In a genuine relationship, there is an outward flow of open, alert attention toward the other person in which there is no wanting whatsoever.  That alert attention is Presence.  It is the prerequisite for any authentic relationship.“  ~Eckhart Tolle

If I were to ask you, “What is your definition of family?” how would you answer?  Is family to you blood relatives only or does it encompass something larger such as people who are there for you through thick and thin?

Chris and Zorieda

I just recently returned from Peru where I became part of a new family.  As many of you know, Peru is very sacred to me and every year I journey to Peru with a group and we hike the Inca Trail as well as spend time in other sacred parts of this amazingly spiritual country (click here for information on my next journey).  When I arrived in Peru, I was asked by my dear friend Edgar to be the Godmother of his sister who was making her confirmation.  I, of course, accepted and upon my acceptance was invited to a dinner where I was fed locally grown potatoes from their local town and whole, roasted guinea pig (which is only served on the most special of occasions).  I spent time with the head blessed mother nun of the church the family attends to get “briefed” in the responsibilities of being a Godmother and then felt blessed after the ceremony that I had a new “daughter,” Zorieda, who is 14 years old.

Edgar and Chris

After the celebration, Edgar performed two very healing ceremonies with us on top of the mountain in the village and then we spent more time with the family back at the house eating fresh bread, cheese and potatoes (with chickens and guinea pigs running at our feet!).

I was made to feel like part of the family because to them, I was now part of the family.  I am now referred to as con Madre, which is a term used to represent an additional mother in the family.  The compassion and unconditional acceptance I felt brought tears to my eyes and really made me think about my own definition of family.

Ask yourself the following questions:

The relationships you have in your life, especially those with your family, are sacred.  These relationships need nurturing, attention and a balance of giving and receiving.  If you do not like your answers to some of the questions above, what can you do to change?  Is it a conversation that needs to be had?  An apology that is long overdue?  Or is it simply a hug to let someone know how much you love them?

One thing I have learned in life is that there is nothing as important as “family,” whatever your definition of that is.  When all else falls away, it is your relationships that you turn to for support, comfort and love.  Every relationship we find ourselves in becomes a tool for the evolution of our consciousness and our soul.  Every person is a teacher.  What are you learning from your most difficult relationships?  What are you learning from the best ones?

Take some time today to acknowledge your “family.”  Love them, honor them and give them the attention they deserve.  They are worth it…and so are you!

Nurturing relationships is the most important activity in life.  When you look around, everything you see is an expression of yourself.
~Deepak Chopra, The Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire

Thank you for being my “family,”


Chris Sopa is founder and owner of Chris Sopa International, Inc. You can learn more about her at Find her at, Twitter @ChrisSopa, LinkedIn, and .

Off We Go


Hi everybody!  Thank you so much for joining us on our 12 day adventure to Peru and the Sacred Valley!

Those of you who have followed my journeys before via my blog know what you are in for…those of you who are “newbie’s”…HOLD ON!!!  Although due to lack of internet service on a few of the days we will be journeying, every day a new blog post with pictures will be posted entailing the details of our day, who we met, where we went, what we look like doing what we are doing and the amazing insights we learn on each leg of our journey.

There will be 8 of us total and for the most part (other than me knowing everyone to some extent), we are all virtually strangers.  We will have a local guide with us the whole time, a shaman (spiritual man), 11 porters, several private drivers and we will synchronistically meet several “strangers” along the way that will guide us on our journey.

Just to give you a little “sneak peak” at what we will be experiencing below is our 12 day agenda:

Day 1:  Travel all day and arrive in Lima around midnight (although this sounds boring, you would be amazed at the things you see and can blog about when you are in “travel mode” all day!!!)  This day the group will be getting to know one another and working through their excitement and possible anxieties for what is to come.

Day 2:  We fly to Cusco this morning, which is at 11,000 feet, so we will immediately begin to acclimatize to the new altitude.  This afternoon     we will visit the sacred alters of Sacsayhuaman (a magnificent Incan fortress made of 3 massive parallel walls), Tambomachay (a sacred Incan site for ritual bathing), Q’enko (a beautiful example of Incan “rock workshop” and art), and Puca Pucara (an old Incan post house for travelers).

Day 3:  Still in Cusco, by bus we will travel to Chinchero (believed to be the mythical birthplace of the rainbow) and Moray (a sunken amphitheater of mystical quality).

Day 4:  This day we head to Pisac (known for its marketplace) and Ollanyatambo (the best surviving example of an Incan town).

Day 5-7:  On these days we will be hiking the Inca Trail.  The Inca Trail hike is a stunning mix of Inca ruins, mountain scenery, lush forest and subtropical jungle through the Andes Mountains which leads you to the sacred Inca city of Machu Picchu.  We will reach an altitude of approximately 14,000 feet and be hiking with individuals from all around the world.

Day 8:  This is the last day of our hike and we will arrive in Machu Picchu this day.  Machu Picchu is called the “Lost City “and is truly a place where you can feel the true serenity of your soul.  We will spend time this day in the city of Aquas Calientes (after we shower of course!), visit the local natural hot springs and relax after our 4 day hike.

Day 9:  We spend this entire day visiting Machu Picchu with our guide learning about her magical healing and sacred qualities.  We will then board a train and had back to Cusco.

Day 10:  Back on a plane, we will fly to Puerto Maldonado and check into the Corto Maltes Lodge after we take a beautiful 40 minute Amazonian boat ride on the Madre de Rios River, passing pure virgin Amazon forest and multitude of foliage and wildlife.  We will have our first contact with the Amazon jungle on this day, going on an afternoon trek and an evening boat tour of the jungle.

Day 11:  We are up early this day, taking a 5:30am trek to Parrot Clay, eating breakfast and then off again to visit Monkey Island, Tambopata-Candamo National Reserve and the heavenly Sandoval Lake.  We will end our day on a canoe traveling back to the lodge viewing the spectacular sunset on the lake and then getting massages back at the lodge.

Day 12:  On this day, a sad day, we head home…transformed, revitalized and whirling with the changes that have occurred within us on our miraculous journey through the beautiful country of Peru.

And, we’re off….. See you “on the other side!”