Growing up in our household of seven siblings, finding any time alone meant that you were probably in the basement doing laundry. Up to five females sharing one bathroom meant the males were harried in and out of the facilities and chances were slim that any of the rest of us would get a shower without someone else in there doing her hair. Our comfort zone was the social environs of family and friends. If one really wanted to be alone, there had to be something wrong in our world that day. This is how it was for me until this year… when my journey shifted.
Growing up, whenever I’d see people vacationing alone, I’d feel a twinge of sadness, thinking about how they hadn’t anyone to share this special time with them. It never occurred to me that some people might choose to live, travel and be alone. But now I understand why.
This past March, I realized I had just two weeks to take advantage of an airline voucher good for a round-trip anywhere in the country. So, with a single click of my mouse, I leapt further out of my comfort zone than ever before.
I had spent an hour passing through Sedona, Arizona,15 years ago during a family road trip and fondly remember pulling up to Bell Rock just in time to catch a truly majestic sunset. As I opened the car door and set my feet on the ground, a sense of peace and calm flowed through my being on all levels. Although religiously raised, the feeling experienced that moment proved a more soulshaking spiritual connection than anything I’d ever encountered.
From that instant, I knew I would be back. Through the ensuing years, a return visit to the Red Rocks of Sedona has often been mentioned but never realized. I believe it’s because this special spot was being held in reserve as my first healthy escape retreat. The first few days that I spent meditating and hiking alone through breathtaking scenery provided the opportunity to connect with my Source in a way I had only read about. Today, the feeling returns whenever I become still, close my eyes and recall sitting cross-legged on a ledge overlooking the canyon, taking deep relaxing breaths and feeling the sun’s gentle warmth enveloping my senses. Ahh...
My solo journey has awakened me to the value of aloneness—all-oneness— which is a far cry from loneliness. I’ve learned that we are never really alone because, as the adage notes, “Wherever you go, there you are.” If we allow it, we might find that we’re pretty good company.
Inspire your own muse by following through on an idea or two offered in Judith Fertig’s delicious article, “Healthy Escapes, Unplugged Getaways Rebalance Our Lives.” Whether you decide to go it alone or enjoy the time with buds, you’re sure to return home with something wonderful to remember.
Embrace the journey!
Maisie Raftery, Publisher