It's easy to forget that we are all perfect in our own design. Sometimes we muck it up with habits and choices that do not serve us.
Several times when hiking very early, I have heard drumming at sunrise. The powerful sounds shifted over the desert floor in a beautiful and mystical way. The rhythm always found my heart. I could feel traditions and rituals that respect the earth and all that is. These moments became sacred to me. I would pause my stride to honor the energy that was being shared.
Over the next couple of months, I attempted to find out where the sounds of the drum were originating from. I also wanted to know who was gifting us such an amazing start to the day. Last week, I asked the right person. He suggested I climb Piestewa Peak. There was still a mystery as to who did the drumming. The opportunity of seeing the ceremony stayed in my thoughts. While making my plans, I learned a comet might be visible about an hour before sunrise… So my goals included hiking the peak, seeing the comet, experiencing the drum ceremony, and seeing the sunrise. I hadn’t felt this excited and uplifted about an adventure for a while.
Truthfully, I was struggling with a decision that needed to be made. I had tickets for a flight to Alaska for my son and myself. We were to spend a week with my husband and one of our daughters. Our plans included hiking and hunkering down in our Alaska home. With COVID cases rising in Arizona, I felt nervous about traveling. Even if we wear masks and wash our hands, there is no way of fully controlling our environment. Sharing my concerns with friends and family didn’t provide a clear plan. Ultimately, I needed to let go of the internal struggle.
The morning hiking adventure was exactly what I needed to clear my head. I set the alarm for 3:45 AM. My dogs woke me up at 3:30; so, the day began even earlier. I had hiked this peak once with my husband at sunset. I remembered it to be a rocky, winding, and steep climb with a couple of sheer drop-offs. The top of it is mostly craggy rock and cliff. I was starting about 70 minutes before sunrise without a headlamp. It was already over 90 degrees Fahrenheit. I had a frozen bottle of water and some chilled water. I followed a couple of other cars into the large parking lot. Immediately, I felt a sense of community and adventure. It reminded me of the morning marathon starts. Something special was going to happen to each person who said yes to the call of the dark trail. I happened to park next to the man who does the drumming. I’m sure this was no coincidence (thank you universe). I introduced myself and shared that he was a big part of why I was awake before the sunrise. To be honest, I was a little starstruck.
We both started climbing up the unlit trail. With a very large drum on his back, he moved much quicker than me. Soon I was by myself in the dark. This moment of slowing down, experiencing the darkness, was exactly what I needed. There was nothing to control. I was forced to focus on the experience at hand, not worrying about the future. My eyes were able to see the trail just in front of my feet. As I slowly climbed in the heat at my own pace, the darkness began to soften. I could hear my heart beating and feel the earth. I was in a place beyond sight.
In the bottom quarter of the trail, I heard an owl calling. I was reminded of the creatures that thrive in the darker hours. They do not fear the unknown.
Every once in awhile, someone with a headlamp would pass by me. I noticed that the artificial light changed the shapes on the rocky trail; the depth between the steps was altered. I could look up and see bats, a sliver of the moon, possibly Venus, but no comet.
As the trail gained more natural light, I noticed an occasional lizard and shrew. I was remembering the feeling of traveling using senses other than eyesight. I trusted my feet. I trusted my body. I trusted that the sun would always rise. I remembered what it felt like to be alive and not be fearful of what may come.
Near the top, it was very easy to see the surrounding desert floor, cliff face, and trail. The last pitch held steep steps. At the crest, I used my hands to pull myself into an opening in the rock. I slipped into a large crack. When I made it through to the other side, I was rewarded with an amazing view of my favorite preserve. I could see the trails far below with a completely different perspective. It made me wonder if people ever viewed the currents and patterns of oceans with familiar knowledge.
I found a place to sit that would offer me a view of the sunrise. I could also see Ken Kushiro, the drummer. He was on a separate section of the cliff, about 20 feet away. There were maybe 15 other people who had made the climb for sunrise. I watched Ken do some yoga while awaiting the perfect moment to welcome the day.
I felt such deep reverence for nature and the earth. These feelings were amplified as the sun began to rise from behind the dark mountain range. A feeling of renewal and peaceful strength rose with the sun. Ken used an air instrument similar to the flute as the sky began to turn orange. When pink, gold, and purple joined the orange, the drumming began. I could feel the energy of the sun, earth, and air moving through me. Ken’s voice shared the wisdom and strength of the universe. A sacred voice from within connected me to a higher realm.
I hiked to the top three mornings before I fully found my answer. We would go to Alaska, hike, and possibly watch the sunrise. Everything is exactly as it should be. Do not fear. A higher realm is guiding.
There is a beauty found in the process of learning how to release past fears and hurts. This is what awakening is; simply forgetting what doesn’t truly live inside you. Trust that you have the power to make wise and loving choices. You have the senses needed to hear the call of your highest self. Place your awareness on the most beautiful potential of your heart, soul merging, and experiencing each moment as one. Together we share this brilliant moment of awakening.
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