I have been thinking a lot lately of a peak experience of mine that took place about 10 years ago. It happened in Sedona on our way up Schnebly Hill Road a few months into my separation from my first husband. My friend and I were traveling together, both on a healing mission. I was trying to decide what my last name should be…keep his or take back my maiden. I didn’t feel connected to either. I had been married 12 years and no longer felt like the young woman who carried my father’s name.
All along the drive from Texas out to Arizona, I toyed with what was right, what was expected, and what honored my highest good. There were no easy answers, but somehow, I felt like this journey might help me figure one out.
We were arriving in Sedona at sunrise on the Spring Equinox. A friend shared that there would be a ceremony at the top of the road just as the sun came up, so we rose early and began our ascent. The only way to get there was by traveling a road that was over 100 years old (I could be exaggerating, but I think this is the truth).
I was terrified of the trip. My imagination went wild with what-if’s. What if we got stranded? What if a wild animal attacked us? What if we were abducted or killed by strangers. My anxiety was not helped by the fact that my friend was extremely pregnant. That opened up a whole ‘nuther can of what-if’s, I am sure you can imagine!
We began the journey in her little Toyota, scooting our way up the steep, barely paved road, occasionally being passed up by 4 wheel drive trucks. Eventually we got to a point where the car couldn’t go any further, and my friend shared that she wanted to go sit in nature. I wanted to also but was too chicken to go too far from the car.
I took my blanket and sat near the edge, but every time I closed my eyes, they were startled open by an image of a jaguar lunging at me. (Do they even have jaguars in Arizona?) I sat there in the cold, huddled up in my blanket and heard something in the distance, a truck. My imagination when wild. I knew I was about to be killed! As it got closer, my heart raced, and then my bladder made its presence known.
Our time there began by taking in the awe of the horizon. My eyes dropped down to the floor of the Earth and traveled like a swooping carrion across the land, jetting up at the majestic formations that stood like giants before me. I felt small in that moment, compared to the vastness of the world, but I felt connected in a big way.
I began to sing a song that I had learned in a gathering of women a few years before.
“Morning Sun, Morning Sun, come my way, come my way. Morning Sun, Morning Sun, take my pain, take my pain. Take my pain, take my pain, down below, down below. Down below, down below, cool waters, down below.”
The other women joined me, and as we sang, I felt the Sun’s rays come to me. It seemed to open up a space for something special to happen. We sang more songs. Songs of connectedness and healing. And then, in silence, we each went to our own space to ponder what had brought us to the mountain.
I sat quietly, waiting for my spirit to settle down. The moment was so charged that my mind and blood were racing. But eventually, I could feel the solid rock beneath me, and my heart rocked peacefully in the cradle of my chest. I looked in front of me, and notice a small slab of rock that sat a bit higher than the foundation I sat upon. And in my mind, I heard a voice whisper, “This is the altar to the world. This is the place where names are given and names are taken. Ask for your new name and you will be given that which you asked.”
My first thought was a big….oh, well, that is a bit far-fetched! But I wanted to believe that I didn’t have to hold onto a name just because society thought I should. I wanted to believe I could create a new future for myself. And so I climbed up to the little rock, carefully and with my whole body shaking. I said out loud, “What if this is the altar to the world, the place where names are given.” Reaching out for the top of the stone table, I slowly pulled myself up. My eyes scanned the stone. I couldn’t tell what I was seeing at first, but when I realized what it was, I began to cry. Covering the little altar were names. Names!
Perhaps this was an altar. I asked what my name should be. And without much hesitation, I heard….DayStar. Far-fetched, perhaps. But I took it because it was the name that was given and later that day, felt a big ah-ha when I realized it was a blending of my mother’s middle name and my paternal grandmother’s maiden name. It felt balanced. I left my tears as an offering on the stone, and climbed down, a new woman.
For several years I took DayStar as my last name, and then I met a man, my love, and have taken his name. I still hold onto DayStar in certain circles and claim it as my spiritual name. Perhaps it is no coincidence that my business is personified as SiStar Starla. I think there is a bit of me in her and her in me.
Writing about this peak experience has been powerful. It has revealed a lot to me about what is important in my life. Most important of these lessons is to listen. When I listen, there is a voice inside that is filled with wisdom and knows my souls path.
And when I follow, it takes me on great adventures.
This blog post was inspired by the Business Soul Sessions.