My Visit to New Mexico

On the Way to Ghost Ranch ©Lynne Buchanan

My visit to Santa Fe, Taos and Ghost Ranch was all I had hoped it would be and more.  What I learned about photography was eclipsed by what I learned about the miracle of existence.  I discovered angels do support us if we open to grace and something larger than our smaller selves and miracles can happen if you have faith that things will work out beyond what you can see and against all odds.  At Chimayo, which is known as the Lourdes of the west, I had a long talk with a young man in robes about the significance of the site and why people believe they can be healed there.  As we spoke, I realized that although my spirituality is not orthodox and I belong to no organized religion, there are many spiritual paths and they all lead to the same place at the highest level.   It is when spirituality becomes associated with secular power that things go awry.   While I spoke with this young man, I felt a strong connection with him and the place and I even went to collect some of the sacred dirt after I paid my respects.  I am not Catholic but it did not matter.  He was so happy I asked and was delighted to share the story of this sacred place.

Angelic Support ©Lynne Buchanan

Receiving Grace ©Lynne Buchanan

The energy of the earth in New Mexico was very strong and I felt like a child again climbing the rocks and taking photographs of all the amazing shapes and patterns.  I thought often of the work of Georgia O’Keefe, which has always spoken to me.  The way she captured the essence of forms and the emotional response she had to nature made a strong impression on me when I first studied art history years ago.  Standing in her country seeing the source of her inspiration in the hills just outside Ghost Ranch brought tears to my eyes.  Some day I will go back there alone for a week and commune with her spirit and the spirit of the land. 

At the end of my stay in Santa Fe, I was fortunate enough to spend part of an afternoon with Sandra Ingerman, who has trained people in shamanic journeying all over the world. She validated that I am on the path I am meant to follow.  Sandra also said something very interesting that made me pause and think.  She said that in native cultures people identify the talents people are born with as soon as possible and then nurture those talents.  I was born with a certain connection with nature and an ability to appreciate and notice the smallest visual details, but for years I worked at jobs that had nothing to do with my talents.  I only began to uncover them again after I had children and helped foster their own gifts.  As we created together, something began to awaken in me.  Yoga, meditation, journeying and other practices helped me get out of my own way and connect with my larger Self, which is the source of our creativity.

Stairway to Heaven ©Lynne Buchanan

I bought a painting of aspen trees from an artist in Taos Pueblo and ended up having a fascinating conversation with her.  Though I thought I would be drawn mostly to the earth in the desert southwest, the arid climate made me realize how important water is to survival.  The artist and I discussed the rivers and the life cycles of planting.    Climate change is having a devastating effect on native people, who are much more closely tied to the earth.  As climate change affects water cycles by causing the spring thaw to arrive sooner and droughts to follow, water arrives too early and there is not enough at the critical times so their crops are adversely impacted.  As we talked, I couldn’t help thinking we would all take the issues that are causing us to deplete our natural resources at an alarming rate more seriously if we weren’t so disconnected from nature and actually saw and experienced firsthand the destruction of the environment that occurs every day.  The wisdom of the Native Americans has always been a source of inspiration for me, so I purchased a book called Learning Native Wisdom: What Traditional Cultures Teach Us About Subsistence, Sustainability, and Spirituality.  I am excited to read this book, as I believe the foundation of our entire culture needs to change and become much closer to that of native peoples if our planet is to survive.  Gary Holthaus, the author of the book, quotes a farmer and friend as saying, “ No use talking about sustainable agriculture if you don't have a sustainable culture."