Sunday, January 28, 2007


I don't really know anything about investing. I have a 403b - which is basically the teacher version of a 401k - but I don't know what it does, just that I contribute $500 a month to it and hope that it is somehow making me money. Neither of my parents were financially savvy so I didn't really learn anything from them. And as cozy as it is floating along on my raft of Denial, I know I should buck up and become a responsible adult.

Yesterday, two of my teacher friends and I went to an investment seminar for women called "Financially Fit Females!" The $20 registration fee included a motivational speech by Kendra Todd, winner of "The Apprentice 3"; your choice of two 90-minute sessions; and lunch. [Be sure to click on Kendra's link and check out the funky porno music]

It was pretty educational. The first session I went to was called, "Introduction to Investing." The speaker, a 50-something CPA, spent most of the time fussing with her laptop and trying to get the projector to work. She had created a PowerPoint presentation and done the same, annoyingly redundant thing as the speaker at the suicide prevention workshop I attended back in October.

This must be some new presentation trend. But what I don't get is why you would go to all the trouble of preparing a PP presentation when you're just going to give out a packet with of all same slides anyway? And what am I, the listener, supposed to be looking at? The screen or the packet?

I opted for neither and instead just looked at the presenter. And in my adolescent mind, I'd won. Nyah nyah.

In between the two sessions there was a nice catered lunch buffet. There was also a lame fashion show sponsored by Talbot's . All the models were these skinny, perky, executive wonderwomen. They had fabulous hair and fabulous teeth and seemingly boundless energy - like a little army of Kendra minions. It was a bit nauseating.

The last session I attended was called, "Pick Stocks Like Warren Buffett," and was presented by a frumpy older guy. He used an old-school overhead projector which remained out of focus for 90 minutes, but I have to say, he was a really good speaker. And although I am not quite yet ready to buy $75M in Berkshire-Hathaway, I enjoyed listening to him.

All in all, a Saturday well spent. I went home to take a look at my 403b paperwork... and I still don't understand any of it.

* * *

Last night I stayed at HIS place. We made a really nice dinner together and watched some "Six Feet Under." By 10:30, I was spent and went to bed. This morning HE informed me that as I was dozing off, we played a great game of Word Association. It went something like -

HIM: "Okay - 'January'."
Me: "..."
HIM: "Okay - 'Martin Luther King'."
Me: "..."
HIM: "Did you say 'ACLU?' Okay - "

And apparently we played this game (HE played this game) for about 15 minutes. I don't remember any of it. I do, however, remember getting up to go to the bathroom and coming back to find HIM laying on my side of the bed.

Me: "You're on my side."
HIM: "Yes, I'll always be on your side."
Me: "No. I mean move the hell over."

All this and more. And it's ALL MINE.

Thursday, January 25, 2007


Alright - now back to our regularly scheduled dose of misanthropy...

2007 has been good so far. I turned 32 last week and the wonderful fiancé bought me this for my birthday! Now I have no excuse not to get my ass back into a reasonable running routine.

Speaking of which, I joined the New York Road Runners. They have a deal where if you do nine of their sanctioned races in one calendar year and retain your membership for the following year, you're guaranteed entry in the New York Marathon... NYC 2008!!

"American Idol" hath returned in its hideous glory and I AM LOVING IT!! I can't explain it. Generally speaking, I hate television. I've made some exceptions recently, renting and watching the full six seasons of "The Sopranos" (we're all caught up now!) and "Six Feet Under." But as far as watching live TV, not so much. I think it's because my attention span is middle school-short? Maybe that's why I love "Idol" so damn much. It moves quickly, people suck and the judges are mean.

It's frigging cold here, finally. I shouldn't bitch, it's been a warm winter the past few months. But now it's just cold. And that means I like nothing better than sitting ass in a warm spot, drinking lattes and not moving.

Speaking of which, I hear a couch calling my name.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


I met Jim and Joe for dinner at a really cool Chinese restaurant. We shared great conversation over great food, and they asked if I wanted to join them the next day for a Jeep ride through Sedona. I had been planning to head down to see my friend in Tucson, but they convinced me to stay an extra day.

On Monday morning, I met up with the guys and we took off in Jim's 1970's Jeep Wrangler. We made a couple stops through town, popping into art galleries to chat with their friends. Everyone was so friendly and open. One woman, Mary, agreed to come along on our ride.

We headed out into the desert, off the roads, and ventured beyond where the Pink Jeep Tours dared to go. It was amazing to climb through canyons in this tank-like vehicle. We got out and sat on a ledge, soaked up the red rock beauty and chatted about spirituality. After we dropped Mary off, Joe suggested we pay a visit to Mason.

"Who's Mason?" I asked.
"Well... he's a very unique character. He lives about ten miles into the middle of the desert... in a dome."

Mason's dome was powered by solar panels and submarine batteries. Inside his dome were dozens of inventions he'd been working on, along with hundreds of books and magazines - many about UFOs.

As we were sitting around chatting with him, I noticed something very peculiar... the wart I'd had on the side of my finger for the past 28 years was no longer there.

"Holy shit!" I exclaimed. They all looked up at me. "This wart I had... like, all my life... it's gone!"
"Oh. Yeah well, that happens here," Joe replied, nonchalantly.

My first trip to Sedona changed my life. So many things happened, and I know I've left a lot of things out. Never before had I felt such energy, such love, such spirituality. During my closing session with Debra on that Monday morning before the Jeep ride, I cried to her - telling her I wanted to stay. I was sad that I would be leaving Sedona behind me - leaving these feelings that I'd never known before.

Debra smiled and told me not to worry.

"Sedona is a healing place. It enables people to open up a part of them they may never have known. You already had it inside of you before you got here. And it will stay with you wherever you decide to go."

I've been back twice since then, bringing others with me. Both trips have been vastly different from that first time - but every time I go, I learn more about life and about who I am.

Thursday, January 18, 2007


I drove up to Debra and Tom's house around 2:00 for my breathwork session. They lived in this incredibly hip, one-story home right in Sedona. The houses in town are great because they are all the same color - kind of terra cotta-ish - and blend in with the rocks.

Tom brought me into a meditation room where there were plants, candles and a thick mat on the floor. I was instructed to lie down on my back, and he offered me a blindfold. Yeah I know, this sounds kinda kinky, but trust me -- it was NOTHING like that.

Connective breathing is exactly as it sounds: you connect your breath - taking deep breaths through your nose, exhaling through your mouth - until you literally alter your state of consciousness. I suppose it's like controlled hyperventilation?

I wasn't sure what to expect. That was probably a good thing cause otherwise I may have tried too hard to achieve what it was I was supposed to. Thinking back on it all now, I wasn't told what each session would do for me until afterwards, when I discussed each one with my guides, and even later when I went home and Googled.

Tom sat in a chair beside me, and told me that he'd be there only to remind me to breathe. He said that, should I get scared by anything that I was seeing, I could just return to breathing normally and bring myself out of the trance-like state. He started up some music of different tempos and varied styles, and told me that I'd know when to come out of it when I heard a specific song which began by naming different angels.

Um.. okay.

I can't completely recall all that happened to me during that experience. I know that I fell into an altered state of consciousness. As the music changed, different scenes of a life - my life? - played out before my eyes. At one point, I was in the desert on a mountain ledge. At one point, I was in a county - India maybe? - with people all around me. I remember the pruney face of a very old man, laughing. I remember the sound of children laughing. It was like dreaming, though I never fell asleep.

When I heard the song calling the angels and at Tom's suggestion, I allowed my breathing to return to normal. I opened my eyes and realized the blindfold was wet and that I had been crying. I felt as if I had been somewhere far away. Not a place -- but a time.

"Where did you go?" Tom asked.
"I have no idea," I replied. I began telling him about some of the images I remembered. Things which have since left my memory, although I can still remember the feeling I was left with.

"How long do you think you were gone?" he asked.
"I dunno - ten, fifteen minutes?" I guessed.
"You've been under for an hour and a half," he smiled. And sure enough, it was nearly 4:00.

Recently, I've been trying to find stuff on the internet about breathwork. Some sites have said that through connective breathing, you are accessing your biological history - from the day you were born and before that, even. I don't know if that's what I experienced. Whatever it was for me, it was amazing. I'd be interested in doing it again.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


I got back to my hotel, took a shower and changed into dry clothes. Realizing I'd not yet had breakfast, I decided to head over to a restaurant that Debra recommended. And lo and behold, when I walked in I saw Debra, Tom and Tessa sitting at a table. They invited me to join them.

"So how's your trip been so far?" Debra asked.

I proceeded to fill her in on my goings-on: from the exhilarating moment on the ledge with John, to the tattoo parlor, meeting Jim and Joe and my early morning hike. Tessa's eyes bugged out while I talked, hardly believing all I'd been through, while Tom and Debra sat back and smiled.

"Sounds like you're having a true Sedona awakening," said Tom. "I'm looking forward to the breathwork session this afternoon."

After enjoying a great meal together, I got in the car and decided to head over to the arts & crafts festival to meet Jim and Joe. It was only a couple miles down the road that I came upon the rows of vendors tents. The weather was perfect - about 70 degrees, dry and sunny - and everyone looked like they were having a great time.

I wandered around a bit and it wasn't long before I found my friends. Joe was selling shirts and other 'marbleized' garments near another vendor who was selling Native American flutes. I chatted with the flute guy for a while and ended up buying one, along with two of his CDs.

I hung around for an hour or so and made plans to meet up with Jim and Joe for dinner in the evening. My breathwork session was still an hour off, so to kill some time, I remember heading over to the Chapel of the Holy Cross to sit on a rock and enjoy the view. From my perch, I dialed my friend Jeni (the one who, in the diner that evening, had encouraged me to take the trip.)

I told her all about my adventures so far, and thanked her for giving me the nudge to take the first step. Amazing what can happen once something's set in motion: from one little idea, an entire life can change.

Saturday, January 13, 2007


I woke up bright and early the next morning - around 5 AM - and realized it was Easter Sunday. I had a connective breath session scheduled later in the afternoon with Debra's husband, Tom, but nothing until then. I decided to get up, get dressed and go out for a hike.

The rock formation I'd found most intriguing from the start was Cathedral Rock. I don't know what it is about it. I drove out towards the rock, not really following any directions to a trailhead, just trying to get as close as I could. I found a parking area a few miles out, but the gate was closed due to the early hour (it was not yet 7 AM). I parked my car on the side of the road and started walking.

I didn't have a map or even a bottle of water (which, in retrospect, was probably pretty stupid) I just wanted to walk. I wanted to get as close to Cathedral Rock as I could.

I wandered through bramble and cacti, and eventually ended up at a bubbling creek. Covering about forty yards of its shore were hundreds of what I later learned were cairns of all shapes and sizes. Although I was unsure about what they represented, to me they meant 'family.' I erected my own made from five stones - representing my parents, two brothers and myself.

A bit further along my journey, I heard rustling in the brush and was confronted by a mangy animal who looked to be half fox, half dog. It froze and stared at me, growling a little. Before I had a chance to panic, a voice from behind it called out, "Easy, boy."

It's owner - an equally mangy looking guy in his early 20's - appeared.
"You don't happen to be heading to the Druids Circle?" he asked.
"Um... no," I replied.
"Huh. Well, have you seen them anywhere? They were supposed to be having a gathering out here this morning."
"No, I don't think I've seen any Druids."

Druids?! I began to feel as if I were wandering around in someone else's acid trip.

"Just out for a hike?" he asked.
"Yeah, pretty much."

I have to admit, at this point I was beginning to get a little nervous. Reality sunk in that I was alone in the desert with this homeless-looking guy and his scary mongrel. My rental car was parked several miles away - on the shoulder of a dirt road - and not one person knew where I was.

This was the scene from a horror movie where you say out loud, "Now what idiot would ever put herself in that situation?" - right before she was hacked to bits by an axe. Yeah.

"I'm David," the guy said, offering me a handshake.
"Jen," I replied. And we walked together through the woods.

I learned that David basically WAS homeless. He'd been passing through towns, trying to figure himself out. He was very new-agey, and I guess that's how he came to find Sedona. We walked together, talking for about a half hour, and then we went our separate ways; him to find his Druids, me to press on towards Cathedral Rock.

I was getting to where I could actually touch the base of the formation, but I was unsure of how to navigate any closer. There were no clear trails, and it seemed as if I'd gotten as close as I could, when all of a sudden, I caught a glimpse of a deer-type of animal a little bit ahead of me.

I say 'deer-type' because it wasn't a like the deer I'm used to seeing out here in NJ. And while I secretly hope it was a gazelle - 'cause really, how weirdly awesome would that be? - I'm not sure. And I want to be truthful here.

The deer started walking up the hill, closer to the formation, and I decided to follow in its path. I made it about another 1/4 mile closer, and found the perfect cliff on which to perch and enjoy the view.

The stillness of the desert wilderness that Easter morning was surreal. And with the sun coming up over the hill, I experienced a sense of spirituality that could never be found inside a church. I felt complete - one with nature. My heart was bursting with an emotion I didn't understand. It's a feeling I have never been able to match, and one I will never forget.

I'm not sure how long I stayed sitting there, soaking it in. Eventually I headed back down and found myself at the creek. I couldn't remember how I'd crossed it the first time. Perhaps I'd been at a narrower part? Now I was looking at a fairly wide expanse - about 15 yards - and I decided to cross it, rock to rock. I stepped carefully out onto the first rock, it's dry peak cresting through the water.

'No problem,' I thought, cockily. I made it about halfway into the creek and realized there wasn't an easy dry rock to get me any further. There were, however, plenty of rocks just below the surface.


[Note to anyone dumber than me: Wet rocks are slippery. Particularly those covered in a fine layer of green slime.]

Down I went, right on my ass, right in the middle of the creek. I sat there in the cold water and had to laugh at my own stupidity. I finally got up and waded the rest of the way to the shore, took off my soaked shoes, rolled up my soggy pantlegs and found my way back to my car.

It's an Easter I'll never forget.

Thursday, January 11, 2007


By the time I got back to my hotel after the sound healing, it was already late afternoon on Saturday. I had nothing else planned, so I figured I'd drive around Sedona. Shortly after I crossed the city limits into Cottonwood, I came upon a tattoo parlor.

I'd never even considered getting a tattoo - it just wasn't me. But my mind was absolutely on fire from the experience in the canyon - I felt more alive than ever before. This sense of open energy was just coursing through my veins, and I wanted a way to remember it -- a souvenir.

There were two guys inside the shop. One was a younger guy with dark hair and a head full of piercings. The second was an older guy with a long ponytail and a scraggly moustache. An old, gray dog was curled up on a couch. He lifted his head when I came in, heaved a sigh and went back to sleep.

"Can we help you?" the younger guy asked.
"Um... I think I wanna get a tattoo. But I don't know of what," I replied.
"Well, feel free to browse around," the older guy said, pointing to walls covered in thousands of designs. "We also have these you can look through," he indicated towards a stack of 3-ring binders.

Since this was all so spontaneous, I wasn't sure what I had in mind. I skimmed through the books and walked around studying the walls. After a little while, the older guy said,

"Hey - I gotta take him to get his car. It's just down the road a little bit so I won't be long. Feel free to hang out here and keep looking."
"It's okay if I'm here alone?" I asked.
"Nah, you're not alone. He's here," he nodded at the comatose dog.
"Um, okay."
"I'm Ogre, by the way," the older guy said, offering me a handshake.

Ogre. Wonderful.

With that, the two guys took off on Ogre's motorcycle. I sat down on the couch next to the dog who, once again, lifted his head, sighed and went back to sleep. About fifteen minutes later when Ogre returned, he asked me if I'd made up my mind.

"Not yet. I want it to be significant." I told him about my experience and how I wanted some sort of permanent souvenir to remind me of how I'd felt taking that step on the ledge.
"What were you feeling?" he asked.
"Strength. Like I could do anything at that moment."

I ended up deciding on the Japanese kanji symbol for strength, and I decided to have him put it on my lower back. That way I'd know it was there, but no one else had to know.

I was surprised at how it didn't even faze me having a complete stranger staring at my naked ass for two hours. Ogre turned out to be a really fascinating character, and we had some great conversation. It made me think about how I can be so quick to judge a person on appearances. Here was this rough-looking biker named "Ogre" who turned out to be a kind, quiet artist. Had I never been open enough to give him a chance, I'd have missed meeting him altogether.

I didn't realize it at the time, but Sedona was working within me. My promise to Debra on the first day to be more "open" was paying off, and she'd been absolutely right. Nothing about that day had been normal. And it was incredible.

On my way back to Sedona, I realized that it was nearly 9 PM and I still hadn't had any dinner. I decided to stop at this Mexican restaurant I'd passed earlier, figuring an authentic southwest margarita would hit the spot. I walked in and saw a bald guy in his 30's standing by the host station.

"Just one, please," I said to him.
"Okay - I'll be sure to tell the hostess," he grinned.
"Oh jeez, I'm sorry! I thought you WERE the hostess!" I laughed.
"Nope, just waiting for my friend Jim to finish up in the bathroom."

We made small talk for a little while and I learned that his name was Joe, and he was an artist in town for an arts and crafts festival. A little while later, an elderly man - probably in his early 70's - came out of the bathroom and introduced himself as Joe's friend, Jim.

As the three of us stood talking in the restaurant lobby, it occurred to me that I would have never thought to strike up a conversation with complete strangers if I were home. And yet, here I was - chatting to these guys as if I'd known them for years. And oddly enough, it felt as if I DID know them. Again, I'd put fears aside - took a chance - and met new friends.

The real hostess finally came and offered to take me to my table. I thanked Joe and Jim for keeping me company and they invited me to come check out the festival the next day. I agreed and we parted ways. I sat down at my table feeling far more at ease dining solo than the previous evening.

...And the margarita was delightful.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


The first thing John did was burn sage - a smudging - to purify the land. The sound healing consisted of me lying on the ground with my eyes closed while he played various instruments around my body. The vibrations of certain notes were meant to balance specific chakras .

Prior to my visit to Sedona, I didn't know much about chakras. And while the sound healing was very interesting, I think part of me was a little self-conscious about lying in the dirt while this strange guy blew a didgeridoo at my various body parts.

After the healing, we packed up the stuff and headed back, chatting along the way. John asked what had brought me to Sedona and I told him about how I was feeling lost in life - how I felt like I'd come to a crossroads and was not sure what to do next.

"How old are you?" he asked.
"Twenty-eight," I replied.
"Well hell - your Saturn cycle's returned! It's no wonder you're a mess."

John explained the astrological idea that people undergo changes every seven years, and it corresponds to the cycle of Saturn. He also said that it made sense that I found my way to Sedona since, as a Capricorn, Saturn is my planet and Earth is my element. That kind of creeped me out.

Hiking back down the mountain, I felt light on my feet and tingly with energy. I pictured myself as that "Jersey Gazelle" as I navigated the slick rock like a pro. I think more than anything else, I was feeling the buzz I'd gotten from being able to overcome my fear and take a step.

John brought me back to the coffee shop and left me with his contacts. He told me I could always reach him if I needed to. Although I've never called upon him, I often wonder what he's up to these days, and how many other eyes he's opened.

Monday, January 08, 2007


My shaman - John - turned out to be very easygoing and fun. He'd been a psychology and music major in college, and as we drove out to Boynton Canyon, he talked about how he'd come to find himself in his current career.

When we got to the trail, he loaded himself up with a satchel and several musical instruments of varying sizes - including a didgeridoo. I remember carrying one of his drums and being a little worried about dropping it off a cliff.

"You seem pretty fit - do you like to hike? Are you scared of heights or anything?" he asked.
"Nah... I'm good with whatever," I replied.
"Good," he grinned. "We'll take the high road then."

The hike started out on an easy enough trail. We passed a formation John pointed out as the Kachina, and it was right about there that we left the path. We began climbing up over boulders and through trees, higher and higher. I wondered how (or if) it was even legal that we were going where we were - with no ropes or safety equipment.

Much of the red rocks are flat surface known as slick rock. If you put your feet just the right way, you can navigate it -- as long as you don't think too hard or look down. But I looked down. And I froze. We were on a ledge at the rim of the canyon, and suddenly I could not take another step.

The drum on my back was getting heavier as I stood there, holding onto the wall in front of me for dear life. Never before had I been so terrified. One wrong step and life as I knew it was over.

"Are you okay?" John asked. He'd made it to a larger ledge.
"I can't move," I told him.
"Yes you can. Just don't think about what's below you. Just see the ledge - it's a lot wider than it feels - and just step. Keep stepping."

I took a deep breath and changed my perspective. Tentatively, I took a step and then another. I slowly made it to where John was, my whole body shaking - coursing with adrenaline. Never had I felt so alive.

"See? You did it! You're like the Jersey Gazelle," he smirked.

We continued along the ledge and came upon an opening in the rock. John hoisted his gear through the hole, and then he climbed through. I did the same. We came out on the other side of the rock, amidst ruins.

We sat for a moment and caught our breath. I was still buzzing from the episode on the rim.

"Wild, huh? Kinda like a metaphor for life," John smiled.
"A situation comes up that can scare the shit out of us if we let it - it can seem impossible even. But if we change our perspective, we can overcome it."

Friday, January 05, 2007


I got to Ravenheart Coffee a little before 7:00 and Debra arrived shortly after, along with her husband, Tom, another woman named Tessa, and a cheerful black dog (I'm trying so hard to remember its name -- Annie, maybe?)

We all climbed into Tom's Jeep and drove out to a trail called Soldier's Pass. It was a beautiful hike - one of I've made sure to take each time I've been back. We passed "Devil's Kitchen" - a giant sinkhole, and came upon the seven sacred pools. They pointed out the different trees and cacti, and talked about the rock formations and how they had each gotten their name.

Along the way, Debra and Tom talked about Sedona, about how they came to settle in there, and about spirituality. I learned that Tessa was a British journalist and had come to Sedona to do an article about it.

The hike itself wasn't strenuous, and was just the right length to make me want more. I was overwhelmed by the beauty surrounding me and the positive energy that just seemed to radiate off of everything. It was almost as if I was on some sort of drug -- complete sensory overload!

When we got back, Debra told me that they had scheduled me for a "sound healing" later in the day, and that I should meet my guide - a shaman - here at the same coffee shop. I spent the rest of Saturday morning driving around Sedona, getting familiar with where things were.

In the early afternoon, I headed back to Ravenheart and waited for my guide. I wasn't sure what to expect. What the hell does a shaman look like? I pictured some crusty old Indian, like the guy in the 1980's water conservation commercial.

About ten minutes after our designated meeting time, a beat up station wagon pulled into the parking lot and my shaman - a really cute, long-haired guy in his early 30's - bounded out.

"Be right back," he called as he passed me by. "Gotta pee..."

Thursday, January 04, 2007


I'd made reservations at this tiny motel Debra recommended called the Lo Lo Mai Lodge. It was right in the center of Sedona and not crammed with tourists. I'd barely checked in and put my bags down when there was a knock at my door. It was Debra and she'd come to welcome me and take me on a little hike.

We drove out to the Airport Vortex - just about 1/4 mile from where I was staying. We climbed up to the top of this big boulder and sat, overlooking a canyon.

"This is going to be an opening meditation - a welcome of sorts," Debra explained. We did some breathing, and she said a sort of prayer. I remember that she addressed it to 'Mother/Father God.'

When she was done, she turned to me and said, "I know you may be skeptical about things. I just want to encourage you to open yourself up while you're here. The more open you allow yourself to be, the more the energy will flow through you and the better your experience will be. Okay?"

I agreed. She took me back to my hotel so I could relax for the evening.

"You may find that you dream a lot tonight. Most people do when they're here," said Debra. We planned to meet for a hike at 7 AM the next morning at the coffee shop across the street.

That evening after unpacking, I took a drive around to check things out and also to find a place to eat. I came across a tiny Thai restaurant and went in. Not one to typically dine alone (for dinner anyway), I found I was a little self-conscious. I remembered what Debra said about being 'open' and allowed myself to relax and enjoy the meal.

Afterwards, I stopped at a mini-mart and picked up some Ben & Jerry's and then retired back to my hotel room. I slept well - she was right about the dreams - and woke up around 5 AM. I'd forgotten about the time difference between AZ and NJ so it actually felt a lot later than that.

I set out around 6:45 to meet Debra for the hike.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


The first website I came across while Googling was Sedona Soul Adventures. If you click on it, you'll see it looks a little hokey. And being the skeptic that I am, I was hesitant. But I called the number anyway. A woman named Debra answered the phone and asked me to tell her a little bit about myself. I told her about feeling a little lost in life, and about how I'd come to find out about Sedona.

"I believe you were led here to us," she told me. "I'd like to do a reading on you and will call you back in one hour."

'Hoo boy,' I thought. Nonetheless, I agreed. When she called back, she told me a lot of very interesting things about myself - things that resonated pretty hard. But I still wasn't 100% convinced - most of the things she told me could apply to lots of people. And when she told me what a "package" would cost and I was really dissuaded.

"Let me ask you this, do you have something better to spend your money on than healing your soul?"

And that one question really got me thinking. Maybe this is a scam... but it's also an adventure. It's something I've never done before - just hopped on a plane to a place I'd never been. And maybe - just maybe - there are some things in life that we stumble upon for a reason.

So I agreed and we set up a package of things I would do when I got there. I bought a plane ticket, made some arrangements, and left on the Friday before spring break in April, 2003.

I flew into Phoenix, rented a car and drove north. It was very exciting being out - completely alone - in a part of the country I had never seen before. The desert scenery was interesting - very unusal - but I wasn't sure what made Sedona so spectacular. And then I came around a bend and the massive red rock formations came into view.

An overwhelming sense of déjà vu hit me like a tidal wave and I felt as if I had been kicked in the stomach. I'd been here before... I'd seen these rocks. But how?

Tuesday, January 02, 2007


I've been meaning to write about my first trip to Sedona for a long time. It was a turning point in my life - perhaps the biggest of all. I think I'll start tonight.

A few years back, I went through a rough time. I guess I could say 9/11 started it all off. I didn't grieve all at once or anything, but I think it stayed with me for a long time and came out in weird ways. Six months later, my Dad died - without warning - from congestive heart failure. And then two months after that, my sister-in-law had a miscarriage five months into a pregnancy and almost died herself.

During it all, I was sharing a house with a neurotic Canadian chick. I'd answered her ad in the paper for a roommate. She'd just been divorced and was having trouble handling the mortgage alone. The house was awesome, and we sort of got along okay... in the beginning, at least.

Feeling completely lost in life, I was scared to take a step - for fear that the floor beneath me would crumble.

One evening, I was sitting in a diner having coffee with my high school friend, Jeni. She and I had the best "20-something-what-do-we-now?" conversations. I was telling her how lost and alone I felt. She suggested I do something for myself -- take a trip or something.

"Where have you always wanted to go?" she asked.
"Colorado. I don't know why, but I've always been drawn to Colorado."
"So promise me that tomorrow, you'll book a trip to Colorado."

And I promised her. So the next day, while surfing around the internet, I ended up catching another friend online. We grew up together and she now lives in Tucson, AZ.

"Nah," she told me, "You should come to Arizona. Actually, you really should check out Sedona. I think you'd be into it -- it's all spiritual and stuff."

And so it began.

Monday, January 01, 2007


"Ah well -- cheers to all as we venture into 2006. I always like to ask myself, 'where do you think you might be a year from now?' Your guess is as good as mine."
- Views From The Shell, January 1, 2006.

What a difference a year can make. It was one year ago today that HE and I began chatting on AIM. We were bemoaning the hellish world of dating, and had agreed to meet for coffee so we could commiserate...

And the rest is history.

Who could have known that a year later we'd be engaged?! I guess that's the beauty of life: as hard as you try to plan it all out, there's really no way to predict how you might end up. I'm so happy that I've ended up where I am today.

Resolutions? Oh, the usual... lose ten pounds, drink less wine, eat fewer sweets. Ha. Anything meaningful? Maybe try to do my job better? Be nicer to people? I dunno.

Maybe I'll blog more. I've been a slacker the past couple months. I used to write every day - even if I had nothing to say, I'd blab about some random shit. Maybe I could do more writing. I like to write. And hell, I teach middle school! There should be enough material for an entire year during one school day.

Alright, fair enough. Blog more in 2007. Hope it's a good year - happiness and good health to all.