Friday, February 10, 2012

Magical, Mystical Moab

Royalty Free Stock Images Image of Wilson Arch in Moab, Utah

Red Rock 4 Free Stock PhotosHuge arches, Arches park Free Stock ImageHeading North from Santa Fe, I was heading to Salt Lake City, Utah to visit friends from Kalani (Oceanside Retreat, Big Island of Hawaii).  These two friends were a great support while in Hawaii, when I started my nomadic travels.  We had lots of laughs and I was looking forward to reconnecting with them.  Yet, I had places to visit on my way - Moab, Utah.

Delicate Arch Free Stock PhotographyMoab, the land of the red rocks and Arches National Park, was an incredible experience -  magical, mystical.  I was compelled to stop along the way to take photos, so it was a long drive, with frequent stops while I headed to the small town of Moab.  I could live here, if only it were on the coast, it would be a perfect match for me.  It was a place where I felt at home.  There are only a few places where I feel at home and this was one of them.  Something called me to these rocks, to the land. It's energy enveloped me and nourished my soul, at it's core.
image photo : Cliff at MoabRoyalty Free Stock Photo Moab

Balanced Rock Free Stock PhotographySkyline Arch Free Stock PhotoI spent a few days here, hiking, exploring the rock formations, and the funky town.  I stayed a cheap hotel overlooking the cliffs, mesmerized by the ever-changing light dancing off the red rocks.  A few days was not enough, but being on a budget, I opted to head to Salt Lake City, with a place to stay where I didn't have to dish out money.  I left with the intention of returning, when I could spend more time connecting with such a reverent place.

Hiking in Utah Free Stock PhotosMagical and mystical are the only ways to describe this place and my experience.  There was nothing that happened specifically that I can share with you, nothing to detail that this or that happened, yet something profound did happen, just by being there.  Moab, mystical and magical.  Hopefully, you have had an experience such as this, and understand.

Friday, February 3, 2012 Santa Fe, New Mexico

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Santa Fe, surrounded my mountains, an artist community with diversity, funkiness and a school for the Deaf (which matters to me because that is my profession - a teacher of the Deaf).  I drove through Albuquerque, with a glance, not getting the feeling that it was a place to stop.  Arriving to Santa Fe late in the day, with a chugging in my car.  I stopped at a mechanic, who said it was most likely due to the increased elevation.  My car needed time to adjust.  Okay...I probably would as well.

I had a place to stay.  A friend of a friend, was letting me stay in their guesthouse.  I had never met these people, yet they joyfully welcomed me because we shared a friend, a dear friend who is a fellow nomad.  The guesthouse was charming, southwest in decor.  It provided privacy, a place to cook and lounge and an incredible bed.  These new friends took the time to show me Santa Fe, driving me around and taking me to their favorite restaurants and treating!

My new friends were leaving for two of the 4 weeks that I was there and paid me to take care of their home and dog, (who just recently passed away, RIP Fuji).  So not only were they providing me with a place to stay, they were paying great was that!  I declined the money at first, not yet comfortable with accepting such generosity.  Then I realized that it was an exchange of service, and they would have paid someone else if I was not there - I took the money with gratitude.

I walked the streets of Santa Fe, enjoying the adobe style buildings, browsing the artists' creations on the sidewalks, driving in the mountains, and visiting the school for the Deaf.  It is a great school, despite the lack of competitive pay, with the same amount of responsibility.  I would have considered a position there if I was really looking to return to teaching, but I wasn't.

Canyon Road, Santa Fe, NM

I was there at the time of the pilgrimage to El Santuario de Chimayo, which has been called the "Lourdes of America"     I drove, heading out to Taos, and happened up this pilgrimage.  Many people walked miles, from Albuquerque to arrive on Easter weekend.  There is a hole in the Sanctuary, where the crucifix once was, that magically disappeared.  There was a line to get to see the hole, and to take a portion of the sand, precious sand.  Later, I saw them bringing more sand into this hole....which made me chuckle.  I no longer practice any kind of organized religion, yet, I could understand and show reverence for this experience and people's faith and desire to do a pilgrimage.  I have my own desire to do the El Camino de Santiago, the walk across Spain, so I could relate - it is a personal spiritual pilgrimage outside of any religious connections.

For more detailed information:

                                          Chimayo Sanctuary, In the tiny town of Chimayƃ³ is this sanctuary, which dates from the 1600s. It's a pilgrimage spot.

During my first year of nomadic travels, one of my personal lessons was to learn how to accept kindness from others, without giving in return.  I usually was the giver in most of my relationships, although with some friends that wasn't the case.  That was my comfort zone.  I gave more than I received.  That can be detrimental, often leading to resentment if one isn't careful.  My travels started to give me more opportunities to increase my comfort zone in this area.  At first, it was accepting with reluctance, with mixed emotions.  Now, years into my nomadic travels, it has become much easier to say 'yes' when someone is offering me something.  It no longer defines me, as being the 'giver' once did.

I have this dream though, that when I receive my abundance of money, that I will be able to retrace my steps to meet up with those who gave to me freely, unconditionally, and return their kindness.  And, if that it isn't possible, I would like to 'pay it forward' in their honor, because I believe that will add in the serendipity in their lives, bringing them unexpected treats, kindness, abundance.

My car didn't adjust.  I visited a couple of mechanics during my stay here, and each time, the problem seemed to be rectified.  I was learning to let go and surrender to the fact that I would be okay no matter where I was when my car decided to not work properly.  This is only pertinent in this story of my journey because I defined myself as independent, and getting stuck somewhere was incongruous to my being.  It tested me, and was actually helping me become more trusting, reminding me that I didn't need to do all the work, to be in control - that I was being taken care of, no matter where I was on this planet.

Saying good-bye to my new friends was more difficult than I had expected, and driving a way after the second visit to the mechanic, I headed farther Utah.