This is a post I wrote a few years ago for Positive Thinking Magazine. The article is about a spiritual trip I took to Sedona, AZ. I am getting ready to take another journey to Sedona so I thought I'd share this article here now.
You were born with an incredible gift – one that is so beautiful, so profound, so magnificent that words can only barely begin to describe it. This gift is the spark of infinite wisdom that lives within you. It is that part of you that is eternal. It is the core of who you are, and yet it is possible that you have not begun to realize the full potential of this gift. This spark – also known as your essential spirit- is the key to living the life that you are meant to live. Making a strong and lasting connection with your essential spirit is the key to a life full of health, happiness, and success!
Unfortunately, due to busy, hectic lives, many people are feeling drained, burned out, and disconnected from their essential spirit. If you are one of these people, it is likely that it is time to go on a spiritual retreat… a time to have a conference with your spirit. A conference with your spirit is a planned time away from daily routine to reconnect with your essential spirit more fully. It is a time to BE rather than DO. It is a time to allow the energy and beauty of the earth to wash away any stress/tension. It is a time to be quiet and still in order to hear your intuitive voice. Perhaps, most importantly, it is a time to evaluate where you are and where you are going to make sure you are aligned with your soul purpose.
Even if you are not feeling burned out, it is important to schedule a conference with your spirit at regular intervals. I recently went to Sedona, AZ to have an in depth conference with my spirit. Sedona is one of my most favorite places in the world and an excellent place for me to strengthen my connection with my essential spirit.
An important part of a conference with spirit is to be fully present in the moment. I began my mindful practice as soon as I landed in Arizona. I allowed myself to take in the scenery on the drive from Phoenix to Sedona. The landscape changes frequently on this 115-mile trip and it is a treat to see such variety. Then, as I approached Sedona, the highway curved and the scenery suddenly opened up to the breathtaking red rock vistas that are the hallmark of Sedona. It was a truly an awe-inspiring experience and one that I will always treasure. As soon as I arrived in Sedona, I immediately felt a shift in my energy and my mood. A quiet and peaceful feeling enveloped me and I had a profound sense of tranquility. I immediately felt more connected with my essential spirit.
In order to facilitate the process of conferring with my spirit, I took time to meditate and allowed my stress and tension to melt away. I allowed myself to feel the energy of the earth and indulged in the pleasure of BEing instead of DOing. Each morning I took a walk on one of the many fabulous trails in Sedona. The views of the red rocks were absolutely stunning. Each path was different. Each path offered something new to see and experience. I made an effort to stay present in the moment and to take in every nuance of the experience. There is incredible wisdom in nature and I opened up to absorb this wisdom and connect with my own internal wisdom.
As I stood in one of my favorite places in Sedona, I had a profoundly peaceful and transformative experience. In a clearing near the grand red rock formation, known as Cathedral Rock, there are hundreds of what I call stone gnomes – little piles of stones that have been carefully stacked one on top of the other. These stacks of stones (also known as cairns) are typically used as trail markers; however, in this area they seem to have been built, by the many visitors, as an ever-changing sculpture. When I stood in the middle of these little stone gnomes, I felt like I was in the most magnificent sanctuary. These little gnomes were all facing Cathedral Rock as if in prayer. I stood silently with them in my own state of prayer and reflection. I knew in that one moment that I was connected to everything in the Universe. I knew that I was right where I needed to be in my life. What a wonderful feeling that was!
During my stay in Sedona, I evaluated my various work activities and commitments to see if they were in line with my soul path or purpose. I realized that I had taken on a few things that weren’t really in line with this purpose, so I decided to pull my attention from these activities. Before I agree to take on something new, I typically ask myself if this new activity is in line with my soul path; however, there are times that I find myself saying yes to someone or something before I really evaluate it. These conferences with my spirit, then allow me to weed out what isn’t working or isn’t aligned with my path.
As I returned from this uplifting conference with my spirit, I realized that I needed to renew my commitment to my daily practices to nurture my spirit. While it is certainly easier for me to feel connected and nurture my spirit while on vacation - especially in Sedona, I can choose these feelings whenever and wherever I am. I am responsible for feeling spiritually connected. I can choose to maintain that feeling of deep peace and harmony that I feel when I am connected to my essential spirit.
How to set up your own conference:
Preparation- If you are feeling burned out, frustrated, disconnected, and/or overwhelmed, it is a good time to plan a conference with your spirit. Even If you have been nurturing your spirit daily, a conference with your spirit is a good idea so that you can deepen this connection. Choose a place where you can go to get away from the daily grind and spend some quality time meditating and connecting with your spirit. You can choose to take a day, a long weekend, or a week. You might go away to a favorite vacation spot or simply go to a local park. The details of where and how long are not as important as your commitment to connecting with your spirit.
Time to BE – A conference with your spirit is not simply a vacation – it is more than that. It is a time to slow down and BE. It is time to make the journey inside and connect with your core self – your essential spirit. Try not to plan too many activities on your trip so that you can appreciate the deliciousness of BEing instead of DOing. Make time to meditate frequently through the day. This doesn’t have to be in a formal sitting meditation. You might choose a mindful meditation practice while you walk. Enjoy your surroundings and the beauty that is around you. Stop and smell the roses – literally.
Lighten up – It is important to enjoy yourself and have fun during your conference with your spirit. Laughter and playfulness are great ways to connect with your essential spirit. Find activities that help you feel child-like and playful.
Ask for guidance – A big part of your spiritual retreat is to be quiet and still so that you can ask for guidance from your essential spirit. Your essential spirit is your storehouse of infinite wisdom. This is the time to evaluate where you are in your life and where you want to go. Look at each of the major life areas (physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, social, financial, work, etc) and ask yourself if your actions are in line and in accordance with your soul purpose. If you are not yet sure of your soul purpose, ask for clarification about this. It is time to look inside for your guidance and answers. After all, everything you need to succeed is inside of you.
Listen – Asking for guidance from your essential spirit is the first step. Listening is the next step. When you allow yourself to BE present in the moment, you will be able to hear that quiet, still voice inside - that is your intuitive voice. Be aware that answers can come in many forms – thoughts, feelings, hunches, coincidences… be open to receiving. Pay attention to how you feel and what is happening around you. Your answer may be in the butterfly that lands on a flower near you or an image that flashed in your mind’s eye.
Record your experience – Be sure to take a camera, a journal, and perhaps a digital recorder so that you can capture your experiences.
Staying connected – After your conference with your spirit, the key is to maintain this connection you have forged with your essential spirit. It is important to take time each and every day to nurture this relationship. It doesn’t have to be complicated or take a lot of time. However, it is important to make this a part of your daily ritual and to set your intention to strengthen and deepen this connection. Take time to look at your photos and journal entries to you remember your conference with your spirit and your experiences.
A regular practice to nurture your spirit combined with periodic conferences with your spirit will allow you to stay connected to your essential spirit. A strong connection with your essential spirit means achieving your highest potential for health, happiness, and success. In addition, this connection will help you develop an unshakable inner peace that allows you to stay centered even in the midst of chaos. This is the secret to developing authentic personal power and creating the life of your dreams.