It is dusk on the beach in Tulum, Mexico; I stand on the edge of the sea with the Shaman.  As the sun begins its final descent, two Mayan men take turns blowing into large conch shells to announce the Temazcal is about to begin; the sound is eerie. The shaman passes a coconut shell filled with burning incense up and down my body to clean my aura, as I slowly turn to face the four directions of the wind.  Our group of five follow her into a Mayan sweat lodge and sit on the ground; there is a pit in the center of the tepee; the Mayan men carry in shovels of volcanic red hot coals that have been fired for two days, and dump them in the pit.  We are told to say “ho” “ho” to welcome them. The flap is lowered, closing out the world; I sit in total blackness; the heat is intense; scalding steam rises when the shaman throws herbal water on the burning lava; it is difficult to breathe; I begin to cough.  After what seems like an eternity, a hand in the dark passes me a coconut shell filled with mud; I am told to smear it on my body; then I receive a piece of fruit to eat.  As my body and my mind begin to accept and welcome the isolation and discomfort, the shaman’s reassuring voice punctures the dark silence; I reach for her hand; “don’t give up”, she whispers softly, a message I carry far beyond Mexico’s borders.  When I emerge, a blanket of stars fills the sky; I follow her into cool waters; mud, tears and fears pour out of me as I float in the moment, overwhelmed by the purification, and my own powers within.