After a long transition, I felt the call to quiet contemplation and spiritual direction and found myself driving to St. Anthony’s Spiritual Sanctuary, a Franciscan retreat center in rural Wisconsin.
I had no plans, other than to spend a day in silent prayer and mindful walking but shortly after I arrived, I met with the Reverend and spent some time talking to him about life transitions and spiritual practice. I then roamed the Sanctuary and was mesmerized by the long hallways that hundreds of young men had walked before me as they prepared for a lifetime devoted to spiritual practice.
Sometimes we feel we have to journey far to find a retreat or place of solitude, but the sanctuary is closer than we think. The silence, the serenity, and tranquility that we seek is within each of us. Our spiritual journey is visible when we clear the weeds from our minds and step intentionally onto the path that we were given. Sometimes the road leads us in a different direction than where we intended to go, but that is when we need to trust that we are being guided and that the new path will be smoother, lighter and brighter than the path that we chose for ourselves.
In life, sometimes we choose a path, and sometimes the path is chosen for us.
What do you do when life challenges you in unexpected ways? You drive a U-haul across the country, leaving behind life as you know it.
Unexpectedly I found my life shift and change, forcing me to make decisions that I did not want to make. I realized that life is unpredictable.
Driving a 20-foot U-haul and towing my car behind was completely out of my comfort zone. My friend and travel companion reminded me to breathe as I began the journey driving the wrong way into rural mountains with no place to turn around. I white-knuckled the steering wheel as I drove further into the unfamiliar mountain range.
For four days, we were enchanted by the beauty of New Mexico, laughed across the state of Texas and wanted to kill each other in the cattle fields of Kansas, but we survived the journey recognizing that our adventure together was a test of strength, endurance, and patience. We ate Chinese food every night in Super 8 Hotels along the way and saw Dorthy’s house from the Wizard of Oz.
We survived the journey together and I have surrendered to the fact that I will probably make more unexpected journeys in my lifetime, and that’s ok. I no longer hold onto a false sense of security as life is truly an illusion. What feels safe, isn’t, and what feels fearful is safe. Life is a paradox.
I could have stayed in one place my entire life, but then I think about all the people I would not have met and all the experiences I would not have had, both good and bad. Not that I have chosen all of my life changes, on the contrary, most of them were forced upon me, but I no longer fight them, but accept that I am being guided to a new place, a new experience or back to a familiar place where I am to resolve the past. Wherever life takes me, it will be a journey…
On a recent trip to Phoenix I joined another fellow explorer and together we ventured into the world of alternative health and wellness.
We unexpectedly found ourselves standing in front of an oxygen bar. Having driven to Phoenix, a trip of almost 200 miles down the mountains at an elevation drop of over 5000 feet in altitude, and still struggling to acclimate to the region, I thought the oxygen bar would provide me with an added boost. Once inside, it was explained that oxygen aids in good health by boosting energy levels, increasing endurance, reduces stress and toxins as well as increasing concentration and focus.
Natural scents are added to the oxygen such as lavender and eucalyptus to enhance the experience and to create a feeling of relaxation or as an energy boost. The scents are extracted from essential oils.
Sessions are priced depending on the amount of time selected. I was offered a special for $25., which included a hydro massage. I laid down face first fully clothed on a hydro massage table as jets of water sprayed up and down my back from my neck to my feet. The water pressure could be controlled for personal preference from mild to firm. I ended the session with the oxygen bar, which left me feeling relaxed and energized at the same time.
Feeling sluggish? Head for your nearest 02 bar for a quick and natural boost.