To Go Or Not To Go?

Every bone in my body was trying to keep me ‘stuck’ to my bed, in loss, isolation, routine, illness & a growing clinical depression instead of just sadness. I was in a bad way, in many ways, physically, emotionally & spiritually. I even had a trip planned to one of my favorite places in the U.S; New Mexico. I cancelled it & crawled back under the covers. Although I was still apathetic & apprehensive about the trip, a few days later I made myself reschedule. Something had to change before I drowned completely.  I literally FORCED myself to get on the plane & for the first few days I still felt anxious, angry & wanted to go home. I sat in a motel I liked in Santa Fe & stared into space. I was literally reaching the end of my emotional rope when I heard a voice in my head;

'Sort out your home. Chop wood, carry water.’

I had been worried sick for quite some time about what the 'next steps' were for me, what to do with the rest of my life, with few prospects ahead that I could see. At 57, I felt completely drained & out of 'control' of my future. After hearing these simple words, I started feeling slightly calmer & the places that I had ‘planned’ to go went out the window. The next morning I got in my car & just drove. The one place I knew was still on my agenda was Chimayo & the little church there. It was built in 1819; small, old, lopsided floors & truly a place I had often gone back to in my head that brought me comfort.  I went & sat in a pew towards the front of the sanctuary, leaned over the railing & put my head on my arms. Eventually all of the tourists left & I was by myself. I stayed for about 20 minutes, then got up to go into the little holy dirt room off to the left.

As I reached the end of the pew, I suddenly heard loud breathing coming from the back of the church. I mean LOUD, like it was filling up the entire space. I turned & walked towards it down the aisle & when I reached the doors it faded & was gone. It felt very confusing; I couldn't quite believe what I had heard. A memory then flooded back from the morning my dad died. I was sleeping like a log through many phone calls & was finally woken up at 10:00. I answered the phone; I think my sister told me that dad had passed at 7:30 am. I hung up & went to the bathroom & as I stood there, I heard dad inhaling & exhaling deeply from my son Gabe’s room. (He had serious COPD before dying, could barely catch his breath & talked with a deep rasp.) The breath in both of these instances was completely normal; full, deep & a great comfort to me at that time & now. Neither events felt that extraordinary to me, except that now I finally felt a connection to something spiritually significant I had not felt in a very long time. My mood became much lighter & reflective on the rest of my trip.

I did a lot of driving & thinking through the hills up to Taos & over to Ghost Ranch where I attended a 3 day conference called, 'The Heart of the Brain', instead of taking the private retreat I had originally planned. I enjoyed the connection to other interested & intelligent folks who are also intrigued by the brain/heart connection. It wasn’t a 'New Age' experience, but rather taught by a neuroscientist who studies how the brain revitalizes itself & can bring about positive change when an overabundance of stress is not interfering with the process. The conference leader, Layne, is part Apache & we were all invited to go to a Valentine’s Day Deer Dance at a closed Pueblo. These people invited us into their homes, fed us; & we watched over fifty of them dance. They go up into the mountains for days before, fast & BECOME the deer before coming back down. Layne also mentioned the significance of drumming & rattling & how scientifically it jolts one out of old & into new ways of being; sort of like an electric shock to the brain.

I did not see one petroglyph on this trip! The last time I came I was all about them & early ruins, but this time I went back to Bandelier  & some museums I hadn’t been to previously & spent more time in Albuquerque. I also went to a gallery across from Georgia O’Keefe’s old house in Abiqui & found that instead of New Mexican Art, it was filled with Asian imports. A friendly guy showed me around who was quite a famous artist who had turned to a connection with Asian Art importing instead. The one thing I HAD to have was a Thai Akha Tribal Woman’s Head Dress I found there.

Of course now I'm glad I went & ended up doing exactly what I needed to do while there. I feel replenished & have since started working on 'sorting out my home; chopping wood & carrying water’. which to me means doing the physical basics for now, & allowing the rest to take care of itself.


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