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Travel to Boost Personal Responsibility Power that gives ability to transform yourself and to face with confidence whatever life dishes up for you.
The night here has primordial quality. There is no lights anywhere I look at 5 in the morning, something so unfamiliar for me being from Las Vegas where light pollution is felt for over a hundred miles in some directions. I am moving with a headlamp while trees and rocks looming at me floating by like frames in a movie. I was warned that round trip to the top will take up over fourteen hours and I remind myself to keep a brisk pace.
Soon after seven light started gaining volume and begun brushing details in the multicolored autumn glory of pristine environment. Big elk slowly crossed my path and immediately turned around facing me. We stood about 100 feet apart studying each other for few minutes. We shared curiosity and it was one of our connections besides an instinct to live on happily. In my mind I wished him well, implying that I had no harm. As I departed, I looked back and he was still standing there slightly tilting his head to follow me with his gaze.
After four miles Willow Lake presented its vessel full of emerald water. I paused to contemplate qualities of water: its comfort and relaxation, it flexibility as it flows around obstacles, its acceptance of whatever falls into it and its taking shape of whatever holds it. The kind of qualities that I'd like to increase to counter mind's agitation, obsessions, cravings and resistance leading to stress. The water element embodies acceptance of all that is: environment, others and itself.
About a thousand feet above a trail turned into a collection of tracks pointing directly upward Kit Carson Mountain, a well tested approach to the Challenger Peak. The air was getting thinner and any acceleration was followed by an increased gasping for air.
I immediately noticed how life force itself was connected to air, its quality of freedom to move and transform. The air is unbound and pervasive. I am thinking that it would be appropriate to imagine quick intelligence of air when I am stuck in a gunk negative mood and allow similar quality to arise in my mind and blow away clinging tendencies that cause much dissatisfaction and emotional pain.
Almost four hours of steep terrain I am enjoying an immense panorama of Sangre De Cristo Mountains. The sheer space adorned by floating cotton balls of clouds, thiner air, striking heat of the sun and the spinal view of running away ridges covered with swaths of vibrant aspens gives rise to the rapturous feeling of self-disappearance. A tangible state of momentary freedom from ideas of the past and fantasies of future. Feeling undivided, fulfilled and loving, a way of being to remember when I'm back to the life in the valley.
After spending five days in Crestone I find myself feeling a shade of mild discomfort in thinking about returning home and tasks of ordinary living. The peaceful setting delineated to the East by the ridge of Sangre De Christo is dotted by the peaks rising above fourteen thousand feet. The roads are not covered with asphalt and a landscape covered by rolling pines is uninterrupted by even one billboard.
The area attracts different kinds of nature and freedom lovers seeking environment that is empty of vanity and full of splendid beauty and silence, just what is needed for finding inner alignment of priorities native to life of meaning and purpose.
During my stay in Crestone, I haven't seen even one ordinary sunset, they appear like a sequence of postcards. The clouds above Saint Luis Valley get intricate color shapes like a weave of Tibetan carpet, as if made for painting. The fall have already started placing splashes of bright yellow on the slopes and the harmony of it arouses intense energy of beauty which feels within as an altered state where gravity has much lesser effect.
It is difficult to be agitated and self-absorbed in this place, there are very little provocations and one is led to feel that perhaps happiness rising from self-acceptance is more important than all modern tools of distraction invented to supplant our search for meaning.
Tomorrow I begin early ascend to the top of Challenger Peak. I am staying at immaculately serviced Silver Star Bed and Breakfast, which conveniently located at the foothills across from the National Park. The hosts are amazingly generous with genuine care and sensitivity like a family, something I only was able to experience on travels to Asia.
At four in the morning I will turn my headlamp on and will move briskly into a thinner air above Crestone, to the top of Challenger Peak.
In about a day I will be looking at the familiarity of hometown of Las Vegas in a rearview mirror and leaving behind predictable comfort of the home, reassuring presence of relationship with my wife and other routines.
Going on the road trip offers a brief opportunity to detach from daily obligations and to shake up stagnating creative energies. When traveled with a company, there's a chance for enhanced insight into relationship with all companions and on the other side, there's a practice of self-acceptance as a byproduct of honest self-expression. I enjoy a good company with spontaneity of diverse experiences and various personalities.
Yet very often I find that a road trip alone is a great way to unwind and gain different perspective on life. Even though I like road trips with friends, my road trips alone generate a much bigger imprint on the path of learning, contemplation and meditation — three processes that produce inner development.
I find that some people are reluctant to take time off by themselves perhaps not seeing enough value in spending time away from the whole complex of life or business. Some believe that by taking time alone they will loose productivity.Contrary to it, spending time alone away from business routine or relationship only offers a refreshed and often new perspective and better solutions to challenges of creative tasks.
I am packing all essentials for a road trip alone to Crestone, Colorado. Plenty of snacks, water and an emergency kit, which is always important to have in a car.
I find that on a road trip I have one of the best opportunities for learning new material form audio courses or books. I noticed that driving on long stretches of the road requires little active maintenance and there's very little possibility for physical distraction. At times like these there is a possibility for very fine concentration on material and what happens is that very often a profound ideas or creative insights spontaneously appearing.
I am excited about going to Crestone to participate in training "Dying with Confidence" to learn how to be prepared for the time of death and how to assist others at this very important threshold of their human journey.
This day started its trajectory quite early. 3 AM was the time to leave my warm bed and be prepared for the road trip to Sequoia National Park. It was an opportunity to be ejected from a made up world of sounds, things, concepts and rules of behavior and merge with unmanufactured space of nature.
Going alone in nature is a way of fulfilling my essential need for spiritual decompression. It is like letting the air ballon to regain its buoyancy and fullness.
In the past I wouldn't notice this effect by getting engaged more with the colors, shapes and other features of a landscape. Now I came to observe a direct effect of open space on my mind.
So here I was about seven hours later driving in the Wolverine Creek parking of Sequoia National Park. The summer temperature of the California Central Valley had shifted into a chilly air of the altitude complimented by clouds touching the earth with occasional drizzle.
It was already close to a noon when I departed toward the Alta Peak which was bobbing in and out of clouds in a distance. As I hurried away from the parking lot still absorbed in sporadic thoughts about whether car was secure or how fast should I move in order to come down before nightfall.
In time I noticed that my thoughts begun to be more relevant to where my body was. It was about how to place the feet on the rocks while crossing the creek and feeling how comfortable on my shoulders were the straps of Tenba Discovery bag which held all my photo gear and all other supplies.
As I moved deeper into the ridge, I felt further away form being a particular type of person I remembered myself until I distinctly noticed that there was very little left of it as a thread of memory: I was becoming emptier of ideas and fuller of being alive.The pristine landscape was doing for me what good friendship does — allowing me simply be, free from effort to comply with particular identity.
When I stepped on the ridge above Kaweah Canyon, the stormy clouds were dumping rain below soaking the slopes and feeding the creeks. The drama of the weather was in full dance, yet I was spared by the current of warmer air that kept clouds from advancing toward me.
Just as thoughts of mundane busyness have become distant and groundless, leaving me with opportunity to immerse in the fullness of a present moment.
At one point there was only breath: one in, one out.
My mind opened as vast as Sierra without a particular boundary. The conditions were perfect and I felt free and happy. My feet were walking, the body was breathing and awareness of nothing missing generated immense sensation of feeling alive.
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