It takes a while to slow down on vacation, doesn’t it? In fact it takes at least a few days to leave the wild rumpus behind. It happened for me on the fourth day, our first layover day.

A layover day is the highly prized, well earned day off after a carefully calculated several days of gettin’ crackin’ at dawn and moving down river a prescribed number of miles. Since Don & I were the first team up for cooking (we all take turns preparing dinner and breakfast the next morn), the trip started with a burst of focused energy and didn’t really let up till we took our pause at Nankoweap, these four days later. 

Layovers mean slow down, “do nothing but eat & rest” to some, major hiking opportunities to others. For me it was somewhere in-between with beach yoga & meditation mid-morning, reading and writing after lunch, and finishing with an hour’s hike high up on the red wall to the Anasazi granaries this spot is known for. More about that in a minute.

It was during my morning meditation by the river that I felt my self really slow down & settle into where I was.

In Meditation

This particular meditation, Taking Your Head Off, is a favorite when in such a spectacular place. Once settled and focused, one simply imagines taking your head off with all its busy thoughts and cares, and setting it down beside you to be settled back in its place at the end. Then with eyes comfortably open and gaze softly unfocused, taking in the whole world around you, 360 degree awareness, allowing it to occupy where your head once was. Then breathe into THAT.

This was the pause I needed to truly arrive. This was what I needed to allow time to slow down to river’s flow. To be present.

Slow Flow

Want to try it? I can’t physically bring you down the Grand Canyon for it, but you can go to this link for a 5 minute guided experience of taking your head off. You can use a soft gaze of this view from the ancient granaries I mentioned if you like. Imagine yourself here, high up above the river, soaked in the stillness of this ancient ruin. Nothing but the whispers of those imagined from long ago, an occasional raven’s call, the sound of your own breath. Feel yourself slow down.

Now breathe into THAT.

More in a few days…..

Connie McClaran

My work is an expression of the deep connection I feel with the natural world. When I’m on a photographic “walkabout” I allow the lines of separation to blur and settle into an immersion, if you will, that becomes the images you’ll see on this website.

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