I turn 60 in December 2019, and I didn’t think the approach of this milestone would affect me so much. Most birthdays have passed by with little thought other than the casual celebration with my family and friends.
But the closer this date came upon me, the more I found myself pondering a lot of things about life itself. It felt like turning 60 was a new life-chapter for me, a kind of re-birth. With all my kids grown and self-sufficient (of sorts!) it feels as though new and exciting opportunities lie ahead, and I wanted a clean slate or palette to work from.
Throughout the year, as December moved closer, I found myself with a great yearning to do some sort of solo birthday journey. Something for just me. Something for my soul.
Usually my guides give me clear indications of where I should travel next and what I will be “energetically doing” when I am there. As I researched places to go and things to do, I got nothing from guidance. This lack of direction was new for me.
In fact, I got the feeling that I was not supposed to DO anything energetically, no work for the land nor the cosmos. This trip was supposed to be all about me learning to receive from nature and to trust in it. Again, something new for me. So, I decided to head west to experience some of America’s greatest national parks and landscapes.
I did have a personal goal or two for this journey, one of them was to “be flexible” and not do too much in the way of planning anything. The second goal was a more important one for me: to allow my body to trust being solo. Trust in the concept of feeling safe. Trust traveling all alone across country. I have traveled a lot but always with a partner, friend, or entourage. This time, I would be solo.
I was a bit surprised at some of the reactions I got from folks as I shared what I was about to embark upon. They ranged from “oh you go girl!” to “OMG, people die out there all the time Suzanne!” (this one from my husband BTW!) and then there was my dear 85-year-old mother… “that’s just weird, I don’t get it, why are you doing this and why all alone…. you’re weird.”
Yup, lots of emotions began to rise as I planned this voyage. Re-birth Suzanne, I kept telling myself…re-birth. It’s all OK.
I didn’t realize just how much these death / rebirth feelings would surface during this trip. Throughout this journey, I have been in awe of the how the meat-body experiences dying and rebirthing each and every day, in a million different ways. Here are a few of the lessons I learned.
Breath and the Mountains of Colorado
Entering the mountains of Colorado, I felt a sense of comfort and familiarity remembering the early years of my marriage. I lived in Colorado for a couple of years in the 80’s with my husband Chuck, but I quickly realized when driving through the mountains he was always the one behind the steering wheel.
This trip, being completely alone driving those winding hair-pin curves, my entire meat, bone, and muscle body would switch on and off, frozen in fear one moment, breathing release the next.
I am a Minnesotan, and it is pretty flat where we live, no mountains to traverse, not much in the way of fighting for road space with giant semi-trucks either. Each time I would seize up, I would do my best to just breathe.
It is amazing just how much the human holds in our breath when we are scared. And how much we release when we remember to breathe. As I found myself finally leaving the mountains, still alive, I thought I would relax, but then I hit Nebraska.
Connection and the Plains of Nebraska
Driving through the endless plains of Nebraska, I began to realize just how far out in the middle of nowhere I was, all alone.
The empty highway brought back the ruminating voices of my husband’s and mother’s fears of: “people die out there …it’s unnatural to travel alone….”
With every passing mile, the fear-programming continued to build in my mind.
I obsessed about the gas gauge. I worried my tires might blow. I kept checking the temperature meters. I felt enveloped by the darkness of the never-ending road.
Each time I thought about a possible death scenario, I asked for guidance and Source would send me a message in the way of an eagle, a hawk, or a bird telling me I was just fine, all was OK…once again, rebirth. I was proud of myself. I trusted in the messages of animal totems, of Source. Proud of how, if you try, you can flip that crazy-ass switch in your head from thinking you’re in danger…to feeling connected to a larger sense of peace and calm. The rebirth felt amazing. I felt safe. I felt taken care of.
It’s incredible how easily we can take on fear-programming of “not safe” and fill our minds quickly with potential dangers waiting for us down each mile of the road. But I pushed the programs aside and began to connect with Gaia more, and that would prove to be my greatest assistance throughout this journey, through many more of these mental and emotional challenges as the days moved ahead.
Freedom and Arches National Park
Just as I began to get into the groove of feeling like I was “just fine,” out of the blue something else set off that alarm bell once again. The next challenge came as I ventured into a very remote place my son told me about to see ancient petroglyphs. These paintings on the rocks looked like aliens and made me happy as if to find photos of my long-lost relatives. But all too quickly I began to slip into familiar fear patterns.
While one part of me took in the beauty of the ancient art, the other part of me was hyper-sensitive to the fact that I was very vulnerable and alone out in the middle of the desert with the potential random stranger. This is when your mind races to the idea that “they” might be there to snatch me, to sell me off to the black market, to leave me there to die…and OMG I have NO cell service to even reach out to anyone to find my body!
Again, the crazy, insane ideas raced through the mind matrix for no reason other than mental madness. But it all left in the flash of a second when I began to chat with “those strangers” only to find they are a group of siblings on an adventure and incredibly lovely and kind. Impending death, then, rebirth…..
I found the more I dialogued with Gaia and Mother Nature, the more I secured feelings of nurture and safe. As I made my way through Arches National Park, I relished in how my breathing patterns could really keep me grounded and protected. Through this, I discovered the freedom of solo travel.
I loved how I could choose to say hello to a passerby or not. I loved creating my own pace, determining if I wanted to stop and take a photo or just hike. I loved how being present offered so many natural miracles right in front of your eyes, if only I took the time to see it.
Past Lives in Canyonlands
I made my way to Canyonlands late that day where I found myself once again up against an incredible body experience of fear of death, only this time it was of another nature.
I was flying along the road, all was good, when out of the corner of my left eye I saw an enormous canyon with a rock formation that seemed familiar. An incredible blast of fear hit me out of the blue. My entire meat-body froze up. I found tears streaming down my face, and I knew deep in my cells I had died on some sort of a terrain of a planet that had a similar look. It took me by such surprise I almost slid off the road.
It was so unexpected and so difficult to comprehend, and yet my meat-body freaked out as I remembered death from a past life cell-memory. All I knew was that I had died in a ship crash on a similar terrain, and yet here I was in person alive and well in another timeline. This was a tough one to digest.
If you have never encountered a past life memory such as this, it may sound insane, but it can be extremely taxing on your physical, emotional, and mental bodies.
Because you have no actual current-day context to work with, you have to allow yourself to just breathe through it, reminding yourself that this is not your current life and you are just fine.
Personal Fears and Bryce Canyon
The following day I made my way to Bryce Canyon, and talk about feeling like you have arrived on another planet! The rock formations here are the most amazing things ever. It reminded me of being a young child and playing with those sand art kits where you made cathedrals of sand…only here they are called hoo-doos, soft rock topped by harder made from volcanic activity. To me they often look like giant people!
The canyons of Bryce are so incredibly deep and offered everything I am personally terrified of: small trails with no rails, deep crevasses and tight walls, high elevation where I cannot breathe, where I find myself dizzy and light-headed. But once again, my mission of this trip was to overcome fears and this park offered the biggest challenge of my entire journey.
Terror is the only word I can use to describe what my body, mind, and spirit experienced as I slowly made my way down the path into the canyon. My mind raced with thoughts of how they would need to retrieve my dead body from the base of the canyon. I wondered how they would find my family to let them know. I thought I was so incredibly weird having these racing thoughts all while watching hundreds of other people happily traversing these canyon walls with ease, snapping selfies along the way. Some backpacking with babies, others dragging small children, all while I was in my person hell of impending death.
WTH? How does that happen? How can I experience one thing while others do not? We indeed do live in our own versions of reality at every moment. I forged on, determined to accomplish my goal of embracing fear, allowing my meat-body to fully accept and welcome the sensations of panic, fright, trepidation and finally, rebirth……
Later that day I made it all the way to the top of the Inspiration Point where the overlook of the canyon was breathtaking. Again, I found myself in deep conversation with Gaia and Mother Earth, hearing her tell me she will always survive well beyond the time I, and all humans, will. It is a deep knowing that we humans are incredibly resilient, yet totally expendable in the eyes of nature.
Birth and the Crowds at Zion
Arriving in Zion, I once again found myself negotiating hairpin turns with speed limits of 15MPH (I probably was doing more like 5MPH!). By this time I had gotten over the fear of pummeling over the edge to my death, only to come upon an entire rescue team of rangers with flares across the road indeed attending to someone or something that had gone over, hopefully not ending in a death. I dared not look. Breathe…. Breathe……… Just keep going.
Zion offered me some different lessons in terms of dealing with humans. I found myself working very hard to allow myself to be alone amongst the masses. There were so many people here and yet I was told this was the slow season! Droves of tourists snapping photo after photo, and all so loud and fast-paced, budging and cutting you off at every turn of the trail.
I did my best to not judge but failed miserably numerous times as I watched mothers pay little or no attention to how close their child was to the side of the cavern edge. Fear rose that was not even mine to own. I worked hard at being alone and just allowing.
The saving grace of this day was to see with my own eyes and through the eyes of a telescope, Zion’s newest resident, a baby Condor born in July. Birth! Birth of such an incredible creature! He was perched right there on the cliffs for all to see. It was an incredible sight to behold and gave me such joy to balance out the day.
Physical Limits and New Vibrations
Onward to Antelope Canyon where I again encountered an opportunity to overcome a long-time fear of small, cramped spaces as I navigated the cracks and crevices of the most stunning display of nature sculpted sandstone!
Walking through the canyon pass felt claustrophobic as the trail became so tight at times you had to not only watch your head but squeeze through masses of tourists churning through body-hugging footpath. My only saving grace was that I could at any time look upward to find the sunshine peeking through offering light, freedom, and peace of mind illuminating the darkened path.
A dear friend invited me to stay a night with her during my travels, and I was grateful for the opportunity only to find she had an old, giant fluffy beautiful cat—the one thing that can wreak havoc on my asthmatic body.
During the night I awoke to such strain and stress on my heart and chest as this bizarre wheezing sound was coming from my lungs. I sounded like I was dying. I felt like I might be dying. I simply could not get enough air and I began to panic. I searched out my inhaler only to get a small semblance of relief as my mind raced with thoughts: Seriously, I have made it through canyons and caverns, I have overcome fears of death in every arena only to die from a cat?!!?
I desperately tore through my luggage to find the allergy medicine to assist. Eventually I found some semblance of breath pattern that allowed my crazy mind to know I would be OK… Ahh …Rebirth, I was still here on planet and breathing.
The immense awe of communing with Mother Nature over this week has forever changed the cellular structure of my human meat-body, as Gaia extended numerous lessons on commanding ways to anchor grounded and safe. I continually challenged myself throughout this journey to allow every fear-based vibration to move through not only the meat and bone but more so through the mind matrix.
I feel as if I indeed accomplished my main goal of this adventure—that of commanding numerous versions of safe. Gaia herself communicated in various ways that She is just fine. She knows what She is doing to maintain Her own safe. She is resilient. She is strong. She will survive well beyond us humans. She is here for us in so many ways to learn this valuable lesson. To fully know and own that we humans are supposed to be her Guardians, at the same time She is also ours.
If we take the time to pause and remember, we realize our relationship with Gaia goes deep and can change the way we experience life itself. I am grateful beyond words to have experienced moving toward 60 with a new vibration and look forward to the next chapter.