NAMASTE GRAND CANYON

 

…”An adventure holds many components. The end result sometimes may be pure resilience. I will tell the tale this weekend…”IMG_3435

Hello! Oh the freakin’ anticipation, right? Terimah Kasih to all the inquiries into when this would be coming off the press! And here it is…

Today, I am going to tell the tale of our descend…next week I will add in the metaphors of the voyage. Grab a tea, a coffee, some popcorn, Gluten free shit, or a handful of caramels, and enjoy!

This is how it went…IMG_3966

Mom, Dad and I took off around 6 am for our 5 and ¾ mile hike down the Grandview Trail. This trail is called “Aggressive” And that doesn’t even do it justice. I hiked this trail about 7 years ago. Geological evolution was in full effect and I was the hamster on this wheel.

IMG_3047Within the first 6 feet I mentioned to my folks how happy I was that I was doing this hike with just them. Me. Mom. Dad. No one else. Missed you Ry. Unfortunately, my brother has an injury he is healing and couldn’t make it with us. We chatted about the last time we hiked together and reminisced on the adventure we have had in this very canyon.

Let me take you back a few years. Two and a half years ago I stepped out of this canyon with my folks, called my husband and knew my marriage was ending. He moved out 7 days later. My metamorphosis started in the sludge of pain, sorrow and grief. Loss, it felt. Yes, loss of a 5 plus year relationship with another person, yet the rebirth of Rebecca. This part of my journey is the pivotal point of who I am today. To be back here at the place this amazing journey began felt so perfect.

And it was…some 1,000 plus days later…here I am again. Full circle, it felt. IMG_4030

Now on to the adventure…

About a mile and a half down I was thinking (no filter here) “Fuck, I can’t imagine hiking out on this trail in 5 days. My folks are champions, but this is wild.” The trail, as I mentioned above, had shifted. It felt steeper. It definitely was more defined by rocks, big rocks, and small, slippery gravel. The sheer exposure of the Grandview is intimidating. “Exposure” is steepness of the terrain and the potential consequences of a fall. It also references the “edge” or the side of the trail that is exposed to a drop. Imagine looking to your left and seeing a foot between you and the place the canyon drops off. This exposure consisted of sharp broken boulders and a significant plunge.

I continued on to about mile 2 and waited for my folks to catch up. They are studs. They take their time and maneuver with grace and a seamless stride. Their backs weighed about 40-50 pounds and they are smart trail babes. I tend to stick with them as close as possible, especially on terrain such as this.IMG_4025

As I sat with my pack propped up on a rock that I leaned against to take the weight off my back for a moment, I called their names. No response. After about 15 minutes I started to worry yet stayed calm and continued to call their names often. At about minute 20 they came around the bend. “Phew” I thought. There they are. Mom made it to me first. And dad was behind about 30 paces but not in sight due to the significance of the boulder between us. Then I heard it. A crash and a slide and a yell I will never forget.

“AH! Help me! My leg is broken! Help! Help ME!” I ran around mom to find dad on his back with his leg wedged between two boulders.

“I heard a snap. I think my leg is broken!” Dad said grasping for strength to get through the moment.

He was on his back sliding down the trail, with his foot caught and contorted at about a 90-degree angle. His arms were bleeding and his body stressed. I pried his foot and leg out of the boulders and placed his leg on the ground with his hips sitting between two other rocks that filled this trail. He was nauseous and we were all frightened.

IMG_3979About 75 seconds later around the corner comes Ben. What? A person?! And right now?! Crazy! Talk about serendipitous! Ben ended up being a Wilderness First Responder. Of course you are Ben! Andd an angel! Ben calmed us down and wrapped dad’s ankle. It appeared sprained and possibly broken. After Ben assured we were hydrated, prepared and cognizant of our upcoming decisions, he moved on with the two women he was touring.

Our options at that point: 1. Back up the two miles we had descended. (Not an option.) Or down 1 mile to a place we could at least be in a smidgen of shade and re-assess our next move. Horse Shoe Mesa here we come. I took a little of his weight and down we went. That was the longest mile of my life.

Watching my beast of a father walk on this treacherous trail with a pack and a possibly broken and sprained ankle was exhausting. It was hard enough for mom and I to stay focused on the trail with the elements and our loved one ahead of us watching his EVERY step. And you know, when the left foot is not working properly the right side takes over and over used in compensation. Talk about hyper-vigilance for mom and I.

Now all this is in the midst of our own thoughts. Such as, “What the fuck are we going to do?” And, “Wait a minute! This isn’t part of MY plan for the circular evolution of MY-ME!” And perhaps also: “How am I supposed to finish this journey if I don’t get all 5 days and all 20 some miles of reading “WILD” and journaling?!” Ummmm, I think I am writing my own “WILD” 😉IMG_3964

The last 200 yards before our destination I had my dads pack on my back and my pack on my front. It was slick as a snotty slip and slide. We were exhausted, thirsty, and as nervous as a “dog shitting peach seeds” as my dad likes to say. (Insert “DICKISM”)

We got my dad propped up under a little shade in the “Horse Shoe Mesa” area. At this point it was almost 11 and we were almost out of water. Due to the strenuous morning and the amount of time, our water had dwindled. Mom and I had about 8 ounces and my dad had about 20. This spot on the trail was dry, no water. I had to go get us water. The only source of water was another mile down to Page Spring. I had been there before and had no other option. We needed water while we rested, and water to cook and drink over the next night if we ended up staying. No water is NOT an option.

IMG_3974Mom didn’t want me to go alone. She was so tired. I could see her exhaustion and her love of her daughter battling. She didn’t want me to go alone. So we gave her an emergency packet and off we went. Well, until her hiking pole snapped in half about a quarter of the way down. That was a sign. I was really worrying about her because of the trail conditions and her exhaustion. It was almost noon and the temperature was about 90 at this point. I needed all the focus I could hold and having her behind me took away from the trail. Mom and I agreed it was a sign and she should wait there. We developed a “I am fine” yell that would reverberate up the canyon to let her know I was doing ok. “YEW!” I would yell and she would holler back. We did this back and forth the next hour as I maneuvered ever so carefully down the most difficult trail of my life.

This portion from Horse Shoe Mesa to Page Spring was immensely dangerous. The exposure was frightening. I was crawling over rocks and sliding down gravel. And at this point I had 16 EMPTY water bottles in my backpack. As I approached Page Spring, I vaguely remembered where I was. But I took a wrong turn and got a little frightened. Now, I had 6 ounces of water, a piece of gum and a protein bar. That was it. I felt I was going the wrong way. I prayed. Please show me where I am to go. And I found it. OF COURSE! “YEW!” I yelled!

The first thing for me to do was drink a little water. I had brought the water filter/pump and was ready to filter that shit and drink. I WAS DYING OF THIRST! Rule #2 in the Canyon: NEVER drink unfiltered or untreated water out of any water source in the canyon.

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I filled a bottle and attempted to filter it…but of course the pump wasn’t working. So, being the wise trekker I am I took a deep breath and scooped a small amount of water of the VERY top of the spring. And I drank enough to wet my whistle. Then I filled up 17 liters of water yelled, “YEW!” and off I went…on the climb of my life.

Coming down a trail with no weight is much different than coming up a trail with 17 liters of catawampus weight and unbalance. My mind was racing. “How much water do I need to save to get me out of here tomorrow if we are unable to continue so I can go for help?” How much water do we all need to use to limit the depletion of our hydration while allowing us to be sustained?” “How the fuck am I doing this right now?” How the hell am I able to climb this steep, slippery and hot trail while my father is hurt, my mom is exhausted and I am depleted?” (BECAUSE WE ARE FUCKING CHAMPIONS THAT IS WHY!) IMG_3963

Halfway up to my mom I plopped down to catch my breath. Popped my chewing gum in my mouth and off I went. Once I got to my mom the tears flowed. For about 30 seconds I Just sobbed it out. My mom stepped in. She had attained some energy from her rest and emergency drink. She got the filter to work, like the amazing mom she is, and gave me water. She listened to my fatigued cry, rubbed my back, prayed for us and quenched our thirst. What a team. And off we went back up to dad.

The next few hours consisted of us having a snack and deliberating every possible fucking scenario known to man…because my dad didn’t want to hit 911 on his Spot Check unless he felt certain. I totally understand! We also didn’t know if the Air Rescue would take just dad or all of us. So we assessed all the routes of exit that could happen. Would I have to sleep at the Mesa, where we had seen a total of 5 souls the entire day? Yep. But as dad said, “IF you can travel through Indonesia by yourself for 18 days you can stay one night on The Mesa!” Such truth! Thank you BALI! IMG_3954

With no human beings around and a very isolated tour route we grappled our plan. After about 2 hours of deliberation, while mom lay to rest a little on her Thermarest pad, while swatting the gnats away from her face she said, “Just do it already.” Dad and I chuckled and he did it. 9-1-1 was hit. Now we wait. I could feel Dad’s angst after he hit it. It took everything in his body to hit that button for help! Was his injury deserving of 9-1-1? Abso-fucking-lutely. Without a doubt. There wasn’t a possible way for the strongest man I know to walk out of this canyon, let alone 5 feet on one foot.

An hour passed with nothing. I was starting to get extremely anxious. Water? Time? Will they come? What will we do if not? Oh shit. I was pacing. My dad was stuck on the ground unable to really move much and my mom was doing her best to keep me calm. I paced. I swatted those fucking gnats. I sat. I stood. I sat. I stood. Like a good ol’ Grand Canyon Mass.

At about an hour and a half I had this thought: “If I take that god forsaken tent out of its piece of shit bag that is a pain in my butt to put back in they will come. Just watch.”

So, I pulled out the tent. I put one pole together…and guess what? Over the edge of the canyon I see the helicopter! We all see them coming and we all are happy. Mom and I wave our Thermarest pads in the air, just like in a movie when someone is trying to be rescued! “Do they see us?” we thought! They circled overhead a few times trying to find a spot to land. Again, like in a movie, they land, and squat and run toward us. Our HEROES!

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And out we went…they took dad and mom first and I stayed back with Earl to clean up camp. Then out I went. Well, we all agreed we had never seen the canyon from that view!

Dad ended up spending his 70th birthday, which was the following day, at the Flagstaff E.R. with a broken Fibula, severe sprain and torn ligaments. HAPPY BIRHTDAY DADDY!! Talk about HEROES! My parents are the biggest heroes in my life. Their strength, perseverance and attitude inspire me beyond words.

IMG_3087We enjoyed a gorgeous dinner at the El Tovar restaurant on the rim that evening. (Thank you Daisy.) Poor dad was adjusting to life on crutches and mom was adjusting to assisting her independent husband with his new found needs. Dad has hiked this canyon some 27 times and my mom has joined him on most of them. With all the steps he has taken on his numerous adventures, the odds were pretty good. He is and always will be a BAD ASS in my eyes! As well, my brave and steadfast mother is a true testament to HIKING LIFE AND KICKING ASS!

Thank you for teaching me to be brave and wise. Ever so aware! The next day they flew home to Oregon. I decided my journey had not stopped; it had just begun. Zion National Park here comes Rebecca Laser! Watch out! Chapter 1 of a new book…

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“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” Benjamin Franklin

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Mosaic

“Life is like riding a bicycle.

To keep your balance you must keep moving.”

Albert Einstein

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It has been two weeks since I have written. This is the longest stretch I have had since starting Still Playin’ With It almost a year ago. The past month has brought a tremendous amount of change to my life. As you have all read, and experience with me, I have ventured through Licensure for Marriage and Family Therapy (LMFT). I started my private practice, which is an amazing tale of courage (link to Perfectly Rebecca). As well, I took a solo trip to Bali for 18 days. (Link to Bali Dreams and Look What I Found: stories of Bali.) I have also been to Oregon and Austin since December. So, this Rebecca has been busy, to say the least.

From licensure, to Bali, and every state of the U.S. and of my mind, I have grappled with what is. Whenimages (1) writing, we have a tendency to discover answers that otherwise may be lost in the soup of our meshed neural pathways in our skull. Trying to make sense of an experience or feeling, our brains tell us reasons why we feel the way we do.

For example: You feel anxious. Your brain says: “There has GOT to be a reason for this and I am going to tell you why.” Then it berates you with multiple reasons why, (these things that you really weren’t thinking of in the first place) are now firing through your mind increasing your anxiety. From your laundry list to your bullying experience as a child, they all may rise in the midst of this feeling. Maybe your parents are getting older or you didn’t say the “right” thing the night before to your partner. It literally will fire all of this at you at once till you grab on to what it MUST be. Then you deal with it while creating more negative energy around this anxious feeling.homeresonance375

Lovely, Rebecca. What the hell do I do with this then? I tell you Still Playin’ With It PEOPLE! I tell you NOW! You stop. You look on the feeling with curiosity and allow yourself to be present in the feeling while it passes, because it will. Then you call your parents, hug your spouse and go for a run. I know it sounds simple, but guess what? It really can be that simple.

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In Winner Winner Chicken Dinner I talked about Newton and the Law of Motion. Like the quote above from Einstein, we must keep moving forward! Not only to stay in motion, but also to KEEP OUR BALANCE! How many times do we talk about balance in our lives? Balancing career and family. Balancing all the different aspects of our selves. I speak a lot to my clients on the integration of our “selves” in therapy. We are fragmented souls. Fragmented in a way that suggests that there is a balance of our pieces. Not fragmented as in BROKEN. Got that?

Your fragments could be from different eras in your life, relationships, experiences, and upbringing.0-PRwyuP2F-mosaic-20course-s- Regardless of your belief in the above theory on fragmentation, our lives can be felt as more balanced when we step into the reintegration of these parts. Take a moment right now. Close your eyes. Imagine, like a beautiful mosaic, your parts coming together to form a tight, gorgeous, perfectly connected masterpiece. That is you: a timeless piece of art. Thank you to those that have trusted me in this process of reintegration in my practice. It has been amazing and a true honor. You know who you are. I love you all.

Today, I will leave you all with this. Recently I took a job as an MFLC: Military Family Life Counselor at Camp Pendleton. I am “embedded” in a battalion. I serve as a therapist and additional support to the marines and sailors of this unit.  As you know from reading me, I am a proud supporter of the military. If you haven’t, PLEASE read “Service”!  This blog is a true reflection of my thoughts with the dedication of our service members. IMG_0792

I committed in the writing of Service, and to my father, that I would serve back in my career for at least a year. Well, guess what? I am doing it! This is my platform to give back to the thousands of men and women, past and present, that have sacrificed and given their all. Last week I was honored with the opportunity to go on the battalion hump. A measly four mile hike through the green hills of Camp Pendleton.

The CULMINATION of the past 5 years of my life, experiencing what I created. I CREATED by a dream: a.k.a FOLLOWING MY BLISS!IMG_7304

p.s. My heart also BELONGS TO MOMMY! I love you mom. Thank you for your undying support and loving me through this amazing process of reintegration and the discovery of my true self! I wouldn’t be who, or where I am today with out you. I love you, Mom.

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“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” Benjamin Franklin

INSTA THIS

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It is usually in hind site that our clarity is understood. Hind site is 20/20, right? Possibly a better way to read and feel that statement is: Clarity comes from hind site vision and experience. Last week I wrote about YOUR Call to Adventure. We discussed having clarity in the midst of a confusing circumstance or life experience. My hope is you can see this confusion of clarity, or ambiguity, as a part of YOUR Call to Adventure.

The Call is during the stage that Joseph Campbell considers the Separation Stage. According to Campbell, during the Separation Stage, you are facing fears, acquiring hidden strength, and are value-tested. This is the stage where you accept that call, again, by shear force or by readiness. It is the death of your old self, old stuff, and old patterns we were possibly programmed to do. It is the death of a part of YOU. This death is painful and uncomfortable.  Sweetly stated in the film Finding Joe:

“Where there is no death, there is no life. Where there is no death, there is no transformation. Where there is no death, there is no change.”

The Bible talks about this in the book of John, chapter 15. John speaks here of The Vine and the Branches. This chapter speaks metaphorically of the pruning of dead or decayed relationships, unhealthy habits, addictions, and worn down stories (the branches) to make space for rebirth (the new vine). Look at a rose bush sometime. If you notice, the most beautiful and fragrant roses come from a single naked stick. Once we cleanse, prune or detox our body and mind from the old, we are able to access the new, live, infant experiences.. and new life paths are open.

I did a three day cleanse this week. I eliminated many of my vices that I utilize to avoid feeling or hearing that voice inside me; the one calling me to slay my mythical dragon. These vices include my phone, computer and my favorite coping skill: STAYING EXTREMELY BUSY! Didn’t think that was an addiction did you? YES it is. Our life becomes so busy we don’t stop to look at what we are avoiding or not wanting to deal with. We look to instant gratification. Like a shot of Heroine to our vein, the return of a text, or checking Facebook gratifies this craving. We sit glued to crappy reality TV and video games in order to keep our mind so busy, we can’t stop to even think, let alone be aware. We space out. Forcing our entire body into a trance; a trance of being satiated, yet starving at the same time. We fill our hole with stuff, fast-paced action, emails, insta-this and insta-fucking-that. All ways to avoid your call to adventure. These are all means of compensating for rotting branches.

Rebirth became the theme of my life last week. I experienced opportunities, which I felt FORCED into, not by people, but by my old programs running, kind of like a record skipping. You have to lift the arm of the record player and gently put it back down on the vinyl to make the gorgeous melodies play again. But a manual reset was in store in order to allow this to flow. This part of my journey has been most difficult for me. Allowing the new programs to boot. Resistance to the call keeps us dead or assists in the stagnation of new life.

Personally, I have to be at my depths, blowing snot bubbles on the arm of a friend or in the stillness of my room in order to discover the magnificence of my “death.”  Finally allowing the eruption of tears to produce enlightenment. The lessons come as I welcome them…sometimes they arrive earlier than I want, or I avoid them at all cost. With an openness in my being, I hear, I stop. I accept the lesson, finally! Thereby granting me with opportunities to recognize a softer path the next time. And there will be a next time.

In regards to technology: I utilize social media. I think it serves a purpose and I enjoy it at times. But, I have recently developed a way to limit its availability in my life and a way to avoid the urge when it arises. Mainly thru awareness. It feels weird to be phone free. But I challenge you this week to try it. Go to the store without your phone. Go to dinner with a friend with no phone. If you are driving or standing in line at the grocery store and you think, “Aw shit, I forgot to text her back…” STOP. Sit in that feeling and urge, and wait. It can wait. It will wait, and most likely you will remember later. Allow your beautiful 2.87 poundish brain to do what it does best.  You hold all the power inside you.

All human beings are the same on this journey. No matter how big or small you feel your journey or calling is. We are not separate but together in this ONE journey. We have similar experiences or different ones, but they produce the same result: Separation, Initiation and Return. We separate from the old, we initiate the new and we return to share the story. By no means is my current journey complete…but today, I share with you just a small part of MINE.

This is precisely what I mean by Journey into Yourself, the subtitle of my blog and name of my business. What a glorious journey YOU are in the midst of. It becomes more magical and theatrical when you become clear of what needs to be pruned and what needs to be awoken or released INSIDE of you.

Like a really bad playlist on your ipod…take it off repeat, start a new playlist and feel inspired, energized and ready to run into that dark, treacherous forest. I believe you can and will take the challenge. Do you?

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