Spring Break in Sedona.

2014-03-23 09.17.03

 wanderlust [won-der-luhst] nouna strong, innate desire to rove or travel about.

Although I’m glad to be home, uploading some of the pictures that I took while on vacation is making me wish I was back in Sedona. Regardless, however, this last week has left me feeling refreshed and recharged. On another note, I have to admit that Sedona has to be one of the most beautiful, scenic and serene places that I’ve been to in the States. Despite the bitter taste I developed for deserts due to my living experience in Twentynine Palms, CA, I have to say that being in Sedona for a week felt as though I was asked to live in (or near-to) the Grand Canyon. The red rocks were amazing and the vast hiking trails behind the house in the backyard also made for the most convenient of experiences.

Sera and Jomi

Our trip began last Friday, as we made our way from Vancouver to Sacramento for the first leg of the trip. I got to meet Savannah and Ashley’s grandparents and bonded a bit with Ashley and her two kids (Serafina and Soren) on the road trip down. One would think that travelling with a two-year old and a one-year old would be horrendous, but these kids were actually quite well-behaved for the majority of the trip. Sure, we had to make more frequent pit-stops but all-in-all it was actually a great experience.

Soren and Sav

When we got to Sedona, it was dark out. Like, pitch-black, dark. Although this made it nearly impossible to make out any of the scenery outside, the night-sky was lit up with a vast array of stars. Not only that, but arriving at night also allowed us (Ashley and I had never been there before) some room for a big surprise in the morning. We stayed at Savannah and Ashley’s parents’ house and man, was it exceptional. Despite arriving there at night and not being able to see anything outside, I was floored by the house as-it-was! Granted, I should probably come to expect this after being to their house in Battleground, more than several times already.

SEDONA0sThe living, dining room, and kitchen areas had windows that stretched from the floor all the way up to the ceiling, allowing for a panoramic view outside. I opted for the living room couch as Ashley had her two kids with her and I was really anxious to wake up to see what Sedona actually looked like. There was one point, early in the morning, where I was half-awake and looked outside of the windows and saw the silhouette of what I could only describe as mountains. A few hours later, I woke up to an astonishing, unobstructed view of the Sedona landscape. The silhouettes I had seen earlier were actually large, mountainous formations that I can only recall being similar to that of formations found around the Grand Canyon.

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It wasn’t until I looked around at the scenery that I could understand and appreciate the beauty and the appeal of Sedona. This immediately made me excited about the opportunity to go out hiking around the area, despite all of the verbal warnings about snakes, treacherous cacti, giant tarantulas, bobcats, and havalinas.

Our first full day in Sedona, however, was primarily focused on Soren as he had just turned a year old that Friday! Unfortunately, we spent the majority of his birthday on the road so naturally we celebrated it on our first day in town. Savannah and Ashley’s mom, Asavari, took us all out to breakfast to a place called Ken’s Creekside. The view from our table in the restaurant was outstanding and the food was just as delicious.

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When we got back to the house, preparation for Soren’s birthday party/dinner began. During this time, I took the opportunity to go out into the backyard and take a plethora of different pictures. To be honest, there didn’t seem to be a shortage of things to take pictures of.

If you want to see more of my photos I’ll be uploading them to my Facebook Page: Lenny B. Photography as soon as I get the chance to sift through them all.

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After some active playtime, Soren found himself passed out, so he wasn’t all-too happy when he was woken up when everything was ready.

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See? Hahaha. He eventually cheered up as he began to wake up a bit more, though. He even got a brand new Thomas the Tank Engine ride-on train. Sera seemed to be especially ecstatic about getting to play on her little brother’s newest toy, as well.

SEDONA10sAfter dinner, Asavari wanted to take us all out into the backyard for a quick hike. It was already nearing dusk, so we didn’t get too far before it started getting dark and had to head back.

Once we got back to the house though, it was still fairly early. Ashley decided to give the kids a quick shower, and once that was done we all gathered in the living room to watch Frozen. Yes, Frozen. I heard about all of the great hype associated to the movie, so naturally I was quite enthused about this opportunity. The kids on the other hand, probably could have cared less (in comparison). Overall, I think that the movie was pretty good. I wouldn’t say that it was better than Up, but there was a great message about female empowerment all the way through the movie which I thought was exceptional. The only gripe I have about the movie though, is the fact that there is an obvious lack of representation of any other ethnicity (other than white) throughout the movie. To be honest, the trolls (the trolls!) were the only ethnic minority as they seemed to be exclusively voiced by African Americans. By the end of the film we just ended up laughing about it and discussing how I needed to get hired by Disney as a cultural advisor of some sort. Honestly, I would do it, too.

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The following day, Asavari recommended that we do some sightseeing and head down the street to check out the Chapel of the Holy Cross. It’s a very small Catholic church built on a hillside. I’m not sure about its historical relevance, but there seems to be a very strong appeal to visit it for its geographical location, architectural uniqueness and overall spiritual appeal. Although we could have walked to this location from the house, we chose to drive there and slowly came to the realization that this was a popular sight that many tourists visited. For those of you that are unaware, Sedona receives approximately 5 million tourists a year, so the fact that it was spring break it was evident that there was an influx of cars waiting to park at the chapel. Thankfully, however, we were able to get parking without too much of a hassle.

SEDONA12sSEDONA13sI really wish that I was able to get a good photo of the place during the day, but I like how this image turned out. If there’s one thing that I love about almost every structure in Sedona, it has to be all of the windows and the natural light and beauty that shines in from them. SEDONA14sThis chapel was no exception, as its windows (literally) extend from the floor to the ceilings. The view behind the altar is also (easily) a million dollar view in-and-of itself.

I made the mistake of trying to take photos in the giftshop and a lady told me that photos were prohibited. Honestly though, it’s a gift shop – why would they not allow photos to be taken? Oh well, it is what it is.

When we were finished checking the entire place out, we decided to head back to the house in order to go on an extended hike. Asavari volunteered to watch the kids so that we could have the opportunity to go climb and explore one of the mountains/hills nearby. Although it wasn’t the wisest thing to do, I brought my camera with me so that I could take photos along the way. Suffice it to say, I took a lot of photos despite my constant need to ask Savannah or Jomi to hold my camera as I climbed up certain parts of the hill/peaks.

On our way to our destination, however, we came across an unusual and different kind of stone. There were others like it, but strangely enough, when we touched this rock it was literally “stone-cold” (despite that it was already well-into the afternoon). We went around touching other boulders that were similar to this one, but none of them were as frigid. Even after we had finished our hike and were on our way back, this boulder was just as cold as when we had initially touched it, yet all of the other ones felt warm to the touch. It was definitely an interesting and unusual experience.

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Anyway, the hike to the top of the hill was quite the invigorating experience. Although I’ve gone ziplining and skydiving, it was definitely a whole new experience when I was up there. I didn’t exactly trust the traction in my shoes, so when you add the element of wind, mixed with my fear of heights and my trembling knees, you can probably understand why I didn’t walk out to the edge of the peak. Not only that, but the surfaces were so smooth that even if I had some great traction, I wouldn’t think that it would help. Hahah. Needless to say, the hat Sav had on was gone with the wind by the time we were headed back down. Jomi, however, despite his fear of heights lead the way without a problem.

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When we got back to the house, I decided to take a quick shower and change into some clean, non-sweaty clothes. When I was done, everyone told me to head over to the reading nook and take a picture of Sera who fell asleep in a cute position. The lighting and everything was perfect, and I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to take some great pictures of her sleeping (naturally). I have more, but I’ll just limit this blog to only this photo for now. What are the chances that I could capture her like this? She’s such a cute little girl.

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After resting from our hike, we decided to head into town to check out some of the local shops. SEDONA19sI can’t remember the name of this place, but it had a large array of knick-knacks, artwork, furniture, and various types of gift ideas. Driving by, it looks like a fairly small place, but in reality it’s a very large lot. I ended up purchasing most of my souvenirs and gifts from this place, actually.

There were also a handful of animal skulls that were hung up in various parts of the shop that I considered purchasing. Unfortunately, I wasn’t about to cough-up over a hundred bucks for souvenirs for myself.
SEDONA20sRegardless, they were all pretty awesome.

There were also some pretty awesome woodwork pieces that caught my eye; however, the one thing that caught my attention the most was of an egg-shaped Septarian stone that was cracked. The awesome thing about this piece was that you could see various crystals growing on the inside of it. As Savannah put it, it looked like a cracked dragon egg. I would have bought it for myself, but it cost $250+. Despite the price, I kind of regret not purchasing it, because it definitely looks like a one-of-a-kind piece, but I’m glad that I at-least took a solid photo of it. Maybe that’s why some places prohibit photographs. Hahah.

After exploring every nook and cranny of that place we decided to head over to the Amitabha Stupa and Peace Park. It wasn’t until after taking a couple pictures near the entrance that I realized that taking pictures was prohibited there too (out of respect for the park and its participants). Asavari ended up meeting us there and together we headed to a place called Crystal Magic. I didn’t buy anything there, but they had a lot of really awesome crystals and stones. It’s was definitely an interesting experience to see how many different types of crystals, metals and stones there were; and how each one seems to have their own unique traits and attributes.

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The following day, Asavari took us out to breakfast at a local resort called L’auberge on Oak Creek. This place was definitely quite impressive. It was almost hard to believe that we were still in Sedona as the overall atmosphere and scenery was quite different from everything we had experienced previously.

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There were a bunch of ducks swimming around in the creek, as well as sunbathing on the rocks. We noticed some lights hooked up in the trees, so I can only imagine what the ambiance is like at night. It was definitely a great experience eating breakfast next to the creek, along with the ambient sound of the babbling brook right next to us. I feel so fortunate to have been able to experience it. From the looks of it, Soren was too as he was being extremely talkative that morning.

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After breakfast, we headed into downtown Sedona to visit Asavari’s friend, Zen, (who works at a place called Sedona Story) to have all of our auras read. I have to admit that I was completely fascinated by the process, as none of us had the same auras. As an International Studies major, I try to keep my mind open to the idea of cultural and religious differences and do my best to try to come from an unbiased and non-ethnocentric perspective. Overall, this experience was a very interesting learning experience, as well as an eye-opener for me.

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Going into this experience I knew very little about chakras and auras. The more I looked into it I came to learn that from a spiritual perspective, the body is said to house a total of 7 chakras: The crown, third eye, throat, heart, solar plexus, sacral, and root chakras.

aura reading
My aura reading

Each one of these chakras has a distinct color and is directly connected to a physical part of the body; However, they also have a spiritual connection/deeper meaning to them all. Ideally, people should aim for a type of balance between all of these chakras, however in my case – my chakra is dominated by the root chakra, some of the sacral chakra, with a bit of the solar plexus chakra (red, orange, and yellow).

By simply looking at this image, Zen told me that I am under a great amount of stress. Although I didn’t feel stressed out at that moment in time, I do know that I’ve been worrying a lot about my grades and graduating on time. To remedy this she recommended that I try to deal with the stress in my life by doing Taichi exercises on a regular basis to help calm my nerves. After that assessment we moved on and she told me that I’m going on a big trip soon, and proceeded to ask me if I knew “where?”. To be honest, this kind of surprised me as I’m certain that she didn’t know that I am a JET Program candidate. She then proceeded to tell me that I’ll do well there and that I won’t have to worry about the language barrier because it won’t end up being a problem for me. She also proceeded to tell me that that’s also where I will find my heart (chakra?) as interesting as that may sound.

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One thing that resonated with me the most, however, was that she mentioned to me that I needed to remain resolved in my faith. She told me that she doesn’t know what I believe in, but that I need to remember that God exists, He is real, and that He loves me. Not only that, but that we are all brothers and sisters and that we’re all on this journey together. Interestingly, something that I’ve never mentioned to anyone was the fact that I’ve slowly been losing my faith due to the actions, beliefs, and almost heartless attitudes of some of my fellow “Christians”. I feel like I needed this sort of affirmation. I’m sure that there will be people that will read this and think that I’m gullible and easily manipulable, but I know myself and I know that I’m not. Regardless of the matter, I feel like this was definitely a great and interesting experience that I won’t quickly forget.

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After everyone had their auras read, we continued our escapade into various shops around the area. Asavari and Savannah recommended that if I were to buy any stones to purchase mine from a particular shop. I can’t recall the name of the place, but their items were a lot more fairly priced. One thing that you will come to find about shops in Sedona is that there will never be a lack of places to find crystals and/or crystal shops. Each crystal (or stone) is believed to possess certain traits and attributes. The Septarian stone that I purchased, for example, is believed to be a stone of healing. It’s also believed to be the mineralized remains of cretaceous marine life, calcite and argonite, that are over 50 million years old. It’s also linked to the root, heart, throat, and third-eye chakras. Other attributes it consists of are:

  • Healing: metabolism, skin, heart, intestines, kidneys, blood, cellular memory, swelling
  • Encourages taking care of the earth
  • Harmonizes the emotions and intellect with the higher mind
  • Brings patience, endurance and tolerance
  • Brings eloquence to public speaking
  • Increases creativity and supports all endeavors grounding them in reality

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All-in-all, I feel as though my experiences in Sedona hold a great deal of significance for me. I’ve done my best to try to explain and describe my experiences, however, sometimes you just have to go with how you feel – and I feel as though Sedona has managed (in one way or another) left me feeling refreshed and recharged. Although it’s obvious that school has taken a great precedence in my life, I think that I need to remind myself that my life needs a healthier balance. Thankfully, this will hopefully be my last term, and I won’t need to stress out about school for much longer.

Anyway, if you read this entire blog entry, I commend you and I appreciate you and your interest in what goes on in my mind and my life. Until next time…

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