Finding your peace

We live in a highly populated tourist area, in fact our town get’s about 5 million visitors a year. That’s a whole lot for a city that has just under 20,000 residents, 19.2 miles of land which is mostly Red Rock country and National Forest. Sedona is more beautiful to me than any other site I’ve seen in my travels. The gorgeous Red Rocks in Sedona bring me much needed calm. Wether I am staring at them or living within them, it is here I left back home for, 23 years ago 

(I still get the “guilt trip” for moving cross country.)

Twenty-three years later and Sedona’s Red Rocks are what people come from all over the world to see.  It is the most popular it’s ever been. Most say it’s better then seeing the Grand Canyon (GC), as when your at the Grand Canyon you can look down, but you cannot clearly make out the rocks unless you hike down into it. The Canyon becomes more alive the further you decent.  The bright red rocks lite by the sun, the clouds that shadow over them or experience millions of years of rock formations.

Down there you can imagine yourself as an early dweller, a pioneer, researching and playing in the GC before it became what it is today. When I am down there that is how I feel. It is very quite below the rim. This is my Sanctuary, the Grand Canyon, and one of my favorite things to do, one of my favorite places to be. Being in the (GC) and in the inner gorge is like being in the middle of no where. It’s exactly what you’d fear in your nightmares; being alone, with no one or nothing around. Almost as if you are the pin dropped in the hay stack…good luck finding your body should something go wrong. There are popular hikes, like in the corridor trails, then hikes for those that like more challenges (and less crowds) such as having a dry camp or carrying your own water; no bathrooms and there are zero showers when camping down there. It’s likely you will not see anyone while hiking the other trails.  The GC is not only gorgeous and filled with millions of years of history, if you hike on the less populated trails, there is no one but you out there!  It can be freaky but I feel elated and free. I  am free to roam anywhere, smell the fresh air and take in the geography and great weather. I swim in the rivers and creeks and lay relaxing on the beach. I let the warmth of the sun radiate into my body and warm my skin. It can be comfortable in the elements. I read, think out-loud, plan goals and fight the many challenges of being down in the Inner Gorge. 

When I am in the Grand Canyon, I walk miles and miles and it brings me internal peace, it is like no other feeling I’ve ever had. No where to be, no time frame, just walking…step after step after step. I just keep going, sort of like I keep fighting my disease, each and every day. Or rather not letting it get me down. 

James and I

When hiking I feel light, in body and mind. This feeling I compare to eating the Italian dessert Cannolis that were homemade by my family every Christmas season, when I was young. 

I feel pleasure in so many ways when I am in the GC.  It is where I feel at home, enjoying the moments that come and getting to know more about myself. 

Now you may be wondering…what do I do, out in the middle of the no where, if I get a migraine? Right? The answer is I have never had a migraine while in the Grand Canyon. I have been in the emergency room, 10 hours before, and as soon as I hit the trail and breathe the fresh air,..I am fine. I may have to take a few meds but I have never had a debilitating migraine while hiking there. So many dangers but such great rewards, if you can navigate them. IF I had to guess, I’d say I’ve been in the hospital, the day before a trip to the GC, near 7 times. Something in me shines like laser beam when I am down in the Grand Canyon and healing begins. 

Within the chaos of life and certainly in my own mind, I crave peace….Like I’ve never been satisfied. It’s a thirst I have every minute of every day…for my mind to slow down, for it to be still.  Well, I find that peace in open spaces; the desert, in a forest or swimming in the  ocean. I cannot feel closed in. Wow..I am just thinking of my chaotic filled life before I had migraines and how I thrived on the chaos, excitement, adrenaline filled experiences, the bright lights of America’s greatest cities, and living in urban areas clustered with shopping, Art and University. I do love all that,… but I can no longer live in it. 

Sedona, has gotten so big and just nuts with people and traffic; that it now causes me harm to be here. A very sad moment for myself as Sedona was and probably still my favorite place in the World. 

We are leaving Sedona and moving just outside of Sedona where we will have a few acres.  We are currently building a “mini-home” and it will be ready for move-in in December. In a few weeks we will be moving onto the property for good, but since our home will not be ready we will be living in a family member’s travel trailer for 2 months. When it’s all said and done, we will have made 4 moves this year…between May-December. 

It’s ok. And actually I am sort of having fun with this adventure!  I have cultivated a feeling of “OK, this is only temporary, enjoy yourself and overcome the challenges, with grace and ease”. I had foot surgery during these moves, I’ve had migraines so bad that I’ve need to go to the emergency room several times. Last week I had a panic attack that I am. Now feeling relief from…God those are scary! But I am OK. 

Fortunately, I have found that as long as I have my medication and natural remedies, then I can survive and thrive in any situation. My doctors recognize the severity of my illness and as I don’t want to lay in bed all day, screaming in pain and not having a life…they can empathize and they want to see my succeed. I’ve been going to the same emergency room for the last 11 years. They know me now and they see me suffer and it affects them (probably because they see me so often and know I am the real deal).  I am suffering from debilitating pain and pleading for mercy. So I have always had the medications I needed to have to have, what I would consider a decent life.

I know how lucky I am too have found the right doctors for myself and after years of seeing them for care they are invested in my wellbeing. I hear from so many people how they cannot get the medications they need and that they are stuck in bed all day.  I can relate, I was there in the beginning when I first got sick. No doctor wanted to touch me because they knew a heavy amount of pain medication would be required to help me. I had to go to Phoenix to find my doctors (2 hours south). My migraine doctor asked me to go to rehab to get the drugs out of my system to see if I was having true migraines or if I was having re-bound headaches from the pain meds…which can be worse as you know! UGH!  I was released in 72 hours. The doctor at the rehab facility called my migraine specialist and said that she needed to make room for me to see her “today” because I had been off my meds for 72 hours and I felt like I was dying. 

Early on, I had spent time in two different hospitals. They each ran all sorts of tests and therapies to get to the bottom of my pain. They were switching out pain medication cocktails every 6-8 hours because nothing seemed to work. Those were horrible days…God to think back and to think how I’ve come. My migraines are still as severe but I have created a lifestyle around them that allow me to have a life that is fulfilling for me.  Oh…and my diagnosis, Chronic Migraine Disease without Aura, cause is Stress. 

Years ago, I had to stomach the realization that I will no longer be able to do certain things, things I had always hoped to do…I had to change my goals, change my friends, change my family and had to come up with a new career. I am on social security disability, which has been a blessings all these years. Yes, thank you God. But I need to make more than what they give me. I can only work part time and if I make to much money than I could lose my benefits and my medical insurance. Its pretty tricky but I’ve got it all figured out now.

Find your sanctuary…find a challenge that you feel confident you can achieve. Believe in your self. Be curious. Be safe.  Hire experts to help you or ask someone who has experience, if needed. 

What brings me peace is very different then what others may wish for. Stop suffering and find something that makes you SMILE… You are stronger than you think you are…always and in every circumstance.  What excites you? No really, truly what do you want in you life that will bring you joy?  I am always asking myself..”how does this make me feel or does it bring me joy”? If not I get rid of it and if yes, then I keep it. This can be related to friends, family, hobbies, your work or anything else that can strip you of joy.  PUSH THE DELETE BUTTON on things in your life that do not bring you joy. 

Phoenix Rising…this should be you.

-What choices are you making? 

-Do they serve you or are they know longer serving you and  your life?  

We’ve got to roll with the punches (as they say) with our lives and make changes, perhaps day to day.

I encourage you to find what brings you joy and go after it.

For me, I am going back to the Grand Canyon to backpack it next year. I am counting the days. For now, I look up and thank my God for all I am able to do. He helps me focus on what I can do…not what I cannot. And I have found that there is plenty I still can do!


Note* my last post was about the panic attack I started last week and is still somewhat with me. I have discovered that sipping on chamomile tea during the day, does helps to keep me calm and it also helps to quite my brain!  I chose natural options first and this one seems to work. I fill up a large coffee tumbler with 2-chamomile tea bags, 1-ginger tea bag (a natural pain reliever) and 1-green tea. I drink 2 of these concoctions a day. And at night? Sleepy time tea can be very helpful as well. I hope this helps. 

With grace and ease we shall proceed.

With love and care…


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