Recently my amazing sweet souled husband, our pup and I took to the road to explore some red rock country in Utah, just hours from where we live in Colorado. Something exquisitely special happened on that trip, something I couldn’t have anticipated.
But before I dive into that, let me back up a little. I’m one who really, really loves landscapes. I took an entire semester photography class a few years back and when we came to the section on portrait photography I really stumbled. I didn’t care for posing my subjects, or worrying about how the light brought their skin to life. I wanted to photograph more landscapes. I’ve always been a landscape lover. I’ve even honed over many years time what I consider to be the fine art of bringing landscape energy into a healing session. Like when a patient could benefit from a certain color found only in the horizon of the setting sun over the pacific ocean. Or the specific energy one feels when next to the mountain stream in springtime. This is part of my magic and while not often spoke of in my sessions, it is almost always present.
I’ve traversed many varied landscapes in this life and have always been acutely aware of the energy they hold, the density, the lightness, the history. OMG, the history in some of the places these feet have trod. From the cobbled streets of Paris, the 500 miles of diverse road on El Camino de Santiago in Spain to the ancient lands along the Nile in Egypt. Along with nature, it was always the people I connected with in these places and in retrospect, I can honestly say that it was through the backdrop of landscape that these people came alive. Sometimes the connections and landscape were of a more non-linear presentation and, as any multidimensional pilgrim will tell you, these landscapes change in an instant, presenting the opportunity for keen awareness and integration in every step. On one stretch of The Camino I could literally feel and see myself integrating a lifetime, or maybe just a moment, as a soldier in Napoleon’s army. Some of these integrations have been SO intensely validating! Such beauty to behold on the shore of Kauai, connecting with dolphin energy that would transport me to a time of more light than we will ever see, or need to see, on this planet. And conversely, there was such intensity for some of us to move through in the lands of southern France.
So, it was with this trust in my varied landscape experiences that, back in 2004, I took to the road in my green Toyota Tacoma pickup truck named Artemis (after the Greek Goddess of the hunt, wild animals, wilderness, childbirth, and relieving disease in women, of course!). Artemis and I were in search of something, but we didn’t know what that was just yet. We simply knew we had to get out of town. Things had blown up, as they often do when it’s time for a major integration/change. On the spur of the moment, we headed south to a place of which we’d heard: Sedona, AZ. We endeavored to camp alone but flooding rains (of course) pushed us out of the wilderness and into a cozy motel by the river. Now, Sedona has taken some heat in recent years for being the woooo wooooo capital of Wooo Wooo. And, in all honesty, I was deeply invested in all kinds of New Age ways back in those days. However, that trip held gifts of independence and clarity that I don’t believe I could have happened upon any other way. While it was certainly a crazy adventure filled literally with lightning storms and tire issues (poor Artemis, she really had her work cut out for her!) it was the stunning landscape, not the New Age that brought me back many times after that first trip.
It was the desert landscape I found myself in love with now. The quiet, desolate safety of slowly changing light; a place where only the most hardy and beautiful plants and flowers survive. I guess that’s how I was feeling after integrating so many past life aspects on The Camino just a year prior – like a survivor. When a little water is introduced to these dry lands they become a spring playground where one can escape the cold Colorado winter just a little sooner. When I met the aforementioned amazing soul, my husband, we took our first road trip to the high desert of Arizona. Many times over the years we revisited, together with our four legged children, and explored all the many crevices and high peaks desert land has to offer. I never grew tired of it and even suspected that in some way I must have had a hand in painting some of those original red rocks onto this earthly canvas. They were truly a joy, these adventure trips. Much planning would go into their creation and while Artemis had long since been traded, the energy of wilderness, wild animals and independence was pervasive.
We decided through conscious choice that when it was our time, this is where would conceive our first child. And we did, among the trees and waters of the high desert. Now, those who know our story know that this pregnancy did not come to fruition and it was also here, about 10 months later, that we spread the tiny ashes of this little one that ultimately chose not to incarnate at this time. It’s a sad and happy story all at once, one not so unfamiliar to many potential parents-to-be out there, even in the presence of such conscious choice. If you’re one of them, or you know one, you’re aware that it is a gritty experience, although not one that is impossible to recover from! A myth exists suggesting there is a “right” and “wrong” way for things to turn out in any given situation. It is a matter of perception, part of the landscape, and often it’s the most challenging experiences that leave the most light and color in their wake. I’ll take light and color over right and wrong any day! Believe me, much of the aftermath of this story held a bit of drama and a whole lot of integration; however, wisdom has taught me it’s useless to put some stories into words, mostly because as a human we see only part of the story and as so it is ever morphing to the speed of our changing consciousness. Besides, little did I know at the time this grit would come in handy for future integrations.
Now, to the present time in Moab, UT. Among the winds that were whipping at our camp and the loud trucks that were lining the narrow road to our retreat, a new awareness was born. An awareness of allowing, of change, of deeper self-love; a self-love that goes beyond the traditional thoughts about caring for our body or our sanity. This allowing was brought on by agitation, of course. The weather, the nearby campers and the forgetting of our tent poles (who needs flooding rains, just forget your tent poles in a wind storm!) all conspired to get my attention. My human started to allow and, in the allowing of softness amongst harsh landscape, a blending of red, cactus, dust, water, sacredness, consciousness, unconsciousness, masculine, feminine, sultry, purity, heat and coolness occurred. These waves of experience washed over me all at once. There was no differentiation between what was good or bad, liked or not liked. It was all coming at once. I can’t explain it and in the hallways of my vocabulary there are no words, but it was profound in its presence and compelling in its call for exploration, much the way the spires of red rock once were.
The desert’s harshness and quickness in matters of reckoning had been fully exhausted in the light of realization. For this, I thanked the desert, the more forceful aspects of me. I thanked her for her gifts of bluntness and ever changing light. For her heat and dryness and knowingness all woven at once into a landscape of desolation, beauty and timelessness. It was here, in the offering of her safety, though rough at times, that new seeds were planted and months later were transformed. The desert had continued to offer a steadfast home to my aspects least integrated and yet in the most recent act, dear desert and I had melded into a deep integration of masculine and feminine that surprised us both.
And just like that it was done, this obsession with deep red rocks and brilliant blue skies. Distrust of potentially flooding waters was replaced with a softness, now strong but undefined. An indescribable place where the new beckons, but not without effect was this love affair with dear desert. Within this integration the wordless wisdom is held to fully embody the secrets held in the landscapes to come, be it ocean, desert, forest or something entirely NEW!
So many of us have been finding a place of stillness and integration of masculine and feminine. The wind and the waves. Artemis and the desert. The magic of old earth continues as we build New Earth more with each deeper awareness.
Lara, a Licensed Massage Therapist, has lived and worked in the Longmont, Colorado area for 20 years, practicing various forms of bodywork. She has taken continued training in many different forms of bodywork including Craniosacral Therapy, Manual Lymphatic Drainage and Structural Muscular Balancing. Connecting with her clients in a conscious and heart centered manner, creating a safe space of healing and integration is her primary approach. She has also been trained in other modalities, including Attunement Energy Healing, Reiki, and Universal White Time Healing, and works with essential oils and flower essences.
Lara says, “Ultimately, it is choosing awareness, self-care and integrating aspects of ourselves into our consciousness that brings the ultimate healing.” Visit her website at larahendersonlmt.com.