Wednesday, May 19, 2010

(my) Survival (sedona)

Cathedral Rock from Oak Creek Sedona, Arizona will always have a very special place in my heart, because eight years and two months ago, I was hiking at Cathedral Rock when I fell and broke both ankles. It was an experience that completely turned my life around, and for which I am heartfully grateful. At the time of this accident, I was 20 years old and in my first year of grad school. Academic life was full of hope, yet the feeling was recurring that what I really needed was to get out on my own and experience more of Real Life... I kept finding excuses to stick with the status quo, and then on a solo spring break trip in Taos, New Mexico, a series of blessed synchronicities led me to Sedona's otherworldy landscapes and the fate that awaited me there. If you've ever experienced or read about the vortex energies that people claim exist in the Verde Valley area of northern Arizona, then you have an idea of what I'll say next; otherwise, it's worth looking into. One of Sedona's major vortex points is at the base of Cathedral Rock, in an area next to Oak Creek, in Red Rock State Park. All I knew back then is that this spot may be especially beneficial for me, as it specializes in the strengthening of positive female energy.

I was very very "lucky"... It turns out that mine was the first bike rescue in the valley, part of a newly implemented program. At least seven rescue paramedics appeared -- my saviors on mountain bikes -- after an emergency phone call I'd made from a cell phone which died while I was frantically describing where I might be on the rock. I remember seeing a helicopter circling overhead after the call got cut off, and when it flew away, I cried, thinking that they had given up on rescuing me. Well, I was found, warmly reassured, medicated, strapped onto a stretcher and carried by four guys down the rock, while the other guys carried the extra bikes. On future trips back to Cathedral Rock, I look up and wonder how in the world I ever could have thought it was a good idea to hike up where I did... My fall was about 15-20 feet, a drop which can kill a person. Meanwhile, all that was injured on me was my two ankles -- I had fallen directly onto my feet, where my thighs seem to have absorbed most of the shock, and then I fell onto my butt and gently back onto the ground, padded by my backpack. I remember the way my body performed an automatic status check right after the fall, and I knew I was ok, until I looked down and saw my ankles and reached for my phone.

It took me about four months to be able to walk again at all. Most of the first six weeks was spent in bed or in a wheelchair. This is where I learned that I was actually capable of staying still -- something that comes in very handy for meditations today! Slowly but surely I graduated to a walker and then to crutches, and finally I could move around again! My mother had been able to take off the rest of her school year to care for me, and needless to say, I was living at home again -- this time gave us the spectacular opportunity to renew our relationship into the beautiful mother-daughter bond that we enjoy today. My lifestyle had changed so dramatically, and so immediately, that I could suddenly entertain ideas of doing something new! ... A good friend was moving to San Francisco, and so as soon as I could walk again with some confidence (five months after the fall!), I packed my car and moved there, too!

On the way out west, I stopped again at Sedona and hobbled out with my crutches to the spot at Oak Creek where I had crossed over and headed up Cathedral Rock. I remember smearing my feet with the cool red mud typical of the valley, and just staring over at the rock that had already changed my life so much.

I like to tell the story that moving to SF, I had $1500 in the bank, rent of $750 a month, and no job prospects. :) After a week, and realizing that I couldn't take the kind of foot-intensive job I'd originally wanted (barista!), I applied at a temp agency and within 24 hours was being sent to an office to replace another Sara who was going on maternity leave. Well, this turned out to be the office where I would meet many of the people who are among my best friends today -- including the love of my life, who I recognized as soon as I was introduced to him on my first day. :) Within months, I had started to practice regular meditation and then met a teacher who I studied with, until just in time meeting my current beautiful teacher, who, as becomes increasingly less surprising, has been with me all along.

Now, eight years, two months, and many adventures later, I am again in Arizona, and with Yaniv. We are on our way back west, moving to Los Angeles -- where I had been headed all that time ago, after some random travelers had sat with me around a map in a Taos hostel in 2002. And we visited the Grand Canyon today, which was my first visit -- auspicious, considering that it had been my Arizona destination on the mapped route to LA back then, when a freak snowstorm rerouted me to Sedona instead...

A few days ago we went back to Cathedral Rock. I had been commenting that I don't really feel the need to ever climb the rock again, really -- I feel more than satisfied just sitting on the bank of Oak Creek, in the red mud. We'd planned to hike around a bit, on level ground, and soak in the atmosphere. Only on the drive there, reading about the Sedona vortexes, did I realize that the vortex at Cathedral Rock is not on the rock at all -- it is exactly in the spot I'd continually felt so drawn to! -- right there next to the river. :) It was a visit full of blessings, and peaceful, loving messages through time and space. I felt the healing and rejuvenating power of however you call God and Guru. I know that our lives will continue to be full of blessings and love and peace, and I am so grateful to be able to share that, to any extent.

Thank you all for being a part of this life, of our lives.

Tomorrow we drive into Los Angeles, city of angels...
    to start a new adventure.
Let's see what dreams may come. :)

Om Namah Shivaya

Sara at Cathedral Rock, 2010