Years ago I lived in Phoenix, Arizona for a little less than a year. Within that year, I went to Sedona, AZ three times. Sedona is known for its beautiful scenery, vortexes, spiritual pull, red rocks, and so much more. At least, those are the qualities that pulled me in. Sedona is a place that remains close to my heart even around twenty years later. The pictures I took on those three visits have been up in every place I’ve lived in. The pull for more Sedona has never gone away.
Somewhere around 2003, I made a five-gallon bucket change jar covered in pictures from Sedona. My goal was to fill that jar and go back. Over the years the jar got heavier and heavier. I felt Sedona calling my soul back over and over. A hope and belief that I would get back there filled me. I didn’t know how or when, but it was a calling of the soul.
Around ten years ago, I met a woman who became my soul sister. We have stayed on similar spiritual journeys, and we have helped and supported each other’s spiritual development through the years. From very early on in our friendship, we started talking about going to Sedona together. I wanted her to feel the energy and the spiritual and cleansing pull there. If any of my friends could understand my pull to Sedona, it would be her. No matter who came and left from my life, I knew she was the one. She would understand the pull for me and not try to lessen or taint it. She would get it!
Time ticked on and the Sedona trip felt farther and farther away. Now, a single mom I would remember the clarity I felt when I would go there. I wanted to feel that again. I needed to feel that again. A couple of years ago, I gave up. My beliefs on being a single mom and not ever being able to get away to go across the country took over. I figured it would have to wait until my kids were grown. I decided on finding places to go within my reach. I couldn’t even begin to imagine getting the time alone.
I got creative and started to see the draw of taking my kids on some natural adventures. I saw the benefits in my kids experiencing the wonder of the mountains, waterfalls, caves, and nature in areas north of West coast of Florida. I planned a six-week road trip (which you can read about here). I emptied my 5-gallon bucket and there was enough in there to cover all our hotel costs, since they didn’t want to camp alone in the woods with me (LOL).
We stayed on the road, with family, friends, and finally camping in the mountains with another friend and her daughter. The trip was amazing and it led to a trip the following year with a lot more mountains, waterfalls, and camping. My soul has been refreshed, but my soul’s call to Sedona was still there.
The Call Awakens
Last June, I saw a glimmer of hope that I might be able to find a way for a Sedona trip to happen. Things didn’t work out, and I just let it go. Right before Christmas, I get a call. My friend’s husband asked if I would be available to do a retreat with my friend over the summer. I so wished I could say yes. It wasn’t Sedona, but I would at least get to go on a spiritual adventure with my friend. Being a single mom, I definitely couldn’t commit to being available in the summer.
He decided to get her a trip to Sedona for a yoga and hiking retreat in March. I was so happy for her, but wait he says she can bring a friend. This is not a spiritual man. He is a very good husband who honors her spirituality by doing things like this for her. He had no idea we had been talking about this trip for a decade. When she asked me about going, I talked over the dates with my mom to watch the kids. My mom, stepdad, kids, and I all live very busy lives, so the timing would have to be just right in order to make this work. We literally looked at the schedule together and it was THE ONLY WEEK that would have worked!!
Was this really happening? My mom once came with me to Sedona, so she knew the power it had over me. She told me I had to go. The trip was in the making. As time went on, I started getting into nature more and practicing yoga regularly. I was feeling good, but there was a nagging sense of unhappiness in me that just wouldn’t go away.
I wanted to go to Sedona to feel the calling again that got me moving in a very positive direction in my life. I knew it would help me pinpoint this pit in my stomach that made me feel on edge during every parenting moment. I needed that space where my 100% focus wasn’t on being a mom and doing all the daily to-do’s that kept me distracted enough not to have to investigate this pit inside me. It’s not like I have a bad life at all. I have an amazing life. A life filled with so much to be grateful for. This is why the pit was really bothering me. I needed to figure this out. I kept trying different things, and I couldn’t get to it. Somehow I knew Sedona would be the answer.
Getting to Sedona
The middle seat, am I really going to start this amazingly wonderful journey in the middle seat? My friend is flying stand-by and I am assigned a middle seat. We get to the gate and they instantly announce that it is a full flight. Full flights don’t tend to be a good sign for stand-by fliers. We really want to believe she is going to make it on this flight, but whatever happens we are going to trust it is what is meant to be. She’s called up to the counter, and they issue her a boarding pass. We are ecstatic! Even better, she gets an isle seat in the last row.
We sit back down and decide to wait until the end to board. When we get in not only does she have an isle seat but the isle seat across from her is open too. The flight attendant lets me change my seat. The best part, both middle seats are open. On a full flight with only four middle seats open, I enjoyed reading and shifting comfortably on our direct flight to Phoenix. As I flipped through the pages of A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle, I could see how far I had come since 2009. The first of the three times I had read it through. The Last time I read the book was in 2011, it was right after I left my marriage. Perfect read to start this spiritual quest.
Driving to Sedona, I am in absolute AWE. It has been so long since I lived there, I forgot about the magic feeling that comes when seeing the brown bland colors turn to these amazing red rocks. I’m transcended; I feel no time. Every moment is one spectacular view after another. The AWE just doesn’t stop. We have a nice relaxing night enjoying our view; I’m here. My soul feels at peace.
Yoga and Hiking Retreat
I really didn’t go in having too many expectations for this part of our journey. I knew it would be an adventure no matter how it turned out. What I didn’t realize is that I would meet an amazing group of 22 women and one man who would become such a special part of the journey we were on. I felt instantly part of the group even though this was the first time we had ever met. They were a beautiful group of people from Wisconsin. Now, how my friend’s husband found this retreat over the countless others, I have NO idea. This was my tribe.
On this part of the journey, I got to experience how transformative yoga can actually be. Through every breath and every stretch, I became more alive and open to experience the fullness of my being. My body could handle the tough climbs up the mountains with very little consequence. All the areas where toxins like to build up in my body got to loosened. Pressures of past hurts and toxic walls lightened in every movement between the hiking, breathing, and stretching my mind and body from the core. I could feel the calling of the soul. I knew I was exactly where I needed to be.
The conversations I had during this time were real and full of substance and discovery. I could be present for other people as much as I was for myself. I could hear their souls calling to be in Sedona too. I was fortunate enough to hear some of the amazing stories that brought them into the moment at hand. Connecting with strangers has never felt so fulfilling. I can’t not speak for any of them and because this is about my journey, I won’t mention direct encounters, but I will say each of these women had a special place in my journey from making me laugh to making me cry. The man on the journey showed me what I could do every time I didn’t need his assistance climbing into some more difficult spaces. I experienced all of me.
As the retreat went on, I was able to go deeper into meditations and my mindless chatter seized. I didn’t even know that was possible. Now, I finally got the importance of all the steps together. Yoga, nature, meditation, and physically challenging myself helped me release and be free.
On Our Own Amongst the Vortexes
In Sedona there is a lot of talk of energy vortexes. From my understanding, they are like little tornadoes of energy concentrated into a particular area. Twisted trees are one of the known markers for this phenomenon. In spiritual circles, people find this concentration of energy to be very powerful. May even cause miracles.
When I was in my twenties, I went to some of the larger known vortexes in Sedona. I remember being in awe and feeling at peace. Looking back from a memory standpoint, I received a great deal of clarity while I was there and it sent me on quite the adventure in the years to come where I got to experience life in a very full way through my career. In my dream of going back with so much more experience, spirituality, and knowledge, I had high expectations of what I would feel. After going to a few and being present with the moment, I realized it wasn’t what I felt in the moment that transformed my life but what I came out the experience with. Once I figured that out, I opened my soul up even more. I gave up my expectations and could just use the time in the vortexes to pray and meditate.
Moving on from the yoga retreat we ventured into the past. We attempted to visit places I went to on my journey before. We kept hitting roadblocks, and when I say roadblocks, I mean literal roadblocks. A clear sign that this journey was not about going back to the past but experiencing the present. We pushed on to find an amazing valley and an area known for their vortex. Amongst other things, it had a creek that ran through it, along with a beach called Buddha Beach. How could we go wrong?
Even though there was no mountain to climb, the path was not easy and there were no clear markings of the right way to go to get to the area across the creek that looked like a great place to lie down and meditate. We even took off our shoes and crossed the very cold water to accomplish our goal. Let me remind you, we are Florida girls. Cold water plus Florida girls is quite the laughable experience. We worked our way to a nice quite spot and set up our mats. Just like that, I was gone. I sunk into a meditation that took me into a place of oneness with nature. I didn’t feel any of the pulls from my body. I was an extension of the rock I was lying on.
The next two nights we stayed in an RV. The property was known to have vortexes and it also had a labyrinth. We decided that the labyrinth was a great place to bring out our childlike selves. Being silly was needed after so much intensity. In a very clear moment, a message came through me. “Don’t let your beliefs on what you can do limit your life.” I saw how this could definitely be true, but I had no idea the revelations that I was about to have. In the next couple of days, ideas for books and blogs started filling me with such excitement that my friend (who is also my agent) and I got goose bumps. My creativity was open and running free. I wasn’t feeling any lagging negativity or walls. I slept in that RV better than I have in a long time.
The Final Climb: Bell Rock
I didn’t have any real expectations of our last journey. We were both really laid back about going. I figured my friend would let me know how much she was able to do and enjoy whatever the adventure brought us. The rock felt so far away from the beginning of the trail. As we started our journey, we walked and talked enjoying each moment. Before we knew it, we were at the rock.
In a very short time, we decided to begin to climb up. There was no marked trail, so I would scout the area to see what way would be the easiest and less stressful on my friend’s and my bodies. Slowly, we kept getting higher and higher hugging the mountains side to find which spots looked the most doable. As we got higher, we would check in with each other and decide where to go from there. At one point, she knew she was done. We weren’t far from the top. There was just one more spot I really wanted to get to.
It wasn’t a hard climb and it wasn’t far from where we were. Just a steep rocky path up and I was there. She rested in her snug space next to the massive rock and I climbed quickly up to the spot I knew I had to be. I made it! I spun around in complete awe. I could see the top of the rock from where I was, but I knew I was exactly where I needed to be. I spent a few minutes there soaking it all in. Seeing Sedona from that angle was breathtaking. This was the first climb without the group. The first time I didn’t depend on someone else’s direction. This used to be the way I lived life when I was traveling the country doing seminars, but somewhere along the way of becoming a wife, mother, then single parent, I lost my confidence. I forgot my own determination and fearlessness to be me. In this moment, she was standing with me as one. I found her on the top of that rock embracing the life within me. I was amazed at how quickly the transformation happened. I was reminded, one moment in time can change your life forever!
The trip to Sedona brought out a part of me I buried. I excitedly moved down to meet my friend with lightness under my feet, and we worked our way down. After going down a couple of dicey places, we looked over to see a marked trail. As we followed the marked trail down the rock, I realized I succeeded in finding my own way. It didn’t have to be the path that the majority of people took. It was the path I created and it took me exactly where I wanted to go. I didn’t have to follow anybody else’s journey up. I can do and succeed at whatever I put my passion into. We finished our hike then road back to Phoenix feeling a sense of peace and accomplishment. I got exactly what I needed from Sedona.
The last stop during my Arizona experience was a ranch out in Scottsdale, AZ. Even though I had lived in Phoenix and worked in Scottsdale, I didn’t have any clue this area existed. We weaved our way back through dirt roads passing horses, ponies, donkeys, and cows along the way. Once we got to the ranch we enjoyed seeing the birds and rabbits because we hadn’t seen too many while in Sedona.
On the ranch, we got a chance to reflect a little more on the Sedona experience while enjoying a different kind of AWE. When we had originally arrived in Phoenix the mountains didn’t touch me like the Red Rocks, Appalachians, Blue Ridge, and the Great Smoky Mountains. Somehow the time in Sedona changed how I saw these mountains now. When we got to the ranch I felt the complete AWE of them. Just like I did while experiencing the rest. They were more beautiful than I had even remembered from just a week earlier. After one night at the ranch, it was time for me to go home.
Getting home was quite the adjustment; back to life as a single mom. I felt so at peace in Sedona. The experience was like a time warp. Every moment was a moment to be embraced and cherished. Time, as a whole didn’t exist. In a very short time back at home, I felt this unhappiness and negative pull eating at me. How could this happen? I wanted to come back with the tools to be at peace even as a single mom. After a couple of days of feeling the chaos of parenting and pet-care, I picked back up A New Earth. Chapter three is all about the ego.
OH shit!!! The message I got in Sedona is tied directly to this moment. I really did get exactly what I needed in Sedona. The clarity in this moment became crystal clear. What was holding me back and draining me of all my spiritual energy was my attachment to my ROLE as a single mom. To clarify, when most of us hear “single mom” a bunch of thoughts, beliefs, ideas, conceptions, judgments, and feeling come into our heads. I never wanted to be a single mom, so along with all the preconceived labels and beliefs there was also resentment for having to be a mother and father; disciplinary and nurturer. I felt defeated every time something didn’t work out to give them the life I wanted for them. The chaos and messiness made it easy for me to blame being a single parent. This was the one ROLE I didn’t yet let myself be released from. Tolle says,
When you are completely identified with a role, you confuse a pattern of behavior with who you are, and you take yourself very seriously.
Talk about pressure! I had no idea how lost I got in the role. I forgot how to just be me around my kids. I was always working and doing for them that I spent little time just being there; 100% there. I let my beliefs of being a single mom create a void inside me. The guilt of having the void made me work harder and not smarter.
The awareness I’ve gotten since then is way too much to put in this piece, so I expect you will be reading about that at a later time. All I know is in the awareness of that moment, my life has took a turn for the better at home. I’m enjoying the process more and not letting the stressful moments contribute to my “story” of being a single mom. I’m raising two amazing children the best I can. That is what matters. The rest is just a story that creates stress and unhappiness. Eckhart Tolle wrote,
To end the misery that has afflicted the human condition for thousands of years, you have to start with yourself and take responsibility for your inner state at any given moment. That means now. Ask yourself, ‘Is there negativity in me at his moment?’ Then become alert, attentive to your thoughts as well as your emotions.
The calling of the soul led me to realize the only thing standing in my way is me. My attachments to beliefs that don’t serve me are what keep me from being my best. The awareness of this sets me free to live the best life possible.
Thank you to all the people and miracles that contributed to this enlightening trip.
With Love and Gratitude,
Rachael Wolff © 2018