One of 108 individual prayer wheels
surrounding the 12 massive prayer

Last week I returned from a trip to Northern California.

I was visiting my mom and stepdad’s new home in the mountains….DEEP in the mountains!

One hour from Redding, 12 miles from the nearest town, I found myself experiencing the most profound spiritual experience being in nature and completely disconnected from technology.

My mom picked up every tourist magazine in the area and I saw an ad for the Chugdud Buddhist Retreat Center about 45 minutes away…again, DEEP in the mountains!

They offered a 5:30 a.m. meditation and I had a silent whisper from my intuition, what I call my inner Soul Mama, that I needed to go and experience it.

So, I set my alarm for 4 a.m., got ready, and then panicked at the thought of having to walk from the house to my car in the PITCH BLACK.

I mean, living in cities for most of my adult life, I forgot how black it got outside.

I kept thinking, what are you so afraid of, Vidette?

Michael Myers!! I’d answer.

I watched the Halloween movies WAY younger than I should have when my older cousins locked me in my grandparents’ living room and wouldn’t let me leave until I watched the whole horror movie…the music still makes me want to hide under a pillow to think about it.

My irrational thinking was getting the best of me and I was CONVINCED he was waiting in the woods ready to cut me into pieces when I left the house.

Yes, a git gorey for a spiritual blog, but stick with me here.

After running faster than Usain Bolt running the 100 m sprint, I made it to my car and surprisingly, outwitting Michael Myers himself!

As I tried to keep my racing heart from jumping out of my chest, I drove up and down the long driveway, where, when I got to the road, sh*t, I thought! Why the hell is the gate closed?

The gate that I never noticed because it was always open, is now shut, and I have two options:

 1.  Get out and open the gate and risk giving Michael Myers a second opportunity to get me, or

2.  Back the hell up and go back to bed; However, with the steepness and windiness of the driveway, that option seemed worse. 
So, I got out ran like hell to the gate, pushed that gate open so fast, and ran to my car with a deep breath. 
  Phew! Ha-ha, Michael Myers!  You didn’t get ME!! 
 On the 45 minute drive to the retreat center, every thought that could go through my mind did go through my mind…. 
What if these people aren’t Buddhist at all? What if they put the front on like they are to attract naiive people like me who drive out there at 5:30 a.m. and then behead their guests never to be found again?

What if I break down? My phone doesn’t work here.  No one knows where I am.  I’ll be stranded in the middle of no where and will only hope to remember nuggets of information learned from watching Bear Grylls traipse around in mountains, forests, and deserts on TV. 
Oh, shit….what was I thinking?  

All to meditate?  

I can do that at home and not be risking my life! I can’t turn back now!  That would be crazy! …or would it? 
After all this, I arrive at the retreat center.  
It’s pitch black. Not a light on except the blazingly obvious headlights of my car making it VERY obvious that a stranger has arrived onto the retreat center. 
DEFINITELY turn back!  
But, I didn’t. 
There was this super silent whisper within.  Just trust, it kept saying. 
Finally, a glimmer of hope. I saw a light come on, then another, and another. I saw some movement. 
My heart started racing again. 
Am I REALLY going to go in there? 
One of 12, 3-ton Prayer Wheels with over 147 BILLION prayers embedded on them.
One of 12, 3-ton Prayer
Wheels with over
147 BILLION prayers
embedded on them.
I finally couldn’t stand the anticipation anymore.  
I walked into the vestibule outside of the meditation room and peeked inside. 
They LOOK normal. 

Well, sh*t, so did Michael Myers underneath the hockey mask! 
Oh, stop. Just go in. 
Behind me, the door opened it. 
I jumped so high with the sound of the door only to notice this totally normal-looking woman and she said, “Hi!” Woah….she’s so….normal! 
“Hi,” I responded, and then “I have NO idea what I am doing, I don’t have a robe or anything, but I came for the meditation” spilled out of my mouth before I knew it.
“Well, come in and sit right here,” Prema (I later found out her name was) said. 
I spent the next hour and 1/2 observing the most beautiful meditation ritual.  I was greeted with chanting, praying, and instruments and was enveloped with the soothing scent of incense. Most of the prayers I didn’t understand, yet, I felt their power. 
Afterwards, many of the practitioners came up and introduced themselves and asked how I had gotten there. I told them the quick story, strategically leaving out the thoughts that they could be serial murderers. 
Prema invited me to have tea with them and I got to know more of THEIR stories and how they ended up living on a Buddhist retreat in the middle of nowhere as practitioners. 
My son, Rijken spinning all 108 prayer wheels releasing prayers to eliminate war and famine and opening up more compassion, love and trust in the world.
My son, Rijken spinning
all 108 prayer wheels
releasing prayers to eliminate
war and famine and opening
up more compassion,
love and trust in the world.
As I sat there listening to their stories and sharing a beautiful early morning with them, my heart expanded inside. I had been led, once again, to another Soul Mama moment by that super-silent whisper that morning. 
It was almost drowned out by my ego trying to keep me safe, on the couch where I slept while visiting my mom. 
What if I hadn’t gone? What if I had chosen to sleep in? What if I had chosen to make the attempt of backing up the long driveway and protecting myself from the “what-ifs” that were exploding in my head?

I would have missed a beautiful life experience.

As I turned around, I saw Rijken giving thanks to the prayers released. PMM (proud mom moment) - I didn't ask him to do it...he simply felt led to give a bow of thanks!
As I turned around,
I saw Rijken giving thanks to the
prayers released.
PMM (proud mom moment) –
I didn’t ask him to do it…
he simply felt led to give a bow of thanks

I would have missed meeting these beautiful people who were so heart-warming, so compassionate, so inviting.

I would have missed the opportunity to experience something I had NEVER experienced before in my life for what? To stay safe? To stay in my comfort zone?

Where would that have gotten me?

It did get me out of my comfort zone….and VERY far out, I might add!

It got me new friends. It led me to a beautiful experience that had my heart brimming over with joy for the rest of the day.

It led me to SUCH a beautiful experience, I took my son back there the next day to experience the peace and calm of the place that I had been SO terrified to go to. What did I learn?

Fear will always appear…even when we think we have evolved beyond it, or have taken risks before and walked through fear with the misconception that we have conquered it forever.

Still, though, beyond the car alarm, the closed gate, the scary-ass drive through the California back-country, through all the what-if’s, through all the fear of Michael Myers, there was this one constant in my life….whispering…. My inner Soul Mama, my intuition, nudging me on.

Not pushing. Gently encouraging.

Not trying to outwit my egoic thoughts.

Just whispering….just trust….just trust….just trust.

What more could we experience if we just trusted the infinite guidance of that Infinite Intelligence who only has our highest and best good in mind?

The possibilities are endless.