Thoughts on the trail during my artist residency …
I just crested staying over two months in Taos, New Mexico as an Artist in Residence at the Wurlitzer Foundation. A few days after I arrived here I sought out the Devisadero Loop Trail, a section / foothill of the Sangre de Cristo mountains. It begins around 7,000 feet above sea level and makes its way to 8,300 feet. Needless to say, my Minnesota lungs were winded. I was such a PILE on the first hike. Took me 2.5-3 hours and I was exhausted on those early days of being here. Now I’m run/hiking it, and just had my best time at 1:10.
“Devisadero” has a few searchable meanings – could be from the Spanish word for ‘division.’ The forest service says it means “lookout place” and that “the peak had once been used by the Taos Pueblo Indians to stand guard against the Apaches who would come down Taos Canyon to raid the Pueblo.” Or it might be from the word divisar, meaning similarly ‘to gaze at something from a distance.’
I feel most in my body when hike-running here or along the Rio Grande river gorge. Songs have come to me. Feelings have washed over me. Plans solidify. Memories process. Healing? Hopefully. Always transmuting. It feels sacred here, all of the land does.
I am taken by the word Devisadero/Divisadero. I think about the word divisive. This certainly could be the case as far as the Taos Pueblo watching for the Apache raids … A dividing place, a lookout place, a watchful place between people with differing ways of life and war. Separations, drawing the line. Protecting. Watching. Waiting.
In my time here I have been withdrawing from my old ways. I can feel change coming. Feeling the divisions. I have deleted for the most part all my social media apps from my smartphone. OH MY! I have been trying VERY hard not to go on facebook. (Listen to this BBC podcast called Why Can’t We Stop Looking at our Phones?). I am, as my friend Sean said, starting to hear my own damn self think. My dreams at night are becoming clearer with many symbols. I will wake up with a song singing to me in my mind in the middle of the night or first thing in the morning (I wrote one today even before making coffee!).
Shifting musically was one step in this evolution. Marriage and divorce was another. Moves to east coast and west coast, to Duluth multiple times. And now Minneapolis, with a brick and mortar yoga studio business that I left behind (briefly) for this desert Taos dream.
On the Devisadero, my heart pounds out of my chest on the ascension. I sometimes feel like I’m about to hyperventilate, like my chest will burst, especially if I want to pass someone (especially ESPECIALLY if they are yakking loudly). On the downslope I have to stay focused like an animal so I don’t stumble and twist and ankle or break my neck. The trail is forgiving, I probably won’t fall to my death.
Changing, dividing, becoming, trying again, trying love again … I am happy to say I started seeing someone rad. He came on this trail with me and we explored the other side of the loop, the North side, with deeper snows and shadows, taller trees – douglas & white firs and less cacti & juniper. We had incredible views of Taos Mountain and Wheeler Peak. We also explored the depths of the gorge to some remote hot springs.
In my healing, I work on relinquishing guilt for things that didn’t work out. I work on forgiveness … working HARD on forgiveness. I work on thinking for ME, letting so many years of people pleasing and giving power away start to dissolve… I let fall away all of YOUR opinions of me because how YOU think of me is none of my business 😉 I’m gonna release a grungy album featuring holy ghosts from my past, and before that I’m gonna sing a Sanskrit mantra and way before that I’ve been a shy coffeehouse balladeer. And that’s how I got here. And I got here a few long decades ago, and that’s just a BLIP on the cosmic map, and frankly, you shouldn’t give a fuck about what I think about you either. We are all changing and growing.
Let’s live our lives in pursuit of unending bliss, and our true passions. Let’s not burn out our resources while we’re at it. What we take care of can last a long time. The earth made us, we should practice gratitude and reduce our wasteful ways. The people in your reality are reflections. Conflicts and change can be good – maybe means you are outgrowing or shifting over … however it probably ALWAYS means that we need more compassion, and need to take a damn good look in the mirror, plunge into our psyches, see a therapist, and do our deep work of individuation if we can stand to shed our skins, and become what we are meant to be. Draw the lines. Make the divides. Cut off the vestiges of the past and empty the crummy suitcases full of who’s-its and what’s-its galore. There will be mistakes. That’s how we learn. If I continued the pursuit of people-pleasing perfectionism and feared making mistakes and offending people, I would be paralyzed … You are changing. I am changing. I may have loved you once. You may have loved me once. The love is still there. We can hold that and let go at the same time. We can gaze into the distance from our lookout points, with all that we’ve been, and all that we may and will be.
Holy bones, that’s a lot of woo woo juju, but I mean it! Warm regards to you, your loves, your families. Please know I write from a place of peace, and a place of hope. The shit storm may be coming, but “there is still time to do good things.” Peace!!!