Since I’ve got commitment issues and am still not committing to this great apartment with washer/dryer hookups by buying a washer and dryer, I drove to the cheap laundromat I like in Espanola this a.m. to do my laundry. This laundromat always has friendly people in it (and free coffee!) but today I got to chatting with this nice man who turned out to be a fabulous artist named Walter W. Nelson. We chatted about various things, including art and writing and living in isolated areas. He agreed that I effed up when I got shy 20 years ago and turned down Neil Simon’s offer to mentor me as a writer. (He’s friends with a successful writer and neighbor in Abiquiu.) But he also said something important to me. When I mentioned that I’m not sure WHAT to write as I am all over the place with ideas, he said, “Just write. Don’t try to figure it out. Just write.” (I’m paraphrasing.) We had one of those brief, fateful interactions that are clearly destined…and not accidents. Walter may not know it, but I think he was used as a messenger/angel today for me.
By the way, I looooove this quote from his writer friend’s bio: In 1986, Preston piled everything he owned into the back of a Subaru and moved from New York City to Santa Fe to write full time, following the advice of S. J. Perelman that “the dubious privilege of a freelance writer is he’s given the freedom to starve anywhere.”
After lunch, I got the urge to go to El Santurio de Chimayo as I felt the need for spiritual/emotional healing and my 21+ years of constant head/neck pain has been slowly killing me…literally. On the way to Chimayo, I got the urge (was listening to urges today and it turned out magical) to veer off to go to the Nambe Trading Post I’ve heard about. As fate would have it, today was day 1 of their opening for the summer season! The place has fabulous stuff, including movie memorabilia and a real Emmy Award! As a vegan, some of the dead animal stuff was upsetting, but, it is part of the Native American culture and history, so I dealt with it. I wanted to buy tons of the things they had for sale, but controlled myself. Ha! And, of course, I wanted to steal the Emmy! 😉 The Nambe Trading Post has some great art.
After that, I continued onto my end goal…El Santuario de Chimayo. But, as I went to turn onto Highway 98 from Highway 503, I saw a sign pointing down further on 503 that mentioned a LAKE. When I see anything that mentions lakes, I get excited. So, I decided to go exploring and stay on 503. It was a very winding and pretty drive and I discovered a tiny town I’d never heard of before named Cundiyo. I had no cell reception there and asked some locals if I was near a lake…and they kindly gave me directions. (Everyone I interacted with today was freaking LOVELY! People waved at me in Chimayo like they do in Taos!)
Finally, I got to Santa Cruz Lake. I have never heard of Santa Cruz Lake! It’s wonderful! There is always more to find in magical New Mexico! I only stayed for a little while, so the parking attendant didn’t charge me the $5 fee because I told him I just wanted to take some pictures and wouldn’t stay long. (See what I mean about nice people today?)
Eventually I continued on and found a pretty restaurant called Rancho de Chimayo where they let me wander around and explore even though I wasn’t eating there. (Nice people yet again!) I am definitely going to eat there this year. It has wonderful ambiance and I heard GOOD margaritas!
Finally…but it was a lovely warm, spring-like day…so I wasn’t in a rush…I made it to El Santuario de Chimayo. I explored more of the areas around the church than usual, and sat inside this chapel just down the block.
I was alone in Santo Nino de Atocha chapel…and it had GREAT energy of holiness. There truly is power in places where people go to pray. It clearly affects the vibration of the place. I felt reverence. I felt God. This chapel was built in 1857.
I got talking to yet another kind man who pointed me toward what looked like a tiny house (I’m obsessed with tiny houses.) but was actually a tiny chapel. (It’s on my http://www.instagram.com/atheria444 account. I’m too tired to find it and post it.) He promised me that if I went inside and shut the door, I’d be filled with peace…that I’d feel God. And, he was right. There was a sense of peace inside that tiny building. But, it was also hot and stuffy so I didn’t stay long. LOL
I got coffee from a local Chimayo coffee house/art gallery and had a wonderful conversation with my barista/gifted artist. Yep…..another wonderful interaction with a stranger today. (There was also a guy driving past me, who, when I looked lost in my car, asked me what I was looking for and helpfully pointed me in the right direction.)
With coffee in hand, I headed to El Santuario.
I was raised Catholic, but am not Catholic anymore…but do appreciate and love OLD churches. I have to respect those who TRULY take their religion/faith seriously. There was a family in fervent prayer. In small New Mexico towns like Chimayo the people live, breathe, and eat their faith. And, their reverence for Jesus/God clearly not only shows in their interactions with others, but also affects the energy of the place. The energy there is FABULOUS.
I did go into the back room this time, where the holy healing dirt is. I followed directions and rubbed some of it on my damaged neck. I also asked God for help regarding both physical and emotional healing so that I could accomplish the things my soul came here to do in this incarnation. Right now the physical pain, which is 24/7 and worsening by the year, sucks too much of my energy. I struggle just to get through the day. If I’m supposed to do major spiritual work….I need relief….and I need it now.
I will say that sitting in some of the prayer areas of both the main church, and the other chapel….where people put up photos of loved ones who need prayers (lots of babies)….hits you. It was a bit overwhelming just how many people are suffering….and how much love there is within families/friends.
When it was time to leave, I got into Ruby (my red Honda Fit) and looked down to see that it was exactly 4:44 p.m.! As I’ve mentioned before, 444 is a sign that angels are with you! Perfect timing!
As I was driving home on Highway 503, I tilted my head up a bit to avoid the sun that was directly in my eyes, when suddenly my neck…up at the very top where my skull sits on C1 and I’m convinced my main problem is…snapped/cracked! It was weird! Something clearly shifted! I thought to myself, “Oh my God! El Santuario de Chimayo is going to fix my neck!” Now, a few hours later my 21+ years long headache is still here…but…something DOES feel different. I really do thing something good happened. I’m trying to control my hope, but I have a little hope after being hopeless for a very long time. Wouldn’t it be awesome to wake up tomorrow and be out of pain because I rubbed dirt on my neck?!
When I got home, this is what I saw:
I saw God in the sky. New Mexico makes you feel and EXPERIENCE God. I can’t really explain it to those who don’t get it. But, this land is truly magical. I may not be happy, in general, and definitely need to find more fulfilling work that doesn’t suck my soul dry…but I’m where I’m meant to be. My soul knows that Northern NM is where I’m meant to be. I never was meant to be in Albuquerque. Northern NM is what I resonate with. And the people are SO friendly and kind up here! I want to live where strangers wave at you!