The Beauty Lies Beneath.


Michael Schaeffer

In the car at 3:00am to make it to see the sunrise over the Grand Canyon. We made it just it time. We jumped out the car, took pictures, back in the car. It was The equivalent to National Lampoon’s Vacation Grand Canyon moment.

The Grand Canyon is beautiful but it wasn’t what I wanted to see.

15 years ago I wandered into the Peter Lik Gallery on Lincoln Road in Miami Beach. In the front gallery was a photo of the most beautiful slot canyon with a dust figure dancing in a ray of light. Light beams shoot through the top of the canyon exposing the colors of America’s Southwest. A full rainbow of oranges, crimsons, violets, and blues. For 15 years, it’s been on my bucket list to walk through Lower Antelope Canyon in Northern Arizona.

I’ve built this hike up in my head for years and after the obligatory Grand Canyon photos it was only 4 hours away.

And then we got there... Down a dusty, baron, desolate highway my excitement began to wane. As we pulled into the Navajo reservation my waning excitement turned to shear annoyance. Brown dust as far as the eye can see. How could something so beautiful be in a place that’s surface is sodepressing?

Nicole our Navajo guide came right up to the car, she was expecting us. She lead us through a dilapidated trailer filled with dream catchers, fox tails, and turquoise jewelry. In my head this clearly wasn’t the place.

Then, the decent into the canyon began. The first breath of canyon wind ignited the spirit. The first look upward as the sunlight crept through the narrow canyon walls was an embrace to the soul. The two hour walk was more then any photo could express. As the light shifted, it unmasked the deep reds that quickly shifted into violets that my eyes have never seen. I am a practical yoga teacher and rarely use the innocuous buzzwords. However, the walk through Lower Antelope Canyon was magical, spiritual, and emotional. I’ve been fortunate to travel a lot of place and do a lot of exotic things. This sits at the top.

One of the most meaningful experiences of my life happened beneath a seemingly desolate dusty wasteland. The metaphor is there for all of us. I’m revisiting all the people, places, emotions, experiences that I’ve written off as a baron wasteland. I invite you this week to do the same. To descend into the beauty of the canyon with me.

I can’t wait to come home.

All my love

Michael.

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