On the Rocks in Vegas

The Unexpected Trail to Peace

I didn’t know it would be Las Vegas—I didn’t know at the time the capital of sin would give me back my sanity.

Code ex-boyfriend blue
I guess I couldn’t know this because I wasn’t personally aware my sanity was missing. I didn’t learn this until after the fact when friends assured me that yes I was going a little nutty but only to a level that was slightly amusing to them, since I’m usually the rational one of the bunch.

On their disaster threat level chart my wackiness was only a code blue since the cause of my temporary insanity was basically a man. Or more appropriately the lack of one particular man in my life and my constant wavering on whether he should be let back in…or continue to be the focus of my red-hot hate.

Turns out it was in Las Vegas where I figured out neither option was working for me.

Inhospitable haunt

Now I have to
say that I’m definitely not a Vegas kind of girl. Gambling bores me. I can only make fun of Wayne Newton and his brethren for so long, and if I want to splurge on a pair of Manolo Blahnik shoes or cruise the canals of Venice I’d rather do both in Europe, not in the Nevada desert surrounded by migraine-inducing glitter, sparkles, and painfully ugly pieces of art that cost more than a starter home in Los Angeles.

Since I live in L.A., Las Vegas is a popular road trip and I’m often talked into going a few times a year. Usually I end up at a spa having my boredom buffed and scrubbed away while my companions donate their hard-earned dollars to Vegas billionaire Steve Wynn .

Viva Las Vegas!
But this time I decided to forge a new trail.

Driving in from L.A. the desert scenery intrigued me. It dawned on me the Las Vegas strip is just an oasis in the desert and sure enough, with the assistance of a helpful hotel concierge, I discovered that driving a few miles west or east outside of the city takes you to some of the most beautiful natural wonders in the southwest.

My destination, after a quick stop at the hotel buffet to fuel up, was Red Rock Canyon , a quick 30-minute drive down Charleston Blvd. Once I reached the city limits the road opened up on a wide-open vista surrounded by towering red rocks.

The stark beauty and simplicity of the landscape took my breath away and I felt the release of much of the anxiety and fear I’d been holding on to, which countless yoga classes and spa days could not defeat.

On the rocks

The day was one of those rare perfect spring days in Las Vegas—warmed by the sun but cooled by a breeze that made it safe to venture out of air-conditioned confines. The day brought out plenty of other hikers, bikers, rock climbers, and tourists but I still felt a calming sense of solitude.

Initially, hiking up the mountain trail alone brought on a feeling of sadness. Hiking is something that “J.” and I would do together often. During these treks our often complicated relationship felt lightweight and free. Not burdened by expectations and disappointments.

As I walked along the trail, nature intruded on my self-absorption and I began to notice the plants that offered a burst of color among the dry desert landscape. I noticed how the vivid red of the mountain seemed to reach up and touch the blue of the sky. I noticed insects and small creatures scurrying around my footsteps carrying out their daily routines.

I noticed everything except my own emptiness… eventually I noticed this feeling was no longer with me.

Red rock epiphanies
Being alone in this example of God’s perfection brought back to me the memory of my own perfection and the knowledge that I have all I need within me to live a complete life.

No doubt about it, the ending of a relationship sucks, but life goes on and gets better if you let it.

I don’t know why, but on this day I gave my full attention to the mountain and in return it took from me my burdens and gave back to me my optimism and lightness of spirit. Looking around, I somehow knew that these rocks had absorbed countless tears before mine and would be there to accept those to come.