This is an article that I wrote for another health coaches website, as a guest blogger, 5 years ago. I had forgotten that I wrote it, and just found it in my archives. I did another post on Facebook about a different Mr. Toad’s Wild ride, and remembered this one. Its a fun read, and makes the point, don’t be afraid to say NO and take care of yourself when the need arrives.
TOAD’S WILD RIDE
Two weeks ago, I headed to a retreat at Mago Sedona Center to replenish my soul and take a break from my hectic life.
The Center is 15 miles outside of Sedona on a 150-acre reserve. It offers a combination of Tai Chi, stretching, resistance training, and aerobic activity and is run by the Korean Dao Master we work with back home. For a gal that has never liked exercise, it is a great solution. It’s the perfect break from a hectic life, running a business, going back to school, writing a book, starting a new coaching business.
Five years ago, I was diagnosed with autoimmune disease, and I fully understand the importance of self-care from my own journey to wellness. But as I began to feel great again, my type A personality returned in full force, and I was once again so busy that taking care of me was again in the back seat.
This weekend was going to be my reset, and I was really looking forward to it.
Everything was right with my world, right?
Well, actually, no.
My husband told me that he had arranged for me to have my own Master for the weekend. I had made plans for quiet time alone, but I knew he was well meaning, so I decided to play it by ear.
I reported at 8am on Friday to my first Master. This remarkable woman and I spent some peaceful time together, walking the grounds, discovering the energy vortexes. It was a fabulous morning, right in line with my plan for self-care.
At 1pm I met Master Andy, who would be in charge of my afternoon.
Uh oh, I had a completely scheduled day. My alone time was slipping through my fingers.
But I didn’t want to disappoint my Master at home, who had obviously gone to great lengths to ensure that I had, in her mind, a great retreat. In other words, I didn’t want to say No.
Ironically, I just published a book about toxins and where they lurk in our lives. I have an entire section on toxic minds and a chapter on stress. In this chapter I had written the following:
“Don’t say yes to everything and everyone. This is part of loving yourself and self-care. You are just as important as anyone else, and your needs always should come first…. Stop overcommitting yourself. It’s ok to take care of you, and to say NO!”
And these comments are followed by this quote-
“You have to learn to say no without feeling guilty. Setting boundaries is healthy. You need to learn to respect and take care of yourself.” Unknown awesomequotes4u.com
I thought I had put these words fully into practice. But here I was back at Square 1.
I decided that I didn’t want to disappoint the people who put together this schedule, so I would finish the day and then make my stand for a free Saturday.
I have jokingly remarked for years that when my angels want me to get a lesson, they poke me. If I don’t get it the second time, I get a little slap on the face. If I am still not paying attention, I get a big thump on my back. Finally, I get hit with a 2×4.
The 2×4 was waiting right around the corner.
Friday afternoon, I headed off on my pre-planned adventure.
Master Andy plus a college sophomore (who also wanted some quiet time after completing her first year in college) and I went back to civilization and rented an ATV. Silly me, I didn’t even know what an ATV was until we did this!
My first clue should have been when I got a bandana to tie over my mouth—like I was going to rob a bank—and goggles. Then we piled into the ATV and headed back to the reserve but turned off on a road that was even less tended than the regular unpaved road.
About 10 minutes down this road, red dust flying, bandana protecting my nose and mouth, and goggles protecting my eyes, I realized I was on Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. I was six when I went on that ride the first time at Disneyland, and it terrified me. Now at 68, here I was again.
We were hopping all over the road, going over large boulders, swooping into major potholes. I was holding on for dear life in the back seat.
After an hour of full-body jiggling, we arrived at our spot. It was breathtakingly beautiful, and we headed for a trail that would take us to a cave.
The trail went straight down on a 70-degree incline. And it, too, was covered with tons of baseball-sized boulders.
Now, again, I am 68. I wouldn’t have done this trail in my 20’s. So there I was, tripping and twisting, having a hard time keeping my balance, and headed straight down. It occurred to me that, even if I made it down without breaking my neck, I most assuredly would not make it back up. And there was no place for a helicopter to hang over the lower trail to pull me out.
So I finally said NO. I sent Master Andy and the college student on their way.
I went back to the ATV and spent an hour covered with little tiny bugs until my Master and the college student returned. It turns out it was a good thing I didn’t go—they’d had to scale a wall to get to the cave, and there was no way I could have done this.
The hour waiting was a blessing. I had a long conversation with myself about speaking my own truth and taking care of me. It was indeed a reset—it just wasn’t the way I had planned to get one.
This was the site we were headed to that I never got to see. Its called Robbers Shaman Cave.
It was a 2×4 to get my attention, slammed right across my back. I got the point, loud and clear.
I survived the return trip and went directly to let the powers that be know that Saturday was mine. Period.
So I cancelled Saturday morning activities.
I drove into Sedona, took myself out to lunch at my favorite restaurant in town and then went to the Sedona Healing Center for a chakra clearing, a quiet meditation, and a psychic reading. It was fun, and it was relaxing, and just what I needed.
Sunday morning was mine, all mine. I headed for the lake, sat on the island pictured in the photo above, practiced gratitude, did some reading, and relaxed. All was right with my world again.
This little island is referred to on the Mago Resort as “heaven”, and I have to agree that it truly is a little slice of heaven.
The moral of the story is that, even when we know how critical it is to put ourselves first, the pleaser lurks within, and the ability to form the word NO continues to be a struggle.
In the end, “I got the message.” It came through loud and clear. I also got a strong sense of my need to slow down and take care of myself again, body and soul. It was, in the end, the reset that I needed.