Friday, March 12, 2010

A Weekend in Sedona

Ten years ago, I trained in Reiki, an energy healing technique but never really got into it so I decided to hone my skills and become more proficient. Where else should one go to study healing techniques but to Sedona, Arizona, the place of red rocks and vortices and healers.  It was also a test to see how well I would enjoy traveling alone

The training was on a Saturday and Sunday so I gave myself time to get there a day early and leave a day later. From Kansas City, it is a 2 1/2 hour flight to Phoenix and a two hour drive to Sedona.  I decided to enjoy the convenience of a shuttle van and leave the driving to a courteous knowledgeable shuttle driver doubling as a tour guide. (Reservations have to be made ahead of time, cost $99.00 round trip plus tip.)  Red rock mountains and tall saguaro cacti populate the landscape along the Sonoran desert.

I stayed at Iris Garden Rodeway Inn, a bare bones but comfortable inn with free continental breakfast and helpful staff. I chose it for the reasonable rate, ($100.00/night for senior citizens) and the proximity to the training center. (Be prepared to spend upwards of $1,000/night if you check into one of the resort hotels which offer different cuisine and resort amenities.) 

The towns of Sedona and Oak Creek rest in the foothills of the southwestern rim of the Colorado Plateau.  Being on the high desert, it boasts of mild year round temperature (47F-75F) and clean air.  From anywhere in town you can see red rock formations. Golf, art galleries and resorts abound here. The main drag is filled with tourist trappings of expensive clothing, crystal stores, healing practices and food establishments.  There are psychic readers on every block, aura scanners, yoga, massage practitioners and what have you.  For an alternative medicine practitioner such as myself, this was a candy store though I was not buying. Go further out and Cococino National Park and other nature preserves offer unlimited possibilities for the nature lover and outdoors man. 

The story goes that Theodore Carl Schnebly who settled in from Gorin, Missouri had petitioned the US Postal Service for a post office in the area. Oak Creek Canyon and other names submitted to the post office were rejected for being too long to fit on a cancellation stamp. Schnebly's brother suggested Sedona, the name of Theodore Schnebly's wife, to be the postal town address.  It has been Sedona ever since.

There are many activities in Sedona. Different tours are available almost on the hour every hour.  There are red rocks tours, vortex tours, hiking tours and native American spiritual guided tours.   I embarked on a Pink Jeep tour of the red rock mountains. The pink jeep is a pink all terrain vehicle.  It is a bumpy but enjoyable ride that takes you to the top of the mountain and back down along rocky terrain sometimes with an almost 100 degree angle drop.  My children would certainly have been upset had I met my demise there. "Elderly woman crushed under jeep in bottom of Red Rocks Canyon."      

The mountains are given names befitting their shape.  Submarine mountain which looks like a submarine is a great photo op location. Snoopy is a natural formation which looks like Snoopy laying on his back.  This rim of the Colorado plateau is amazing and awe inspiring.  Millions of years ago, the sea went inland into this place and when it dried out, the formations appeared.  Copper gives the red rock sandstone its color. Mountain bikers, hikers and rock climbers enjoy the challenges here.

Standing in the midst of this grandeur, I learned a couple of things about myself. I learned that that I could enjoy traveling alone, exploring the world alone, going places I might not have gone before and meeting people of different ages, nationalities and cultures.  I found out that I was still in good shape and could hike as well as the 30 something kids I was with. (Hike, not climb. The jeep did all the climbing.) 

Just like my earlier life experiences standing on top of the Colorado Rocky Mountains, the Grand Canyon and Niagara Falls, I felt humbled by the majesty of the universe and how a lifetime is nothing more than a blink of an eye in the face of the eternity that these places signify. The most important lesson came in one brief moment on the canyon when I was one with the universe.  In a precise same moment, I felt as vast and timeless as the red rocks and the blue sky beyond and as tiny and rooted in time as the tiny grain of red rock sand I stood on. 

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