Do a quick search on Sedona, Arizona, and you may find that many people come out here for its healing properties. From the massive red rocks, to the much talked about vortices. There are numerous crystal shops scattered amongst the town, and a plethora of spiritual practices to choose from. To be honest, I didn’t come here with the thought of, “healing in Sedona!” I came out here just to be. 

Of all the places in the world, why did I choose Sedona, to take up residency for the winter? Well the first word that comes to mind is community. If you know me well enough, you know I’m not one to just throw myself into a new group (although I’ve made huge strides in putting myself out there more), but when I use the word community, I mean all of life as a collective whole.

I had been killing some time in a Whole Foods parking lot, when I scrolled through an Airbnb experience that caught my eye. It read, “Healing with Medicine Man, Standing Bear.” A three hour journey in Sedona, Arizona, that included dream interpretation, drum healing work, and soul retrieval/extraction. The cost didn’t matter to me, this was something that had spiritually spoken to me.

I met Standing Bear on a warm and sunny Saturday afternoon.

He was tall and well framed. The name surely fit! He welcomed me into his teepee, where he had an elk rug laid out. The elk, a symbol of strength and stamina, was his choice of animal when he had previously asked his guides about me. We sat across from each other in two wooden chairs and I began to tell him a little bit about my story. The conversation carried on, with much of it geared towards, “staying on your true path.” We shared a lot of deep thoughts and words, and the wisdom he spoke of resonated deep into my core. Here I was a 40 year boy, sharing a spiritual conversation with a Native American. Life in that moment, surely came to a standstill.

About two hours into the session, he performed a Native American ritual, to rid me of any energy that no longer served me.

Afterwards, we laid down on the elk carpet, where he would transcend the physical plane. He placed his hand in mine, closed his eyes and drifted away. He asked that my eyes remain open during the session, so I found myself staring blankly through the tip of the teepee into the deep blue sky.  For a matter of seconds, we floated amongst the clouds. At one point he placed his fingers into my heart. I had some flashbacks to that famous scene in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, where the guy had his heart ripped out, but I had faith that I wasn’t going to meet the same fate. He then placed his mouth by my heart, sucking out all the negative energy, that could be found. 

After coming out of his trance, he shared with me some things he had seen. He saw a crown on my head, connected at all points. A sign that my feminine energy was balancing out. He also saw piano keys, down the left side of my body. Another sign that connecting to my creativity (feminine energy) was a key to my well-being.

He spoke about water, its ability to heal, and how much more I needed to be around it.

He told me he had left me connected to a higher source, and it was all on me to keep those lines open. I ended the session with Standing Bear, feeling lighter, clearer and more well balanced. The thing I wasn’t expecting from this encounter, was the way I was going to the feel and the things I was going to experience in the coming days. Was I really healing in Sedona?

I knew from my Sound/Reiki sessions back east, that normally after they are finished, you feel all kinds of emotions for a few days after. After my meeting with Standing Bear though, everything had been amplified.

Sunday morning had arrived, with an eagerness to hike. There was one issue, I felt as if I had been run over by a freight train. I mustered up what energy I could and completed the hike which saw me gain over 2,000 feet of elevation. Monday saw a range of emotions show up. I felt angst, sadness, fearful, alone! It was if I was going through a breakup, but only I wasn’t. It would have been easy for me to find a distraction, but I decided to ride the waves.

There’s a really amazing thing that happens when one becomes concious of their feelings and emotions.

You actually begin to feel them, and you actually begin to give them a space to freely move through. You begin to pinpoint areas in your life that you’ve felt those feelings before. A time when you couldn’t make sense of them. People would tell you to just get over them and move on, so you did. A time when they said to you, “that’s just life!” Come Monday night, I was physically and mentally exhausted. Night turned into day, and Tuesday had arrived.

I started my morning off with a Cross-Fit class, hoping to move some more of that energy through. I followed that up with a much needed float session. The hour spent in the pod, would find me at one point, feeling like I was floating endlessly amongst an array of stars. I had a Yin yoga class scheduled for later in the day at Aumbase, Sedona, and by that point my angst was in high gear. We spent just over an hour doing a lot of grounding and breathing practices. I had the entire class to myself, which I found to be very synchronistic. I decided to hang around for a sound session which followed just 30 minutes after the class. This is where the magic really happened.

A 90 minute session complete with musical instruments such as an Australian didgeridoo, a native american flute, Tibetan bowls and crystal singing bowls, were used to facilitate physical and emotional release.

During the session I drifted away. I let go of everything that had been stirred up inside of me the previous days. At one point, the didgeridoo was placed directly over my heart, and the vibration of it sank deeply beneath my veins.

Somewhere towards the end, I felt two taps on my shoulder. I would come to learn, that it wasn’t the instructors of the session. Was it my grandfather, who I’ve been told before, is keeping a close eye on me, or was it other spirits that Standing Bear had connected me to? Shortly after I saw two white flashes of light out the corner of my eye. I’m not sure what to make of it, but I have to believe it was tied to the taps on my shoulder. 

I’d awake Wednesday morning feeling completely balanced. So thankful for this opportunity that has been presented to me. While a few of those angsty, fearful thoughts once again popped up on Wednesday, I now can see them for what they are. It’s old stagnant energy making its way through. And as uncomfortable as those feelings can be at times, it’s just shit I needed to sit through.

As I was driving through Sedona on Thursday, it all hit me square in the face!

A few days prior, had marked the 4 year mark since the ending of my 10 year realationship. It all made sense. Why did I feel like I was going through a break-up? Because I was! I was releasing energy that I had continued to stuff down. I have longed moved on from the breakup, however the initial trauma was still lingering somewhere within.

Those feelings I had been feeling, were sending me a message, and I had finally listened. I was healing in Sedona.

An immediate wave of energy rushed through me, the sky turned a multitude of colors, and a huge smile ran across my face. 

This is my life now, and believe what you want, but once you open yourself up to the magic of the universe, the most amazing things will begin to appear. The rational, “financially” responsible, get your shit together Ryan, should’ve stayed out east for the winter. The enlightened, open minded, I have my shit together Ryan, decided to head out west. Not only had I been hiking in Sedona, but I was healing in Sedona as well.

“Water is the most perfect traveller
 because when it travels it becomes the path itself!” ― Mehmet Murat ildan


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Ryan.j.Drewes Adventure

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