Happy summer, y’all! We just got back from a trip with our California family, which we hadn’t seen in over 2 years due to the pandemic!! We had an epic time exploring Zion National Park and the surrounding area!!
The indigenous Paiute name for Zion is Mukuntuweap which means “straight canyon” or “straight arrow”. On our first day, we hiked up the extraordinary Zion Narrows (with six kiddos ages 6-17). We were up at 5:00 AM, and it was REALLY crowded, but as I watched the throngs of people trudge up the canyon through the water, I felt I was witnessing a pilgrimage…a journey straight to the heart, a return to nature, to this sacred, healing space with its grounding rocks and flowing, cleansing waters and the healing presence of Pachamama.
We all need this, now more than ever, but the path isn’t always easy, just like the hike! It was a challenge, balancing tediously on the rocks to navigate a path through the chilly stream. (Thank goodness for the hiking stick provided by Auntie Jessica!) My little guy and his cousins were troopers…however stumbling into the icy water was the last straw for Jonah after little sleep, lots of travel, a super early morning and a tough hike. Yep, tears streaming down his face, full on balling in the middle of the narrows (echoing off the canyon walls lol). Rather than bolting to get him out of there (nowhere to go really) or fixing it, I just held space and let it flow and comforted him. We’ve all been there…it’s gotta go somewhere!
We found a spot for us all to sit and regroup as the littles and teens were ready to head back. It was concave area carved into the steep wall of the canyon with a few rocks to sit on.
As I held Jonah in my lap, I consciously connected to the Earth as a conduit for him, allowing the energetic “ickies” to flow through me and down into the Earth. I mentioned to him that it was like we were in Pachamama’s belly. He responded with, “more like her belly button!” And he was exactly right…We were in her “qosqo”!
The energy shifted, he had a few bites of sandwich and was ready for his return journey, singing away as we hiked back and encountered the “super social squirrels”. On the trail back, he expressed that he liked hiking because you can feel proud when you do something hard.
It's not about the challenge, but how we journey through it!
That goes for us grown ups, too!!
With love and gratitude,
Amanda Nitschke, M.S. CCC-SLP, RYT200
CE0 & Founder of PachaYoga & Healing, Leaps with Language
P.S. I highly recommend a walking stick, or two!!