Never be afraid to unravel alone. I mean, travel alone.
Recently I hopped in my car and drove to Sedona. It’s only a 2-hour drive from Phoenix with epic views and a sign that says “runaway truck ramp” just in case a semi lost control cascading down the side of this one mountain. No pressure.
My trip didn’t come with a warning sign, but I couldn’t have prepared myself for the amount of beauty I was about to witness. I am still so full from the trip just thinking about it.
You know you’ve reached Sedona when you see these HUGE red rock mountains. I’m from GA and the only mountain I know is Stone Mountain which is more like a random rock compared to what I’ve seen in Arizona.
My first stop was to visit the Amitabha Stupa. I’ve never seen a statue this big before. At 36 feet tall it sits by itself in the middle of a forest, cradled by a red rock mountain ridge. It’s a short trek to get to and it was raining when I arrived but the rain subsided once I reached my destination.
A stupa is a Buddhist monument filled with thousands of prayers for peace, sacred relics and ritual offerings. More specifically the Amitabha Stupa gets its name from Buddha Amitabha, the Buddha of Limitless Light, whose bronze image is at the top. It is a vortex of enlightened presence and a beacon of blessings for all beings.
You’re supposed to walk around the Stupa clockwise and pray and meditate. I visited the stupa each morning of my trip and walked around it, I needed as much of that limitless light, blessings and healing as it could give me!
The experience was so peaceful. The first day it was just me and the stupa, it was so quiet the only sound I could hear was…NOTHING. We rarely get a chance to hear silence so loud in our everyday life it’s so much going on, but it was as if the world had stopped. The rain rinsed away the bad energy and I received nothing but light and renewed energy in that space.
After the stupa visit I grabbed some lunch then went to the Chapel of the Holy Cross, one of the man-made wonders of Arizona. It is not hard to get to, finding parking was the hard part. But words cannot describe how incredible this place is.
You are literally in a mountain surrounded by mountains. There are hundreds of candles inside that you can light (for a small fee) and pews to sit in for prayer.
I sat in a pew in the back and watched as people came in to take pictures of this striking statue of Jesus on the cross.
Maybe it was the limitless light in me but instead of using my time in the chapel to take pictures I sat in there for a while and prayed and took it all in. It may be a tourist attraction but it was nice to use it for what it is intended for instead of a selfie.
I did get one photo though!
I left there to hit the road a few miles south to check into my Airbnb. Which should also be one of the man-made wonders of Arizona. I got there and the homeowners upgraded my room so I had the whole basement to myself. Which included a kitchen, a movie theater room, a healing room and a salt sauna room.
Let me tell you about this basement!
I wish I stayed in this house more than one night because I didn’t get to experience the sauna. But I took a shower and headed to the healing room first. In the healing room there’s a pyramid the homeowner made of copper, plastic and crystals. Inside the pyramid is a twin-size bed encrusted with crystals, a pillow, and two barbell-like objects made of copper and crystals that you hold.
She has a collection of meditation music but I chose the CD she suggested and the boom of the drums quickly filled the room. She told me to turn it up loud because music also has healing qualities. As I lay in the dark room under the pyramid the vibrations of the drums shook all the dead weight out of me like sifting a cup of flour.
My mind wandered a bit because I was like “what am I doing…is this real life” but I got back into meditation and I got really excited and felt a level of happiness I haven’t felt since I was a kid on Christmas morning.
I think if I was to do this again, I would use a different type of meditation music rather than jump into the expert-level shamanic drumming but the drums will shake you!
I headed to the movie theater room after that and they suggested I watch the movie “Eat, Pray, Love” based on the book by Elizabeth Gilbert. I didn’t realize I was on my own eat, pray, love-ish this whole time haha! I’ve had the book for a while but I guess now I should read it. It was a great way to bring the day full circle.
The next morning I woke up really early to watch the sunrise. The house has this large patio with a pool and lots of outside furniture so I grabbed a fluffy blanket, some coffee, my journal and just watched the sun peek over the mountains. Then went back to the stupa and did some shopping.
No resort, girls trip, couples trip, cabin stay could have given me an experience like this. Sometimes other people are distractions and traveling alone is the best way to experience experiences lol. There’s no one awake before you ready to go shopping or anyone trying to talk you out of getting into the pyramid. I was surprised with how fulfilled I felt with just me.
My advice is to take a trip (or a few trips) alone. You don’t have to go to Rome or Tijuana you can go 2 hours up the highway to a place you’ve never been and see what the world looks like from there.
With no options but your own.