By Wendy Stauffer
As the glorious October full moon rose in the night sky, my friend and hero of 27 years crossed the veil and returned to Spirit. Sarito was not only a wonderful neighbor and confidant but also the founding father of our expat community and the one who seeded the dream that gave birth to Villa Sumaya. Always sharing eclectic stories from his 89 years, a slow-cooked meal and an impromptu sunset, he was a master of practical magic and manifestation.
He was the architect behind our Lotus House and Tara Temple complex, an artist with a flare for the new, a prolific writer and spiritual revolutionary, a friend with time to listen. Above all, however, he shared his noble humility through mutual respect for self as other, bowing to the daily necessity to surrender into the rhythm of life’s flow. He’d end each meeting with the many people whose lives he touched with his empowering permission…. “Whatever you do, just have a good time… Enjoy yourself!”
Living in his communal cooperative housing on the shores of Lake Atitlan, I learned that less was more and that a simple room with a vast view and time to unwind a royal inheritance beyond measure. “Share more, consume less” was his theme song. He was there with space and inspiration to unveil a brighter future, so I dreamed of sharing this same opportunity with others in need of rest, relaxation and remembrance.
It’s been three weeks since Sarito passed and we buried him in the heartland of Santa Cruz’s Mayan stronghold… up high on the hillside overlooking three perfect volcanoes magnified by the brilliance of Lake Atitlan. As the first “gringo” buried in Santa Cruz, he is surrounded by bones and the skull of Mayan ancestors, brightly woven threads, an old coke bottle and a beat up metal cup that hold the spirit of our pueblo. A proper English gentleman to the end, we lovingly encircled him with a ring of tropical flowers, black tea, popcorn, a cozy sweatshirt, a box of red wine and our tear-streaked songs to empower his journey home.
Our blessings and gratitude for the many gifts he gave us live on in our hearts as the ones who will carry his dreams forth. It’s only now that I realize what he told me all along …..as I see it in the joy and beauty that surrounds me and know that he shall always be by my side.