You were born with wings. You are not meant for crawling, so don’t. You have wings. Learn to use them and fly. Rumi
Aging is not lost youth, but a new stage of opportunity and strength. Betty Frieden
Open windows in your consciousness.
The red rock sings in Sedona, an ancient flute-filled song of invitation. At dawn, the sun casts shadows against its pillars and cliffs and dome-like faces, and, at dusk, the rock is ablaze with color. And the air is pure and clear and the sky seems to go on forever and ever. It is easy to get pulled in, to follow this song deeper and deeper into the wilds, onto canyon trails lined with juniper and cedar and prickly pear, up red rock paths to mesas and mountain tops, over the next ridge to another vista and another, to get pulled in to a rhythm that is both as old as the rock itself and as fresh and new as this teeming-with-expansive-possibility present moment. It is said that Sedona sits on land alive with high vibration vortexes of energy. It is said that Sedona is a place where it is easy for a person to soak in this energy, easy to find alignment not only with the land and the sky and the hawk flying high, but also to find a high-flying inner alignment, a connection with the whirling swirling energy available to us all.
And even in Sedona, surrounded by all this red rock magic, that is the challenge, to not get swept away by this intoxicating high vibration smorgasbord of possibility — because the possibilities are endless and they are enticing and the golden retriever in you might be tempted to flit from thing to thing while losing a sense of what really feels good on the inside. That was the lesson for me. Sometimes it is easy to check in, to know that one choice feels better than another, that one carries a higher vibration. But what about a place filled with choices that all seem exciting and alive to you, that all seem to match the energy of your own inner whirling swirling vortex ? It was like that from the beginning of our five-day stay at Sedona last week; I could feel the metaphoric golden retriever inside me going wild. She wanted to do it all, to sniff out every corner boutique and gallery filled with southwestern art, to bound along every single one of the more than one hundred trail options within a short drive, to race along side the runners at the Sedona 5k/marathon that just happened to be held during that same weekend, to leap into the rental car and drive the mere two-and-a-half hours to the Grand Canyon because everyone should see the Grand Canyon at least once in their life. My metaphoric golden retriever’s tail already was thrashing about when she learned that Carolyn Myss, medical intuitive, author and world-renowned teacher was holding a workshop at the resort sitting just below a favorite canyon hiking trail. What does a gal do when she’s on vacation with her husband and the choices are boundless and her metaphoric golden retriever has given up on any semblance of control?!?
She sits still, that’s what she does. That’s what I did. I sat still and I listened, just for a little while, a minute or two; that’s all that it took to settle down into a place deeper than the inner juniper bushes where my golden retriever was sniffing, to a place of clarity and knowing. Never mind the Grand Canyon and the running race and the boutiques and the workshop — all good choices, for sure, but what I really wanted to do was hike, to hike my heart out, to soak in the sun and the warmth and the beauty of rock formations dancing with color. After two months of bitter cold in the snowy north of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, I wanted to move my body freely with no fear of slipping on ice, to breathe in deeply the scent of juniper and cedar, to hear the sound of my own heart beating, to sweat and pant and explore as many trails as possible on our five-day adventure. I wanted to feel the energy firsthand as my guy and I walked across the red rocks together. So, we hiked, on canyon trails, up mountain paths, around the rims of mesas. From morning until sundown, just stopping briefly for lunch and snack breaks, we explored this magical landscape on our own two feet with our eyes wide open.
And, as we hiked, with feet firmly grounded on that red rock base and eyes open to the world around us, the gifts were many. There was the hummingbird flitting among the bushes that lined the canyon trail and the hawk flying high above as we climbed to a mesa. There were the javelina pig-like creatures, a whole clan of them, that crossed the trail so close to us and took off into the thicket. There were the ancient cliff dwellings that once housed a people who lived among these mountains and canyons, and then there were the people alive now, the ones we met along the trails — the middle-aged man perched like a god atop a red rock pillar with flute to his lips, playing a song for the sky and the wind and the rock and for each of us, too, and the couple in their thirties, parents of four, collecting heart-shaped stones and replenishing their relationship and creating you-tube videos that delight us all, and there was Michael, a guy our age, in his early sixties, who lived a motorhome existence and had a peace about him that was palpable and contagious. And almost everyone we met wanted to bottle it up and carry it home with them, what Michael had found in his simple yet abundant life, the feeling of expansiveness, of freedom and happiness that danced among us on those trails. And this is what I want to tell you, that I sense that it is ours for the taking, that we don’t need to scoop it into a jar and close the lid tightly for fear of losing our meager take-home portion of this Sedona expansiveness, that it is not Sedona’s alone, that it can be found anywhere, this feeling of freedom and happiness, that it is an inside job, and starts with our breath and our own heartbeat and the recognition that we are a landscape as magnificent as any we find on a five-day adventure.
Although I didn’t make it to the Grand Canyon on this particular trip, we hiked in canyons that made my heart sing. And on a car ride to one of those canyons, we rolled down the windows and shouted our cheers to the marathon runners, and we became a part of their race after all. And in the canyon, the one above the resort where Carolyn Myss facilitated the workshop, we met attendees, blissed-out and beaming after their afternoon sessions and we beamed along with them. When we go inward and listen to what is calling us, we are led into the vortex of abundance where all is possible.
Cam and Helen in Sedona, Arizona: February 2018