Thing #36 – How was Sedona?

purple sunset

It’s impossible to capture. No words or photographs do it justice. You have to be there, standing alone at dusk on a rocky trail as the mountains become spooky silhouettes against a sky that turns a new shade of purple every twenty seconds.

That’s when it sinks in. The feeling of everything being important and meaningless at the same time. It’s one of my favorites. Like how staring into the Milky Way long enough makes me believe I am capable of anything because ultimately I’m a tiny speck in space and time and I’m truly insignificant.

The permission that comes from feeling insignificant is powerful fuel. No fear. No ego. No worries and what ifs. Pure possibility. It’s comforting, really. Cozy insignificance.

That’s the feeling that coursed through my body for the entirety of my time in Sedona. But when people ask, “How was Sedona?” I smile and simply say, “Really nice.”

It’s easier than trying to explain cozy insignificance. 

looking into the horizon

Maybe it was the whole spiritual vortex thing. Maybe it was dehydration and too much sun. Maybe it was the archangel tarot cards, chakra balancing and crystals. I suspect it was all the above. 

But also…the solitude.

While I like the concept of quiet solitude, it takes me a bit to settle in. I do a masterful job of pursuing projects, moving my body and operating at a feverish level of productivity to avoid feeling uncomfortable things. I’ve perfected it over 40 years. 

With moderate success, I kept this in check while I maneuvered through my days in Sedona. I granted myself the space to sit quietly and let feelings show up. To watch the sun rise and fall. To let my evenings unfold without a plan. 

I fully immersed myself in the Sedona experience. I paid close attention to each of the spiritual sources I consulted. What was most remarkable was that the tarot cards, energy healer and psychic all told me – almost verbatim – the same thing: You need passion and joy. You have a responsibility to uncover these things and create this life.

After my chakra balancing, I drove aimlessly toward a mountain, parked my car and headed down a trail. Physically I felt light, bouncing around rocks and taking time to photograph prickly pears against the contrasting sky. Emotionally, I was covered in a weighted blanket. Maybe it was the sluggish swirl of blocked energy coming back into motion. Or maybe it was the vulnerability of how accurate and deep my chakra reading was after knowing the reader for 60 short minutes. 

The sun dropped but the heat didn’t let up. I wasn’t sure where I was going – on the trail or in life. I kept moving through it, taking turns toward each beautiful new view on the horizon. 

When I got back to my car, I discovered my pants were full of cactus needles. I tried to brush them off, but they gripped my fingers like wispy splinters. I tried plucking them out individually, but there were too many. And they stung like a bitch. The harder I tried to get rid of them, the more they spread. I stopped fighting and surrendered to the discomfort. It was a delicate drive back to my AirBnB.

prickly pears against the sky

Later that night, I woke up to cactus needles poking my arm. They weren’t going away! I edged myself to the opposite side of the bed where I hoped they wouldn’t find me. In my dreamy consciousness, I noticed the room was unusually bright for being the middle of the night in the desert. The bed was glowing and I was covered in a pale wash of moonlight. I rolled onto my back, looked up and saw the moon shining directly through the skylight above my bed. It was like a fairytale.

Had I fought to rid myself of the discomfort of the cactus needles, they wouldn’t have woken me up. I would have missed this idyllic moment…half awake in the silence of the desert, bathed in moonlight and knowing that even in discomfort – especially in discomfort – we have the opportunity to see beauty hidden in plain sight.

I fell back asleep feeling equal parts expansive and insignificant. 

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