I see a trend developing.
I manage through the dark cold winter and things seem fine. Holidays and novelty make November and December a breeze. January passes, all is well, February has a quiet energy but sometimes quiet is exactly what the soul needs. March starts getting dicey and in April discomfort shifts to panic as spring tempts and teases but does not show herself. Next thing you know I am booking myself on the first flight to Arizona.
It happened last year, and right on schedule, despite my lovely little blue light and my 6 am walking club, it happened this year and I am declaring right now, if this body is spending another winter in Ohio, My Az trip will be on the books by October!
However it came to be, my trip to AZ was a godsend in every way. It was a covert operation, only my host knew I was coming, allowing for my favorite type of schedule which is best defined by the phrase “lots of options, no obligations.”
My plan, was essentially to be in the sun, write, rejuvenate and get some answers. If there is one thing I do it is seek answers, all day every day and after a period of focused work and tight deadlines I was excited to be able to languish in my answer seeking. With a pile of library books, flip flops and sunglasses, I was off!
Red Rock Haven:
The trip was perfect in every way and that could not be more true for the impromptu trip to Sedona I took with a dear friend.
We booked it the day before I arrived and we were only going for a night but I guess somehow we knew a night was all we needed.
Girls that we are we laughed at how we filled an entire backseat with supplies for an overnight trip.
As we pulled out of the driveway all thoughts of regular life and responsibility disappeared, we were on an adventure to the red rocks and the laptops were left at home, a rare and precious treat.
The two hour drive flew by and we never turned on the radio once. We first engaged in an in-depth critique of the abundant and clever billboard advertisements and then conversation turned to our lives, what was working, what was not, what we feared, what we hoped for, and by the time we arrived we each had that feeling of being joyfully emptied of all the things that just needed to get out (I have found that one of the most profound impacts of coaching is simply the opportunity for people to speak and be heard.)
Suddenly, the familiar red rock cropping began to dot the landscape and the blissful wave of peace that is uniquely Sedona washed over us.
Solving the world’s problems over a bottle of wine:
My friend had booked us in a resort way up on a ridge. It is the kind of place where the view is spectacular and the drive up has you holding your breath.
Upon arriving in our room we set the stage for a delicious evening of conversation. It was still brisk up in the high desert so we had to abandon patio sitting for fireplace sitting. By 5:30 we had the fireplace roaring, the feast set up, the wine opened and the world slipped away as two best friends contemplated the mysteries of life, shared each other’s company and connected to their life purpose.
These are the conversations that enliven me; the ones that can change your life; the ones that leave you in awe of the wonder of living; the ones that come from deep trust and pure love – it was magical.
Complete with an intuitive card reading and a very enlightened metaphor comparing the pine tree out our window to an individual’s path of purpose and the quest for truth, we called our husbands to share the day and were fast asleep by 10:30. A day well done.
“the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes "Awww!""
– Jack Kerouac
Living loud in all of its many forms:
Still on East coast time, I was delighted to wake at 6 am and headed out to take in the clean high desert air, and listen to the morning birds.
Perched atop our ridge, I called my mother to share the previous night’s insights and the beauty of the moment (some of my mother’s favorite memories are the trips she has taken virtually with me as I called her from a camp site in Malibu, the airport in Maui or from the deck of a tall ship in the Caribbean.)
I then picked up some tea for my travel companion and we packed up the car to check out.
As we were leaving we were suddenly surrounded by a unique group of individuals, who resembled a crew you might see at a Stergis rally. The boxed us in with their large souped-up trucks. A compact and assertive woman walked up to our window, stuck her had in and said, “Just where do you think you are going? We heard you were leaving and we all hurried back to stop you.”
It seems that our particular vehicle had somewhat of a cult following. They were a club 1400 strong and this weekend they were gathering from all across the country to celebrate their trucks! Their passion was amazing and it was beautiful how the mere fact that we owned the same vehicle gave us an automatic entry into the club and a wild weekend of revelry.
We declined the revelry but we did get the blow by blow of the personalized license plates, hitch steps and the myriad of other special doo-hickies that made each person’s “ride” special. It was priceless and joyful and such a beautiful example of passion, commitment and yes, living loud!
The rest of the day was spent exploring, sharing and just being. Highlights included:
A beautiful breakfast at the Heartline Café, followed by coffee and books on their adorable patio.
A chocolate stop at raw food gourmet chocolate shop (only in Sedona!)
And an endless walk around the fabulous artisan center at Talacapaque.
Finish it off with crackers and hummus on the lawn and I believe there is a picture of this day in the dictionary under the word “Perfection.”
And then we headed back to the valley.
Sun and Silence:
My final days of the trip comprised of me under an umbrella at the pool reading. I did this for two days.
My original plan was to plan, create, figure out, but something happened in Sedona which changed all that.
That Thursday night when we waxed philosophic and connected with our creator; that conversation and the energy of the place, it put my mind to rest, made all planning obsolete and put every question out of my head.
Holding onto Bliss:
Achieving the peace I found in Sedona came joyfully and effortless and it lasted well after my trip back to Cleveland and it changes everything.
Now the trick is to stay with it, to stay connected and peaceful, even when I am tired or when things don’t work out the way I planned; even when I cannot see the way and there is no clear path; my daily task is to stay in the knowing, to stay in my truth and to have unwavering faith in the wonder of life.
Whether it is a trip to Sedona, a visit to your garden or a Sunday mass, be sure to make the time to ground yourself with the people, places and experiences that make you feel connected and hopeful, powerful and serene.
The more I live and the more I seek, the more I come to find that attention to this one thing, makes all the difference.