Posts Tagged With: Don Sergio Castro

The Selfless Work of an Unheralded Saint

In The Grace of Ayni I began with these words…

There’s a point in spiritual development that—if we’re going any further—we recognize something so important that it will guide us the rest of our lives: It’s not all about us. It becomes a natural act to give back in whatever ways we can, large or small.

Don Sergio Castro is the epitome of such an altruistic person. Quietly, he goes about his humanitarian healing work with Maya communities in Chiapas. For forty-plus years he has continued in the face of severe hardships and little funding support. Through Kenosis Spirit Keepers we do what we can to alleviate his funding worries so he can attend to the important work he does. But so much more is needed.*

In July Dr. Mike Weddle took the time to visit and work with Don Sergio. I want to share with you his impressions.

As a board member of Kenosis Spirit Keepers, I recently visited the healing practice and wound clinic of Sergio Castro in the town of San Cristóbal de las Casas in Chiapas, Mexico. The clinic is partly funded by an adjacent museum of traditional dress, and the funding often comes up short. On the day I visited, there was one group waiting for the museum tour, and another group, the constant line of patients with diabetic ulcers, burns, gangrene, and skin infections. It was clear that Sergio was torn between the wounded, and the paying customers he needed to treat the wounded. As a physician, I pitched in so that he could devote some time with his museum group.

This resulted in an invitation to do house calls with him in town and in the rural hills that surround the town. Some of these people he attends to every day. I can’t reasonably describe what I saw. Maybe I could in a hospital grand rounds, but not here, to a non-medical audience, who would find such descriptions horrific. From my work in Guatemala I know well the hidden people, the paralyzed, the stroke people, and infirmed, that live in the darkness of back rooms of the houses you walk by, or houses you see dotting picturesque hillsides. We saw a child who in the U.S. would be in a hospital burn unit, and a diabetic man who would be in an operating room. We did surgery at the edge of a cornfield. It was a privilege working with him for this one day, but he is there every day. It’s hard to imagine what these people would do without him.

museum clinic

Dr. Mike Weddle (left) and Don Sergio Castro (right) at the textile museum-clinic in San Cristobal de las Casas.

Don Sergio

Don Sergio Castro tending to a patient in the field.

I have personally witnessed the patients waiting for Don Sergio’s care at his museum-clinic. But Mike’s descriptive words of working with Don Sergio in the field…just take my heart. He brings to mind Mother Teresa. The difference: Don Sergio has no church behind him; no rich foundations sustaining his work. Yet he continues because he must.

Thank the gods there are such people in the world.

*****

*Read more on Don Sergio’s work and view the documentary El Andalon (The Healer) here.

During our January 2017 Maya spiritual travel program to Chiapas we will visit Don Sergio and bring donations of simple medical supplies and support funds. These monies come from tuitions for travel program and any other donations. if you’d like to help, go here.

Categories: Maya, Sacred Reciprocity, Spiritual Evolution | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Sacred Reciprocity – Part I

In the traditions of the Andes, ayni is a way of life. This Quechua word has no real translation but loosely summarized means sacred reciprocity, merely one of the life-affirming teachings about balance and flow. I’ve taken it to heart—and attempted to pass the teaching on in my home culture. I say “attempt” because it’s been a real challenge where, in Western culture, it’s so much more about “winning” on an individual level. In other words: What’s In It For Me? When I was a fledgling organizational development consultant decades ago, I even remember being taught to appeal to people through “WIIFM”…in teambuilding workshops, a paradox for sure.

A Marker in Spiritual Evolution

My sense is that when a person reaches certain markers in their spiritual evolution there’s an inherent understanding of the circle of life—that to hoard interrupts a natural flow, not only to the individual, but affects global wellbeing detrimentally. Instead, there’s an automatic desire to give in whatever ways can be given…and there’s no obsession about how something will be received in turn—what is “due” on the other side.

Connection Mixed Media by Carla Woody

Connection, Mixed Media
©1996 Carla Woody

How Sacred Reciprocity Connects Us

In a recent post, I reviewed Jamie Reaser’s new book of poetry Sacred Reciprocity: Courting the Beloved in Everyday Life with beautiful verses about exchange with the Infinite through nature. Ayni touches many places in our lives.

In my review of the documentary El Andalon I introduced you to humanitarian healer Don Sergio Castro, who works with impoverished Maya communities around San Cristóbal de las Casas in Chiapas, Mexico. It was an act of ayni on the part of filmmakers Veremos Productions to have produced it and are donating part of the proceeds to his mission.

Without that film I wouldn’t have known about Don Sergio’s work. As a result of that introduction, audiences with Don Sergio are now part of the itinerary of my spiritual travel program in Chiapas. I’ve asked travelers to bring simple first aid supplies to donate, along with a monetary amount I will make as an offering.

Don Sergio attending young Maya girl

Don Sergio attending young Maya girl.
Photo: Patricia Ferrer

But it doesn’t stop there. One of my subscribers, who lives in France, contacted Patricia Ferrer, who is in Tucson and connected with Don Sergio, alerting her to my review. Patricia has been volunteering with Don Sergio for a few years now, spending between two to five weeks per year. She gives of her skills selflessly. We corresponded and I had the good fortune to meet her in person when I was recently in Tucson for a speaking engagement.

Don Sergio and Patricia working.

Don Sergio and Patricia working.
Photo: Patricia Ferrer

Here are some of Patricia’s words from the article The Circle of Life posted on Meg Pier’s blog View from the Pier:

…Many of the Indios do not want to go to the hospital as they feel discriminated against, they don’t trust the hospital system, and they don’t understand the system nor does the system understand them. Many times they wait too long to go to the hospital and when they finally do go they die as their condition has become too severe…

 …Don Sergio knows these people well and even when he recommends they go to the hospital they are still reluctant: some do, some don’t. The one constant is if they come to Don Sergio he will do his best to help them although he knows the outcome is not good.  The unwavering trust from the Maya is clear when they arrive to his museo, which is also used as a clinic…

Another Opportunity for Ayni

We currently have six more openings for the January 13-25, 2013 Entering the Maya Mysteries program in Chiapas. A portion of tuition is tax-deductible and already designated toward Grandmother Flordemayo’s project to preserve Native seeds.

However, I have promised Patricia that, for each person she refers to me for registration through this blog post or otherwise, I will donate an additional $100 to Don Sergio’s work, aside from what I’ve already planned to personally donate. So, if you are someone who is called to practice ayni in this way while having a life-enhancing experience yourself, please contact Patricia through her blog, or me. When registering for the January program mention her name to ensure the additional donation will be made.

This is one way the circle of life continues to expand.

Ayni has a flow all its own.

Go to Sacred Reciprocity, Part II.

Categories: Healing, Indigenous Wisdom, Sacred Reciprocity, Spiritual Evolution, Spiritual Travel, Travel Experiences | Tags: , , , , , | 6 Comments

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