Finding Myself in Sedona

Photography by Melissa Corter at Red Rock Crossing in Sedona, AZ

Photography by Melissa Corter at Red Rock Crossing in Sedona, AZ

For as long as I can remember, Sedona has been calling me. I don’t recall how I first learned about Sedona or what drew me to the location, all I know is that it was a place I needed to visit—a deep longing within my soul beckoned me, and in 2012 I finally listened.

While scrolling online, I learned of a spiritual retreat to be held in none other than Sedona, and instantly I felt a strong desire to attend. You see, at the time I was on a journey of self-discovery, trying to find my path in the world, and searching for meaning and purpose and a way to tie it all together. Something inside me told me I needed to be at that retreat, and I’m so thankful for that inner guidance—those nudges that tell us we need to be somewhere or try something new. I was able to discern that it was my higher self guiding me, yet I had to turn that inspiration into action and step out in faith where it was leading me. Looking back today, I realize that moment was pivotal. That moment changed everything.

Thank God I listened.

Without hesitation I signed up for the retreat and booked my airfare. I would be traveling across country to attend the retreat; Florida to Arizona was quite a journey to take alone, after all, but I’ve always been adventurous, and something even deeper within me knew this was a trip I needed to experience on my own. 

After months of anticipation, April finally came and I was on a plane headed west. Arriving in Arizona was surreal; it was a whole other world than where I was from, and I loved it. In Florida, everything is tropical and green, and the humidity hangs thick in the air, something I have grown used to. But this new land was like nothing I had ever experienced.  I secured my rental car from the airport, and before long I was headed north on I-17, surrounded by desert terrain, not knowing what to expect once I would arrive at my destination.

I’ll never forget the first time I saw Sedona, Arizona. After about 1.5 hours on the interstate I finally saw that sign: Exit 298 Sedona. I exited the highway and followed the arrow left, and my anticipation started to build. I could feel I was on the brink of something magical, and a world of new possibilities lay ahead of me. The idea of exploring the unknown had my energy at its highest possible vibration, or so I thought. There are no words to describe the feeling I got when my car drove over the hill and I saw those majestic red rocks in the distance for the first time.

Photo Credit: Sunny Dawn Johnston

Photo Credit: Sunny Dawn Johnston

There was nothing that could prepare me for the beauty of Sedona. No amount of research online or visuals in books and magazines I had bought in anticipation of my trip did this place justice. I’ve heard the saying, “God made the Grand Canyon, but he lives in Sedona.”  In that moment, I believed that to be true.

The sun shimmering off the massive red rocks with the clear blue skies as a backdrop was breathtaking, then add the greenest of greens to the mix and you have an array of colors that complement each other so well, it’s sheer magnificence.

Sedona is known for its energy vortexes, and just traveling to Sedona can heighten intuition. The first time I experienced that energy mixed with the beauty of the land, the feeling was overwhelming. Tears welled up in my eyes and my heart was filled with an incomprehensible joy. I had to pull the car over, stop, and take it all in. Again, there are no words to describe the first time you see Sedona, Arizona. It’s something one has to experience to truly understand. Breathtaking is the only word that comes to mind, because in that moment it literally took my breath away.

Luckily I had arrived a couple days before my retreat was set to begin, to allow me time to explore … and explore I did!  Everything from that point on was the adventure of a lifetime. From hiking to visiting the vortex points such as Bell Rock and Boynton Canyon, to browsing through the new age shops uptown, and sifting through the most striking crystals I had ever seen--the whole trip seemed divinely guided. I ended up in the most magical locations, and people seemed to be placed upon my path who could guide me in the right direction at each juncture. Every moment in Sedona will be filled with synchronicity and serendipitous events if you let go, trust, and allow yourself to be guided.

By the time I arrived at my retreat a few days later, I was already a changed person, and little did I know the real change was about to begin. Our retreat was held a few miles north of uptown Sedona, deep in Oak Creek Canyon, at cabins set in the woods with a river running through the property. More beauty, but this was a different kind of splendor since I was now at the bottom of the canyon looking up at the red rocks. Something about that alone makes your problems feel small, and has a way of putting things in perspective. The air was fresh and pure, there was no wi-fi, no TVs, just the sound of the water flowing through the woods off in the distance, birds chirping, a light breeze—it was just what I needed. Sometimes we have to silence those daily distractions and immerse ourselves in nature and its simplicity to really get in touch with ourselves and nourish the soul.

By the time my retreat began, I still didn’t know why I was there, only that I felt a calling to attend and I trusted that inner voice enough to listen. After four days in Oak Creek Canyon with 23 strangers who were also on a journey to find spiritual awakening, I knew. As it turns out, I had some healing to do, and that retreat proved to be life changing for me. The people I met became my soul sisters, and many of us have maintained those friendships over the years. My retreat facilitator not only became my mentor, but I continue to work with her to this day and I went on to participate in many of her certification programs, further expanding my skills and my business. To this day she is my trusted mentor and teacher, and I never would have met her if I had not listened to that inner calling. The connections I made at that retreat proved to be valuable in themselves, but the gift of growth and expansion I received by making a commitment to better myself and do the inner work is priceless.

We are all a work-in-progress, and no matter where we are on our journey, we all have wounds to heal and blocks to remove. I pray to always be humble enough to remember that I am always evolving and expanding, and I will always need to take time to remove myself from the hustle and bustle of daily life and travel, attend retreats, see the world, meet new people and follow that inner guidance when it nudges me to attend an event and in the process, visit places far and wide.

Photography by Melissa Corter - Cathedral Rock, Sedona, AZ

Photography by Melissa Corter - Cathedral Rock, Sedona, AZ

Once you visit Sedona, you will be transformed. Ask anyone who has been there and you will likely hear the same. Since that first trip to Sedona, I now travel solo once per year to Sedona to do some soul searching, get lost in nature, explore, unplug and get away from it all in a place where I can silence my mind from the daily distractions of life. I take this trip for myself, with the full support of my husband, who has also traveled to Sedona alone, and fully understands the value of that experience. Each time I visit, it’s an adventure. I find a new trail, I meet new people, I experience clarity and growth. And each time I depart I leave a little piece of my heart there that longs to return.

Those who visit Sedona report feeling a deep longing within their soul to return known as Red Rock Fever, and I get it often. All it takes is for someone to mention the mere name of this majestic land that has become a part of me, and I feel the tingle inside my heart that says, It’s time for a visit.

This year, in November 2016, I am blessed enough to be co-facilitating a spiritual retreat of my own in Sedona with two other like-minded souls whom I met through this spiritual community I now belong to, all due to the trip back in 2012 that I was called to take.

In just four years I’ve grown by leaps and bounds, my business has taken off and now I am in a position to host my own retreats in the land I love. That never would have happened if I hadn’t followed my inner guidance and took inspired action back when Sedona first called me. If I hadn’t shown up for myself and been open and willing to do the work necessary to evolve and grow, I wouldn’t be where I am today—in my business or spiritually.

I urge you to listen to your own inner callings within your soul. Where do you long to travel? What programs get you excited?  Who are the people you are drawn to? Whom would you like to meet?

Sit with that, perhaps in meditation or in a journaling session, and see what comes up for you. More importantly, when you get those inner nudges, listen.

Perhaps Sedona herself is calling you? If so, I invite you to consider our Sedona Retreat 2016: Packaging Your Purpose, set in quaint cabins in the woods, deep in Oak Creek Canyon. Not only is this retreat taking place during the fall, my favorite time of year, but also during the energy of the full moon … oh, the possibilities! 

Are you searching for your life purpose? Do you desire work that is rewarding? To spread your message to the world? To help others? Perhaps you already have a spirit-based business and you need to remove the fears and blocks that are holding you back from your full potential. In any case, our Packaging Your Purpose Sedona Retreat may be right for you. Click here to learn more. Then listen. You’ll know if you are being called. If you are, trust in yourself enough to show up.

It may just change your life.

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