It was a narrow, precarious trail we were navigating, cut into the side of the mountain. We were already a couple of miles in when Jeff veered off the main trail and onto one of the “social” trails that appeared before us. This trail led us over open, slick rock directly to the back face of Cathedral Rock in the red rocks of Sedona. It was steep on both sides, sprouting spiny cactus on the upside and sheer drop offs on the downside. Footing was mindfully placed and it was a good lesson in keeping the mind steady and quiet. Storm clouds were building in the distance and occasionally a brief shower descended upon our heads. There had even been a rumble of thunder, but it seemed far enough away that we continued our exploration. Wildflowers of every hue ran freely across the open stretches and birds trilled in pure joy.
Occasionally, fearful thoughts crept their way in, reminding me of my physical vulnerability. I would sweep them away and trek on as we followed the path along the rock face, climbing steadily higher. It was awesome to be on Cathedral, one of the vortex sites in Sedona. This was a trail we hadn't been on before and we were the only souls out there. We found a slightly wider spot to rest and snack; a good spot to take in the gorgeous views offered in the distance. Below us, a sheer drop off onto mounds of rounded red rock.
There was no clear way to get up onto the saddles of Cathedral where the vortex is located, so we stayed on our perch at the end of the trail. Nevertheless the energy emanating from the mountain was very strong. It felt masculine and centered in my head, actually making me feel slightly dizzy at times. I needed to remind myself to ground my feet, feel the energy and stay steady.
Heading back out the same trail, fear took over, flooding me in waves. I worried about rattlesnakes, the sheer drop off onto rocks below, the incoming stormy weather, and the spiny cacti ready to pierce my skin. It was hard to shake it off. I tried focusing my breath, singing, thinking good thoughts and walking meditation. Nothing was working and it became almost overwhelming, until I heard a deep, roaring belly laugh in my head, seeming to come from behind me. I turned and looked back at Cathedral and asked internally if it was laughing at me. In response, the belly laughter deepened, and in that moment my fear disappeared.
The storm that had been building and threatening all morning did finally blow in though. For the last twenty minutes of our hike, it poured, hailed, thundered and lightninged. Exposed on open red rock, we were pummeled as the storm raged. But the fear had left me, and though I startled with each roll of thunder and flash of lightning, I felt safe as the drenching rain soaked my clothes, winding our way down the rock face to our waiting car.