Story experienced June 3rd, 2017 – June 5th, 2017
Once upon a time (two years ago) I met a friend while traveling for work in Sydney.
This friend now lives in Washington. Two years had passed and we were well overdue for a reunion. I was already in Oregon so it seemed like as good a time as any to make it happen.
June 3rd, 2017: Somewhere between Portland, Oregon and Redmond, Washington
He was kind enough to drive down from Redmond, WA to scoop me up so we could drive the coast together. This drive was stunning and took far longer than planned because we stopped at every possible lookout point and a couple beaches.
Let me tell you a little bit about my friend. He is unbelievably thoughtful. Knowing this, I was fully prepared for deep conversation, well thought out gluten free meals, the cutest coffee shops so I could sample all the best PNW coffee, and the perfect mix of nature and city to give me the full Washington experience.
What I was not prepared for was the spiritual awakening that occurred in these three days.
First, a little background: I am a mix of Irish, Mexican, and Native American. The Native American piece has always interested me. As a little kid, I questioned every religion I learned about. I didn’t immediately dismiss traditional religion. I just wanted it explained to me in a way that I could understand.
One day my mom told me about a Native American belief practiced in her family. The belief was that when a person passes, the soul remains on this earth until it rains. Once the rain comes, the soul is cleansed and can move on to the next life.
This made a tremendous amount of sense to me.
Little kids are simple. I didn’t analyze why it made sense to me, I just accepted the fact that something had clicked. Uneducated about Native American traditions, I began to create my own spiritual connection to nature. As I grew older I started to educate myself. As I continued to learn, everything started to make sense to me on a mental and spiritual level, like I was piecing together a puzzle.
Fast forward to my mid-twenties: my curiosity continued to grow. I wondered about who I was as a person, who I wanted to become, what my purpose was in this lifetime, and how my Native American heritage tied into all of that.
To top it all off, I decided it was time to shed any negative energy that was weighing on me, mend relationships that needed mending, and move on from relationships that needed to be left in the past.
The process has been equal parts strenuous, beautiful, painful, and freeing.
My friend is aware of this path and has been hugely helpful in the process via Facetime and texts.
So, when he looked over and said, “would you be open to see where I find my spiritual connection?” I immediately agreed, despite the anxious energy that arose.
After a long and stunning drive through the woods we had finally arrived.
We got out of the car, left our phones behind, and walked toward the site. While we walked he taught me about the history of the site and the ceremonies performed each summer. I immediately felt a spiritual connection to the nature surrounding me.
I felt compelled to take my shoes off and stand up, soaking up all of mother earth’s energy. In this moment, I felt connected and protected. I could tell I was starting to let go of the negative energy and past events that I had been holding on to.
I stood like this for a while, looking around, taking it all in. To my left was a little mountain covered with giant green trees. To my right was a dense forest creating what seemed to be a protective wall, sealing in the spiritual energy. Also to my right was a little pond. All around me there was lush, green grass. Other than birds chirping in the distance and the light wind rustling the leaves in the trees, there were no other sounds.
Then he looked at me and said, “I am going to walk away, you stay here and set the intention to let go of whatever it is that you need to let go of.”
I watched him walk away and apprehensively looked around, my bare feet still firmly planted on the ground. I reached out and touched a tree with both my hands. I felt a surge of warm, comforting, and protective energy. I started talking: to myself, to the tree, to the universe.
As I spoke I felt an actual, seemingly physical, weight being lifted off my chest and throat. And then I cried, not because I was sad, but because I could tell the weight was gone and I could move forward.
We walked away in silence, got into the car, and drove away, again in silence.
Then he spoke, “I’d like you to see a lake that’s nearby. It’s one of the most beautiful places I have ever been.”
Few things make me happier than a quiet, still lake so I eagerly agreed. He was right, it was one of the most beautiful places I had ever seen. I felt so at peace, I could have sat there for hours admiring all the beauty in front of me.
Eventually we had to get up and start making our way to Olympia, WA, where we had dinner reservations at a restaurant called Anthony’s, complete with an epic view.
June 4th, 2017: Snoqualmie Falls & Lake Sammamish (Washington State)
The rest of this trip carried on in a much lighter manner.
The hike starts at the top of the waterfall and works its way down to the river.
Full of energy, we admired the breathtaking waterfall from above, and began our journey down to the river.
We found a couple rocks a little way down the river, sat down, and gazed in awe at the powerful stream of water forcefully flowing by us. The combination of the intense, exciting energy coming from the river and waterfall mixed with the grounding energy of the mountains and trees created a perfect yin/yang balance. Once again, I could have stayed there for hours feeling equal parts relaxed and energized, like I was fueled with enough energy to take over the world in most Zen, level headed manner imaginable.
There’s a serious disadvantage to hiking down to the destination. Reaching the most beautiful part of the hike is followed by the “reward” of having to hike back up to the top, which I never seem to properly mentally prepare for. So, we headed back up, rewarded our hard work with a quick look at the top of the waterfall, and then headed to the next stop on the list, Lake Sammamish.
If you know me at all, you know that my happy place looks like this: a serene, still lake that perfectly reflects the blue sky and white fluffy clouds, surrounded by giant green trees (mountains are a bonus), and minimal people.
Lo and behold, this is exactly what this lake was.
Throwing zero curve balls into our nature observation habits, we walked down a little trail that hugged the lake, away from the people fishing on the dock, and found a quiet spot to sit in silence.
The water was crisp and refreshing, a deep blue color except for the edge of the lake, where the water was crystal clear. Tiny little waves continuously rolled up the shore, creating a peaceful soundtrack to the magnificent scenery in front of us. There were big fluffy clouds floating peacefully in the bright blue sky, the kind of clouds little kids make shapes out of. The air was a comfortable cool, a light breeze moved through the trees.
A family of ducks swam by, three ducklings swimming single file behind their mother. One of the ducklings kept swimming away, exploring the lake, trying to see what else is out there. The mother was quick to reel the duckling in.
This moment was absolutely perfect.
After a little while we headed back home and completed the day with homemade tacos and House of Cards.
June 5th, 2017: Seattle, Washington
Time to play tourist! I had a train to catch at 6:00 PM so we spent the day power walking all around Seattle (7 miles in total), checking off all the obligatory Seattle site seeing spots: Space Needle, Public Market, Gum Wall, etc.
Before I left I thanked him for everything he had done for me, in this weekend and in the last two years. When we were in Sydney neither of us had any idea that this friendship would grow to be anything other than eating chocolate, drinking wine, and chatting about Australia.
To be honest, we are very much opposite people on the outside. To the casual observer, it may even seem that we are the most unlikely of friends. But that could not be further from the truth. Deep down, underneath how we present ourselves in crowded bars and restaurants, there are two people who are quite similar. We are aligned in our values, goals, and fears. If we hadn’t taken the time to dig past the exterior we would have never found this companionship.
I wouldn’t be where I am, physically, mentally, and spiritually, if it weren’t for this friend stumbling into my life at the exact right moment.
The universe constantly sends you people that you need in your life at any given moment. They don’t come waving a giant sign that says “Hi! The universe sent me to be your friend!” It takes patience and an open mind. It takes a willingness to get to know a perfect stranger on a deep level. It takes bravery to share your soul with this stranger.
It’s scary, yes, but it’s necessary if you want to continue to grow and evolve. It’s fascinating how many truly amazing people there are out there. Take the time to look around and let people in. I promise you it’s worth it!
Love & light,