Editor's note: SDI's next spiritual journey unfolds in Ghost Ranch, New Mexico in May. As Valerie will be leading the retreat, I asked her to briefly try to capture the essence (and the opportunity) this remarkable area presents. Karen Lee Erlichman, DMin, LCSW, will co-lead the retreat with Valerie.
Sacred, spiritual, deeply inspirational places have voices. They say: ‘Pause, notice, breathe.’ They pull us out of mundane preoccupations and into timelessness, awe, and wonder. Sometimes they are stripped down, elemental landscapes, where we feel an immediate connection with the land and with Spirit. From time immemorial, people have journeyed to these places to pray, to be, to be transformed from the inside out.
I came to Ghost Ranch, 21,000 acres of wilderness in northern New Mexico, in the United States, in the summer of 1978. I tooled around Albuquerque on the back of my boyfriend’s motorcycle, exploring Santa Fe, Taos, and surroundings and came upon the red rocks and the painted desert of Ghost Ranch made famous by the iconic American painter, Georgia O’Keeffe. The ranch touched a spark, something inexpressible within me. I remember feeling an internal shift and stripping away of everything except the land, an intimacy with nature—down to bare essentials.