Marking the four-month milestone of my transition from a petite condo on DC's Capitol Hill to a spacious villa in Sedona's Village of Oak Creek, I purchased multiple bags of mulch and spent several hours pampering posies with rich, composted soil.
More mindfully phrased in Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Wherever You Go, There You Are:
“Just as a garden requires attending to if we hope to cultivate flowers and not have it become overrun with weeds, mindfulness also requires regular cultivating. We call the cultivating of our own mind to bring it to wakefulness meditation. The beauty of it is that we carry this garden with us, wherever we go, wherever we are, whenever we remember.”
Pondering my transition from the negative vortex of Capitol Hill to the vibrant energy of Sedona's red rocks, I recalled the series of events that prompted my shift in consciousness and the deepening of my spiritual awareness ...
Geographically, the urban lifestyle I once loved left me weary and frustrated. Mentally, physically and emotionally, I was burned out from years of dedicated public service to not-for-profit, academic, corporate, and government organizations. Add to this scenario the impact of living just two blocks from the U.S. Capitol. These negative vibrational realities compelled me to reassess aspects I erstwhile appreciated about my life in DC.
During this time, my daughter Alecia suggested it might be time for a vision quest. “For a long time, I’ve been thinking perhaps your self-identity is too attached to your ‘backstory’ as the city girl who came Full Circle from France and now owns a condo on Capitol Hill,” Alecia mused.
This resonated with me because for weeks, I’d been rethinking my reasons for living in DC. So after extensive research, heart-to-hearts with close friends and colleagues, and hours of mindful meditation, I began to envision ways to "get into the vortex" as articulated by Abraham-Hicks.
Deciding what I didn't want, I envisioned what I did want — focusing instead on the JOY of that outcome and the greatest good of whatever that may bring. Deliberately recreating a new reality in my thoughts, I began to manifest the results of those realigned vibrations.
To fund my shift to Sedona, I dipped into my nest egg. That reminded me of a film my late husband Lenny and I loved. Entitled Lost in America, it chronicled the adventures of a yuppie couple (portrayed by Albert Brooks and Julie Hagerty) who became fed up with society, liquidated their assets, purchased an RV and headed west to "touch Indians." Their first mistake was stopping in Las Vegas, where the wife gambled away their nest egg.
Contemplating the concept of losing my nest egg, I initially considered other options. I was gratified that the resale value of my Capitol Hill condo had significantly appreciated during my years of ownership and knew it would continue to if I held onto it. But rather than subletting, I chose to spare myself the angst of dealing with DC's bureaucratic rental housing authorities and the toxic, corrupt condominium HOA board that ruled that roost.
Within 24 hours of listing my condo for sale, I received free, positive publicity on DC's premier real estate blog. In the story composed by the Urban Turf writer, my home was described as "a vibrant, Francophile-renovated one-bedroom on Capitol Hill that may be the most colorful listing on the market." That story led to copious showing requests and four desirable offers. I accepted the contract submitted by an artsy couple who fell in love with my condo and the backstories behind my renovation. A week later, I rented a villa in Sedona's Village of Oak Creek.
While packing my possessions in preparation for my cross-country relocation, I ran across the book Wherever You Go, There You Are. Turning the cover, I smiled to read the benefactor’s inscription, scripted in curvaceous calligraphy:
"v!ctor!a! A little something for your journey. May it sustain you. May it nourish you. May it guide you. But most of all may it bring you peace and joy. With love, Barry ~ February 14th 2002
My former British lover had given me this book to read before my first trek to Arizona more than a decade ago, when I visited my sister who was then living in Tucson. During that sojourn, I wanted to visit Sedona. Instead, we stayed in a cabin in the White Mountains. During a side trip down Route 66, we toured the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert. But we never made it to Sedona.
As it turned out, a heart-shaped rock was the catalyst for my Sedona relocation in 2014. Yet even as the details for my shift to Sedona fell magically in place, I kept coming back to the concept of that book my lover gave me all those years ago.
The intended message of Wherever You Go, There You Are is that you already have what you need to be happy. Some might surmise that had I stayed put in DC, things may have worked out. But I had a greater sense that I needed to follow my gut instinct and get the hell out of that soulless city.
Articulating these concerns to my dear friend Judy — a congressman's spouse who lived across from my courtyard — I asked her, "Do you think I'm running away?" I was heartened by Judy's response:
"For the longest time, you've felt like a prisoner in your own home because of your horrible condo association. So no, you're not running from ... you're running TO!"
Happy anniversary diVa girl !! You've come so far and so quickly. Sedona has welcomed you with an open heart and open space. Your oasis in the dessert is gorgeous. I soaked up your Milestone post and video. Your writing has so much meat to it. I love how you tied up the end to the beginning and everything in between. It is outstanding and you are outstanding. I'm misty eyed with happiness for you and your gratitude towards me. Thank you my dear friend! Here's to many more milestones.
Hugs XOXO M!NX!E
Ooh, finally... pictures! Your new place looks beautiful! Such a contrast in so many ways. Not just the size, but the colors. I absolutely adored the bright cheerful colors of your condo, but what you have now looks so calm and relaxing. It looks like a big open space where you can spread your arms wide and take a deep, clean breath of fresh air, and I’m sure that reflects exactly what you are doing there. Beautiful pictures in the video, and the music choice was perfect! Thank you for the "walk-through" and I hope to see it in person someday.
I read before about the friend who gave you the heart-shaped rock, but I didn't realize until reading this backstory that you were referring to my sister-in-law the M!NX and my beloved brother stuART!
Victoria, you really have changed your life, for sure!! A complete shift. I can understand. Although not close to the canyon, I am living close to woods and birds… Much love from France, Alain & Chantal
Your new place is so much roomier :) Congratulations!
Beautiful! Clean, pure, light-filled plus happier flowers outside! Love and light, Melissa
I'm so happy for you! Does it feel like home yet? Or did it already feel like home? Love it when a place naturally 'fits' and has your heart before you even move there :)
Happy Milestone to YOU!! –Denny
Happy 4 months QV! Your new home looks gorgeous!!! May you enjoy many more happy months…years…decades in your new home.
Victoria I love this story! You're making your own garden here in Sedona. You don't need the dirt and dismay of Capitol Hill. You're in a wide open space now and you're making it what YOU want to be ... in your own vortex!
I like how you tied the end to the beginning of this story. It's MULCH better!
Congratulations on your four-month milestone. Happy gardening! xx Jolita
I love this story of your transition and your continuing adventure, Victoria. I really get a sense of the opening of vistas for you. That old place, as colorful as it was, seems so cramped in comparison to what you are enjoying now, and you convey the contrast so well.
Wow. Six bags of mulch for your flowers. I'll bet you'll have enough left over for a veggie lunch with friends. But seriously, absolutely beautiful! Rock on Victoria, Rock on. The best is yet to be revealed.
Nice video! Since the planets are lined up in your favor, don't move too much "earth"!
That was spectacular. You are living the life! Beautiful peaceful surroundings & your villa is looking wonderful. You are doing a great job with the landscaping & all the natural flora around you. I work in my yard almost every day & I love mulch for its original purpose. But in Florida it brings ants. I hate ants. Much love for sharing. Hopefully someday I will make it out there! Peace & love from the sunshine state!
As usual, you wrote a very good story. As your dad says, you have a way with words. Love\Mom
I'm glad you are finding so much JOY in AZ! Love the updates! Love you!
Love this!!! You are so talented! You are definitely here to communicate new ideas and shift for the world. Thanks for being here.
What a magical space you have created for yourself! I can't even imagine you ever living in DC, as you look so happy and at home in Sedona. I truly am very happy for you! You did such a good job with the video and music, capturing the peace and beauty of your surroundings. Just watching brings a sense of peace to my soul. Makes me want to get on the next plane to Sedona!! I sure do enjoy reading your blogs and living vicariously through you! I'll keep sending those happy thoughts your way and you keep sharing the "good" life with the rest of us ... Peace, love and light, Michelle in sunny Florida
Sacred space..heartfelt gratitude...came thru very clear. You are HOME! Very beautiful..reflecting YOU!
lovely video, victoria. thanks for sharing your "shift to sedona" with george and me. we are lucky to have you, and the house looks happy to have you living there as well !! i can feel your loving energy in each photo and so happy that you are nestled snugly in your new home, which clearly reflects your creativity and eclectic sensibilities. hugs, chris
QV you are incredibly creative & it shows!! Oh, how I loved what you wrote & the video you created!! Both brought tears of joy to my heart. I can fully & robustly appreciate where you (we) have come from & where you (we) are now ~ it is truly miraculous!! I love your place in Sedona & more importantly, that you are near me. Joyfully, Misha
Victoria, I watched the video and read the backstory. I am glad you made the right choice and moved to a place that continues to give you so much happiness. From what I see, Sedona is a beautiful area. Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful villa. Your place is so much larger than the home you sold in DC. I can just imagine how you put your talents into decorating your new place in Sedona.
Great to hear happiness from you! I smiled so many times watching your video. This really shows how free you are now. Just beautiful! You are such a talented gal. I am so happy for you and I am flattered to have been a part of your shift! Stay content and healthy! Love and miss you! XX
victoria, this post is not "on the rocks" (as the bartender would say) -- it is "straight up." i feel blessed that you accepted this gift (quest) and are unwrapping it to share with all.
Yay Victoria! I'm happy for you! I know you are in a much better place, in many more ways than geographically! You are in a great place in Sedona, and when it's time for a change, you'll be guided to do what's next.
So beautifully done!! Sharing in your happiness, Victoria, and celebrating your gifts in abundance…Sending my warmest congratulations!
While living in Sedona, I met a cast of characters who offered intriguing perspectives about SPIRITUALITY. Christopher "MR. UNSPIRITUALITY" Loren was ONE OF THEM.
“I can say in all honesty that I have never ‘come down’ from my Sedona high. That's what was so confirming and amazing about my decision,” Christopher exclaimed. “I still awaken in wonder and gratitude when I look out of the window — hell, even with the window shut, I still feel it!”
As Christopher described it, he came here because he sensed a “warm presence” in Sedona. "When I first drove through, I remember the feeling of having my breath taken away. I knew this was my home, at least for however long the feeling of ‘home' remained,” Christopher muses. “Sedona was and still is my healing place where I could get away from the world and reconnect and grow my deepest desires in a safe environment.”
Christopher said that, like many who come here, he was initially searching for truth. "But I got caught up in theosophical induced fairy tales. Still, I would have had it no different because I love the wonder and imagination of the people in this town."
In an article published by Sedona Red Rock News, Christopher revealed that he originally sojourned to Sedona as part of a spiritual journey that gradually prompted him to ponder the impact of spirituality on humanity. “As I went deeper into the journey, I found that lingering under the glam of spirituality was the lost story of the individual,” Christopher told me.
Elaborating, Christopher said he now believes that spirituality and religion inhibit the actual healing that needs to take place in the life of a young or adult “primate.” Yet, while spirituality and religion exploit the "split-self," both can serve as a stepping-stone for a reunion of the abandoned magic within us, he said.
Christopher chronicled his personal journey and extensive research in his book, unSpirituality: Permission To Be Human. Choosing to self-publish via Amazon's CreateSpace, he exposes perceived delusions of “the spiritual self and its story” — from religious rhetoric to metaphysical absurdities.
“Self-publishing is great in that it provides a lot of freedom to do as you wish. But reaching a large audience is taxing, to say the least. So I appreciate when the content is shared,” he said.
Confident that the message in his book is important, Christopher said the small market he’s reached has responded in “life-changing ways.” But getting his message out there on a mass scale has been daunting. “Still, I do trust the process. I am evolving so fast that sometimes I have to catch up to who the improved version of me is, while reflecting upon the funeral of my old self serendipitously. And sometimes all this happens in nanoseconds."
To broaden his reach and spur sales, Christopher launched unSpirituality.com, setting the tone for his project with a video he dubbed, "I Am Primate." He said he was currently working on new musical creations for his unSpirituality content.
“I'm pretty much a born singer/songwriter/guitarist and my music has a story in itself, which I’m just now discovering in a more authentic way,” he said. “But rather than creating this music as a form of entertainment, I’m more about the message, in that the problems of our world stem from archaic child rearing that produces ‘identification’ and a socially acceptable split-self.”
During my interactions with Christopher, something he said struck me. Referring to his current musical endeavors, he remarked, “Mr. unSpiritual is quite spiritual...he just redefines the juice from a natural perspective.”
Like Christopher, in my own quest for authenticity, I scrutinize for clues that help me balance fairy tales with reality. That said, I can't say I concur with Christopher’s philosophies and research.
Something I do agree with, though, is that as writers and as individuals, it’s helpful to “allow the story” to unfold. I sense that when Christopher wrote that line into his "How to Become Spiritual" video, he was only joking. ❤ v!ctor!a colette
► Postscript: A couple of years after I wrote this post, Christopher changed his name to "ZZenn" and deleted his "How to Become Spiritual" video. Hmmmm.
Very well written and thank you for including me in your blog. I think I would have liked to read a few bits on exactly what you did not concur with regarding my philosophies and research.
Christopher you are welcome!
We share several commonalities (e.g., our religious upbringing, and a quest for authenticity and truth that resonates with us as individuals). But rather than elaborating on reasons why I don't personally concur with all your philosophies and research, I prefer to share links so readers can do their own research and form their own conclusions if they choose.
Hope that helps ;-)
In March 2014, I navigated solo 2,500 miles across the country, unloaded a 16-foot moving van and began settling into my new home in sedona. DURING THIS TIME, FAMILY AND FRIENDS REACHED OUT TO ASK HOW I WAS ADAPTING TO MY NEW ENVIRONMENT.
Dear daughter, do you feel touched? Good, because I have been reaching out to you! Seriously, I've been thinking about you a lot here lately. I know it takes a lot of grit to remain happy and content when you make such changes in your life, location and probably lifestyle, as you recently have. I'm sure you're making new friends and trying to stay busy. Just keep it up is all I can say.
I once read a brief story about a young wife who accompanied her husband in the military service during WW2. They were transferred from New York to some place in the Arizona desert. The girl wrote her father a long letter filled with complaints about the discomforts, heat, and so on in Arizona. Her dad replied with just a few words:
"Two men looked through prison bars. One saw mud. The other saw stars.”
The girl said that when she read that letter, she made up her mind to start exploring something new every day. She began to learn about desert flowers, Indian reservations, local customs, etc. Wasn't long before she came to love that place.
I guess it all comes back to being able to adjust to circumstances.
I hope you're doing well, and that all things are good with you. Much Love, Dad
I thanked Pop for sharing this anecdote and told him, "Yes, I feel 'touched'... considering I live so close to Sedona’s energy vortexes!"
Bringing Pop up-to-date, I remarked that I'd been squeezing minutes to accomplish copious must-dos intrinsic in settling into a new home. Simultaneously, I was carving out time to embrace new experiences — from awe-inspiring hikes and outings to intriguing lectures and events.
I was also taking time out to be still and just do nothing, breathing in the experience of being in Sedona.
"My initial impression is that Sedona is a place where mystical things can happen if one has an open mind and an open heart," I explained.
People are drawn here for similar reasons, just as I was. While I sensed this chapter in my life would spur transformational growth, my quest was to ponder Sedona's energy from a grounded perspective, rather than allowing myself to be sucked up into a mythical mothership.
For me, staying grounded is a challenge in a place like Sedona — which brings me to the backstory about Christopher Loren and his unSpirituality.com crusade ....
❤ v!ctor!a colette
Oh, nice blog and welcome to this beautiful place. I can sense in your writing and web presence someone interesting. I bet you have some very interesting stories and adventures to share...... Sounds like a good reason to go on a hike......what works for you?
Interesting that you are writing about your life because I have started the same process. I get the sense you are in a GREAT, unfolding, inspiring and significant place and I am happy to be gleaned from if I can offer anything at unspirituality.com
I've read most of your new web site but not all because there is just too much information! What happened to your question to me years ago: "Dad, can you tell me in 25 words or less?"
:-) Much love, Dad
Wow Victoria! Your new website is terrific, absolutely love it. Did you take the photographs? If so you can add photographer to your extensive resume.
Your beautiful hiking stick is a piece of art. But if you carried on the street in Washington DC you would be surrounded by a swat team before you reached the end of the block.
Patrick ("Island Boy")
Soon after i relocated to sedona, an acquaintance emailed me an invitation to an event described as "gALA/Church of the Golden Age."
A Quick online search identified the venue as a "non-denominational house of worship devoted to practical spirituality and living everyday life according to the highest ideals." That resonated with me.
Awkward! Entering the room, I spotted an empty chair, then took care not to click my heels as I crossed the slick vinyl floor. The talking woman paused to say, “Welcome. Please remove your shoes.” Stowing my heels under my chair, I focused my eyes on her as she continued her discussion — something about planetary matters of great portent and empowered missions. Then she began to muse about entities she referred to as "Ashtar One" and "Galactic Command."
My mind’s eye pictured some giant mothership that would soon hover over Sedona and provide refuge for those who are, as the speaker described it, “aligned with the intent to take our designated places and where everything we need is provided for our enlightenment.” Rest assured, she emphasized, “we will ascend gracefully into our new levels of empowerment for our intended missions, journeys and service roles.”
During the next hour, I learned that GALA is an acronym for Golden Age Light Academy, and the woman speaking — who serves as “seer, planetary healer and facilitator” — goes by the “spiritual name” of Arianha Bialon. As Arianha explained it, this group believes they and others are being prepared for new positions as ground crew for the Crystal City of Light here in Sedona, and various new Golden and Crystalline Cities emerging elsewhere on the Planet.
As she addressed these concepts, I studied her face, expressions and the clothes she wore. Dressed entirely in turquoise — from her scarf and sweater to her ankle length skirt — she sat straight in her chair an punctuated her remarks with twirling hands, wrists and fingers, much like a middle-eastern dancer. As she channeled messages from spirit guides she referred to as angels, her eyes closed and her head wobbled slightly on her frame.
While in and out of these intermittent trances, Arianha asked if anyone had questions for the angels. One woman asked to know her mission. Another wanted to know her spiritual name. Arianha responded with guidance she says comes from angels who speak directly to her. Then she asked if anyone wanted their doors opened. "Sure, I'm all about opening doors!" I spoke up. I had no idea what to expect, but joined hands with others as Arianha said “a special prayer for this purpose.”
Others chimed in to share their perspectives. One woman acknowledged that she was a student of A Course in Miracles. (Been there, done that.) She said that while she agreed with some aspects of Arianha's discussion, she preferred to remain "grounded." (Count me in on that.) Arianha mentioned that each one gathered here was either a healer or a messenger. Turning her attention to me, she asked which one I was. Smiling, I replied, “How about you ask me that after I've been in Sedona for a while?" Arianha then remarked that my necklace — a rectangular silver pendant centered with a dark round stone — signaled that I might be a messenger. She said that when we all ascend to Galactic Command, we’ll wear symbols that signify our purpose there.
“Why can't we just wear one of those 'Hello, my name is...' badges?" I joked. When a few folks laughed, I felt encouraged that, as “planetary healers,” at least they shared my sense of humor.
Of course, if I'd spent more time researching this “church” before attending this event, I would have connected the dots and realized this wasn't my scene or tribe. When I later typed “Ashtar Galactic Command” into the Google search bar, it rendered a post about a 1977 news broadcast allegedly interrupted by an ethereal representative of the Ashtar Galactic Command. Perusing the article, I concluded that everybody’s seeking some form of truth, crazy as truths may sound.
While I remain inclined to seek what resonates with me, Galactic Command is beyond my realm of reasoning. And I'm not in the market for a mothership. Makes more sense to me to stay grounded as I interact with others on our individual and collective paths toward enlightenment.
► Postscript: After posting this piece, my attention was drawn to pea-sized hailstones that began to pound my windows and pellet the flagstone patio outside. Peering into the darkened sky, I joked to myself that the galactic gods must be angry with me — because the downpour obliterated the posies in my flowerbeds. ❤ v!ctor!a colette
Less than five minutes from my former home in Sedona's Village of Oak Creek, there's a medicine wheel of which few people are aware. That's because it's hidden in the high desert and concealed among cacti.
I became aware of this site during a magical mystery tour with LaLa and Emmy. During our outing, I also learned about a Native American practice involving circular patterns, cardinal directions, cyclical seasons and the rhythm of life.
To many Native Americans, the term "medicine" refers to forces of nature fused with our personal power for spiritual well being and healing — which starts from within and expands outwards. As I understand it, a medicine wheel is used for meditation, prayer, introspection, enlightenment, and healing. The wheel (also referred to as a circle of life) involves the Great Spirit and one's own spiritual universe. Some believe the wheel facilitates physical connection points with the spirit world, and creates a healing energy vortex that flows from the earth and spirals into the environment — benefiting every living thing.
Mirroring the shape of the moon and sun, the meaningful design of a medicine wheel incorporates ...
- four directions ~ east, south, west, north
- four elements of life ~ earth, fire, water, wind
- four colors representing sacred races ~ red, yellow, black, white
- four seasons ~ spring, summer, autumn, winter
- four times of day ~ sunrise, noon, sunset, midnight
- four stages of life ~ birth, youth, adult, death
- four trials ~ success, defeat, peace, war
- heavenly beings ~ sun, moon, earth, stars
- numerous other symbols and elements
Before we stepped inside the medicine wheel, Emmy smudged LaLa. Working in a clockwise fashion, she “wanded” the burning sage while simultaneously "sweeping" the smoke — to drive out negative energy and summon positive influences. After Emmy repeated the ritual with me, I smudged her in turn.
Once purified, we approached a painted boulder designed as an altar, to offer our gifts before entering the circle. Chanting a blessing, Emmy sprinkled cornmeal onto the altar and then offered a rock as her gift. Following suit, I placed a freshly picked branch of lavender from my garden, along with an apricot from a neighbor's tree.
Stepping into the circle, Emmy perched on a rock, pulled out a couple of tuning forks, and began to meditate. Sitting cross-legged, LaLa meditated on the magnificent vista from this high desert hilltop. Awed by the beauty surrounding me, I turned my attention to artistically painted boulders arranged at cardinal points of the circle.
The unknown individual (or group?) who designed this medicine wheel is clearly passionate about nature and art. I was captivated by the boulder painted with a multi-colored tree of life. Within its center, there’s a double-triangle Star of David. Drawn at the base of the tree of life, Mother Earth stands her ground. Broader brushstrokes within the overall drawing depict forces of nature — among them, lightening bolts, snowflakes, rain, and a rolling river.
After our ceremony as we trekked back down the wash, we built a cairn to express our gratitude. While gathering stones for the cairn, I found a fragile spiral amongst prickly pear cactus and glittery red rocks. Fittingly, I later affixed that spiral (with découpage) to the heart-shaped red rock that summoned me to Sedona.
To learn more about our ceremony, peruse my captioned photo-backstory about the medicine wheel in the Village of Oak Creek. ❤ v!ctor!a colette
Such a beautiful and spiritual connection to nature. I am drawn to water, and Oak Creek provided a purifying if chilly connection for me.
Victoria, thank you for sharing this informative backstory and the wonderful pictures.
One picture on the rock looks like a lady with a veil. I also like the idea of smudging to get rid of negative energy.
Maybe someday I will be able to visit, and you can take me to see the medicine wheel.
Victoria, I loved your latest blog. The medicine wheel, the wonderful painted rock, the sage smudging ceremony, and of course Emily & LaLa.
You have found your way home and I am happy for you. All the great magical and mystical adventures, not to mention the characters you have met in just a few months.
I hope no one takes offense at the word "character." Characters, to me, are people who dance to a drum most cannot hear. Characters are the mustard on the hot dog of my life.
You, Victoria, were my first character ... and I am still in love.
Since then, I have added many others to my circle just by being open to the idea. They are wonderful characters -- everyone of them.
The Island Boy
aka Patrick the Magnificent
Wonderful and so inspiring. Thank you so much for helping us be AWARE.
We send love and hugs to you,
Claudia & Jerry
I really enjoyed this blog post. It resonated with me as I had recently contacted a friend of mine, Lakota One Heart, with whom I've been out of touch for about a decade. I served as firetender for her sweat lodges in the past.
I enjoy a great deal of lively silence while tending fire for the lodge. I plan to do more of this for a couple of lodges this July and September.
Thanks again for this blog post, Victoria.
Hi V girl!
I REALLY love the painted boulder art!
All these great adventures and discoveries that only the locals know about.
And the merging of the spiral with the heart rock.....I LOVE IT and love the colors you created for the image. Very special. And Don Drumm rocks too!
I was thrilled by the yucca looking plant that has all the spirals!!! We have a plant similar to it, but have never seen those beautiful spirals. I have to look for that.
This stuff just "rocks" my world....you are right, happiness on the rocks. I feel it from a distance.
Also like the new banner pics and BTW, you look great!
Tour guides typically publicize the V-bar site in Sedona as the largest petroglyph site in the Verde Valley. But venturing far from the beaten paths of Beaver Creek in Coconino National Forest, my friends Tami and Bobby introduced me to one of Sedona’s lesser-known archaeological sites.
After reaching Red Tank Draw, we disembarked and hiked down a steep, rocky canyon. Along the way, they pointed out several varieties of cactus and other desert plants. (Tami has extensive knowledge as a former guide for a Sedona jeep tour company.) Seeing that I lacked a hiking cane, Bobby scouted a piece of dried wood to steady me on the rubble of rocks in the wash.
"What's the difference between a wash and a creek anyway?" I asked.
"A wash is where the water runs. A creek is where the water is," Tami explained.
"Go figure," I mused, seeing the creek bed was completely dry. Bobby assured me that during monsoon season, water gushes over these rocks, and the creek is deep and fierce.
When we reached our destination, I was awestruck by intricate carvings of deer, elk, antelope, turtles, lizards, people, crosses, spirals and other mystical depictions chiseled into 40-foot high sandstone canyon boulders. The Southern Sinagua culture — ancestors of the Hopi — created these petroglyphs between A.D. 1150 and 1400.
After we climbed and descended the ancient site, Bobby led the way to a swimming hole deep in the canyon. As he stripped down to his skivvies and took a dip with the dogs, I found a spot under a shade tree and practiced the local preference to "Don't just do something...sit there!"
Later this afternoon when a new acquaintance stopped by for tea, she told me that in some cultures, the spiral represents the flow of water. Digging deeper, I read that in every ancient culture in the world, spiral petroglyphs can be found. Spiritually speaking, the spiral symbol can represent the path leading from outer consciousness (materialism, external awareness, ego, outward perception) to the inner soul (enlightenment, unseen essence, nirvana, cosmic awareness)."
Gratitude to Bobby and to Tami for sharing this rare experience and for treating me to lunch after our hike. To round out my slideshow, Bobby uploaded images he captured as I pondered the significance of chiseled spirals that, to me, represent happiness on the rocks. ❤ v!ctor!a colette
In March 2014, I settled into NEW DIGS in Sedona’s TRANQUIL Village of Oak Creek, referred to by locals as “the Village” or “VOC.”
Surrounded by this energy, it felt as if I'd relocated to a different planet, leaving DC in the concrete dust. I hadn't watched CNN in weeks and I didn't miss anything about my former home on Capitol Hill. Flanked by striking vistas of pinion-covered Coconino National Forest and Arizona desert buttes, I preferred the view and the vibe from this vantage point. When I wasn't out forging new trails, discovering new interests and making new acquaintances, I rambled around my 1,850 square-foot, three-bedroom abode, which seemed spacious compared with my prior petite city dwelling in D.C.
In the evening, with the press of a remote-control button, an artistically arranged assortment of battery-operated candles flickered in my fireplace. At day's end, I strolled outside to watch an awesome show as the sinking sun seemed to set the red rocks afire. And when darkness painted the sky, I gazed up at a brilliant canvas painted with shimmering swirls of the galaxy — listening to the hoots of owls along with the yips and yowls of coyote.
Each morning, Arizona’s glorious sunshine lured me outside. Settling into cushioned outdoor furniture, it was a serene setting to relax and breathe in the scent of roses, irises and lavender blooming in my flower gardens as I practiced my new mantra: "Don't just do something — sit there!"
Simultaneously, I felt compelled to curb the deadline-driven mindset that propelled me during the past decade. So, twice a week, I hiked with friends and attended lectures or events that boggle the mind. I continued to meet interesting and interested people, many of whom I entertained in my home.
As a new acquaintance observed, "It seems Sedona is welcoming you in and you will be very productive here. With all that being said, I know living in Sedona you receive a lot of invitations, so I honor your focus of keeping your mind set on your book. Let your spirit lead you, and have fun!"
❤ v!ctor!a colette
Ahhhh! A big loving hug to you, Victoria
Hey QV ... YOU are a source of inspiration!
We do choose our perspective, and choices now determine our trajectory. I forget this (a lot) but your emails and blog harken it back.
Hi Victoria, I spent some time on your site and it looks fabulous. Sometimes people need a COMPLETE change in life and it looks like you have made a change that is working well for you!
During summer 2013, my friend m!nx!e from the Midwest trekked to Sedona with her sister. For my birthday that September, m!nx!e created a travel brochure just for me that artfully pictured Sedona landscapes and chronicled their adventures there. I was intrigued by the way m!nx!e described their hike in Boynton Canyon vortex, during which a kindhearted hiker appeared out of nowhere and gave them heart-shaped rocks.
Enclosed with the brochure she created for me, m!nx!e gifted me with a red rock she picked up during her hike in Boynton Canyon. She'd taken the stone home and asked her husband stuART to whittle it into a heart shape for me.
For several months, that rock sat vibrating on my desk as I wrestled with the vicissitudes of life in America's capital city. All the while, I was clueless about the rock's energy and spiritual significance.
In retrospect, if "all that other stuff" hadn't happened, I probably would not have opened my mind to other possibilities elsewhere. And as the details of my relocation fell magically in place, the heart-shaped stone played a mystical part.
His name is Robert Sechrengost and he is actually a bit of a celebrity in Sedona. (I previously met Robert when I lived there in 2014/2015.) Since 2010, Robert (born in 1952) has been handing out his heart-shaped rocks to hikers and playing his Native American flute atop Sedona's red rock vortex spires.
As we reached Boynton Canyon Vista trailhead, we could hear Robert playing his flute. When we reached the summit, we found a safe perch on the rocky ledge, cradled within the exposed, brawny roots of a twisted Juniper tree. We both watched in awe as Robert balanced cross-legged atop the rock formation known as "Kachina Woman" and played his melodious flute tunes. Later, Robert scrambled down from the formation and gifted us both with a heart rock that, as he explains it, "embodies the energy of the vortex and represents unconditional love."
Yet again, I find joy and inspiration from these heart-shaped "milestones" that likewise inspired Happiness on the Rocks.
❤ v!ctor!a colette ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀
🌵 v!ctor!a colette #HappinessOnTheRocks