I went on a reccie (reconnaisance mission) yesterday to check out some of the nearby trailheads. I found three different places that looked very promising, but the third place I went to was the place with which I felt the most resonance. It was the Elena Gallegos Open Space area at the base of the Sandia Mountains in the northeastern part of Albuquerque.
I paid the $1.00 fee to enter, put the stub on my dashboard and slowly started the drive up into the area from the entry booth. It was quiet and I saw no one as I rolled past the sparsely-located picnic areas. At the top of the roadway, where it curves around to start back down, there were a number of parking spaces near the entrances to the two main trailheads that went up into the wadi from the road. Wadi is an Arabic word for a geology for which I don't actually have an English word. It's a type of steep valley that exists between two mountains or hills. The Elena Gallegos wadi goes up between two points of the Sandias. It's about 6,500 feet where the road up to the parking spaces is and then slopes up from there to the 10,378 foot crest of the mountain.
I wasn't planning to walk up into the wadi today, I just wanted to get a sense of the space and how the trails laid out. So, I continued past the parking area for the trailheads and wound back down through the picnic area toward the entry booth again. I almost drove past by the last picnic area, but I felt drawn to pull in and stop. I left my car in the parking space and walked down the incline to the cement picnic table and benches that were covered by a wooden roof suspended by four stone and cement pillars. Next to the seating area was an open grill stand, and I wondered how many hamburgers and hot dogs had been cooked on it. I sat down into a ray of sunshine on the low wall made of stone and cement that edged the picnic table on two sides.
Albuquerque is quiet. And, I live in a very quiet, older neighborhood and have gotten very used to the quiet with which I'm surrounded most of the time. But, at the open space area, it was even more quiet than normal. I was amazed that no one from among the approximately 550,000 souls who live in Albuquerque and the surrounding area had found their way to where I was on this particular day.
As I sat there and relaxed into the place it started to come alive. A crow cawed loudly as it flew by, and I could hear smaller birds chirping as they flitted about. I heard the buzz of insects who were busy in the scrub at my feet. I heard the crunch of human feet walking through gravelly dirt in the distance, quite a ways away from my perch. I saw an airplane silently circling over the valley below on its approach to the airport. I noticed a mountain peak to the south that looked like Middle Earth or Narnia through the haze. The volcanos appeared as blips on the landscape as I looked west toward the horizon. The breeze gently blew my hair and I became very aware of my scalp and my hair follicles and how the wind brushed my skin. The sun warmed me as I sat there and I noticed that it was warmer on my cheekbone than on my cheek.
I sat there for a very long time. The life of the place, and my connection to the earth as I sat there, was so nurturing and subtly energizing. And, it validated for me how important it is to get outside and commune with nature. I can putter around the house for days on end, but it can be very insular. Getting outside and into nature is very grounding and balancing. We're electrified by all the technology and wiring we're surrounded with, and nature pulls some of that out of us. We can also forget how much beauty there is to enjoy and, by getting out into nature, we're reminded of it.
This new, quieter and more relaxed place I've found within myself is opening my world up in unexpected ways. As I sink deeper within myself, I'm able to commune more deeply with my environment. I hear better. I see better. My sense of smell is more acute. The slightest touch of the breeze is suddenly sensual. This relaxation into myself is filling me with new life; is making room for more life. I feel more finely tuned; softer, yet more defined. And, as I deepen my relationship with myself, I deepen my relationship with the earth. I feel more whole, more connected, more present, more in my body.
As the noise that dominated my thought processes has lost its grip, and the quiet has descended over my reality, I've started to gain a sense of the vastness of All That Is. I've started to open up to my multidimensional nature. I've started to get a taste of who I AM. I am filled with a sense of wonder and gratitude. It's like I'm waking up after a long sleep. I'm shaking off the grogginess and stepping into a new and alert place. Everything sings with a new vitality. I'm moving into a stronger place of trust and beginning to feel safe in the world. I'm amazed on a daily basis.
Even when I was working, I made sure to take time off and I did a lot of traveling. Getting out of my everyday environment was like hitting the reset button, and I always came back renewed and grateful, ready for the next job. But, now that I've let go of the cycle of work and going from job to job, and I'm finally able to relax in a way that a couple of weeks, or even a couple of months does not allow, my life is opening up and showing me different things.
There are many seasons in our lives, and I'm entering into and becoming familiar with the one I'm living right now. My whole experience is so much richer than I've allowed myself up until now. And, as I look back, I wish I'd been able to be as present with the previous seasons of my life as I am with this one. I encourage you to find ways to slow down and relax and sink more deeply into your life. Enjoy each and every season for the wonder that it is. Each and every day is a revelation of abundance. Don't let any of it pass by unnoticed or unappreciated.
Stop, and take a breath. Really. Breathe. Long and deep and slow. Let it fill not just your lungs, but each and every cell of your being. Breathing brings us into the body and focuses us. Breathing connects us into the larger energy that lives us. Breathing brings awareness, alertness and sensitivity. If you can't stop, at least hesitate. And, breathe. If you can't get away physically, get away inside. Unhook. Disengage from what holds you. Breathe. Reset. Step back. Breathe. As the breath moves through the body, the muscles will start to relax, the tension will start to drain away, the noise will dissipate, and things will get quiet. Now...from this place...move forward.
Enjoy your season, whatever it is. Whatever is happening, be grateful. Because, no matter how many lives we live, each one is unique and special. Each one is precious. Enjoy it. Enjoy your season.