic Rose Retreat at the Riviera.
I do not have a plan; I just let life take me into the flow. These hotels were interested in Osho, I was invited, and now I am organising meditation retreats for them. It’s something that came from them. I did not impose myself. Now I am being invited to other places and therapists are asking me to organise workshops for them – so there, off I go!
I am learning as I go along, exploring… and I do not know where it is going… but I feel I am on the right track!
Interview with Shaida by Punya, Berlin, October 2015
Shaida was born in Chile and took sannyas in 2001. She worked as a secretary in corporations until she moved to New York where she lived for 10 years and studied holistic nutrition. She is trained in Osho Active Meditations and Processes as well as in other therapies. In 2009, after staying in Europe and Pune, she co-founded the Osho Meditation Centre in Santiago de Chile. She now lives in Mexico and works as a retreat organiser for various hotels and Osho therapists. www.rivieramayaretreats.com