Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Magic of the Desert Canyons & Deep Water

The magic began soon after we crossed the Nevada/Arizona border into Arizona. The shift in energy I experienced was palpable, profound. No, it wasn’t just that we had finally left behind the energy of Las Vegas and the surrounding areas gambling frenzy, with the huge billboards along the highway that read like a book, trying to suck you into their world. It was much more than that. The land spoke to me. I heard it. I felt it. There was a calm, a peacefulness, a sigh of relief, a welcome.

Just before my husband and I entered the “gateway” to the expanse of canyons in northern Arizona and southern Utah, driving along a vast valley at the base of some rocky mountains, one of the rockiest mountains spoke deeply to my heart and the tears began to flow from my eyes. There were no words. Just feeling. I was being cracked open, my body, mind and spirit connecting quite strongly to the land.

And then came the first canyon, the “gateway” through the Virgin River Canyon, and the tears kept on flowing, and the crack in my being kept opening wider and wider. My husband stopped the car, both of us divinely overwhelmed with it all, and getting out we simply took in the magnificence, feeling the embrace of Mother Earth. We peeked over the edge of the roadway and gazed at the Virgin River, the blood of Mother Earth flowing below us, full and red.

Back in the car continuing on our journey through the canyon, with a wet face and a touched heart I turned to my husband and said, “We are in the right place at the right time. This is exactly where we are supposed to be.” With that comment we came around a bend that would leave this canyon behind…and there before us was a rainbow! I squealed in delight, feeling deeply the validation of my statement. Yes! We were in the right place at the right time, exactly where we were supposed to be.

In Page, Arizona now, prior to us heading out to Lake Powell for two days, we find a packet of Cedar on our motel bed with a card that says:

Ya’at’ééh (Welcome)

We are delighted you have chosen to stay with us. The Navajo Nation Hospitality Enterprise extends a warm welcome to you and invites you to share in our heritage. This cedar herb is most commonly used in prayers. The idea being the smoke rises with your prayers to the “Holy People” who watch and guide us from above. Navajo people relieve their stresses of today’s world and take a few moments to pray. They pray to regain a sense of balance between self and others.

Please take this cedar as a sign of goodwill from our “home” to yours. When lit, the smoke becomes a scent of serenity you can keep in your home or car. On behalf of the staff at the Quality Inn we wish you safe travels and anticipate your return.

Ahéhee’dóó, Nizhónigo Naninaa’doo
(Thank you & may you walk in beauty)

This was a perfect addition to the magic and welcoming we had already been experiencing by the land we were traveling through.

After our first wonderful day boating on Lake Powell—viewing magnificent buttes, cliffs and sculpted sandstone, exploring many beautiful side canyon waterways, floating in profound silence on the water, playing my Native American flute, and boat camping at a private cove in a small side canyon while sleeping under the bright nearly-full moon and stars—I wrote in my lunar journal the following piece about our journey so far:

Today I am thankful for: The mountains that move me and embrace me... Breathing in the gentle strength of my surroundings... Drinking in the deep nourishment the watery depths provide... Releasing out easefully all that has been completed... Giving away through love that which is no longer needed... Being in the moment, One with All That Is... Loving this experience and all the blessings gifted...

After our second day on the water I found myself reflecting on the experience, and I found that one element of boating through the smaller canyon waterways turned out to be a metaphor for life itself and especially the times we are in with so many doomsday, end of the world prophecies and predictions.

And the metaphor is that just when it appeared the way ahead was ending—an illusion of looking like a solid wall before us or a path too narrow, and we began thinking we must soon turn around and go back—more was revealed the closer we got to the apparent end. The next opening for the next bend would suddenly show itself, and the way ahead most often continued on, bringing with it new discoveries, new twists and turns, new sights to enjoy, all while embraced in the breast of Mother Earth. The other important piece to this was rate of speed. The slower we approached the illusion of an “end,” the easier it was to find the next bend and to navigate into it. If we went too fast we’d miss it or pass it by or crash into a wall. This entire experience and realization was just so very profound and deeply moving. Without any doubt, I know it will stay with me forever.

I wrote in my lunar journal the following to describe the experience of Lake Powell:

The desert red rock canyons offered me a deeper opportunity for a silence that spoke volumes. The absence of animals and birds allowed the land and sky and water their voice. In the quiet moments of All That Is I heard this message from the Cosmos:

“When the way before you appears to end, go just a little farther, a little closer, and the path ahead will be revealed to you. And venture forth even when the path before you may appear to be a space too small, too tight; for the whole world will open up to you in a bigger way once you dare to squeeze through.”

What I learned is that perspective changes everything and reveals what was previously hidden…

On our return home, we drove through the Virgin River Canyon again. This time when we stopped and got out we gave thanks to this gateway that initially welcomed us so profoundly into the arms of Mother Earth via her red rock canyon lands, affirming that we were in the right place at the right time, exactly where we were supposed to be.

Another interesting point to note about our journey is that during all the long periods of driving we did, not once did the radio get turned on. For me this isn’t such a big deal, but for my husband it is. The part of this that intrigues me the most is that the Full Moon on May 17th was at 26° Scorpio, the Spiritual Principle of Silence per Connie Kaplan in The Invisible Garment:

"Silence is really a paradox. Absolute Silence is impossible as long as one is in form. … To achieve Silence is to go into a direct, holy integration with sound. Silence is the sound of the spheres, the sound of God, the sound of Life Itself. … Silence is being with beingness. Silence is sitting still and listening to the beingness of yourself, your environment, your cosmos. It invites the mystic in you to come forth. Silent times and silent spaces are absolutely necessary for truly experiencing the connectedness and profundity of life."

It seems that we had truly tapped into this energy for the entire trip—before, during and after the Full Moon, driving, boating and driving. The profound silence of the canyons was something I will forever remember, and the ability my husband and I had to journey long periods in comfortable, relative silence is also profound and ultimately healing and revealing on a very deep level. For all of this I am truly grateful, forever touched in my heart and soul by our phenomenal journey experience with the magic of the desert canyons and deep water.

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