Sedona Retreat Stories

A weekly column about the adventures and insights that come from living in Sedona or as I call it--The Magic Kingdom!

Separate Realties & Fear

Today I went to check the condition of the log bridge that is on the way to the Perfect Vortex. Sadly, I discovered it had been washed away by the rains. I got a sense to walk downstream and see if there was another way to get across the creek. Little did I know that many lessons about separate realities awaited me!
Suddenly, I came upon a dozen small groups of teenagers in bathing suits enjoying their labor day. They came here to get near the water. A little water slide was created from the rains and they were taking turns sliding down it. I walked through different groups of them, trying my best not to gawk at the girls in bikinis! I was in my hiking gear with booney hat and knapsack, but really I didn’t feel out of place–this is Sedona!
I stopped once in a while, scouting for a place my clients could easily cross the creek. It occurred to me that when I come to this special place, I am here with a strong spiritual intent and these wonderful teenagers, in their own way, are too. They are in a different reality than me, but perhaps the same underneath. I didn’t feel they had invaded “my place.” I enjoyed watching their relaxed attitude and seeing them “be in the present” which is certainly a goal of all my clients.
I finally saw a place to cross where the water was shallow enough. I thought it might be fun to have my clients take their shoes off and wade across the creek. Water is a powerful healer. It occurred to me that I was about 100 meters from a favorite climb of mine and thought I’d go for it!
When you look at this climb, it appears dangerous. There is no doubt about it! It’s all giant sharp-edged boulders going straight up at about a 45% angle–very steep. But it’s nowhere near as hard as it looks. I love this climb and have done it four times. I never take clients here–no worries! When you get into the climb, there seems to be an invisible staircase to the top. Just don’t look down!
So I started off, hearing the teenagers talking and laughing about 150 yards behind me as I climbed. This threw me a little; usually it’s very quiet as I make the ascent. I was moving well for about two minutes and came to a difficult spot that was exposed, and suddenly felt a little fear.  I felt adrenalin wanting to rush through me and my heart starting to beat a little quicker. This stunned me!  As I said, I love this climb and have never felt fear here. I wondered what was up! Was I afraid to fall in front of these teenagers?  I was still in view of them. Maybe.
I sat against a solid boulder and had a drink of water, calming myself, remembering I had made this climb a few times and that my thoughts were creating some fear.  I didn’t really know what those thoughts were.
After a few minutes rest I started to climb again, staying focused.  I was moving smoothly and then after a minute I felt the fear wanting to swoop down on me again. This was definitely a different reality than the last time I did this!
In fact, the last time when I was at the base of the climb, an older couple came upon me asking which way the trail was.  They looked to be in their late 60’s and I noticed their serious hiking boots.  I joked and said, “Well, I am going up this way (pointing up) and you’re more than welcome to join me!”  (I was kidding.)  They took one glance up and said, “Sure, that would be great!”  I was a little stunned.  So up we went and I will tell you–they out-climbed me!  When we got to the top I was out of breath and looked over at them, and they were just standing their calmly, not even sighing.  I laughed and said, “You guys really make me look bad!” We laughed.  “May I ask how old you guys are?”  Get this–he was 74 and she was 69!  WOW!  Are these wonderful people in the same reality as their peers? Don’t think so!
Back to the fear.  I just calmed myself again, reminding myself to go slowly and carefully and all would be well.  I made it to the top in about five minutes–really out of breath this time!  Fear can tire you very quickly.
I sat and thought about this experience and realized that this was truly an example of separate realities, but separate within me as opposed to someone else.  The rocks or climb hadn’t changed, only my thoughts had. I didn’t know exactly what the thoughts were. Sometimes it’s not important to know but to understand that the quality of your feelings always equals the quality of your thoughts.  For me, on this day, I understood that principle a little deeper.  And I saw once again that understanding separate realities comes through understanding the true nature of “thought.”
Also, I felt it was good to experience this kind of fear today–it humbles you.  But more importantly, it helps you understand other people’s fear and how severely they can feel it.  You understand their reality a little bit.  And brothers and sisters, I think there is nothing more important than trying to understand and have compassion for our fellow human beings.
Just another day here in the Magic Kingdom!
A Ho

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