You've probably heard the concept of the vicious circle, whereby one negative event makes the next event more likely to be negative, which in turn makes the next event more negative, ad infinitum… The opposite of this idea is the virtuous circle, yet so far on our trip Neda and I feel like we have been flowing through more of a “gracious cycle” and it has been a tremendously opening experience.
We arrived in Phoenix to the abundant hospitality of Erin & Mike (Neda’s old friend from Springfield and her husband). Together we shared a wonderful dinner at a chic restaurant (the Windsor) and had a great night hanging out.
We departed for Sedona the next day and after a fluid session of hot yoga at a local studio, were greeted by Jean & Rich, the parents of one of Chris Nigro’s friends. Chris is one of Neda’s former co-workers and friends who was gracious enough to connect us with the couple when he heard we would be in Sedona.
Jean & Rich have a wonderful home overlooking Cathedral Rock (we hiked all the way up to the "thumb" in the picture) in the heart of Sedona. They welcomed us into their home on Friday and gave us great tips on seeing Sedona. Saturday morning we shared breakfast together before they guided us on an enlivening hike all the way to the top of Cathedral Rock.
Along the way we crossed Oak Creek and enjoyed the Zen rock sculptures that had been built in the middle of it. The red rocks of Sedona are perfect places for hiking and finding stillness. The porous sandstone absorbs iron as water passes through it, giving them a red tinge and unique electromagnetic properties that many believe give the place spiritually grounding properties.
On the rocks with Jean & Rich
So now we get back to the concept of the gracious circle. As we have received so much love and care from those on our journey, it has acted as the iron that flowed through the Sedona Red Rocks for so many years. It infuses us with graciousness and compassion - making us more open and loving people. As the rocks here continue to give inspiration to residents and tourists alike, Neda & I aspire to pass on the graciousness that has been given to us. Reb Anderson (a Zen Teacher we practiced with in Austin) taught us that to treat all of life as a gift is a challenging and rewarding spiritual practice. It calls us to embrace the seemingly difficult people and situations in our life as unique opportunities for growth that the universe presents to us. We can choose to see them as obstacles (thus creating a vicious circle of constriction and pain) or see them as gifts (and thus part of a gracious circle). We are going to do our part to continue the gracious circle - are you with us?
To see the rest of our Sedona pics, click here: