8.19.2008

on being born

Sunday brought with it an invitation for me to join a lovely friend and her hiking group on a road trip up north to none other than:
It is extremely hard for me to resist an invitation to peace. And so, although this mama could probably come up with one million reasons to stay home and clean and tend to the disarray around her, I took off to one of my most treasured places on the planet. I am so glad that I did. The minute I drive into this town, something deep inside of me shifts and rests and collapses into a sense of place. I come home, I feel light and I am acutely aware of my feet on the ground. There is nothing slight about it for me.
The reason for our day trip was to head out to the Lava Tube to do some hiking inside of the earth. INSIDE of the earth. Wow. That is really amazing. It just so happened that on our trek out to this sacred place, one of the members of our little traveling group brought up the discussion of viewing the hike as a journey into the womb of mother earth and she mentioned how there is a history of Tibetan Buddhist monks meditating in caves. She offered the encouragement to set some intentions on things that we would like to let go of and be reborn into...as we might like to think of the journey into and out of the cave as a type of re-birthing process. I liked the idea of that and I carried that with me as I walked into the depths of this amazing place.

And it really is amazing. It is pitch black. The kind of pitch black where there is no difference between having your eyes tightly sealed and having them wide open with wonder. We each had our own flashlights and we stumbled along the lava rocks with curiosity and awe. At the end of the tube, we each found a seat on the cold floor and we all turned off our flashlights. This was so intense! Pitch black, 3 miles into a tube INSIDE of the earth. I think we all felt the amazement of where we were and the respect from that experience kept us all quiet. There was this natural meditative ambiance as we each went inside of ourselves. One of the members of our group offered to lead us through a guided meditation and it was just this really beautiful experience.

For me, it was a moment of strong connection and reverence. Mother Earth embracing me with her able womb, the birthing process prevalent in my mind, journeying along with mindful companions, anticipating and honoring the contrast of light and dark...the entire experience pushing me forward with powerful force and energy.

And it was FUN. It was full of laughter and great conversation and a joyful knowing of coming into ones own.

So I emerged from the darkness to set my eyes on my path.

And I took the time to notice the cool air, the thundering skies, the smell of pine and the fact that directly below me was this other world. This silent, sacred place with open offering of quietude.

I think I will be carrying that with me for a while now.

Carrying it with me as I journey through this process of learning to walk and think and speak in the language of freedom, love, laughter and growth.

In what better place is there to be born?

9 comments:

Sara said...

I have spent several hours in those lave tubes during college, it such an amazing powerful place. It really humbles you to the beauty of contours of the earth...I am definitely ready to get up there again :)

Elizabeth said...

Wow, I am so claustrophobic, I could never do that. But you make it sound like such a transformative experience!

Harris Family said...

Oh how I miss that town...

daisies said...

you know you are the third blogger that i read that has a deep connection to flagstaff ... i really need to go there someday even if none of you live there currently :) maybe you can take me, giggle ...

beautiful photos, thank you for taking us with you on this journey, xo

Alyson said...

Wow Jess. What a beautiful experience! There is a place I went in Tucson like that. I have really been craving to get out lately. Hopefully it will happen soon! Sounds so wonderful.

Karen Maezen Miller said...

Beautiful. I think you know how to walk on this earth.

Anonymous said...

This sounds like the same place I went once? We camped in an area west of Flagstaff off of the highway to Williams. I didn't venture too far from the opening...too scared and didn't have a flashlight!
Auntie V

Nonnie said...

sounds like an amazing time, sass....and so glad it was a beautiful fulfilling time spent being reflective, appreciative and enjoying joyful company!
not sure i could get myself to go too far either, but it sounds amazing!

Downing Family said...

I love flagstaff. LOVE It! I want to go up there and see those little caves! Theres a picture on my "about me" section on my site. It was taken in flagstaff. Just the thought of that view takes my breath away. The flowers were yellow, the mountains were green, the wind was blowing like crazy, the smell of the pine trees was so fulfilling, and I was pregnant at the time with Larz so all of those things looked and smelled even better! I want to go with you next time!